Purchasing a new house should be a happy occasion, but sometimes, others ruin it by making unnecessary requests.
Typically, that means friends and family crossing boundaries, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Judy34535434 didn’t understand what the issue was when she wanted a copy of her son’s and daughter-in-law’s key to their new house.
But when she received backlash, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she’d been inappropriate.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for asking my son and daughter-in-law for a copy of the key to the new house they bought?”
The OP asked for a key to the new house her son and daughter-in-law bought.
“2 weeks ago my son [Ethan, 27] and his wife [Jess, 30] bought a small one story house in the town we live in. After settling down, they invited us for a small party for the occasion.”
“We sat for dinner and talked about the house a bit. Me, my husband, and Jess continued conversing after Ethan excused himself to take an important call.”
“Jess showed me the original key to the house and I asked if she made copies yet and she said no.”
“I said she should and also give one copy to me as well.”
This led to an argument.
“She looked at me funny and asked why she should.”
“I explained that it is necessary so that it could be used in emergencies.”
“She rudely said, ‘I don’t know what kind of an emergency that would require you having a key to our house, sure won’t be a fire incident!'”
“She obviously didn’t seem to have any idea that a fire incident wasn’t what I meant and I got offended by her sarcasm.”
“I pointed out that it’s not just her decision because this is my son’s house as well.”
“She smiled at me trying to be polite and stated that only the ones who contributed towards the house get a copy and that I really don’t need one anyway.”
The OP’s son was brought into the argument, as well.
“She also assured me that my son will have the same answer for me. Basically saying ‘Don’t bother bringing this up with Ethan, he’ll tell you the same thing.'”
“But I did and she spoke on his behalf, the entire argument repeating what she said over and over.”
“Things escalated to her calling me pushy and me telling her she was being unnecessarily rude and disrespectful.”
“My husband and I left in a rush and I felt horrible.”
The OP’s husband didn’t appreciate her request, either.
“My husband went on and on about how paranoid and controlling I was to basically be ‘demanding’ a copy of the key to the new house.”
“Again I stated that I was just trying to be helpful and taking extra precautions since anything could happen.”
“He insisted I overstepped and ruined Ethan’s and Jess’s joy for their new house as well as dinner.”
“I genuienly do not think what I said was out of line and I’m not sure why Jess reacted so intensely. I think my request was innocent.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP asked the wrong question.
“It’s all about phrasing.”
“Do people offer copies of their keys to trusted family members in case they get locked out / need their plants watered / etc…? Yes, definitely.”
“The keyword is offer, though. You said to two adults, ‘you’ll need to give me a copy of your key,’ which is why YTA.”
“And then you doubled down by continuing to push. Even if you’d said, ‘hey, if you wanted us to keep a copy of the key for you for emergencies,’ and then left it alone, you wouldn’t be TA.”
“So phrasing. And I imagine, tone.” – books_n_food
“If she had phrased it as advice and suggested that they offer a key to a close friend or neighbor in case of emergencies, then it would have been taken completely differently.”
“She DEMANDED a key, which makes OP look creepy and seem like they want to look around the house while they are gone.”
“OP – YTA.” – ChaosCoordinatorCO
“It’s all about the attitude.”
“OP is both pushy and unnecessarily rude and disrespectful (of their boundaries). It’s their house – she doesn’t get to demand copies of the key. That was out of line.”
“Offer in case of emergency, yes.”
“It seems like OP is really disrespectful to DIL in general. She thinks that Ethan’s call can overrule Jess’s and he has more of a say regarding the house.”
“YTA.” – GoodGirlsGrace
“Both my parents and my husband’s parents have keys to our house.”
“We OFFERED these keys, and these keys are only used to take care of our cat when we are out of town or if we specifically request them to use the keys.”
“It’s about respect and attitude.” – Brilliant_Jewel1924
Others agreed and said the daughter-in-law’s refusal was enough of an answer.
“Keys to a house is a ‘two yeses, one no’ type of decision. With a ‘no’ on the table, it was already resolved.” – Affectionate_Oven610
“This blew my mind, the wife said no and the OP’s like, well let me just go to my son to clear it up.”
“Apparently, the mom doesn’t factor in what the wife says. That sounds like it will be fun in the future, especially with them so nearby…” – SgtBadManners
“That ‘Well, it’s my son’s house too!’ attitude is exactly why she should never be given a key for emergencies.”
“She’ll be showing up whenever she deems it important and pitting her son against his own wife if the wife is uncomfortable with it.” – Vegetable_Salad86
“‘Ethan didn’t answer when I called an hour ago. I’ll just pop over and go inside to check on him.'”
“‘Ethan said he’s been stressed with work. I’m just gonna go drop off food and see how he is.'”
“The OP will always find an excuse to come in if she has a key.” – nijurriane
“You’re the asshole x100. Honestly you seem to be one of those MIL from hell. How rude and entitled can you be?”
