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“My Parents Want Us to Sleep in Separate Rooms!”

I’m a 28- (almost 29-) year-old woman who has been living away from home since age 18. After my conservative Christian parents discovered that I was planning on living with my boyfriend (of already two years) in college, they refused to help me at all financially, and I subsequently cut off contact with them. The only thing that brought us back together was the death of my grandmother the following spring, and the tragic death of my little sister a month later. At age 22, I moved abroad, and have not lived in the US since. We are now closer, but the relationship is still not completely stable, and, when they occasionally visit, there is a lot of line drawing.

I’m now in a relationship with a man that I hope to marry, and as of this January we will have been together for two years, including an intercontinental move so that we could be together. He is British, and we both live in Europe, albeit not together for schooling reasons. My parents have met him once, and they like him very much.

I have now bought tickets for both of us to head back to the US for Christmas this year. I look forward to allowing my parents to spend more time with him and to showing him where I come from. However, in a recent phone call, my parents told me that they hoped I understood that we would be sleeping in separate rooms at their house over Christmas. Not only do I wish they’d told me this BEFORE we bought our (very expensive) tickets, it seems incredibly infantilizing to still be treated like the 18-year-old they must see me as. I understand that it is their home, but this is my life. Is it outrageous of me to expect them to respect my decisions and beliefs? Is it manipulative of me to warn them that such treatment of my choices will cause me to rethink future visits and our future relationship, not to mention their relationship with any potential children of ours? (I would not want any children of mine exposed to what I see as a damaging belief system). While I am willing to compromise some, I don’t want them to think that I am any less dedicated to my own beliefs than they are to theirs. I’m not sure where drawing the line stops being the mature, independent thing to do and starts becoming simply rebellious and/or manipulative. — Christmas Catastrophe?

There’s a pretty big sense of entitlement coming through your letter loud and clear. Your parents refused to help you financially, so you cut off contact with them? You didn’t think to ask your conservative Christian parents about the sleeping arrangements BEFORE you bought your and your boyfriend’s airline tickets home for the holidays and somehow it’s their fault for not volunteering the information sooner? You’re going to THEIR house, yet you think YOUR beliefs should be respected above theirs? How about this: When you are in their home, you play by their rules (separate rooms for unmarried couples), and, when/if they visit your home, you get to play by your rules (you and your boyfriend can bonk like bunnies in all your premarital glory).

You ask whether you’re outrageous to expect your parents to respect your decisions and beliefs, but there’s a big difference between respecting someone’s decisions and beliefs and accommodating someone’s opposing beliefs in one’s own home. I mean, if it makes your parents so uncomfortable letting their grown daughter share a bedroom with her boyfriend in their home, is it that big a deal for you and your boyfriend to sleep in separate beds for a few days? Is it really worth sacrificing a relationship with your parents and potentially keeping them from seeing their future grandchildren just to prove you’re “dedicated to your beliefs”? You said you’re wondering where you might cross the line from being mature and independent to simply being manipulative. You’re pretty close to crossing it.

It’s a tragedy that you lost your younger sister much too early in life, and I’m so sorry for your loss, but if anything positive might have come from it, I’d hope it would be your understanding and appreciation that life is short — too short to hold such massive grudges, especially against people who love and care for you. Your parents surely aren’t perfect — none of us is — but they want a relationship with you… and it sounds like you want one with them. You’re flying halfway across the world to see them for the holidays and to more deeply introduce them to your boyfriend. So you must want a relationship with them, which is great. How about instead of focusing on how your parents aren’t loving or treating you perfectly, you focus on what they’re doing well? Considering the differences in your beliefs, can you appreciate the effort your parents make to try to understand and accept you, even if they don’t always kowtow to your wants? Instead of holding a grudge for a decision they made 10 years ago when they cut you off financially, can you focus instead on the strides you’ve all made to reconnect and heal your relationship?

Life is short. All families have baggage. None of us loves anyone perfectly. And a holiday vacation is just a drop in the bucket of a lifetime of trips, and a lifetime of compromises, and a lifetime of sharing a bed with the one you love. I’d let it go and just enjoy spending time with your parents and your boyfriend as they get to know each other. When the holidays are over, you’ll return home, where you can call the shots and you don’t have to compromise your lifestyle for anyone.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

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{ 168 comments… add one }

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed August 12, 2014, 8:09 am

Seriously? You’re all up in arms about them respecting your beliefs…but that’s a two way street! I don’t think couples should have to sleep in separate rooms and I didn’t grow up with that belief, but I did grow up and learn to respect others. Stop trying to find a slight in all their actions and look at yours.

Lyra Lyra August 12, 2014, 8:22 am

Whenever my boyfriends have been over to visit overnight at my parents’ place it has been expected that they sleep in a separate room. I have similar conservative views as they do, but when a boyfriend is staying at my place I’m ok sleeping in the same bed as him. Yet, I respect my parents’ wishes even though I’m in my late 20′s now and I can make my own choices. Once I’m married I will be able to sleep in the same room, until that point I respect their wishes.
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I agree that you’re making this a MUCH bigger deal than it should be. I’m guessing you don’t get the chance to go home very often, and I’m guessing you don’t see your family very often. I can almost guarantee that you would regret burning bridges with your family again over this ONE small, trivial thing. You only get one family. Even though you’re an adult, they’re still your parents and it’s still their house. Suck it up and let go of your pride.

avatar ChemE August 12, 2014, 8:28 am

You could stay in a hotel and avoid the problem altogether. Or get married before you go.

