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Author Topic: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room  (Read 37742 times)

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veryfluffy

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #45 on: May 12, 2011, 04:59:19 PM »
The most conservative parent should "win" - no one should feel uncomfortable in their own home.

In my view, the person who is responsible for cleaning and setting up the guest rooms and doing the laundry should "win." If the hypocritical conservative one want to impose their morals, they can do the housework.
   

kitchcat

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #46 on: May 12, 2011, 08:52:34 PM »
When I read it in the paper this morning, I just rolled my eyes because the same exact thing happened to me and DH before we got married. I sort of understood it when we were just BF and GF, but once we got engaged, I thought my dad would be less uptight about us sleeping in the same room...especially since we lived together anyway. I'll never forget one night when I was lying on the bed with DH (both in our PJs, on top of the covers, no sort of canoodling going on, just talking), my dad walked by, saw us, and actually yelled at me to get out and go back to my own room.  ??? My mom had no problem with us sharing a room, but my dad wouldn't budge.

We "solved" the problem by choosing to stay with DH's mother (who never once objected to us sharing a room since we began dating) who lives about 15 minutes away from my parents when we visited. We told my parents it was "more convenient" for us when they asked why. They must have got the message, because dear dad never objected to us sharing a room after that. My brother told me that my mom chewed my dad out and he backed down.

I really don't understand how the father who wrote in thought he had a foot to stand on. He admitted to having sex before marriage (like the majority of couples  :P ). All I gathered from his letter was "My daughter is having sex before marriage like I did, but I want her to pretend she isn't just so I can be in control." Being a good host means making your guests comfortable and forcing a couple apart like a chaperone at a middle school dance is not the way to do it.
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blarg314

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #47 on: May 12, 2011, 08:55:46 PM »
I think Abby missed the mark. There isn't a house rule, and the mother appears to have no problem with them sharing a rule, rather than wimping out on applying her own standards.

And in the father's case, he appears to have simply assumed that BF would be in the guest room, and that everyone else would agree, but didn't mention this house rule to anyone. And I wouldn't really call his preference a moral one - he admits to having had premarital sex, he knows his daughter is doing so and doesn't appear to mind, but he expect them to pretend while visit, out of 'respect' for him. As others have pointed out, he doesn't appear to have prepared the guest room, either.

*If* the house rule was that unmarried couples don't sleep together, then the couple should respect that.  However, they need to be told that before visiting so that they can respect it in the fashion they wish. That means that if they decide to stay with the BF's parents, or in a hotel, or not visit at all because it feels too awkward or inconvenient, then the hosts have to accept that graciously.

LadyPekoe

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #48 on: May 12, 2011, 09:21:48 PM »
Hmmm... I would have never expected that DH and I would sleep together at our parents houses before we were married.  And we didn't (not at either of my parents houses [divorced parents] or his parents) and we stayed at their places quite often.  At my grandparents, DH, my mother, and I all sleep in the same room, so we might be oddballs--two single beds and DH on the ground.
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JadeAngel

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #49 on: May 12, 2011, 09:29:54 PM »
I think Abby makes a good point when she asks how long the couple have been together and whether they usually share accommodations, because there is a difference between having your daughter who usually lives in college dorms bring home her brand new boyfriend and expect they'll share a room. But if a couple has been together for some time and usually share a bedroom it would seem odd to insist that they sleep seperately.

I think that the couple should respect the wishes of the father, sleeping apart for a night or two isn't going to kill them and it's his house and his rules. But in all honesty adherence to this rule would probably take the form of going to bed in their seperate rooms and then someone sneaking down the hallway in the middle of the night. The father may prefer this so he can pretend his daughter isn't sleeping with her b/f and they perpetuate the illusion until he isn't looking, but if he really feels strongly about it then they should respect that.

kareng57

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #50 on: May 12, 2011, 10:26:41 PM »
I'd say that Dad is being pretty hypocritical.  He's admitting to having had premarital relations himself, but wants to prohibit his daughter from sharing a bedroom with her boyfriend under his roof.

