Author Topic: Proper etiquette regarding boyfriend sleeping over at female friends place  (Read 51306 times)

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snugglegirl05

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I have been dating my boyfriend for roughly a year. He has asked me to marry him in the future.

He has a female friend whom he has known since the early 1990's. Both of them live over an hour away by bus. They depend on the bus for transportation.

Recently his female friend asked him to come over this Friday after he gets off work to hang some stuff from her ceiling. She lives in an apt. complex. Since she did not know exactly how long it would take, she asked him if he could spend the night at her place. She would make him dinner, & the 2 of them would watch a move. Then in the morning the 2 of them would go to breakfast. He told her he would do that as long as he could sleep on her couch.

He is my first boyfriend.

Is it common for male friends and female friends to do this? What is the proper etiquette regarding this?

I have not had a male friend before.

Aeris

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There's really no 'etiquette' to this kind of thing. It's entirely about what you personally are comfortable with, and about what you and your boyfriend agree together are appropriate 'rules' for your relationship.

There are probably many people who would think nothing of their SO staying at an opposite sex friend's place. There are probably just as many who would not be okay with this at all. Then there are probably just as many who would be okay with it only if the friend is a long term platonic friend who's become sort of like a sibling type.


TurtleDove

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I am not certain how old the people involved are, or the history between your BF and his female friend.  I am not a jealous person by nature, but this situation makes me uncomfortable for you.  It seems strange to me that your BF would specifically state he needs to sleep on the couch - if this were strictly platonic, that would have been assumed I would think.  You cannot control your BF, but you can certainly let him know you are not happy with this if you are not.  I don't see an actual need for him to watch the movie and sleep over.  Not at all.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 11:28:13 AM by TurtleDove »

Twik

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This is a sort of polarizing question. Some people believe it's no different than if he was staying with a male friend, others act as if having no chaperone means wild scrabble is inevitable.

I'd say if he's known her for many years, he'd already be involved romantically with her if he wanted. So, sounds safe to me.
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Aeris

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I am not certain how old the people involved are, or the history between your BF and his female friend.  I am not a jealous person by nature, but this situation makes me uncomfortable for you.  It seems strange to me that your BF would specifically state he needs to sleep on the couch - if this were strictly platonic, that would have been assumed I would think.  You cannot control your BF, but you can certainly let him know you are not happy with this if you are not.  I don't see an actual need for him to watch the movie and sleep over.  Not at all.


That's a good point. That's a really weird thing for him to feel the need to specify to her.

OP, is this the same boyfriend who didn't want you staying at his apartment more than 6 days a month?




Edited: because 6 days a month is completely different than 6 days a week.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 11:39:47 AM by Aeris »

bah12

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I wouldn't call it common, but depending on circumstances, it's not necessarily bad.

For two single friends, this seems innocent enough.  But, considering that at least one of them is in a serious relationship, I do think it's awkward.

What you describe sounds like the female friend has suggested a date.  I don't blame you for seeing the red flag and being uncomfortable. 

My suggestion would be to tell your boyfriend how you're feeling and see how he reacts.  I think it's completely reasonable to say that him spending the night at a female friend's apartment (have you ever met her?), makes you uncomfortable.  Especially considering the fact they are preplanning this vs. just seeing how long it takes to hang the stuff on the ceiling.

For instance, it's one thing to say "If this ends up taking a long time and it's too late to catch the bus home, you are welcome to sleep on the couch.  I'll buy you breakfast the next day if that's the case." and another to say "I don't know how long this will take, so let's eat dinner, watch a movie, and go to breakfast and set these plans in stone."  In the latter, when is he actually doing the work?  It seems that the whole evening is planned with other things.

If I were you, I would want my bf to invite me along.  You can help his friend prepare dinner while he hangs stuff on the ceiling and then if it gets late, the two of you can go to a hotel and make it a "weekend getaway".