In my opinion, their house, their rules. I don’t think it’ll kill you to sleep separately. You are demanding they respect your beliefs but why aren’t you extending the same courtesy?

avatar Portia August 12, 2014, 8:51 am

That was my reaction, stay at a hotel.

avatar ktfran August 12, 2014, 9:17 am

Thirded. If the LW is that upset about it, she can get a hotel room. If you stay in someone’s house – anyone’s house – you have to respect their wishes, even if you don’t agree.

avatar MissDre August 12, 2014, 9:37 am

My first reaction too. Hotel all the way.

cmary cmary August 12, 2014, 10:53 am

What?? No way, man. Separate beds for a couple nights! Think of all the space you’ll have. The cool sheets, the ability to roll over and not crash into someone’s elbow. It’s lovely sharing a bed, but damn, I’d take the solo bed option for a couple days in a heartbeat.

avatar Sally August 12, 2014, 11:33 am

HOTEL. I say this as someone who has been there, and even though I could barely afford a hotel at the time, it was the best decision I could have made. Even putting the sleeping arrangement issue aside, it seems like you and parents have a delicate truce. If and when there is tension during your visit, being able to peace out and go back to the hotel may save your relationship with your parents, and will also spare your boyfriend from having to spend 24/7 with strangers.

avatar Lucy August 12, 2014, 1:27 pm

This. If you want to make the rules, it’s pay to play.

avatar CH August 12, 2014, 8:47 am

I also moved out at 18. My family is not conservative Christian and they did not let my boyfriend and I sleep in the same room until we were engaged… and even then, it was a big, uncomfortable stretch for them.

The year before we got engaged, we chose to stay at a hotel near my dad’s house. It eased my stress level immensely on other levels, and we got to sleep together and enjoy our vacation together without feeling like teenagers. If it’s that important to you, get a hotel and visit your family in the daytime.

I think you are fooling yourself that you’re surprised that they said you’ll not be sleeping in the same room. It was crystal clear to me before I even moved out of the house that I wouldn’t be doing that with anyone in their home until I was married.

othy othy August 12, 2014, 10:17 am

I completely agree with your last paragraph.

avatar Nigeria August 12, 2014, 8:52 am

I love your response Wendy :) I too also noticed the sense of entitlement seeping through. Also, I did want to add that as a conservative Christian, I feel that many of us are unfailry categorized as rigid, unloving, out of touch ppl. I can’t speak for anyone else, but as for me, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I hate labels and the whole ‘conservative christian’ label is now almost synonmous with out of touch, hateful hillbillies. Anywho, I second Wendy’s advice, LW your parents have already lost a daughter, focus on loving them despite their perceived imperfections. Life is so so short. With the recent suicide of Robin Williams I cant he;p but feel that this world needs less friction and soo much more love.

thatswhat-she Meg August 12, 2014, 8:56 am

It would be one thing if you expected your parents to spend your whole visit berating you for the parts of your life that they disagree with- then I would agree that they are disrespecting your beliefs. But simply not facilitating something they disagree with- under their roof- isn’t disrespect. If someone visited friends who were Jews and kept kosher, would you expect them to allow the guest to cook bacon in their kitchen? Or would you think the guest was rude to even suggest it?
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I think you are letting your past experiences with your parents- where they were more actively trying to influence your choices- color your interpretation of this situation. At least based on what you’ve shared, they’re just trying to set a boundary about what they’re ok with happening in their home. If you don’t want to play by those rules, a hotel might be a better choice. Or as a compromise- maybe take an overnight trip somewhere nearby, to give you some space and to show your boyfriend a bit more of the area where you grew up.

avatar FossilChick August 12, 2014, 8:57 am

Get a hotel!

Seriously, hotel. My family background is similar to the one described, and I have a bit more sympathy for the LW because in some cases, the enforcement of such rules can also be manipulative tactic on the part of the family. I’d recommend getting a hotel room anyway, even if the 2-bed thing wasn’t such a dealbreaker, because if you haven’t seen your family in a long time and you’re bringing home your boyfriend for the first time, everyone being together 24/7 under one roof is not ideal. If you’re so concerned about your parents disrespecting your choices, then take your choices to another location that you can retreat to at night.

avatar jhoran85 August 12, 2014, 9:06 am

While I can understand that sleeping in separate bedrooms might feel like they are not respecting your “beliefs”, this is your parents home, not yours, and therefore you should respect their beliefs and reasonable requests while staying with them. You sounded like a petulant child when you cut off contact with your parents, and you still do. How is this request offensive to your beliefs?

My parents would never have agreed to me living with a boyfriend in college, and I completely understand why. They were financially supporting me and wanted me to be in a stable environment without distraction or potential drama. Until recently, they also were not comfortable with unmarried (or not engaged) couples sleeping in the same room. My cousin, who often stayed with my family during the summer when we were younger, took exception to this and the first time he brought his now wife to meet our family (they live in a different state), he knew that my parents would not allow them to sleep in the same room and he had a hissy fit and ended up staying with another family member.

I’m not sure if it is a coping tactic, but how can you be so removed, and from what I gather, almost cruel to your parents after losing your sister? How can you even think of threatening to not bring around future children? Unless they have done something absolutely horrible to you, and it doesn’t sound like that is the case at all, you ARE planning to manipulate them. Furthermore, shielding your future children from a “damaging belief system” is really about the stupidest and close minded thing you’ve said in your letter. Your children won’t be living with them and if you remain in Europe, how many times will they see their grandparents, maybe once a year?

Get over yourself. Sleep in a different room for few days and think seriously about how you are damaging your relationship with your family. If you do end up marrying this guy, whats a few days, or even a few weeks, in separate beds if you plan to be together for the rest of your life?

avatar Married by Elvis August 12, 2014, 9:09 am

My parents were the same way – no unmarried couples in the same room. Even if it puts someone on a couch.

