We all have moments when we need some time to ourselves, some of us more than others.
Because of this, some of us dedicate whole spaces in our homes to time we can spend along, and we tend to become very protective of those spaces, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor needmyspaceaita was reluctant to give up the space he had created, just because someone else wanted to move into his house.
But when he heard everyone’s reactions, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was being selfish.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not giving up my “man cave” to accommodate my MIL (mother-in-law)?”
The OP made arrangements to live together with his wife and her children.
“My wife and I got married 4 years ago.”
“She had 2 kids from a previous relationship (now 8 & 10) that she has full custody of. Their dad is not much of a figure in their lives.”
“I inherited my parents’ house when they died about a decade ago, and since my wife and her kids were living in an apartment, we decided it would be easiest if they moved into my house after we got married.”
“The kids now have their own rooms, there’s a yard for them to play in, we got a dog, and it’s been really nice.”
The OP was resistant to including more people in the house, though.
“About a year ago, my wife’s dad got sick and passed away. It’s been hard on a lot of her family members, but especially her mom.”
“A few months ago, my wife brought up the idea of having her mom move in with us so that she wouldn’t be alone.”
“I was very hesitant, since her mom has her own health issues and adding another adult to the house changes the dynamics of the household completely.”
“After a lot of discussion and pressure from my wife, I finally opened up to the idea, but there are still roadblocks.”
“The biggest being that we do not have a spare bedroom for MIL.”
“My wife’s idea is to make the basement a kind of MIL suite.”
“However, I have spent the last decade turning the basement into my man cave. Think bar, pool table, poker table, big-screen TVs, etc. I did a lot of the work myself and I’m pretty proud of it.”
The OP didn’t like his wife’s idea.
“I told my wife that it’s pretty much a non-starter for me to give up that space as it’s something I’ve been working on for a long time, since before I even met her.”
“My solution is to have the kids go back to sharing a room and MIL gets the other bedroom.”
“My wife said that her kids have gotten used to having their own space and she won’t force them to give that up.”
“I asked her why it’s ok for me to have to give up my space, but not anyone else?”
“I told her I am the one who is gaining nothing from having MIL move in.”
“MIL would get to be around family, my wife gets her mom close, kids get their grandma, and I would have to give up something that I worked long and hard for? Doesn’t exactly sound like a sweet deal for me.”
The OP’s wife scoffed at him.
“She called me a selfish a**hole and told me I’m being ridiculous and stubborn.”
“She told me that this is now her house too and she’s not going to make her kids sacrifice their space when we have a perfectly good space that MIL could use.”
“I told her that the basement is the one place in the house that I do not want to be changed, under any circumstances, no exceptions.”
“We’ve been fighting about this for weeks with neither of us willing to budge.”
“My wife is getting more and more hostile towards me and our relationship is suffering.”
“Do I just need to bite the bullet and give up my space?”
“I think I’m already giving up a lot by allowing MIL to move in with us, but am I being an a**hole about this?”
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 completely agreed with the OP on not giving up the space.
“A good reason for him not to give up that space is so that he has somewhere to relax OP’s wife grew up with her mom so it’s not the same living together again as it would be for him.”
“I think he’s had to already go through the most change. Adding 3 people and a dog (love dogs) is a lot different than living on your own for a bit.”
“I don’t think this is really different than if he had a hobby car he had been working on for years and wife wanted to use to redo the garage. It’s like his last personal space.” – coyotebored83
“NTA. I’m female. If I was childless with a house inherited from my parents then later married a man with 2 kids who all moved in, then 4 years later get called SELFISH for not wanting to give up my craft room or whatever for his mother (to be honest, I wouldn’t even entertain MIL moving in, I’d tell him to figure out a way to rent her a place nearby as he’s presumably not paying for a mortgage) I would be livid!!!”
“You don’t want to give up your space (where will you hide when you have enough of mil???), wife doesn’t want kids to share rooms. The answer is obvious. MIL should not move in.” – nikokazini
“I don’t think the wife is a monster or anything but she is, without a doubt, an a**hole in this conversation.”
“From what we can read she didn’t go into this with a, ‘Let’s see what we can do for my mother’ attitude and instead started with a, My mom can move in and take your personal space’ mindset.”
“She wouldn’t be an a**hole if she had approached this differently.” – AvadaCaCanteven
“NTA, agree MIL should not move in. I think letting someone move in should always be something that both parties should agree on.”
“If you have to give up things that are important to you just so someone you don’t want to move in can move in, you are going to be resentful the whole time.”
“Also, why is she saying it is her house if it was yours before you got together? Better make sure she legally cannot take it from you.”
“Also, ‘My wife said that her kids have gotten used to having their own space and she won’t force them to give that up’? Tell her you have gotten used to having your own space as well and shouldn’t be forced to give it up.” – Ok-Homework-582
Others recommended facing the situation as a couple.
“Reddit is going to make this sound like a catastrophic betrayal because the only thing we know about your wife is the fact that she wants to take your man cave.”
“But there are no a**holes here, and treating her like the enemy will end with you divorced.”
“Try to sit her down and have an honest, open, emotionally vulnerable conversation where you say: look, adding another adult to our home would be really hard. I know you want to support your mom but you are growing to resent me over this, and I would grow to resent you over giving up the space. How can we solve this together?”
“How can we give your mom time and effort and closeness without her being in a home that simply doesn’t have space for her? Is your MIL good and kind, or is she guilting your wife over not doing enough for her?”
“You are a team. Can you get her into a nearby apartment? Can you get a couch with a fold-out bed down there so she can come to hang out every other weekend?”
“Or, if she’s being guilted by her mom, can you help her set boundaries? Can you both remember that you love each other?” – Nicole-Bolas
“Expecting the kids to share a room again is a bad idea. It’ll create problems for everyone.”
“OP has a large part of the house for his individual use, but I think you’re right that having to give it up will be something that he’ll resent, and that will cause problems for the relationship.”
“Personally, if I were OP, I’d look at adding a grannie flat if that was feasible. Though, he’d want to ensure that that large change didn’t increase his wife’s claim to the property.”
“Another consideration, though, is whether OP wants to have someone in the house for whom he and his wife will be taking on carer roles. Once she’s there, OP and his wife will not have the place to themselves again for a very long time.” – GrWr44
Despite their arguing, the subReddit was certain the OP was not wrong for wanting to keep a space for himself after sharing his entire house. Though it would be kind to invite his mother-in-law into his home, that’s a decision that everyone has to wholeheartedly agree on if they don’t want their marriage and family to dissolve into resentment.