Because his wife looked askance upon his declaration, I don't think that she necessarily agrees with it.  Yes, in the end it's their-house, their-rules.  But I wouldn't blame daughter if she finds somewhere else to stay with her SO.

Aeris

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #51 on: May 12, 2011, 11:03:46 PM »
ITA w/Scout Finch and Virg. I would also have that rule in my hypothetical house. My house, my standards, my religious beliefs, hence, my rules. No offense in that at all.

Well, you have ever right to make those kinds of rules in your house. That's completely acceptable as per etiquette. But you can't exactly say 'there's no offense in that at all', because there may well be.

Other people have a right to be annoyed, put out, or even offended at the rule. They would be within their rights to decline invitations, or reduce visits, etc, as a result of the rule.

If I were in a serious non-married relationship with someone, it would take awfully powerful circumstances for me to stay in a place with a rule like this. Like, if I were visiting my elderly grandparents, and it might be the last time I get to see them, and staying at a hotel is for some reason completely unworkable. Other than that, this type of rule would be both inconvenient enough, and frankly just irritating enough, that I would likely not be accepting invitations (and if I did, I'd be staying at a hotel).

KatPsych

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2011, 11:05:45 PM »
Hmmm... I would have never expected that DH and I would sleep together at our parents houses before we were married.  And we didn't (not at either of my parents houses [divorced parents] or his parents) and we stayed at their places quite often.  At my grandparents, DH, my mother, and I all sleep in the same room, so we might be oddballs--two single beds and DH on the ground.

Same for me.  My parents aren't prudes, but it was clear that we weren't to share beds under their roofbefore marriage.  The one exception to this rule was the time DH and I stayed with them a month or so before our wedding -- and they said to stay together after I offered to sleep on an air mattress.

To be clear, my parents knew that my now-DH and I shared a bed at other places (not that it was ever explicitly, but it was a long-distance relationship) and knew various times we stayed in hotels.  They (probably my father) just didn't want to think about anything going on under their roof.  And I know that my parents probably did the same when they were dating and I know that they weren't allowed to share a bed at my grandparents (so in a way they were being consistent with their pasts).  I recognize this may seem kind of silly, but I respected the fact that it made my dad uncomfortable to think about his little girl sharing a bed with a man she wasn't married to under his roof.

And to be honest, I think that (at least in my parents' case) marriage was just a good place to draw the line so that they didn't have to allow every boy I dated from early college through marriage to share my bed.  

I think Abby makes a good point when she asks how long the couple have been together and whether they usually share accommodations, because there is a difference between having your daughter who usually lives in college dorms bring home her brand new boyfriend and expect they'll share a room. But if a couple has been together for some time and usually share a bedroom it would seem odd to insist that they sleep seperately.

I agree with this as well.  The letter doesn't really clarify if this is a guy she's been dating for 1 month or a bf she is living with.  In the latter case it is a bit more odd to insist on separate rooms (though I support it if that is the house rule); however, if this is a "new" guy, I can understand the reluctance of the father to openly acknowledge an intimacy or physical relationship, especially if they haven't met him before.

Aeris

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #53 on: May 12, 2011, 11:06:14 PM »
It seems like the wife would let her daughter have her way because otherwise the daughter won't visit. That's emotional blackmail, IMO.  If the daughter is old enough to live on her own and have a boyfriend, then they can rent a hotel room for the visit if sleeping in the same bed is that important to them.

I don't agree.  I suppose it could be emotional blackmail, but it isn't inherently.  It's far more likely that it will be more of a cost-benefit analysis than anything else.

If the daughter and her boyfriend know they will not be able to share a room at her parents' house, and they know their choices are sleeping apart or getting a hotel room, visiting her parents will be less attractive.  Maybe it wouldn't result in fewer trips, but maybe it would just result in more trips with just the daughter.  Maybe it would result in fewer because they have a limited amount of money to spend and don't want to always have to get a hotel room.

In the end, if the daughter's parents make it more expensive and/or less comfortable for their daughter to visit them, she is quite rationally going to weigh that against her desire to see them.  Maybe her desire to see them will continue to win out, but maybe it won't.