Now that I’m married they expect us to share a bed and we don’t want to. We both sleep better in separate beds, if not rooms.

avatar Portia August 12, 2014, 9:11 am

I think you’re throwing “respecting my beliefs” and “respecting my relationship” into the same pot when they’re really two very different things. They’re not cutting you of financially again, they’re not blackmailing you into pretending you follow their religion, they’re telling you what they’re comfortable with in their own home. I’m sorry that you had to go through what you did, including the loss of your sister, but they’re not doing this to control your life and I think you’re blowing this specific instance out of proportion. I agree that you should make your boyfriend as comfortable as possible, so if that means getting a room at a nearby hotel, then thank them for their offer but tell them you’ve made arrangements elsewhere. Only once have I heard of an invitation being rescinded for not stating at someone’s house and that was a very extreme response.

avatar captainswife August 12, 2014, 9:24 am

Portia, I think you’re going a little far here:
“they’re not blackmailing you into pretending you follow their religion”

The parents are by no means required to support their grown daughter at all. If she annoys them because she wears yellow clothing and they don’t like yellow, it’s completely within their rights not to support her.

Likewise, if they don’t want her smoking pot and she chooses to do so, they are completely within their rights not to support her. That is not any kind of blackmail. It is setting conditions, sure. But who says she has a right to support without conditions? If you have a paycheck, no one will deny that there are conditions on receiving that…

When they cut off support, they weren’t asking her to pretend to follow a religion. They were saying that if she is old enough to make adult choices like living with someone, she is old enough to support herself. At least, that’s how I read it.

avatar MissDre August 12, 2014, 9:40 am

I didn’t get the impression that Portia was trying to say they were required to support her??

avatar Portia August 12, 2014, 10:00 am

“They’re not cutting you off financially again” – that’s why I said that as one in a list of things they were not doing. Unfortunately, there are many things other than financial support parents (or other family members) can hold over your head to get you to act the way that they want you to. I’ve seen this happen with my friends and it can be heartbreaking – like a mother starving herself because her daughter was going to marry someone who didn’t share their ethnic/religious background. I admit it’s extreme, which is why I said this LW wasn’t facing the same kind of situation.

avatar Portia August 12, 2014, 10:30 am

Oh hey, wanna hear the crazy story of an invitation being rescinded because someone wasn’t going to stay at their house? This comes via my friend, whose sister was getting married (or already technically married and having a ceremony/celebration). Anyway, her inlaws were hosting it in their hometown kinda far away and her parents were invited to stay with these inlaws. Her parents have some serious health problems and have to have a very restricted diet and the last time they stayed with these inlaws, they weren’t able to/didn’t accommodate it. So, this time around they thanked them for the invitation but said they were going to find a hotel nearby. The bride threw a fit and disinvited her parents from her own wedding over it. That’s right, disinvited from their own daughter’s wedding because they didn’t/couldn’t stay with the inlaws. Oh, and after that my friend wasn’t invited to her sister’s wedding because of all of this.

Red_Lady Red_Lady August 12, 2014, 11:13 am

Yikes, that’s awful! This whole thread is making me appreciate my family so much more.

avatar pinkaffinity August 12, 2014, 9:14 am

Their house, their rules. It’s that simple.

avatar j2 August 12, 2014, 9:24 am

Exactly! This letter is practically a facepalm.

avatar Jen August 12, 2014, 9:19 am

I’m sorry if I sound like a total jerk, but this letter just made me laugh. The LW is seriously considering not letting her parents see their grandkids because they have a ‘damaging belief system’? No, you aren’t. You are just angry, throwing attantrum, and flinging out any threat that you think will get you what you want.

You think you are mature now? Wait until you have kids and you will realize how ridiculous this is. You can’t keep your kids from learning about different belief systems. I’m about as over protective of my kids as it gets and even I realize this. Family is important to children. It’s much more important than proving a point. If you don’t like their beliefs, teach your children that in the privacy of your own home, and move on. You don’t have to be identical to others to have a relationship with them. No one has the exact same beliefs anyway.

Lyra Lyra August 12, 2014, 12:56 pm

Agreed! This is so ridiculous and she is most definitely blowing it out of proportion. Not allowing her parents to have a relationship with her kids because of this is absolutely insane. If her parents are anything like my parents (and I think they are), they would be heartbroken if they weren’t able to have a relationship with their grandkids. And as someone who didn’t know either grandma (one died before I was born and the other had a stroke when I was 2) I’m really bummed that I never had the chance to have a relationship with them.

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 9:27 am

(Doing that thing where I comment and *then* read Wendy’s and others’ comments – so see if I’m right, ha): Please, is it so much of a big deal to respect your parents wishes for one holiday at home? Considering all that your relationship has been through, I would think it’s the least you can do to keep the peace. If it is such a big deal, get a hotel. But honestly, you sound more childish if you can’t just suck it up for one trip home out of respect for your parents. You spend so much of your letter justifying why it’s OK for you to sleep in the same room with your boyfriend – your age, that you’ve been abroad and on your own for so long, that you want to marry him, etc. that you sound really childish; you don’t seem secure in your choices at all if you’re trying to justify them to us. It sounds more like you’re looking for a “zomg, your parents are nuts, and I so agree it’s crazy you can’t stay in the same room.” Really, be the mature woman you see yourself as and respect your parents’ wishes to sleep in separate rooms while you’re visiting them at their home.

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 9:35 am

ok, so we all agree – i guess this one wasn’t rocket science, ha.

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 9:47 am

Also, let the record show that Wendy asked is it “hat “big a deal” and I said “big deal” *and* Wendy referred to her sacrificing a “relationship” with her parents and I said “considering all that your relationship as been through” – which means basically I got it RIGHT. Boom boom.

Amanda Amanda August 12, 2014, 9:36 am

LW, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt until I read this: “I understand that it is their home, but this is my life.” Ummmmmm, no. That’s something a 16 year old says in the middle of a histrionic meltdown, not something a “mature” 28 (almost 29) year old says. The mature thing in this situation is to suck it up, buttercup. Or get a hotel room. Either of those is a better option than what you’re threatening now.

