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Author Topic: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room  (Read 37862 times)

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Scuba_Dog

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #60 on: May 12, 2011, 11:33:03 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.

Well, ideally they should have made a plan before the arrival of their guests, but I think because the husband was uncomfortable with the arrangement, the wife should have sided with him (at least for the first night, giving them time to discuss it privately) until they could come to an agreement that worked for everyone.  It's just my opinion, what I would have done in that situation.  
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Yvaine

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #61 on: May 12, 2011, 11:36:40 PM »
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?

The problem is that he doesn't seem to have ever framed this for his daughter as a respect/disrespect issue--heck, his own wife doesn't seem to have known he felt that way. His daughter has grown up in a different time when sleeping in the same room is more acceptable to some. The daughter has gotten the message from BF's parents that they don't see it as disrespect, and probably also from her own mom. I don't see any evidence she had any clue her dad would see it as disrespect.

Probably, when dad was young, he was either told of his parents' feelings on the matter or it was during a time when the social mores were less varying on the subject and so he made an assumption that his parents would see it as disrespectful.

If he sees this as a respect issue, he needs to communicate that to his daughter rather than just think it in his head and then tsk at her when she doesn't live up to a standard she didn't know was in place.

Aeris

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #62 on: May 12, 2011, 11:37:30 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.

Well, ideally they should have made a plan before the arrival of their guests, but I think because the husband was uncomfortable with the arrangement, the wife should have sided with him (at least for the first night, giving them time to discuss it privately) until they could come to an agreement that worked for everyone.  It's just my opinion, what I would have done in that situation.  

I absolutely agree they should have come to consensus beforehand. I suppose I feel that since the husband clearly knew that the couple slept in the same room/bed in other locations beforehand, and has apparently never expressed that sleeping apart was his expectation, he sort of threw a wrench into things at the last possible second, making things far more awkward than they needed to be. I think I feel that the onus was on him to make this expectation known, given the circumstances, and because he didn't, he doesn't get to trump everyone else at the last second.

Scuba_Dog

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #63 on: May 12, 2011, 11:38:38 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'.

I think that's understandable and something that I will definitely take into consideration the next time we are in that position.

I should say that I don't necessarily consider a marriage license to be the requirement for sleeping together in my guest room.  We have dear friends who are unable to marry legally but I most certainly consider married.  They've been together as long as my husband and I.  I have no problem with them sleeping together in my home.
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Gabrielle

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #64 on: May 12, 2011, 11:40:44 PM »
My parents did exactly this with BF and I - they said that no unmarried couples would be sharing a bed under their roof. This resulted in BF and I not visiting often - we share a bed in our daily lives and there is no fuss. We didn't want to stay at my parents house if it meant that there would be such a commotion about the fact that we are unmarried. I see my relationship as a valid adult one and I wasn't going to act like it wasn't.

My parents decided to abandon this rule recently for the same reasons. They knew it would mean that I would spend more time at their house and that they would get to know BF better. So yes - your house your rules, but don't be surprised when that means nobody wants to come to your house.

I'm also curious - would it be considered rude to decree that if you are married you may not share a bed in my house? My house my rules - but I think people would find this much more rude.

Yvaine

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #65 on: May 12, 2011, 11:41:17 PM »
I absolutely agree they should have come to consensus beforehand. I suppose I feel that since the husband clearly knew that the couple slept in the same room/bed in other locations beforehand, and has apparently never expressed that sleeping apart was his expectation, he sort of threw a wrench into things at the last possible second, making things far more awkward than they needed to be. I think I feel that the onus was on him to make this expectation known, given the circumstances, and because he didn't, he doesn't get to trump everyone else at the last second.

Exactly. The real problem here is Dad's lack of communication. The posts about whether various eHellions approve or disapprove of premarital room-sharing are a red herring. Presumably, the posters who disallow it would actually communicate that fact to their guests, and so IMHO they are in the etiquette clear. Dad just sprung his issue on everybody at the last minute, and is also accusing his daughter of disrespect when there's no indication she knew he would see it as such.

