Setting domestic boundaries with a partner can be really difficult, particularly if you don't see eye to eye.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for telling his GF his place isn't hers, after she spilled on some valuable papers. He wrote:
I [M32] have been together with my partner [F29] for almost a year. We were very casual but when our city went into lockdown she came to stay at my place. I am lucky enough to have quite a large house but for personal reasons I have chosen to live alone for the past few years. Things have been fine although I will admit I miss having my own space.
Yesterday my partner went into my office looking for scrap paper and ended up getting nail varnish all over something I needed. She apologized which I accepted but I asked her not to go in there again, and she agreed that she wouldn’t. This morning as I was leaving I had the office key in my pocket (all the interior doors actually use the same key) and on a whim just twirled it in the lock.
I just came onto my break and my girlfriend has been blowing up my phone about how I’m locking her out of parts of her own house. It’s my house. She’s a guest. I think she may be TA because she’s treating parts of my house as if it were hers, which is way past where our relationship is. We have only ever discussed it in terms of her staying over while the corona crisis is ongoing, as a guest.
On the other hand I always believe your home is your home and if this was some AH landlord saying ’hey you can’t go in this one room’ I would be totally on her side. AITA? Is she?
INFO: do you live together? It seems like you live in the same house in which case you are TA.
Yes she’s been staying at my place since lockdown began so about 5 months.
There are no set rules for “lockdown guests” (this didn’t exist until a few months ago), if anything such a guest would have to be someone very close to you (you’re essentially putting each other’s survival in the same boat) so this goes far beyond a casual houseguest.
They have also been in a romantic relationship for a year (by OP’s acct, who knows if GF is also counting from time before that when things were getting serious but not official).
Long-term romantic partner + living together for 5 months is no longer a houseguest, pandemic or no pandemic. Sorry OP, YTA here. Locking someone out of a room for accidentally spilling something is a disproportionate reaction, and allowing someone to live with you for this long when it’s not actually what you want, is irresponsible boundaries.
I am definitely not arguing with you but would like to clarify she took papers from my desk, painted her nails on them, then spilled nail varnish on the papers. She didn’t know they were important but it’s a little more than if she tipped a drink over or something.
INFO: What was your girlfriend's living situation before she came to stay with you? Did she rent an apartment? If so, does she still pay rent on her place? Does she contribute financially to your household by helping with bills, groceries, or anything like that?
She was staying with her parents but I don’t know the financial agreement. They have since moved out of the city to stay with her brother(?) and I don’t know if they gave up their apartment.
ESH. My dude you should have set boundaries before she moved in or right after. It is your house. Does she have a room just for her? If not then you are TA if she’s living there with no space to claim as hers alone.
She is welcome to use the rest of the house as she chooses and has her PC all set up in the living room. Although I call it my office I only use this room for working on one specific hobby which she knows about. There’s really no reason for her to be going in there and I really wouldn’t mind except she took papers off my desk and assumed they weren’t important.
The GF's post:
I have been with my boyfriend for about 10 months and we have a great relationship. We started living together in March. I discovered my boyfriend has a habit of drawing what he calls “his map” or just “the map” sometimes for several hours a day. He draws on sheets of file paper that he stores in a big folder in his office. When he was out I needed paper so I grabbed a few sheets from his desk.
When he came home he asked if I had been in his office and I explained, he got mad and said I shouldn’t have gone in there, in my own house! He said he understands that I don’t respect his “map” but I should respect that it is important to him and I do! I said sorry and he could draw it again but he said no.
He did not come to bed last night and this morning the trash is full of crumpled up sheets of paper where he has been trying to redraw it which is just him trying to make a point. I asked if he prefers to spend the night with his map instead of me and he said he’s not sure right now which is way over the line. Then he went out and LOCKED HIS OFFICE when he went.
I have sent him a message saying we need to talk when he gets home, if he feels he can’t trust me we need to deal with that but he hasn’t replied (it’s been over two hours, he has seen my message). I realize I did wrong in the first instance but he is now massively overreacting, so AITA?
In one comment, OP wrote:
What the actual f*ck this is insane. This is definitely her but this is not what happened.
How is her post different to what happened? It seems to match what you said pretty closely, except she elaborates the the object of value is a map, and she seems to be under the impression that you have "moved in together" rather than she's a temporary guest.
The way it's written, she clearly tries to spin it as him attacking her (e.g him redrawing the map means he's "making a point"). I think her BS is pretty obvious to us onlookers, but OP's involved emotionally so his above comment is probably just a defensive knee-jerk reaction. A justifiable one though.
If this is your GF... I’m so sorry dude. The nicest thing I can say about this person is that she is clearly not mature enough to be in adult relationship. More to the point: there is no way in hell I would stay in this relationship a second longer after reading what she says on this post
Yeah I agree, I am feeling very confused right now as this does not sound like her at all. The details are too exact though and I can’t think of anyone she would tell that would post this in a malicious way. I do think it is her. I think I need to ask her to find somewhere else to stay.
As the comments came rolling in, OP's GF added a comment to her post:
So everyone is just taking everything I did and ignoring everything he did to make me look as bad as possible, saying I should apologize when I did twice and it was literally in my post. Reddit goes out of the way to make it the woman is wrong and the man is always correct, big surprise there. Screw you guys, well if you wanted to upset me good work.
YTA. These are things he clearly likes and enjoys, and judging by your description of saying he spends several hours a day on these maps, they obviously mean a lot to him.