JK JK August 12, 2014, 12:43 pm

A mature 28 year old also doesn´t add the (almost 29) ;)

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 5:08 pm

it’s like my nephew who was really mad when I said he was 4 because “NUH UH HE IS 4 AND 1/2 ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUHHHH!”

JK JK August 12, 2014, 5:11 pm

exactly! Or like M who is planning all the stuff shes going to do when she´s 7 haha

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 5:14 pm

but not like me who celebrates her half birthday even at age 35.5 …

avatar Miss MJ August 12, 2014, 9:37 am

I’d get a hotel. I do understand the “their house, their rules” philosophy, but honestly? The LW is almost 30, financially independent, not asking them for anything except a grown up/parent relationship that understands that they don’t agree on everything, and is an actual, you know adult. Would her parents expect people their own age who were not married to not share a bedroom or is this just about making sure they have a say in what their daughter does in her bedroom? In any event, it’s none of their business who their adult daughter sleeps with, and I get the irritation, but the LW cannot force her parents to allow them to sleep in the same room and it’s not worth the fight, anyway, so get a hotel. End of story. And don’t even bring it up. And don’t threaten to not let them see your future children. This situation is annoying, not worth going nuclear over.

P.S. Why is the LW “entitled” because when her parents found out she was moving in with her boyfriend, they threatened to cut her off financially if she did, and she made the decision to live her life on her terms and support herself while doing it, but didn’t want people who would manipulate her into doing what they want by using money and security to do it in her life? Isn’t that what we tell all these LWs who want to move in with SOs but their parents won’t pay for college, etc. if they do, to actually do – live by your parents’ rules if you take their money or support your self and live by your own? I don’t see why the LW was wrong. Sure, she didn’t have to cut them off, but if they were being a negative presence in her life, then I don’t think that makes her entitled by doing so. If you’re a parent who tries to use money to manipulate and control your grown child, the risk is that it doesn’t work and backfires on you. This time it did. Big time, apparently.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 10:03 am

I know a lot of parents who would not let their children of that age (almost 30) sleep in the same bedroom with someone who was not a husband/wife or at the minimum fiance (but even then, not always). It typically has nothing to do with what their children are doing in the bedroom–nor about control-these same parents are aware that their children sleep over or maybe even live with their s.o.’s it is more about the comfort level of the parents, in their own home. Which is totally within their rights and I don’t see anything wrong with that or really that she should even be annoyed over it. I mean if she knows her parents, she should have known that would be a stipulation. My best friend has been with her boyfriend 8 years and is engaged and when they go on family vacations they have to sleep in separate bedrooms–she just knows this and doesn’t question it-yeah it is really kind of stupid at this point since she lives with her parents and spends almost every night sleeping at her boyfriend’s house, but it just makes them uncomfortable to allow that on their terms. IMO it is almost strange the LW assumed she *would* be able to sleep in the same room, knowing the background she came from.

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 10:20 am

I agree that its more about their level of comfort in their own home as opposed to what’s going on in the bedroom. When I visit my aunt, we sleep in separate rooms because I know she’s conservative. She’s never asked or anything. Its just an easy thing to do out of respect.
Actually, I’m more comfortable knowing they are likely comfortable.
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In my own home, I could kinda care less about people sharing rooms, but my boyfriend is uncomfortable with, for example, my sister and her new boyfriend sharing a room because we have a young daughter. He thinks its a bad example.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 10:36 am

Yeah exactly–the first time my boyfriend met my parents he absolutely refused to sleep in the same room as me, even though they didn’t really say he couldn’t–but I know it made them so much more comfortable that level of respect was already there. Since then, it hasn’t been an issue-they don’t care at all if we sleep in the same room, but I know that first time everyone felt just a lot better about the situation and not even having to ask for us to not sleep in the same room. IDK I think it is silly a lot of the time, but if they feel more comfortable with it, then I do too.

Lyra Lyra August 12, 2014, 1:01 pm

Exactly this. My mom is a little bit more lax than my dad (who at times still sees me as his “little girl”), but I respect them and I respect their wishes. Heck even when I was visiting my older brother in his new house he wouldn’t let me sleep in the same room as my boyfriend. I didn’t throw a fit; instead I respected his wishes.

Diablo Diablo August 12, 2014, 10:13 am

Had to react to one thing you said – the LW is almost 30. She herself specifies, and this was odd to me, that she is almost 29. What is that? Almost 18 and almost 21 might be real categories: legal for sex, drinking, etc. 28 versus 29 is nothing, unless the LW is somewhat desperately trying to convince us of her maturity (and failing). Look, LW, i respect the people suggesting hotel room, but what is the big deal? I slept in separate beds from my now wife wen I first visited her folks. And we did live together the rest of the time. Their house, their beliefs. It’s not like we were gonna have sex while we were there. Ew! And when we first visited my parents, who are a bit younger, my Dad took me aside and said “Uhh… you ARE sleeping with this girl, right?” In neither case was it a comment on my beliefs, though I’m sure my old man was relieved I was finally getting laid. Just go stay with them and cut the crap. Sheesh.

Lyra Lyra August 12, 2014, 1:13 pm

The entitlement comes from the fact that she’s throwing a tantrum over something so minor. Instead of handling it by respecting her parent’s wishes or having an adult conversation about it, she blows up and says she may not even bring her future children to see their grandparents. She is overreacting to the extreme about this one thing.

avatar jlyfsh August 12, 2014, 9:37 am

It sounds like this is about way more than them not letting you stay in the same room as your boyfriend. Perhaps growing up they did force their religion on you and it left you running from them when you felt like they were trying to control you as an ‘adult’. Maybe this instance has you feeling the same way. But, you’re 28, you apparently have a life that is very different from theirs and are happy with that. You don’t have to embrace their religion to respect the rules of their home. If it bothers you that much, let them know you’re staying at a hotel.

avatar Marcie August 12, 2014, 9:43 am

You know your parents are conservative. Why do their expectations of your sleeping arrangements surprise you? My parents used to let my then-boyfriend sleep over in the basement. It didn’t offend me at all. To me, I was respecting my parents’ comfort level. At his apartment, I would sleep with him in his bed. I’m sure they knew it was happening but it wasn’t thrown in their face. Just give your parents a break and either do what they ask in their home or get a hotel.

