Most of us want to help our partner’s family in whatever ways we can, but there are some types of help that that can feel more like a burden than a favor.
A person on Reddit found themself in this situation when their wife’s family asked if they could move in with them for a while. Their solution was to have the family stay in their camper outside the house.
But when their wife balked, they weren’t sure about their idea. So they went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.
The Original Poster, who goes by the username camperlifeaita on the site, asked:
“AITA For telling my wife that if her sister and BIL need a place to stay, they can live in my camper?”
“My wife and I have been married for 4-years and live on a hobby farm I purchased before we started dating. We have just under 15 acres of land, grow our own food and have some chickens, goats, and pigs.”
“I’ve also spent a lot of time and money updating and renovating the house, quite a bit of which my wife has helped with over the years. One of the upgrades we did was to redo the guest bedroom and bathroom, it’s quite nice.”
“My SIL and her husband recently fell on hard times. From what I’ve heard, it was about 50% bad luck and 50% bad decisions on the husband’s part. As a result, they and their 3 kids are currently living in a motel.”
“My wife brought up the idea of having them come stay with us until they get on their feet, but I haven’t been too enthusiastic about the idea.
“Her idea is to have SIL and husband take the guest room, and the kids can sleep on couches/cots in the living room. We don’t have a 3rd bedroom for the kids.”
“Now, I have always been childfree by choice. Just never wanted them. Don’t hate them, but also don’t necessarily want to live with 3 of them either, especially if it’s an open-ended living situation.”
“My counter was to allow them to live in my old pop-up camper I have on the property. It’s about 10-years old but it’s in great shape as I store it inside.”
It has enough sleeping space for all of them, a shower and toilet, mini-fridge, AC and heat. In my opinion it’s a pretty sweet camper. Also, and this is a little selfish of me, but I feel it would give them their own space while giving them a place to stay.”
“But it would also maybe be just uncomfortable enough for them to not want to permanently stay and to give them motivation to find a better option. I also told her that if they stay with us, I would expect them to help out with some chores, even the older kids who are 12 & 14.”
“My wife hates that idea and can’t believe I would force her family to stay outside in the elements and put them to work when we spent all the time and money to redo the spare bedroom.”
“I told her that unless SIL can give me a concrete move-out date, I don’t want them and their kids living in our house indefinitely.”
“She told me that they don’t know the first thing about camping or farm work and they need to focus on getting their lives straight and not worrying about anything else. I told her that these are the conditions under which I am comfortable with them staying with us and I am not budging.”
“She told me I am being a jerk and unreasonable and that she never expected this kind of behavior from me.”
“The way I feel is that we are doing them a favor and if we let them stay in the house the temptation for them to get ‘too comfortable’ is a lot greater than if they stay in the camper. I understand this could be seen as even a downgrade from living in a motel, but beggars can’t be choosers.”
People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most people thought OP’s plan was perfectly reasonable.
“NTA You are offering a family of five a free place to stay where they will have privacy and so will you.”
“If it was just a couple who would be using my guest room for a VERY short-term visit with a DEFINITE end date, I might consider it. But turn my living room into a bedroom for three kids for the foreseeable future? I would lose my mind.”
“I hope your wife doesn’t make a unilateral decision and turn your home into a dorm. I guess you can always go live in the camper. Quiet and order are very important to my mental health. If my partner in life proposed taking that away from me, I think that would make them a jerk.”
“BTW, your wife’s relatives won’t be ‘camping’ on their own. You will be available to help them learn what they need to know about using a camper.” –HeartPineFloors
“That privacy thing is a huge deal for the kids. OP doesn’t say the youngest’s age, but the older two are 14 and 12. The camper isn’t a compromise for them, it would be a vast improvement over an open-ended situation in the living room!”
“Even a shared room is still a door they can close and room they can get away to for a little privacy and quiet time.” —PammyHead
“My Uncle has something similar. If you come over you get the choice of staying a few days in the main house, with meals provided, or stay in the outhouse for a longer while, where you sort yourself.”
“Honestly what OP describes is a good deal. You want to give stability to your family and have some privacy. It might be cramped over time. Ofcourse you can go outside, go to work, school, And visit the main house frequently” –guyonaturtle
“If the offer was for me to crash at my in-laws’ house in a guest room and living room or have a camper for my family, I’d choose the camper, hands down. Privacy for both parties is imperative.”
“I have my step-son living with my partner and I for the time being, and for a long whils he had to sleep in the living room. It was awful. We had to tip toe around in the mornings (he’d sleep in) and he always felt like he was underfoot or in the way.”
“I love the kid and now that we live in a place with enough bedrooms, having him around is 100% more bearable.”
“Girlfriend isn’t necessarily TA here, but she’s definitely not looking at the longevity of the situation she’s proposing.” –kisses-n-kinks
“Open ended guest situations almost never work out well.”
“Even a newly and nicely renovated guest room is for guests that will be there for a defined time. A living room is a fun place for kids to crash for a visit or sleepover, not for an open ended living situation.”
“The camper seems like exactly the kind of compromise that anyone should be happy with.” –toofat2serve
“It’s a lot of stress and really uncomfortable when you have to finally ask them to leave too. It tends to burn bridges. I am totally on the same page as you about the nice newly renovated guest room.”
“In my family we joke that we like to make the guest rooms comfortable, but not too comfortable so guest leave. Haha” –lalalabambi
“NTA… this is one of my worst fears… my girl has a sister who claims she wants to break up with her bf, but she is unemployed and her only other choice would be moving back to her parents, who she is not currently close with.”
“She stayed with us recently due to a family emergency and was a total slob. She has cats, which im allergic to and does not shower for days on end, I forsee the day coming when she asks to live with us😖.”
“Hold your ground bud… unwanted house guests tend to well overstay their welcome, you didn’t redo the guest room to accommodate a roommate.” –Old_Click_3820
“Honestly if I had to stay at someone else’s home for an indeterminate amount of time, I’d LOVE to have a camper van. It’s nice not having to be at attention all the time with your host, and have your own space where you don’t feel like you’re bothering them.”
“Not having to share facilities for everything is much better” –binglybleep
“A camper is hardly ‘out in the elements’. As a child, my family went through a stint of homelessness and we lived out of a camper on a friend’s property for about 6 months. It was a bit cramped but we lived comfortably. NTA.” –CanadianClusterTruck
Hopefully OP can figure out how to navigate this situation with their wife.