To answer the larger question, I agree with everyone who has said that the LW and his wife absolutely should have worked this out ahead of time.  I think they bear equal responsibility for not having brought it up before the visit.

I also agree that as a general rule, it's best for the person who is most uncomfortable with a course of action to get veto power, when you're talking about married couples.  But when you're talking about specific situations rather than general rules, I think it's ultimately just something that the couple needs to reach an agreement on.  If they can't, they still need to reach an agreement about what they will do as a couple.

In this specific case, I don't think that either the husband or the wife was wrong in their opinions -- both are pretty common in society as a whole.  The husband was very wrong in apparently never communicating his viewpoints to either his wife or his daughter until the situation actually came up.  The wife, as far as I can tell, didn't do anything wrong except fail to bring the subject up in advance.  She's certainly not a wimp, and she has the same right to determine the household rules as her husband does.

As a final sidenote, there is one type of social unit that does not have to share a residence -- engaged couples.  So saying that all social units should be allowed to stay in the same room when visiting because they all live together anyway isn't precisely true.  Many engaged couples live together, but they can still be a social unit even if they don't.

Just need to POD you entirely. Especially about the 'the isn't necessarily emotional blackmail' bit. If you choose to make visits more uncomfortable, awkward, or annoying for your guests, you really can't complain if those guests then visit less often.

Sounds to me like Mom doesn't care about this type of rule, and she *certainly* doesn't care about it enough to risk any decrease in connection/visits from their daughter.

Scuba_Dog

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #54 on: May 12, 2011, 11:09:27 PM »
The most conservative parent should "win" - no one should feel uncomfortable in their own home.

In my view, the person who is responsible for cleaning and setting up the guest rooms and doing the laundry should "win." If the hypocritical conservative one want to impose their morals, they can do the housework.

Interesting assumption.  It says nothing about who does the cleaning and setting up, so it's pretty unfair to make the assumption that the wife does it.  

The husband does admit to premarital "mambo" but he also says they never slept together in their parents homes.  So, he isn't asking or assuming that his daughter does not have s?x with her boyfriend, he's just requesting that they don't sleep together in his home.  He's not a hypocrite at all.  He's asking for the identical respect that he showed his parents.  

We have the same rule in our home.  We've never had anyone argue about it.  There are plenty of beautiful hotels nearby for those who might have an issue and I wouldn't be offended in the least if they chose to stay in one.

My house, my rules.  

I think the wife was wrong in this situation.  She should have deferred to her husband.  More than that, if the boyfriend sensed any discomfort, he should have taken the guest room.  
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Scuba_Dog

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #55 on: May 12, 2011, 11:16:22 PM »
ITA w/Scout Finch and Virg. I would also have that rule in my hypothetical house. My house, my standards, my religious beliefs, hence, my rules. No offense in that at all.

Well, you have ever right to make those kinds of rules in your house. That's completely acceptable as per etiquette. But you can't exactly say 'there's no offense in that at all', because there may well be.

Other people have a right to be annoyed, put out, or even offended at the rule. They would be within their rights to decline invitations, or reduce visits, etc, as a result of the rule.

If I were in a serious non-married relationship with someone, it would take awfully powerful circumstances for me to stay in a place with a rule like this. Like, if I were visiting my elderly grandparents, and it might be the last time I get to see them, and staying at a hotel is for some reason completely unworkable. Other than that, this type of rule would be both inconvenient enough, and frankly just irritating enough, that I would likely not be accepting invitations (and if I did, I'd be staying at a hotel).

People can be offended about pretty much anything.  If sleeping together in the same bed is more important to someone than coming to visit, then I guess they don't come.