Dear Wendy Dear Wendy August 12, 2014, 9:50 am

Ok, everyone, I think we’ve made the point that the LW isn’t acting as mature as she could. No more “you’re childish” comments, please. Additional points or anecdotes or words of advice still welcome!

avatar BecBoo84 August 12, 2014, 10:01 am

LW, I’m going to sympathize with you. While I do support the “their house/their rules” mentality generally speaking, I do understand your frustration. Given that it appears you’re both in school, I’m sure the expense of the tickets might make adding on the expense of a hotel unfeasible. Also, since it was implied that while you and your boyfriend both live in Europe, you live in separate countries, and likely don’t see each other all that frequently, I completely understand why you want to share a bedroom with him during the limited vacation time you have together.

Dear Wendy Dear Wendy August 12, 2014, 10:11 am

These are good points.

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 10:22 am

These are good points (ok, now I’m just copying Wendy), but I think everyone can sympathize. I mean, no one is saying the LW shouldn’t WANT to be able to stay in the same room, but, rather, that she should be able to suck it up for this one vacation. But ok the hotel is likely not feasible for money reasons – and actually, if I went to visit my mom and stayed at a hotel she’d probably be sad so maybe staying at a hotel wouldn’t keep the peace anyway. My recommendation then is to sneak around. (And I appreciate the irony of me calling the LW childish and then recommending that she sneak around, but really it seems like the best solution.)

avatar Portia August 12, 2014, 11:45 am

Oh, I’ve done the sneaking around thing… And many years later, it’s a funny story. LW, think of the funny stories you’ll have down the line! Lol.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 10:56 am

Yeah I didn’t really think about the aspect of them already being long-distance and then having to spend the holidays not sleeping together in the same room/bed which totally would suck… idk about a hotel being unfeasible though–I am sure they could find somewhere cheap and maybe put it on a CC to pay off later–it honestly seems like it would solve all the problems and then the LW would be seeing her parents on her terms, which I think would go a long way towards reestablishing good feelings between them because the control thing she is worried about would be more or less mitigated this way. If no hotel, then I see nothing for it but to just deal with the stipulations they have set, although I can definitely see how this is frustrating for her.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 10:05 am

I am pretty sure you should just get a hotel room. I am sorry your parents have tried to force their religion on you in the past–but one way to avoid even having to broach that topic or deal with the annoyance this has caused you is by getting a hotel room for the majority of your trip. Maybe on Christmas Eve you can crash there, so you wake up Christmas morning and are already at home for whatever family traditions you may have, but I would strongly suggest a hotel room for the remainder of the trip. The distance and boundary that creates (parents this is my life and my fiance and I are sleeping together in a hotel so butt out) will really help ease tension in the relationship you have with your parents. Also as an aside I am very sorry about the loss of your sister, I cannot even imagine the pain that must have caused.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 10:11 am

*crash there as in your parents house*

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 10:23 am

Yea, I totally think the past here is making her react oddly to the present. Try to separate the two things LW. I’m sure this is giving you some sort of parental control ptsd, but its not a big thing. Once you realize that, you should be fine. Plus it sucks feeling all up in arms and pissed.

avatar something random August 12, 2014, 11:00 am

I also completely agree about the past affecting the present. This feels like a poke right at an old injury. When she left for college and she left with the expectations that her parents would gift her financial support only to have that offer rescinded I imagine she felt very scared and resentful. It was probably a pretty unnerving time. I’m not saying her parents owed her support but I could see how there would be a lot of unresolved feelings of anger and abandonment. Hopefully, identifying that this poke is just a little poke and the feelings coming with it are from the past will allow her to breath and come back to the present.

Moneypenny Moneypenny August 12, 2014, 1:04 pm

“Parental control PTSD” is totally something I have experienced. (And still experience.) Good point.

avatar ktfran August 12, 2014, 10:46 am

Agreed about the past affecting things now.
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LW, I know you’re an adult now. You’re independent. You’ve grown. You’re leading an amazing life. Living in Europe. How exciting! But I also know it’s oh so very easy to revert back to old dynamics when you visit your family. I think you’re afraid of this happening and your parents mentioning the sleeping arrangements confirmed it in your mind. The thing is, I think you’re building up things too much in your head and now you’re freaking out. The sleeping arrangements really are probably just that. Sleeping arrangements and what your parents are comfortable with. I know my conservative, Catholic parents weren’t comfortable for the longest time with their adult children sleeping in the same room as their boyfriend. There are plenty of examples on here of people saying the same thing. I think you should calm down, think about this rationally, and have a good time.

avatar csp August 12, 2014, 10:07 am

LW, I think a bunch of people are saying this but I believe you are taking a history or financial manipulation and lumping it in to this one situation. I think it is best to take this situation and not rope it in to your past.
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My parents are Catholic and we used to call this tactic “Pulling the purse strings”. This went as far as when I was engaged, my husband and I had different apartments until we got married because my parents would not pay for the wedding if we lived together. When I was younger, I swore that they gave me a car just to take it away when I didn’t respect the rules. I had the earliest curfew of anyone I knew and when I was home from college, that curfew was enforced well into my 20s. My parents’ money had major strings attached but their love doesn’t. So realize that having a free place to stay comes with strings and that does not mean they do not love and respect you. It takes time to learn how to interact with your parents as an adult and since you live so far away from your parents, I am guessing that the transition is taking longer than others. Just take this short visit as an olive branch for you to be the bigger person.