“I expect you’re going to get a lot less invitations in the future. Seek counseling.” – PrinceOfDoge
“YTA. Hands down.”
“Firstly because Tone Matters. Had you said something like ‘We’d be happy to keep an emergency key for you, if you’d like us to’, and left it to them to decide—fine.”
“But you didn’t. You told two grown-ass adults that they SHOULD give you a key.”
“Secondly, because no means no. You asked. You were told a clear ‘no’.”
“Manipulating one partner against the other is the behavior of a needy toddler, not a caring parent.”
“Thirdly, because in trying to get your son to override your daughter you dismissed her—as if she’s not an equal partner in owning the home. Not OK.”
“Three strikes … you’re out. And YTA.” – EJMdesign
“I have owned a house for a bit over 30 years now, and there has never been an emergency that could have been solved by my mother or mother-in-law having a key to my house.”
“In fact, I couldn’t even imagine such a scenario, so I find this whole concept rather absurd.”
“My guess is that your daughter-in-law ‘reacted so intensely’ because this is just the latest incident in a long standing pattern of invasive behavior on your part.”
“It’s a common thing, really: people who build their entire lives around their kids at the expense of everything else often struggle to find purpose once their kids grow up and move out to build families of their own.”
“They have no idea who they are when they’re not raising kids, so they cling to that role by shoehorning their way into parts of their kids’ lives that they have no business being in.”
“It’s time for you to accept the fact that the child rearing part of your life is over. You need to step back and let your son live his life.”
“Get a hobby; find a new purpose. But most importantly, you need to accept the fact that your son’s house is not your house, so you don’t get to come and go as you please.”
“And that is pretty much what you were asking for, whether you are willing to admit it or not.” – Hosfac
“YTA – Listen to your husband on this one. If they’d wanted you to have a key, they would have given you one without request.”
“You, instead, demanded one and then wouldn’t let the topic drop. How uncomfortable.”
“Not only that, you tried to put husband and wife up against each other because you felt so entitled.”
“What sort of a mother makes an effort to cause friction in a relationship because she feels entitled to access to a house that isn’t hers?” – NeuroticAttic
“When your own husband can see the issue, it’s not her, it’s you. YTA. 100%.”
“Take if from someone who has cut off the in-laws—you will not win this battle for power. I have a 9-year-old daughter who wouldn’t know my husband’s parents if they showed up with a pony and arms full of gifts.”
“Go to counseling, fix yourself or be prepared to be cut out of their lives.” – TheKellyMac
“My mom complains that I’m the only ungrateful child who will not give her a key to my house. She’s a nosy a** busybody who on previous visits tried to rearrange my furniture, do my dishes and take things that didn’t belong to her.”
“Then on SEVERAL oocassions, she chopped down bushes and killed plants outside, and I had to threaten her with the g*ddmn cops to make her leave.”
“I lock my gate to keep her out of the backyard.”
“She is not allowed in my house and she will get a key over my dead body. They don’t trust you, OP, to get a key for a reason.” – SuperSassyPantz
“YTA There is no way, when you feel so entitled to treat your DIL like this, that this is a first offence.”
“People saying they think your heart is in the right place are being naive—you don’t behave this way out of kindness. The way you worded this whole post is incredibly telling.”
“Congratulations—you’re a Just-No-MIL, and I bet no contact is looking really tempting for your son right now.”
“Honestly, your DIL deserves a massive apology, but apologies are meaningless unless you understand what you need to apologise for and you just seem so incredibly entitled that you’re oblivious to the harm you cause.”
“If you think you have a right to demand free access to their house, I shudder to think how you would behave around any children they may choose to have in the future.”
“I thought my MIL was bad (and she was!) but you’re a whole other level.” – trundlespl00t
“Late to the party but my horrid MIL did this to my wife and I at our first apartment.”
“She had lame excuses about emergencies too and then said what if she needed to use the bathroom?”
“Apparently it was disrespectful to question why she’d pass 2-3 perfectly good gas stations to come to our 3rd floor walk up apartment to ‘use the bathroom’.”
“We all know your type, keep your nosey, snooping a** at home.” – Greased_up_Scotsman
“I gave my in-laws a copy of our key because we have a dog at home that they’ll occasionally stop by to take care of or take to their place if we’re away for a while.”
“However, I offered the key, they did not ask me, and they only have the key because of the dog (otherwise there’d be zero reason).”
“Giving someone a key to one’s home is a personal decision, and you need to stop acting like you’re entitled to your son’s property.” – Serial_Hobbyist12
While the OP was at a loss for what she had done wrong in this situation, the subReddit cited multiple issues.
The main concerns were her demanding, rather than being offered, and also how she handled her daughter-in-law’s rejection.
If she couldn’t respect the couple having a home of their own, and each person having their own opinions on important matters, there would likely not be a reason for her to have a key.