Scuba_Dog

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #66 on: May 12, 2011, 11:42:34 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.

Well, ideally they should have made a plan before the arrival of their guests, but I think because the husband was uncomfortable with the arrangement, the wife should have sided with him (at least for the first night, giving them time to discuss it privately) until they could come to an agreement that worked for everyone.  It's just my opinion, what I would have done in that situation.  

I absolutely agree they should have come to consensus beforehand. I suppose I feel that since the husband clearly knew that the couple slept in the same room/bed in other locations beforehand, and has apparently never expressed that sleeping apart was his expectation, he sort of threw a wrench into things at the last possible second, making things far more awkward than they needed to be. I think I feel that the onus was on him to make this expectation known, given the circumstances, and because he didn't, he doesn't get to trump everyone else at the last second.

That makes sense to me also.  I think I'm looking at the situation from a point of what I would do.  

Maybe if they had even stepped away for a moment to see if they could have come to a consensus would have been good.  It was probably uncomfortable for everyone.
"If you are going through hell, keep going."
Winston Churchill

Lisbeth

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #67 on: May 12, 2011, 11:45:20 PM »
Well, it might be situational...if the couple lived together or were a long-term couple, then Dad's attitude really doesn't make sense.

Otherwise, I think it's something the homeowners need to decide on and agree to together.
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Yvaine

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #68 on: May 12, 2011, 11:48:25 PM »
I'm also wondering, the more I think about this thread, if maybe Dad didn't realize he would have a problem with it until the situation was right in front of him, and he's justifying his discomfort after the fact with the respect rant.

Aeris

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #69 on: May 12, 2011, 11:50:15 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.

Well, ideally they should have made a plan before the arrival of their guests, but I think because the husband was uncomfortable with the arrangement, the wife should have sided with him (at least for the first night, giving them time to discuss it privately) until they could come to an agreement that worked for everyone.  It's just my opinion, what I would have done in that situation.  

I absolutely agree they should have come to consensus beforehand. I suppose I feel that since the husband clearly knew that the couple slept in the same room/bed in other locations beforehand, and has apparently never expressed that sleeping apart was his expectation, he sort of threw a wrench into things at the last possible second, making things far more awkward than they needed to be. I think I feel that the onus was on him to make this expectation known, given the circumstances, and because he didn't, he doesn't get to trump everyone else at the last second.

That makes sense to me also.  I think I'm looking at the situation from a point of what I would do.  

Maybe if they had even stepped away for a moment to see if they could have come to a consensus would have been good.  It was probably uncomfortable for everyone.

Had to be. Funny things happen when two people just blithely assume they are on the same page about something significant.

Sidetrack: A friend of mine had been dating a guy for a number of years. Marriage talk was in the pipes, fairly significantly, but they were not yet engaged. Somehow (and I have no idea how this never came up before, but it hadn't), they had never discussed The Changing Of Names. She had no intention of changing her name, and assumed, because he was a non-macho, non-traditional dude well into feminist concepts, that he would not care. For some unknown reason, he just assumed she would change her name. (We don't exactly live in a conservative area, she's not anything remotely resembling traditional in any way, yadda yadda). Anyway, it came out in a discussion in The Worst Of WaysTM and stalled out marriage discussion, of any kind, for a few weeks until they were able to talk about it more rationally.

(They are now happily married, and she didn't change her name.  :P )

Aeris

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #70 on: May 12, 2011, 11:51:32 PM »
I'm also wondering, the more I think about this thread, if maybe Dad didn't realize he would have a problem with it until the situation was right in front of him, and he's justifying his discomfort after the fact with the respect rant.

As in, he hadn't really thought about it actively, but kind of assumed it would be fine, then when it was actually on his doorstep and he imagined them sleeping in her childhood bed together, he just kind of flipped out?

I can actually see that. I'm imagining Steve Martin from Father of the Bride for some reason.