avatar MissyC August 12, 2014, 10:14 am

As Wendy (and others) have commented, this is definitely “80′s baby entitlement” in all its glory. It seems there are a few options that you have during your visit (which I hope you do still make and not decide to cancel).
1. You can visit and respect that your parents have established rules for their home based on what they think is best, and based on how they want their values to be reflected in their own household. Basically, suck it up for a few days because they have told you their rules.
2. You can make the visit and stay in a hotel, or stay with friends. Maybe a hotel is out of your budget, but if you grew up there perhaps there are some friends you could stay with instead. Maybe you’ll be sleeping on a couch, or on a air mattress. Would the comfort of sleeping together in the same room be worth the possibility of sleeping on a couch or air mattress or pull out bed for a few days?
3. You can decide not to go all together, then you don’t have to decide where you will stay. It’s a bit rash, but it is still an option.
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I understand that it can be frustrating that you feel your parents aren’t accepting of your beliefs. But at the same time, by telling them that you don’t want to follow the rules of their own household, you are telling them that *you* are not accepting *their* beliefs. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute. How would you feel if they came to your house and started making rules for how to run your own home? Probably pretty frustrating. Perhaps that has happened in the past, when you say that when they visit, “there is a lot of line drawing.”
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You don’t mention if you have other brothers or sisters, and the size of your extended family, but it seems that your family has had to weather some fierce tragedy back-to-back. Consider having some middle ground between telling them they have to play by your rules or cut off all contact with them now and including any future children you might have. It would be a shame to cut out your parents from your lives, and from the lives of any possible children, over sleeping arrangements on a vacation. If you are worried, down the line, about the influence of your parents on your children, you can discuss some boundaries with your family when that time comes. Maybe when they visit you, you will offer to pay for a hotel for them. Or maybe you will realize that those things aren’t so important as your children having a relationship with their grandparents.
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Either way, you say that you are willing to compromise, which is a really good start. Try to see past two options of sleeping in the same room, or not speaking to them again forever. There are many other options to consider that will allow you to continue to feel independent, while maintaining a relationship with and not alienating your parents. Good luck!

Cassie Cassie August 13, 2014, 11:17 pm

#notall80sbabies

avatar Sandra August 18, 2014, 3:09 pm

Pretty sure you’re the only person that’s said anything about “80s baby entitlement.”

avatar Sasa August 12, 2014, 10:23 am

It may be due to cultural differences, but I’m always surprised by the strong adherence to the “their house, their rules” thinking and how the hierarchy between parents and children is still supposed to hold even when LW is 28. The parents and LW are now both adults and they have differing value systems. The parents are allowed to have their rules, but yes, LW is just allowed to base her decisions on how she acts around her parents on those rules. I’m not sure why LW is considered silly or immature for a negative reaction to the parents’ silly rule. Either we don’t evaluate the content of the rules (“their house, their rules, however stupid”) and we also accept the LW’s sovereignty over her life, or we start getting into the debate on whether the rules are acceptable and whether LW’s reactions are adequate. It goes both ways – the parents don’t get a free pass just because they are older. Plus, they didn’t just stop supporting the LW financially, they specifically cut her off for being in a relationship they didn’t like. That’s not cool. If you can’t support your child financially, fine, but don’t make financial support contingent on sharing the same views on morality. If my parents had done this, I may not cut them off, but I think I would be justified in resenting them. Again, love and respect go both ways and the parents’ decision was not very respectful.

avatar jhoran85 August 12, 2014, 10:40 am

I think you may have misread the letter – they cut her off financially when she wanted to live with a boyfriend in college, and then the LW cut off her relationship with them, which is a huge overreaction on her part. While some people may see her parents cutting her off financially as making a huge deal out of it, think about it – their daughter was around 20 years old (using the time frame she gave), and it sounds like they were already paying her tuition and room and board on campus or for an off campus apartment. They had no financial obligation to support her moving in with a boyfriend. That type of situation can come with a lot of issues – having to potentially break a lease, a break up, utility problems, relationship issues, etc. My parents were very clear with me in what they would help me with in college and I had no problem accepting their terms, so to speak, and I appreciated immensely that they were able to finance my college education.

avatar Sasa August 12, 2014, 10:46 am

I didn’t get the impression that LW was asking for additional financial help in order to be able to move in with her boyfriend. If she did that, then yeah, I understand how they wouldn’t want to help with that. My understanding is that they ended ALL financial support because she was moving in with her boyfriend. I think it’s bad and manipulative for parents to do this kind of thing unless there is clear evidence that the child is not doing the required coursework or something.

avatar jhoran85 August 12, 2014, 2:17 pm

I don’t think she was asking for additional financial help, but I don’t think her parents were necessarily wrong about cutting her off financially either. To me, just from what the LW wrote, it sounds like she went somewhat behind her parents back – intentionally or not – to make plans to live with her boyfriend, and if they were supporting her by providing aid for her living costs, then yes, they do have a right to take that financial support away. It is their money that they were offering to her in whatever capacity to help her, and I’m sure they were shocked and probably insulted when they found out about her plans to live with her boyfriend. There was probably an argument about it, and maybe her parents said “if you live with him, we won’t give you anymore money” and she went that route. Or maybe they just cut it off, no questions asked. Regardless, it was not HER money to begin with.

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 2:24 pm

Which is why you should never accept $ with strings. A great life rule would be only giving true gifts or nothing at all.

