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Tired Of Having To Host Husband’s Family All The Time, Woman Converts Guest Bedroom Into Her Office, Relationship Drama Ensues
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Tired Of Having To Host Husband’s Family All The Time, Woman Converts Guest Bedroom Into Her Office, Relationship Drama Ensues

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Having a bit of privacy in your own home isn’t a sin. We all need some time alone, whether with our thoughts, our hobbies, or simply to lay in a hot bath. The last thing we want is to feel like we’re cramped or unwelcome in our very own homes. Some guests—whether family or friend—outstay their welcome and subtle hints don’t always work.

One redditor shared how her husband’s family members kept coming over on a regular basis once the lockdowns were over. She felt like she barely had any time (or room!) to herself and was stuck in a constant loop of cooking and cleaning up after her guests. Eventually, she had enough and took a big step to control the situation: she converted one of the bedrooms into her very own office/game room. That meant that not all of her in-laws would be able to stay over from now on and would have to get a room at a hotel. However, the woman’s husband thought that it was a jerk move to do.

Scroll down for the full story, in the OP’s own words, and also have a read about how the AITA community reacted to the family situation. What do you think about what happened, Pandas? What would you have done? Do you think the author of the post did anything wrong? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Bored Panda reached out to Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., for a few comments about setting healthy boundaries with our family members without hurting them, as well as why it’s all right to want some privacy. Professor Degges-White is a Licensed Counselor, as well as the Chair at the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University.

The professor told us that it’s important to have clear boundaries in all aspects of our lives. “When we continually ‘give in’ to others’ requests, we set up the pattern and expectation that we are willing to sacrifice our own needs and resources for that person.”

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It’s not a crime to want some peace and quiet in your own home. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible

Image credits: Vadim Sherbakov (not the actual photo)

A woman shared how she tried to solve the issue of her in-laws constantly overstaying their welcome at her house

Image credits: August de Richelieu (not the actual photo)

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The OP added some more info about the situation in a couple of edits

Image credits: TAgamingroom443

The OP felt that she was very much within her right to have her very own office. She works from home. She needs a space for herself where it’s quiet. And she got the house from her parents, so it’s her property now. The vast majority of the AITA crowd thought that the woman did nothing wrong.

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In a couple of edits to her story, the redditor explained just how many people are constantly staying over at her place. She also noted that her husband was very much aware of the fact that she was planning on converting one of the bedrooms into her own office. So the communication was clearly there. That didn’t stop the husband from getting mad at his wife for setting boundaries and wanting a bit of peace and quiet in her own home.

Professor Degges-White explained to Bored Panda what could be done when setting a new boundary with someone you’re close to. This works especially in those cases when you haven’t been successful in affirming boundaries previously. “It’s best to start out with a ‘disclaimer’ that it’s not ‘that person,’ but your own needs that are the reason that you’re setting up the boundary.”

According to the counselor, you could try telling them something along the lines of: “I really enjoy your company, and I’m glad you feel comfortable in our home; however, MY work demands are heavy and I really need some downtime to be able to be my best at work and with you.”

Something else you might say is: “My work demands are really growing and I’m finding that I need more time to balance my work and home life obligations. I will miss spending so much time with you, but I need to ask that the visiting decrease in time for a bit.”

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The professor said that there’s never anything wrong with wanting to spend some time on your own, so long as you’re ‘showing up’ in relationships in ways that others appreciate, too.

“Each of us has very different needs when it comes to alone time, and it’s okay to need more than a partner. However, there may be compromises that need to be worked out so that one person doesn’t always co-opt the time of the other. Making space for solitary pursuits is important to emotional well-being. So, too, is social connection and spending time with those people whose company you enjoy,” Professor Degges-White explained to Bored Panda that there’s a balance between the two that needs to be found within the relationship.

“Family obligations, though, sometimes may mean having to spend time with people whose company you don’t particularly enjoy, but do have an obligation towards. Sometimes, you can cut short visits with family/others whose company you don’t prefer, but when it comes to spending time with your partner’s family, sometimes you have to acquiesce to their wishes as part of a larger relational balance,” she said.

“Striking a deal, such as spending time one weekend with family but having the prerogative to claim an equivalent amount of time for your solitary pursuits the following weekend.”

Previously, Bored Panda spoke about subtly and not-so-subtly asking guests to leave when they overstay their welcome with Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, a world-famous pie artist who knows a lot about hosting dinner parties.

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“There are any number of unforgivable dinner guest faux-pas, everything from a guest refusing to take off their stiletto heels on your new softwood floors, or bringing extra guests or kids to a dinner party when they were not invited (no, just no), to refusing to try anything served to them, or haranguing others about their diet choices,” she told us.

