We were out of town and asked her to watch our animals, and, when we came home, we discovered that not only did she take care of the animals but she did our laundry, washed our dishes, and cleaned our house. Some people would be excited about this but I am not. I do laundry very differently than she does and she shrunk some of my clothes in the dryer. I feel she is out of place doing these tasks, but my boyfriend does not agree. I explained my laundry concern and he didn’t care — he still thought she was doing me a favor (I didn’t ask her to do this!). Then, I was out shopping one day and she texted me and asked me if I was home. I replied I was not. She texted me back telling me she was at our house. Once I got home, I noticed she had actually come in the house. Not only had she come in, she’d gone through our closet to retrieve a pair of shoes she’d purchased for my boyfriend.
I raised my concern to my boyfriend and he doesn’t understand why I’m upset. He says she can come into the house whenever she wants because she owns it. Does she have the right to come into our house unannounced? Even worse, our bedroom? We don’t agree on the issue which is even worse than the issue itself, I feel. I’m not opposed to her coming over but I’d appreciate a call or text first. We have a roommate (who pays rent), but he doesn’t care that my boyfriend’s mother comes over unannounced. Usually, he’ll look at us and raise his eyebrows but doesn’t say anything. How should I handle this? — Tired of His Intrusive Mother
Well, it’s illegal for a property owner to enter a home with tenants without giving the tenants reasonable notice, but since you and your boyfriend don’t pay rent — and I’m guessing you probably aren’t even on a lease — you aren’t tenants and don’t have the same rights and protections that a tenant would have. Your roommate pays rent though and if he’s on a lease; he certainly is within his rights to demand that his landlady — your boyfriend’s mother — give reasonable notice before coming over. Since your roommate doesn’t seem to care that she comes over unannounced, you may have to make him care. Or, at the very least, make him aware of his rights as a tenant. Doing that means risking your relationship with your boyfriend, of course. If he’s already siding with his mother and thinks you’re overreacting to her unannounced visits and “favors” and snooping through your closets, then I can’t imagine he’ll be happy with you pointing out to your roommate that he doesn’t have to put up with a landlady who doesn’t respect boundaries (or the law, for that matter). Worse than putting your relationship at risk, you risk getting kicked out with no place to go. When you aren’t on a lease and you don’t pay rent, you put yourself in a precarious situation.
Honestly, if I were you, I’d move out and get my own place. You’re awfully young to already be dealing with a meddling mother-in-law figure, and since you and your boyfriend don’t agree on where to draw boundaries between her and your relationship, moving out would help all of you find natural boundaries and give your relationship a private place to develop, away from your boyfriend’s mother. If you can’t fathom moving out, then I would ask to be put on the lease if you aren’t already, agree on rent payment, and then make a request directly to your boyfriend’s mother that she please give reasonable notice before coming over. Just be warned that staying in the home your boyfriend’s mother owns is going to put stress on your relationship. You are no longer just her son’s girlfriend but a tenant too, and mixing business and pleasure is challenging for anyone to navigate — especially an inexperienced college student.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.