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 11:16 am

How can you decide whether someone else’s rules are silly though? They are silly to you, but obviously not to the person whose rule it is. Someone who is very different from you probably thinks your rule is silly. You know? Neither is right. Rules are just based upon your opinions of things.

avatar SasLinna August 12, 2014, 12:45 pm

I’m just going to say it: Some rules are in fact better justified than others. Yes, it’s all about opinions. But some opinions have better arguments going for them than others. Plus, EVERYONE judges others’ behavior like this. Just look at everyone chiding the LW for her behavior. Those are also just opinions, but people sure act like they know they’re right. So I’m going to do the exact same thing that they are doing.

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 1:32 pm

I don’t disagree with any of this.
For me, I see nothing wrong with making up whatever rules you want for your home, whether I deem them crazy or not. And if you don’t like my rules, then obviously you don’t have to follow them. But its sad if you decide to never come to my home again because of it, but I would still want a relationship with you if you choose to not come over anymore.

avatar SasLinna August 12, 2014, 1:45 pm

Oh sure. It just seems to me like most commenters are saying that a) the parents can make up whatever rule they want and b) the LW shouldn’t have a negative reaction to that and just suck it up. So I agree with a) but not with b). If it turns out that the parents and LW have a disagreement in this area, I don’t think it’s all up to LW to adjust. It may also be time for the parents to listen to LW and maybe relax their rules a bit. In short, you can make rules but you cannot expect others to simply follow them and not adjust their behavior towards you.

avatar ktfran August 12, 2014, 1:57 pm

But I think that best way to approach this with the parents is having a calm, rational, grown up conversation. Not automatically saying you will never see your grandkids. Nobody will ever consider your side or beliefs if you’re acting like a petulant child. That goes for both parties.

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 2:05 pm

Absolutely. Its likely if everyone calmed down, they could probably come to a compromise.
Sas, I guess the “b” does sound that way. The nicer, mature way to deal with it is saying hey mom, I’m really not comfortable with your rule, and you are not comfortable with me sleeping with him. What can we do to make both of us comfortable because when you say you don’t want me sleeping with him, it feels like a direct judgment of my life choices, not just a house rule.

avatar SasLinna August 12, 2014, 2:06 pm

I agree! I don’t think she has said anything to them about potential grandkids yet, sounds like she was just venting. If she wants to bring it up, I think she should say something like “I know this is the rule you prefer, but I want you to know it’s really inconvenient for me because (insert reasons) and I’m considering staying in a hotel because of it. Can you let me know why you’re insisting on it? Maybe we can find a solution for this.”

avatar ChemE August 12, 2014, 12:27 pm

I don’t think it’s so much a parent – child thing, it’s a homeowner – house guest thing. If I don’t want you having seances, smoking, or shacking up in my house I expect my guests to comply or stay elsewhere.

avatar SasLinna August 12, 2014, 12:48 pm

Don’t you think people would basically laugh at this if the rules were reversed? Imagine somebody not letting their mother share a room with her partner when visiting.
Plus, it clearly depends on the content of the rule. Everyone would laugh at a homeowner who decided to not let anyone shack up, not even married couples. C’mon, this is about accepted social norms.

Fabelle Fabelle August 12, 2014, 1:57 pm

I love all your comments on this, Sas

avatar SasLinna August 12, 2014, 2:15 pm

Thanks, that’s nice to hear!

becboo84 becboo84 August 12, 2014, 4:14 pm

Ditto!

FireStar FireStar August 12, 2014, 2:08 pm

So what if it is? To me that would mean the reaction to the imposition of the rule should be more muted. It’s typical that conservative homes don’t let dating couples sleep together. That isn’t earth shattering. Surely this couldn’t have come as a surprize to the LW. To say that this then means the parents should never see future grandchildren? There is something amiss with the LW. This is a problem solved by either accommodating the rules or working around them with a hotel room for some or all of the visit. Why would the solution be a red flag on the play when the underlying ‘offence’ is just at most a matter of a temporary inconvenience?

avatar SasLinna August 12, 2014, 2:14 pm

I guess I’m kind of rebellious in that I don’t accept a rule just because it conforms with tradition. Just because it’s not surprising doesn’t mean it’s right and that LW shouldn’t be upset about it. I don’t like letting people getting away with imposing conservative rules only because they can point to tradition. And sometimes people actually do listen when you make your case. I admit that I’m a pretty outspoken 80ies baby though. :-)

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 2:22 pm

I think everyone should question rules they don’t agree with. Absolutely. While for me, bottom line will still be your house, your rules, I would hope that if someone disagrees with MY rules, they come and tell me why and we can hear each other out. I think its great you’ve suggested the LW do that, rather than just blindly accept it.

FireStar FireStar August 12, 2014, 2:33 pm

Living your life a certain way because it is expected (marrying and having 2.3 kids etc) obeying people blindly is one thing. Doing something temporary because your parents ask you to respect their rules in their own home is something else to me. I’m not a silently, suffering wall flower and I like an outspoken girl myself… but that doesn’t mean I can’t compromise and accommodate a loved ones wishes in their home without losing who I am in the process. I trust the LW will still share a room with her boyfriend in the future regardless of what happens over the holidays at her parent’s house. This wasn’t a question of identity – this was a question of accommodation. (forgive the pun.) ;)

avatar SasLinna August 12, 2014, 2:38 pm

Yeah I definitely think LW is making a connection to broader issues that may or may not be justified. She states that there was a lot of line drawing before, so I’m assuming this isn’t an isolated incident but part of a bigger pattern. Of course it can be unreasonable to make an issue like that the hill you’re willing to die on, but on on the other hand I kind of understand that there’s a lot of symbolism to this – as in, the parents set the rules, she has to comply. It may be a demonstration of power, or at least that’s how LW is reading it. I’m not saying she should resist per se, just that maybe it’s time to set up a relationship on more equal terms, part of which could be to start a dialogue on this with her parents.