“But perhaps the most egregious is the guest who, perhaps after imbibing a few adult beverages too many, refuses to take the hint and hit the road after everyone else has left.”

Jessica shared with us that she’s a fan of the direct approach, like saying, “YAWN! Well, I’m beat. Great party! Can I call you a cab?’”

“Or if that is still too subtle, you can always end with the Seinfeld classic, ‘You must go now,'” she shared a couple of ways how to let your guests know that you’d prefer them to leave your little abode now.

“If you know you have guests coming over that are prone to this sort of annoying welcome-outstaying, you may want to lay the groundwork in advance by including a start and end time for the dinner party in your invitation (with a bit of humor),” the expert on hosting said that you could do something like this: “‘Appetizers and drinks at 7pm, dinner served at 8pm, dessert at 9pm, followed by ‘you all get the heck out of my house’ at 10pm.’” However, this only works if your guests have a good sense of humor.

The woman also shared some additional context in the comments of her viral post

Here’s how some members of the AITA community reacted to the OP’s story

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c-edink avatar
New Nemo
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'd go batshit crazy without time to unwind. Having 8 people over is a lot. Doing this every other week sounds like a nightmare. This woman has no place or time to unwind. You can't go on like that forever

thedavids06 avatar
Brivid
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

He lived with such a big (in other words chaotic) family for so long that he probably sees her down time as boring and his family time time as fun and relaxing. They may be polar opposites when it comes to what they do with their time off work.

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kirstin-peter avatar
Minath
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would not be putting up with this no wonder OP is so distressed by all of this. At this point she is doing all the giving and hubby is doing all the taking, he can't even clean up after his family and leaves it for her to do, knowing that she doesn't want to live in a messy house. She needs to set some firm boundaries of how much she can tolerate when it comes to visiting in-laws, hopefully she will manage to persuade him to go to couples therapy so he can finally understand the effect it's having on her.

klorinczi avatar
Klara Lorinczi
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

She just needs to set some boundaries and stand up for herself! People will treat us badly if we let them get away with it.

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praecordia avatar
Alma Muminovic
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah f that. That’s way too many people over all the time. I’d put my foot down. If they are coming over that often then they should clean up after themselves at this point instead of expecting you to do it. And if not then your husband should do it. Im surprised you are somehow able to tolerate so many people so often.

joannelawrence avatar
Jo L.
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah, for real. Never mind the cleaning - why is she cooking for them?? That would send the message right quick that she has no time for their shenanigans. Not her monkeys, not her circus. Every in-law story I read makes me so grateful for my in-laws. FIL is rather socially awkward/nerdy but super pleasant and never overstays his welcome. MIL is super outgoing, positive, and high energy and would be somewhat exhausting to be around all the time, but she lives in another province and so spending a couple days with her a few times a year is totally cool with me.

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c-edink avatar
New Nemo
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'd go batshit crazy without time to unwind. Having 8 people over is a lot. Doing this every other week sounds like a nightmare. This woman has no place or time to unwind. You can't go on like that forever

thedavids06 avatar
Brivid
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

He lived with such a big (in other words chaotic) family for so long that he probably sees her down time as boring and his family time time as fun and relaxing. They may be polar opposites when it comes to what they do with their time off work.

Load More Replies...
kirstin-peter avatar
Minath
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would not be putting up with this no wonder OP is so distressed by all of this. At this point she is doing all the giving and hubby is doing all the taking, he can't even clean up after his family and leaves it for her to do, knowing that she doesn't want to live in a messy house. She needs to set some firm boundaries of how much she can tolerate when it comes to visiting in-laws, hopefully she will manage to persuade him to go to couples therapy so he can finally understand the effect it's having on her.

klorinczi avatar
Klara Lorinczi
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

She just needs to set some boundaries and stand up for herself! People will treat us badly if we let them get away with it.

Load More Replies...
praecordia avatar
Alma Muminovic
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah f that. That’s way too many people over all the time. I’d put my foot down. If they are coming over that often then they should clean up after themselves at this point instead of expecting you to do it. And if not then your husband should do it. Im surprised you are somehow able to tolerate so many people so often.

joannelawrence avatar
Jo L.
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah, for real. Never mind the cleaning - why is she cooking for them?? That would send the message right quick that she has no time for their shenanigans. Not her monkeys, not her circus. Every in-law story I read makes me so grateful for my in-laws. FIL is rather socially awkward/nerdy but super pleasant and never overstays his welcome. MIL is super outgoing, positive, and high energy and would be somewhat exhausting to be around all the time, but she lives in another province and so spending a couple days with her a few times a year is totally cool with me.

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