Internet commenters were split after one soon-to-be father explained why he objected to letting his brother-in-law spend a weekend in his beloved den.
In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/PSkatebo7 (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said this coming weekend might be his last without a child and detailed his desire to keep his personal space personal.
Titled, “[Am I the a**hole] for not wanting to give up my den for my [girlfriend’s] brother to sleep in on an impromptu visit to our city?” the post has received nearly 7,000 upvotes and 3,500 comments in the last day.
“My [girlfriend] and I live together and we’re about to welcome our first child any day now,” OP began. “We live in a 2 bedroom house with a living room and a den space.”
Continuing to explain that his mother-in-law has been staying with the couple for the last month, the original poster said he was recently informed that his girlfriend’s brother would also be staying with them for the weekend.
But after suggesting their newest guest sleep on the living room couch, the original poster said he was faced with a difficult decision.
“[My girlfriend] briefly mentions how it’s kind of awkward to sleep in someone’s living room out in the open,” the OP wrote. “20 minutes later she comes and asks me if I mind letting him sleep in my den.
“I paused for a moment, and let her know that I did in fact, mind,” OP continued. “The den is where I spend 85% of my free time.
“I’m a pretty introverted guy, I like spending time alone and I’m very aware that very soon I won’t have nearly as much,” OP added. “This very well could be our last weekend as a childless couple…so I want to enjoy the little time I have left being able to spend time alone.”
Along with the natural excitement that comes with welcoming a child into the world, soon-to-be parents are often overwhelmed with nervousness and anxiety about life with children—and the lives they leave behind.
Newborn babies require all of the attention, all of the time. And while some parents assure that it gets easier moving forward, others say it never stops, not even when children become adults and have kids of their own.
For introverted parents, the prospect of never having a second alone can be daunting.
“It can be a strain on introverted parents to not be getting any time to themselves — that can lead to…conflict,” author Susan Cain told Fatherly in 2020. “Introverted parents have to be really vigilant about claiming that time alone. “
Despite the challenges and unavoidable moments of tension caused by kid-related overstimulation, Australian parenting website First Five Years recommends that introverted parents capitalize on any free time—whether one minute or 20—to re-center and reset.
But not everyone agrees that all parents deserve that time, especially ones who didn’t carry a child for nine straight months.
Throughout the comment section of the viral Reddit post, many Redditors called out the original poster for denying his pregnant girlfriend’s request to let her brother commandeer his den for a weekend.
Other Redditors, however, showed support for the original poster and defended the 28-year-old’s right to his own time, and his own space.
“[You’re the a**hole],” Redditor u/86max86 wrote in the post’s top comment, which has received more than 13,000 upvotes. “It’s 2 days – he’s not moving in.”
“If you can’t handle this kind of ‘intrusion’ into your routine, you are in for a big shock when they baby arrive,” they added.
Redditor u/robodoodle, whose comment has received more than 3,000 upvotes, echoed that sentiment.
“It’s one weekend,” they wrote. “Instead of causing her stress and having to apologize for your reluctance to share, why not just be cooperative?”
In a separate comment, which has received more than 1,500 upvotes, Redditor u/ProfEmerita pushed back against that note.
“People who are not introverts have no idea how important it is for an introvert to have a quiet space to recharge,” they wrote. “It should be no hardship for the [brother-in-law] to sleep on the couch for 2 nights—sounds like he invited himself and he’s getting free lodging, so it’s not unreasonable.”
“Do people replying here have kids?” Redditor u/mari287 chimed in. “I totally understand wanting some peace before the child arrives.
“The brother can sleep fine on the couch, especially since, as people say, it’s only for a weekend,” they added.
Newsweek reached out to u/PSkatebo7 for comment.