Establishing boundaries with a roommate can be a tricky task. A guy on Reddit found himself in this sticky situation when he wanted to ask his roommate not to use his space when her family visits.
He wasn’t sure about how to handle it, so he took his potential moral quandary to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit to ask about his hypothetical “Would I Be The A**hole” (WIBTA) situation.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by a_gay_raccoon, asked:
“WIBTA if I told my housemate that her parents can’t have my room for the holidays?”
“I (23M[ale]) live with one other person in a rented house. My housemate (25F[emale]) is considering offering to host her family here over Christmas while I go back to my mum’s place because she doesn’t have a car and her parents live about three hours away.”
“Neither do I, but I was planning to get a train to my mum’s place, which is about an hour away from us.”
“I don’t object to her hosting if that’s what she wants, but I do have a problem with her plan for sleeping arrangements. She has two sisters (23 and 22), a nephew (2), and her mum and dad.”
“We have our two bedrooms and a guest bedroom/office combo space.”
“Her family is very open and touchy-feely (mine is absolutely not) so she’s planning to share her double bed with one of her sisters, have the other sister and her son sleep in the guest room/office, and give my bed to her parents.”
“I barely know her parents and don’t feel comfortable having them in my bedroom. The last time they came up, they booked a hotel, and I would so much rather they did that this time as well rather than encroach on my space.”
“I don’t want them to go looking through my stuff (and I know they will, even if she asks them not to, because they did when I was moving in).”
“It’s my room and I feel like I should be allowed that boundary – I would never put someone in her bed, it just feels wrong – but at the same time, not allowing it does mean that her parents have an additional cost to cover and will have to travel from the hotel to the house each day.”
“But also if she was living by herself in a smaller house, they’d have to do that anyway!”
“Does she have a right to non-communal spaces just because I won’t be here at the time?”
“I also don’t like that it means I’ll have to plan everything around when I’m leaving and coming back based on her parents’ schedules, or else I’ll come home and not have a bedroom.”
“So I want to tell her no, she can’t use my bed to host her parents.”
“Would that make me the a**hole?”
Redditors were then asked to judge OP’s planned way of handling this using the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
While some felt he was being a bit uptight, most agreed he had a right to his privacy, even while he was away.
“NTA – you are entitled to your space in the house you equally rent. Why can’t they get an air mattress and have her parents in the guest room, with her sister and their child on the blow up?” —MarsWater5
“The guest room is probably too small for that (a double bed plus a double air mattress wouldn’t fit in most bedrooms). Obviously not OP’s problem though. They booked a hotel before, let them do it again.”
“OP, I’d take all my sheets and pillows. At least then you know they’re not using them. And I’d look into temporary locks suggested below and see whether cameras are legal (they might be even in a 2 party consent stare if you put up signs).” —EinsTwo
“NTA OP, but you can absolutely change the locks. What I did because I had the same rule in college was I took their sh*tty knob off and put a nice one with a lock and a key and then I placed the sh*tty one under the sink.”
“Then when I moved out I put the sh*tty knob back on as they wanted.” —doinggood9
“This! They can put a blow up mattress in the living room if there isn’t space in one of the TWO bedrooms she has to use (roommate’s room and guest room). She should give her parents HER room, and sleep on the air mattress with the one sister. There is NO reason to use OP’s room.”
“OP I recommend you buy a cheap security camera to put in your room.”
“I saw your edit about not being able to use a lock *(which by the way, most landlords will allow you to do if you give them a copy of the key. However you seem to have other issues with your landlord as well).”
“A camera is definitely a good idea, and if you check and they are in there, you can call your roommate immediately and let her know that you know and to get them out. I would NOT tell your roommate about the camera though.”
“The reason I suggest the camera is because even if you can convince your roommate to not use your room, I wouldn’t trust that she won’t do it anyways.”
“Side note: who in their right mind would use someone else’s room if they explicitly said no?”
“My parents would have been mortified if I had let them stay in a roommate’s room without their permission when I was in college.”
“That is your safe space.” —SabrinaB123
After reading his fellow Redditors’ perspectives, OP returned to add some more context.
“I appreciate all the comments so far, but RE locks: as renters, we aren’t allowed to install them.”
“My door doesn’t even shut completely because the doorknobs don’t work on at least half of the doors in this house and the landlord won’t fix or allow us to fix it, but that’s another issue.”
Hopefully OP and his roommate can work through this and find a solution.