That being said, I'm sure there are situations where it really is exactly what he said.  You may have nothing to worry about.  Just consider that right now you are uncomfortable and unsure, which is fair.  I think you should address that with him and work out a plan of action that you are both ok with.

JenJay

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Etiquettely speaking they aren't doing anything wrong. As far as it being common, that will vary from "Yes, my friends do this all the time and it's completely innocent." to "I'd be extremely uncomfortable with that and if my boyfriend didn't respect my boundaries I'd break up with him."

Are you comfortable with his staying there? For me, it would depend on the circumstances. If he can't help her any earlier because she gets home from work late and the busses will stop running before he's finished then I'd rather he sleep on her couch than try to walk home in the middle of the night. That said, if he could help her earlier or on a day neither of them is working I'd wonder why she wanted to arrange for him to stay. Maybe they used to spend a lot of time together and she misses that. It doesn't necessarily mean her motives are suspect.

He could have gone over and said nothing, you probably wouldn't have found out, so the fact that he told you speaks well for him and his intentions.  :)

Oops, posted too soon...

If you are uncomfortable and would prefer he just go over to help and then go home to sleep you should absolutely speak up! Personally, I doubt I'd be comfortable with my husband sleeping over at a single female friend's house unless some kind of situation made it necessary (weather, lack of transportation, one of them being injured or ill, etc).
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 11:42:07 AM by JenJay »

a

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This is a topic that can get heated, so be warned 

I think this is completely up to you and your partner. You will need to set the boundaries for what is ok for you.

For me personally, I would never have an issue with my partner spending the night at a friendís, and I expect to be able to see my male and female friends just as I did prior to meeting my partner. This includes staying at their places, going out for meals with them only, going on holiday with them etc. I have had male friends share my (double ;-) ) bed with me and I donít find that a problem at all.  I would not want to have a partner who would expect me to stop seeing some friends/to stop seeing them in the way that I saw them prior to getting together.

Personally, I cannot see why a personís gender should be a deciding factor re how we meet up/spend time together. I know that other people feel differently. (I also think this may vary depending on people's backgrounds/cultures. I might be seen as a wildly liberal European.)

Try to think about why it makes you feel uncomfortable. If it is because you do not feel secure enough in your relationship, then maybe you need to address that?

Reason

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If you don't trust him, no amount of watching over him is going to change that. As such I wouldn't recommend that course. If he were the type to cheat on you, he would likely find a way to do so without mentioning that he is staying at a girl's place.

If you do trust him, then there is nothing wrong with him staying over at whatever friend's place.

takeheart

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Personally I feel the question is not an etiquette issue because there are a lot of factors that need to be considered (how long have they been friends, your comfort level with him, etc.) and answers will vary from person-to-person because everyone's comfort level is different.

For me, DH has a best girl friend who (BGF) has been friends with since college and I have a best boy friend (BBF) who I have been friends with for over 10 years. He has gone out with BGF without me and I have had BBF stay the night when DH and I dated long-distance. In fact, I had a male roommate while we dated long-distance too! Situations like that between us are a non-issue, but that doesn't mean it's a non-issue for everyone.

Trust your instincts. If the idea makes you uncomfortable, let him know. If he moves forward anyway, there are other issues that go beyond etiquette.

rashea

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Ok, I thought I recognized your name, so I went back through your posts to see if I remembered the back story with this guy.

Here's the threads I thought relevant:
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=111431.0
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=112742.msg2622375#msg2622375


Given your history (I'm making an assumption that this girl isn't the ex) I would have an issue with him staying. He had issues setting and holding boundaries. That, and you've had issues with him not spending enough time/attention on you. Unless those have been solved, I'd have an issue with it. I'd also wonder if he was closer than he indicated based on the fact that he had to mention to her that he'd be sleeping on the couch.
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Vermont

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What you describe sounds like the female friend has suggested a date.  I don't blame you for seeing the red flag and being uncomfortable. 
...
For instance, it's one thing to say "If this ends up taking a long time and it's too late to catch the bus home, you are welcome to sleep on the couch.  I'll buy you breakfast the next day if that's the case." and another to say "I don't know how long this will take, so let's eat dinner, watch a movie, and go to breakfast and set these plans in stone."  In the latter, when is he actually doing the work?  It seems that the whole evening is planned with other things.