OP's GF responded:
It is just one map though and it’s not for anything or of a real place so what does it matter if a street goes this way or that? I know I made a mistake but saying he can’t redraw it is over top don’t you think? It’s just a drawing!
YTA. Clearly this is important to him and you went and destroyed it. You could have grabbed any paper but you used the ones he had already drawn on? Clear ah move.
OP's GF responded:
That was a mistake I made, I thought it was scrap paper that he was just doodling on also I didn’t mean to destroy the sheets, they were still blank on the other side so it’s not like I scribbled over them. I agree I should have not taken them but I hope you agree he is taking it too far?
So, there was no other paper you could have used, you had to grab paper out of the file folder he keeps his map drawings in? I don't think he's overreacting at all. You destroyed something he made and because it's not important to you, you don't think he should be upset. Which is ridiculous. You need to apologize. YTA.
OP's GF responded:
No it was on his desk, I would not take paper out of his folder. I did apologise right away but he’s still mad a day later?
OP's GF added some final comments on her post.
WHY DOES EVERYONE SAY I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS MAP I DON'T. If he wants to spend hours in his office drawing his map instead of then fine but he can’t expect me to think the same? The map isn’t even of anywhere so how can it be “wrong” if he draws it again?
I do respect him, I agree with everything you are saying I really do. Everyone is making out that I deliberately went in there and destroyed his map, I didn’t! It was an accident and only ten sheets out of a full folder.
I did apologize right away and again this morning, that’s when he said he’s not angry just upset about it and left. I apologised and I can’t understand why he’s still mad and if he said he’s going to do it differently why did he spend all night trying to draw it the same except to try and make me feel bad?
But I said sorry and it is not the whole piece and it’s not like he is a professional artist or anything, he works in a hospital so he’s not against a deadline or anything just a hobby. I know I did wrong but he is overreacting and you guys are too, I made a mistake but is it worth arguing about and not coming to bed?
I was asked to post an update to the situation I posted about a few days ago. By the time I finished my second shift my partner had progressed to sending me messages saying maybe she should move out, so it was not difficult to agree.
I thought she was in bed when I got home but turns out she stayed elsewhere and sent me a message the next morning (just after I left for work) saying she was coming with a friend to get her stuff. This concerned me because she didn’t have any “stuff” so I asked my friend Tim to head over to my place (Tim is 6’7” ex-private security and looks like a shaved gorilla).
It seems this was a good call because some random guy turned up and let himself in with her key. Tim handed over a bag of clothes and refused to let the guy into the rest of the house, and got my key back. I’ve sent her a few messages asking if there’s anything else (there isn’t) but not had a reply so I think that’s that.
The only slightly spicy detail is that her room is f#$king trashed and there’s used condoms in the bin, so I guess her “maybe we should be exclusive” only applied to me, not her. Done and done! To address a few questions: Us - we met in Nov 2019 and before lockdown we had been on maybe a dozen dates and slept together a handful of times.
We weren’t exclusive (although I wasn't seeing anyone else) and I have always been upfront about not wanting a full-on relationship. With lockdown pending she talked about not wanting to be cooped up in her parents tiny apartment and ended up moving into my place. We never thought it would be more than a few weeks.
I invited her to choose one of the spare rooms as her own but she slept in my bed a couple of times a week. The weekend - not really important but I want to clear up her post. I didn’t sit up all night trying to recreate what she damaged, I just fell asleep on the couch which is very common. The conversation where I said I didn’t want to sleep with her never happened.
The next morning I didn’t storm out, I went to work, and I didn’t ignore her messages. With my job‘s CV measures i can’t check my phone and she knows I only check it at the end of a shift. Finally, I don’t spend hours on my map, in the CV world I have worked on it hardly at all and my therapist has actually asked me to try and make more time for it.
The pages on my desk that started all this was all I’ve managed to get done in the whole of 2020. My map - it’s a therapeutic thing for me and she knew this, tbh this is the only part of the whole affair that stings. When she moved in I said “this is my map room, weird right?” but she really seemed to understand and although I know “it’s just the internet” it hurt a lot to read what she wrote.
So yeah, that’s it. I’m glad to get my space back but sorry she wasn’t the person I thought. Sorry to anyone expecting drama - it was all pretty quiet in the end. I‘ll check this account a few more times if anyone would like to ask any questions.
Thanks for the update. I still can’t believe she claimed it was HER house when she was a temporary guest at best. Some people truly do live in a world of their own creation. The trashed room is a real gutter move too. You’re lucky she showed you who she really is.
Nothing much to mourn here, only relief that you escaped what would’ve become a toxic, rollercoaster relationship with someone who had no respect for your art/therapy. Maps are cool. Keep on drawing.
Having some random dude showing at your house and also trashing her room? Yikes. Glad that's over.
$5 says she destroyed his maps because she felt he spent too much time on it instead of with her.
Yeah I think you’re correct because at first she said it was just a couple of stray pieces of paper that were on the desk and then she said it was like 10 pages out of a full folder. So she knew exactly what she was doing.
"What the actual f#$k this is insane. This is definitely her but this is not what happened."
I'm surprised they lasted as long as they did. They are clearly not on the same page. He thinks she is a temporary guest (and also not exclusive?) She thinks they moved in together (but she cheats on the side?).
He has a sacred map used for therapeutic purposes. She thinks he sketches imaginary streets. The disconnect here is stunning.
I'm surprised they agreed on anything enough to date in the first place.
It sounds like this relationship was destined to fail, better sooner than later, in this case.