I'm not going to alter my house rules just because someone might be offended by them. 
"If you are going through hell, keep going."
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Scuba_Dog

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #56 on: May 12, 2011, 11:19:01 PM »
BFs parents are the same as the LW...they lived together before marriage but say it is sick and wrong for others to do so.  My parents believe the same thing...they were very angry and disappointed when we moved in together.  Our parents also don't like us  (er--his parents dislike me, mine dislike him) so that's got something to do with it, but they would be like that regardless.  Anyway, their house their rules.  When we lived at home we weren't allowed to be in certain areas of his house and my parents just made it awkward for me to have people over in general so we ended up spending most of our time away.  We're coming to visit and my parents said I could stay, but not him, and his parents said there was room for me if we were married.  I think they wanted us to split up and stay with our respective families.  Which again is fine...their house their rules (and we are both totally financially independent but weren't before we moved) but as a result of that we're staying in a hotel.  I don't agree with the rules, but they have the right to make them.  The hypocracy (both in the letter and what BFs parents show--I know my parents lived at home until they got married) bothers me a lot though.

edited to clarify something

Hmm.  Maybe I am missing something in the article.  I read it all, but I must have missed the part where the letter writer said that "they lived together before they got married but it's sick and wrong for anyone else to.".

Can you point out to me where the LW wrote that?
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Scuba_Dog

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #57 on: May 12, 2011, 11:25:57 PM »
I'd say that Dad is being pretty hypocritical.  He's admitting to having had premarital relations himself, but wants to prohibit his daughter from sharing a bedroom with her boyfriend under his roof.

Because his wife looked askance upon his declaration, I don't think that she necessarily agrees with it.  Yes, in the end it's their-house, their-rules.  But I wouldn't blame daughter if she finds somewhere else to stay with her SO.

How is it hypocritical?  He admits to pre-marital relations but says that he and GF (now wife) never slept together under either parents roof out of "respect for their beliefs."

"I'm no prude. My wife and I had our share of premarital mambo, but we always slept in separate rooms while visiting our families before we were married. It was about respect for our parents' feelings."

He's asking for the same respect he showed his parents.  Where is the hypocrisy?
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Aeris

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #58 on: May 12, 2011, 11:26:10 PM »
<snip>

I think the wife was wrong in this situation.  She should have deferred to her husband.  More than that, if the boyfriend sensed any discomfort, he should have taken the guest room.  

I'm still confused why the wife should defer to the husband when she appears to have zero issue with it herself, and sees enforcement of such a rule as potentially damaging to their relationship with their daughter.

Both of their opinion on this are perfectly valid. They need to come to consensus and be cool with each other about it, but I see no reason why the wife should automatically defer to her husband on this when there are consequences involved in either decision.

Aeris

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #59 on: May 12, 2011, 11:31:17 PM »
ITA w/Scout Finch and Virg. I would also have that rule in my hypothetical house. My house, my standards, my religious beliefs, hence, my rules. No offense in that at all.

Well, you have ever right to make those kinds of rules in your house. That's completely acceptable as per etiquette. But you can't exactly say 'there's no offense in that at all', because there may well be.

Other people have a right to be annoyed, put out, or even offended at the rule. They would be within their rights to decline invitations, or reduce visits, etc, as a result of the rule.

If I were in a serious non-married relationship with someone, it would take awfully powerful circumstances for me to stay in a place with a rule like this. Like, if I were visiting my elderly grandparents, and it might be the last time I get to see them, and staying at a hotel is for some reason completely unworkable. Other than that, this type of rule would be both inconvenient enough, and frankly just irritating enough, that I would likely not be accepting invitations (and if I did, I'd be staying at a hotel).

People can be offended about pretty much anything.  If sleeping together in the same bed is more important to someone than coming to visit, then I guess they don't come.

I'm not going to alter my house rules just because someone might be offended by them. 

Well, that's the beauty of it - you certainly don't have to. Etiquette says you're completely within your rights to make those rules.

It's just reality that some people in the world are annoyed and offended by this rule. If this intersection doesn't actually affect any of your personal relationships, great.

When I was living with my ex, before we were married, I was accustomed to sleeping next to him. It was somewhat difficult for me to sleep otherwise. So there's a purely practical reason I would have wanted to sleep next to him. But more than that, such a rule would have made me feel like the hosts disapproved of our relationship and our lifestyle. That would have made me feel awkward and uncomfortable, and would make the trip inherently less pleasant. I simply wouldn't feel as 'welcome'.


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