Author Topic: From the blog: careless or PA? (couple sleeping in the same room at parents')  (Read 6869 times)

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Jolie_kitten

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Full story here, http://www.etiquettehell.com/?p=2006 , I'm posting one paragraph only as my point of interest is kind of marginal to the original story.

"Hugh’s parents were polite to me but it was quite clear that they didn’t think I was good enough to be dating their son. If I helped set the table for a family dinner it would be loudly observed that I’d put the butter knives facing in the wrong direction (I don’t mind if there’s a correct way to do something, but tell me discreetly - don’t announce it to the whole room!). When their younger daughter expressed interest in studying a similar university degree to mine (an arts course) they told her, interrupting my explanation of what was required and the types of assignments you’d need to do, that it wasn’t a proper subject and wouldn’t get her anywhere in life. If I’d stayed over at night, his mother would think nothing of marching into the bedroom the next morning and telling him it was time to get up for work whilst completely ignoring the fact that I was lying right next to him. Obviously the warning light should have come on at the idea that his mother needed to tell him to get up for work!"


Some people who commented on the main site expressed the concern that perhaps the mother acted the way she did not simply because she wanted to wake her son up and have him go to work, but because she disapproved of them sleeping in the same bed. (They had been dating at that point for 3 months.)

My take on this is that it would make it a graver etiquette breech on his mother's side; because it wouldn't merely be due to carelessness, but would qualify as PA behaviour and not respecting her son and his girlfriends' privacy.

Why I say this: I believe that as a host she had every right to say "I'm not comfortable with the two of you sleeping together in my house before x months of relationship/before OP's parrents allow you to sleep together at their house/etc.; OP, you are going to sleep in our guest room." Once she decided to allow them to sleep together, she thereby loses any right to be PA about it. It's called standing by your decisions ;)
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MariaE

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I agree completely. And as she had no problems correcting the OP about the direction of the butter knives etc, I have the feeling she wouldn't have any problems telling them not to sleep in the same room either.
 
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Yvaine

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I agree. If their sleeping in the same bed was a problem, RudeMom probably would have said something. Either she'd have laid down the law beforehand and given GF a couch or guest room, or else she'd have gone off on GF about it when she came in the next morning rather than just acting as her son's alarm clock. Mom sounds like a boor and BF like a mama's boy--and that's even before I read the rest of the story. Glad he's an ex.

Edited to add: I think there are some posters on the main site who just like to attack OPs. It's not just here, either; I read sites like myveryworstjob, and there are always a few posters who blame the OP for everything or for some trivial part of the story. "What? Your boss beat you 10 times a day with a wet noodle? Clearly this was because you made a typo. Shame on you for making a typo!"
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 09:15:16 AM by Yvaine »

Twik

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I am a little perplexed at what the writer expected his mother to do, assuming that boyfriend was relying on her to wake him up. Call him by cellphone? I kind of figure a certain amount of lost privacy is expected when you're staying in your bf's parents' home.

Particularly when you realize bf doesn't have his own alarm clock.  >:D
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kschmid5

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Knock on the door?

Jolie_kitten

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Where there is cake there is hope. And there is always cake ;)

LEMon

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To me the squick is in that she entered the room, early in the morning, knowing they were likely still in bed asleep.  Talk about showing no respect for privacy. 

I wouldn't enter my sons' closed bedroom door without them calling me in because I respect their privacy.  I knock and talk to them through the door.  This started when they became able to dress themselves and desired a closed door.

GoldenGemini

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I initially read this as 'couple sleeping in the same room WITH parents' and thought "awkward!"  :P

My mother calls out from down the corridor, and then continues as she gets closer.  Kind of a walking example of Doppler!  Dad doesn't even bother.  He calls from the kitchen, and if we don't hear him, too bad, no bacon and eggs for breakfast!


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Yvaine

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I initially read this as 'couple sleeping in the same room WITH parents' and thought "awkward!"  :P

My mother calls out from down the corridor, and then continues as she gets closer.  Kind of a walking example of Doppler!  Dad doesn't even bother.  He calls from the kitchen, and if we don't hear him, too bad, no bacon and eggs for breakfast!

Fortunately, bacon tends to announce its own presence with that tempting scent.  :D

baglady

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We don't know, however, if this is SOP for Mom. Does she walk into Hugh's room to wake him up for work when he *doesn't* have company? If so, I'd call her behavior in this situation clueless and boundary-challenged (even if I were accustomed to going into someone's room to wake him, I'd refrain if he had company -- what if they were having a Moment?), but not any kind of PA slam at the OP for daring to share a bed with her son. (Which, if she had a problem with, she should have addressed by assigning the OP another room.)

She was still inexcusably rude to the OP with the public criticism of her table setting technique and the put-down of her course of study. I just don't think the wake-up call incident falls in the same category, nor do I think it's necessarily PA.

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padua

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To me the squick is in that she entered the room, early in the morning, knowing they were likely still in bed asleep.  Talk about showing no respect for privacy. 

I wouldn't enter my sons' closed bedroom door without them calling me in because I respect their privacy.  I knock and talk to them through the door.  This started when they became able to dress themselves and desired a closed door.

but this may be more of an issue of family dynamics than rights to privacy. my family was quite large and there was no 'a closed door means do not intrude.' to my siblings (and sometimes my parents) a closed door most often meant- 'something interesting is probably going down in there.' which to them would be an invitation to come on in. this probably was only compounded by the fact that we all had to share rooms.

this is probably why we moved out of the house as soon as we could (with the exception of my youngest sibling, who became an only child after the next oldest moved out, we each were out of the house and living on our own at 18). if those rules or expectations weren't set beforehand between the parents and the son, there's no way the girlfriend should be able to expect it.

mechtilde

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If the mother usually walked in on her son in the morning, and didn't know that the girlfriend was there then that would be unfortuante. If she walked in on them and she knew the girlfriend was there then it was downright rude. You do not just walk in on guests, even if they are in bed with someone to whose bedroom you would normally have access.
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Twik

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If the mother usually walked in on her son in the morning, and didn't know that the girlfriend was there then that would be unfortuante. If she walked in on them and she knew the girlfriend was there then it was downright rude. You do not just walk in on guests, even if they are in bed with someone to whose bedroom you would normally have access.

But at this point, would the GF be a "guest", or would she be "family"?
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Hanna

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I'd venture to say that many mothers would not appreciate a woman that had been dating their son for 3 months sleeping over in his bed.

I can imagine people that I know purposely making the situation uncomfortable by walking in the room.  It is PA and would be better to tell the son that overnight female guests are not allowed, but part of me understands why a person might handle it this way.

Twirly

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This isn't my story but this happened to me! When DH (then BF) and I were in college his parents invited us to stay over at the house so they could meet me. They specifically invited us to stay together in the guest room which made me uncomfortable because my upbringing was much more conservative and that would NEVER have flown in my parent's house. After declining a few times BF convinced me it wasn't a big deal and we went for the visit. It was perfectly lovely, they were (are!) nice people who made me feel very welcome.

The problem came the next morning when we woke up and were getting dressed. I had my jeans on but no top and was laying facedown on the bed looking through my bag. MIL barged right in, no knock, and proceeded to stand at the foot of the bed having a full 10 minute conversation with BF. I was young and unsure how to handle the situation so I just lay there silent and frozen praying she would leave soon. She's not PA just hopefully clueless about pretty much everything. I didn't go back for a while but when I was finally ready to face them again BF had a nice chat about boundaries and knocking and we never had any issues. Still makes me blush to think about it though!

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