This user wanted his wife to empty out her deceased daughter’s bedroom to free up space for his daughter. His wife and other kids became furious, and everyone thinks he’s a selfish and uncaring jerk!
A Much Larger Family
OP (Original Poster) married his wife several years ago. They both had children from previous relationships.
He has three kids—eight-year-old Lola, seven-year-old Brendan, and five-year-old Brian—and she has two daughters—16-year-old Mel and 12-year-old Molly. They were also already expecting their first baby together.
Too Many People, Too Little Space
The house they live in is “fairly small” and only has four bedrooms: the primary master bedroom, a downstairs master bedroom, and two smaller bedrooms.
Since they have limited space, they decided to put Lola in one bedroom, Brian and Brendan sharing one bedroom, and Mel and Molly sharing the secondary primary bedroom downstairs.
Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner
OP and his wife planned to have their upcoming baby stay in their bedroom for the first two years and then eventually move the baby into Lola’s room. Lola would then move into Molly’s room.
Lola would have the room to herself because by then, Molly would be moving out to leave for college.
OP said that everything was “thrown into chaos” when Mel unexpectedly passed away a year after everyone had lived together. Instead of making new bedroom arrangements as per the original plan, OP’s wife was grieving and couldn’t even “think about touching” Mel’s stuff so that Lola could move into the room, and OP also felt like it’d be “unthinkable to ask.”
The Stork Drops off a Delivery
During this upheaval, a second baby arrived. So, they decided that Lola and the first baby—now a toddler—would have to share a room “for now.”
Time to Make Hard Decisions
Now, OP’s second baby is two years old and starting to need not to be sharing a room with him and his wife. Where he would’ve “never asked a year or even two years out” after Mel’s death, now they’re heading into year four.
Not Trying to Be Insensitive
OP admitted he understood how much of a “hard thought” it was to empty Mel’s room and that it might even seem “callous.” However, the reality was that they didn’t have the “space to keep this up anymore.”
Teenagers Need Their Space
According to OP, they are now desperate for the space, and the current bedroom split is not “fair” and hasn’t been for years. Lola is almost a teenager and shouldn’t share a bedroom with a toddler.
OP doesn’t think it’s right to expect three kids to share a small bedroom and five kids to share one bathroom while one child has a large bedroom and private bathroom to herself.
Change Not Welcome
OP’s wife and Molly remain “resistant” to emptying the bedroom and say it’s “normal not to want to move things around even years later” and that they don’t want Mel’s things “taken” from them.
While OP understands this is all a part of the grieving process, he also noted that keeping the living arrangements as is isn’t “realistic.” Even if Mel were still alive, she wouldn’t live with them any longer but off at college.
Keeping to the Original Plan
The plan had always been to move Lola into Mel’s room once she’d left for college.
OP explained, “Molly was never supposed to have her own room, and per the agreement made four years ago, Molly is getting all of Mel’s stuff, so nothing is being taken from her.”
A House Divided
Now, everyone is furious, and the entire house is fighting. Lola is “sick” of her situation, Molly and OP’s wife “want nothing to change,” and he’s stuck being labeled the “evil bad guy who does everything wrong.”
What the Community Has to Say
Redditors sympathized with OP’s plight and agreed that while he was navigating a complex and sensitive situation, that didn’t put him in the wrong.
One user said, “Not the a**hole, but you need to convince your wife first. You two need to think of all the children, not just the one who has passed. It is a big loss, but change is necessary. It might be easier emotionally to move house. Do not get rid of all her things. Rather, find the special items to protect and display in the family home. Have a look online for resources to help people move on emotionally. They may need grief counseling.”
Another Redditor added, “OP, this should never have been a discussion among and with the kids before the adults were on the same page on what was and was not possible or reasonable. Now you have to deal with their upset and an ‘us versus them’ dynamic that includes the kids; this isn’t a war with winners and losers. It’s a discussion of how the team can find the best solution. You and your wife need to go somewhere quiet and alone and look at the options: move house, renovate, redistribute the bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. Perhaps involve a mediator or counselor if you think it would be helpful, but this is urgent, and you need to deal with it now to limit the damage to your marriage and your family dynamic.”
Seek Professional Help
Others suggested OP reach out to someone with better expertise in the manner. Grief, after all, is unique to everyone and is hard to manage.
One Redditor shared, “You may need to seek professional help with this. The mother, justifiably so, may still not be over the passing, and to try and convince her that it has to happen may cause her to feel attacked because of the loss of her daughter. Although to most, this is an easy, just move the stuff out, thing to do, the mother has her feelings she needs to deal with, and there is no set amount of time for that.”
Do you think OP should wait a little longer before pushing to empty Mel’s room? Or was OP in the right for trying to free up space for their other living children?
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This post first appeared as He Forced His Wife to Clear Out Her Late Daughter’s Things to Make Space for His Daughter. It’s Been Four Years, and They Have Six Other Kids, so He Shouldn’t Be Labeled the Villain! on Quote Ambition.