I think that's what bothered me too.  There's this "assumption" that hanging stuff on the ceiling will take too long, yet there are all these additional plans for dinner, a movie and even breakfast.  I agree that it kind of sounds like an overnight "date". I'm trying to imagine how that conversation would go if it were one of his male friends that needed help hanging stuff on their ceiling.  Somehow, I suspect it would be more along the lines of "If we finish too late, you can just crash on my couch."

On the other hand, it really might be very innocent.  If they've known each other since the early 1990's, that would mean they've been friends for at least twenty years.  But we also don't have the back history.  For example, when they first met, was she actually dating (or married to) someone?  You know, stuff like that.  The history of the friendship might clarify the intent.

Zilla

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Not reading any of the backstory mentioned in thread and just taking the OP at face value:


I would think that he mentioned he is sleeping on the couch to reassure OP so not an odd thing to say.


They have been friends for a long time, if any romance were to transpire I would imagine it would have happened already.


Are these sleepovers common?  If this is the first time ever in all the years of being friends, then yes I would consider this a bit unusual.


And lastly, as other posters said, it's all bout your comfort level.  On the etiquette side, no "rules" are being broken.

Moray

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I am not certain how old the people involved are, or the history between your BF and his female friend.  I am not a jealous person by nature, but this situation makes me uncomfortable for you.  It seems strange to me that your BF would specifically state he needs to sleep on the couch - if this were strictly platonic, that would have been assumed I would think.  You cannot control your BF, but you can certainly let him know you are not happy with this if you are not.  I don't see an actual need for him to watch the movie and sleep over.  Not at all.


That's a good point. That's a really weird thing for him to feel the need to specify to her.

OP, is this the same boyfriend who didn't want you staying at his apartment more than 6 days a month?

Edited: because 6 days a month is completely different than 6 days a week.

That's also a long way to ask someone to come to hang stuff on a ceiling. 2 hours round trip on the bus? It would seem less weird if he gave the impression that "Friend really wants to hang out" vs. "I am the only person who can hang stuff".

TBH, everything you've ever posted about this guy gives me the shiverring hinkies. He seems very intent on having his cake and eating it, too and (to an outsider) appears to be taking advantage of your inexperience with men in both romantic and platonic capacities. I say this as someone who has had a fair few relationships and countless male friends: He ain't on the level. Keep your eyes open.
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Its not the plan that is a (potential) problem, its the players.  Its ok for you to feel weird about this, but if you don't that ok too - everyone has their personal "ok levels" and each situation has to measured on the personal hinky meter.  So there could be some female friends of your BF's you wouldn't blink an eye at him staying with for a night and others who raise your shackles - there is no "one size fits all" answer to this.

If you feel at all uncomfortable about this, talk to your BF.  He should be open to discussing it with you and taking steps to help alleviate your issues.  Maybe you want him to call you at a certain time, to check in/say goodnight.  By doing that you will know he's not caught up in a  moment, etc.  or maybe you prefer to drive him out early Saturday morning for him to help his friend then.  Talk about what's concerning you and how that can be dealt with.

If you are totally ok with this and totally trust your BF, then be confident in that and don't let anyone (friends, family, society) tell you its a bad situation 'just because'.  At its base, with many people, this situation is absolutely not unusual or uncool.

Every relationship is individual and constantly moving, changing, evolving.  You are ok to set the perimeters you are comfortable with - this is equally your relationship and you absolutely get an equal say in how its conducted.  And only you and your BF are the ones who get any say - outside forces are just that - outside.