Yvaine

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #71 on: May 12, 2011, 11:52:41 PM »
I'm also wondering, the more I think about this thread, if maybe Dad didn't realize he would have a problem with it until the situation was right in front of him, and he's justifying his discomfort after the fact with the respect rant.

As in, he hadn't really thought about it actively, but kind of assumed it would be fine, then when it was actually on his doorstep and he imagined them sleeping in her childhood bed together, he just kind of flipped out?

I can actually see that. I'm imagining Steve Martin from Father of the Bride for some reason.

Yup, exactly. It would explain why he didn't address it beforehand.

marcel

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #72 on: May 12, 2011, 11:57:58 PM »
I know that some posters here hols this rule, so I am probably going to offend some posters here, but I will say this anyway. Keep in mind that I do not live in the US, and I heve never heard of people having this rule here (though I am sure that some very strictly religious people do have it.)

To me, this rule is incredibly offensive. If any of my friends would have this rule, I would never visit them again, even if it was not to spend the night there.

Why is it offensive you may ask? Because to me you are simply saying: My relationship is better/more significant then yours.

Just because a person happens to be married does not in any way shape or form mean that that persons relationship is any better/more significant then another persons relationship. To suggest that it is, is such a sign of disrespect toward the unmarried person that I will have a very hard  hard time respecting the person that says this.
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blarg314

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #73 on: May 13, 2011, 01:56:42 AM »
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.

There may not be offense intended, but there *is* judgement, and people may take offense at that.

When you tell unmarried couples that they can't sleep together in your house, then you are implying that you think premarital sex is wrong, or that an unmarried relationship is inferior to a married one.  Some people may be fine with that. Some might not. They may not make an issue of it at the time, though, out of politeness to you.

I think the level of offense someone takes at a house rule like this is going to vary widely, depending on the rule and the individuals' views.

For example, if someone asked me not to drink alcohol while visiting their house it wouldn't bother me, because I see it as minor, and  a cultural rather than moral issue, like removing shoes in a Japanese house. If they had my husband and I sleeping in different rooms because interacial marriages made them uncomfortable, I'd leave immediately and not speak to them again.

For the couples and bedrooms issue, I suspect there may be a difference depending on whether the unmarried part is temporary or permanent. If a couple is unmarried but on a marriage track (not yet, but they are thinking of maybe marrying in the future) it's a minor inconvenience that will resolve in the future.  If the couple is not planning or able to get married, for personal or external reasons, then it's a permanent issue, and a much stronger commentary on the validity of their relationship. They know that they will never be really accepted as a couple by the host.


magdalena

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Re: Today's Dear Abby-unmarried couples sharing a room
« Reply #74 on: May 13, 2011, 02:39:28 AM »
I agree with pretty much everything Aeris has said in this thread.

It's perfectly ok for everyone to make rules for their own home (for example, I'm one of those people who do not allow any alcohol in the house, and it's certainly odd in the culture I live but it's a rule hubby and I have agreed on for the time being) but you cannot expect everyone to be ok with it and not be upset, hurt or even offended by it and/or to choose to visit less frequently. Some get-togethers that used to happen in our house have been moved to other locations due to the no-alcohol-in-the-house rule, something I expected and don't mind at all.

My hubby and I have shared a bed in both of our parents' houses ever since the second visits... for the first time he came to visit me, a separate room was very logical, as we weren't even dating at the time - would've been very odd to have my good buddy sleep in my room  :P. The first time I visited his parents, his mom gave me a room of my own, because she wanted to make sure I didn't think she thought we should share a bed...
...yes, you read that right. She was worried I'd be uncomfortable sharing a room with my boyfriend, so she gave me a room - and, after a few days, said to us: "if you want to, you can of course sleep in son's room, Magda, I'll give you a blanket and pillow for there, no problem. However you'd like".

We were in a long distance relationship for a loooong time, either apart or living together in one of our tiny little one room appartments...
My parents chose to believe that we did not have premarital relations (whether we did or not, is not really relevant) while his assumed we did. Both sets of parents had us share a room early on. Go figure.




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