FireStar FireStar August 12, 2014, 3:12 pm

I agree boundaries are a girl’s best friend – in any area of her life – but set up the boundary (hotel, sharing a room if the parents visit her etc.) and then carry on – don’t launch an assault of your own. I agree that bigger issues are at play but I think part of it is that the LW takes her parents’ rules as an assault on HER whereas they may exist independently of her (even though they affect her) since they seem to be consistently borne of their conservative christian values. There is no harm in asking about why the rules exist and how closely held some of those rules are. I suspect because the mom explicitly told her they would have separate rooms that there isn’t a lot of wiggle room in that particular value. But talking about dating vs. live-in boyfriend vs married vs. common-law husband should be a discussion they have – calmly without feeling personally attacked or attacking anyone personally. I think if the LW changed her perspective to think these clashes were less about HER personally than they are about choices/values she would have an easier time of it. And after losing a daughter/sister I think the family deserves an easier time of it.

avatar Simonthegrey August 12, 2014, 5:20 pm

My father-in-law is a great guy, but he is very prudish (those are my mother-in-laws words, by the way). He doesn’t like discussion of drinking, women who smoke, visible tattoos, or swearing in his household. I swear a lot. I swear in front of my own parents. I have a potty mouth and that doesn’t bother me. When we’re spending time with my FIL at his home, however, I reign in the swearing. It’s such a small thing for me to do, and it keeps the peace with the in-laws. I feel it’s better to accommodate that one quirk of his, since it’s so minor.

avatar Janie4 August 12, 2014, 6:24 pm

I have friends who are devout Christians. They keep a dry house, and when I as considering a joint birthday party for me and the wife (two days after me) at their place, they made it clear that they would not allow us to bring wine for others to consume and then take it away afterwards. I rolled my eyes that I was expected to have a dry birthday to celebrate there, but it was their house, their rules.

I have OCD. There are things I need overnight guests to do in my house so that I don’t freak out. I work very hard to make sure that I’m not too overbearing, but it’s the way it is. If someone didn’t respect my rules, I would have to not let them stay with me again. I’m sure my friends roll their eyes, but I literally would be jumping out of my skin and crazy until they left. So I’m willing to say that a home should make you feel comfortable, and if there are house rules, respect that people have them to feel safe and secure, even if it’s not OCD level. So if someone would rather their mom didn’t shack up with their boyfriend in their house, well, I might roll my eyes, but I’d respect it was their right to make that request.

findingtheearth findingtheearth August 12, 2014, 10:26 am

I had a curfew when I stayed at my dad’s house all through college. He worked and did not want to be woken up by drunk shenanigans and such. So, I had to be home by 12. I could have stayed at a friend’s house, but having that time with my dad was more important.

I had a really bad relationship with my dad’s parents, for a myriad of reasons. After my daughter was born, I have worked really hard to rebuild it and am glad. They love their great granddaughter. Threatening to take that relationship away from them is incredibly harsh.

I realize you love your boyfriend and want to spend this time with them. Is there any sort of compromise, ie: you both sleep on separate couches in the living room or have the house to yourselves for a few hours each day, or can lay in bed with each other in the morning? Something to spend some time alone together? I understand you have your own believes, but at the end of the day, is it really worth throwing your relationship with them away?

avatar csp August 12, 2014, 11:46 am

So when I was away at college, I didn’t have a curfew. However, when I was home for the summer, my curfew was 10:30 PM! My mom was working and didn’t want to be waiting up or worried. But I did what they said because I understood that being out late during the week wasn’t fair to them.

bagge72 bagge72 August 12, 2014, 10:27 am

LW: Like somebody else said, if your beliefs (are they really beliefs in this situations) are really that strong about this, I think the best bet would be to stay in a hotel, then you guys can do what you want, just make sure you still plan on spending plenty of time with your family so they don’t feel like you are holding some sort of grudge about this. It is their house, so their rules are the rules you should follow. Also I’m sure once you are married with kids your parents aren’t going to make you sleep in separate bedrooms when you come visit, it seems like you are over dramatizing everything, because you are still mad your parents cut you off. I’m glad your parents stuck to their guns with their decisions, and I hope you will too, when you have them over your house, and once your kids decide to break your rules, because it will happen.

avatar Marin August 12, 2014, 10:28 am

I kind of get where the LW is coming from, I think. I get why she feels disrespected, and she thinks that by giving in to this she is setting a precedent.
I would recommend getting a hotel no matter what. Your relationship with your parents is already strained, and it’s going to be uncomfortable for everyone involved. I would recommend this even if they let you sleep in the same room.
With everyone under the same roof, you are bound to pick meaningless fights and have stupid arguments. Do try your best to make it as little of a deal as possible, don’t say “I’m going to a hotel because you won’t allow us to sleep on the same bed!!!!”, try for something softer.
I would try to spend as much time as possible with them during the day, with the assurance of knowing that you and your boyfriend will have some alone time at night. And I don’t mean that for sex, I mean that just for talking and checking in with each other and maybe some venting.
I get your worry about how your parents’ beliefs will affect your children, but that is not what’s at stake here. I think you can work on having the best relationship with your parents that you can manage now, and leave that discussion for later on. I mean, you don’t even have a child yet, and they don’t start asking about beliefs until they are, what, 4 or 5? Or later?
Try to enjoy the time with your parents as much as you can, I definitely think you will regret later it if you cut them off now.

othy othy August 12, 2014, 10:37 am

My brother and his wife secretly eloped. I knew, my little brother knew, but my parents did not (and I still don’t think they know, but they have their suspicions). They had a ‘wedding’ a year and a half later. In between that time, when they were married but my parents thought they weren’t, we had a big family get together at my parents’ house. And my parents mandated that they sleep in separate rooms, since they weren’t married. So they did. And all the kids laughed about it.

Also, i do think BecBoo makes a good point about your living in different countries and not seeing each other much. Long distance is hard, I get it. I was in a long distance relationship for 3 years. But, the distance will end some day. And at the end, it’ll be important for both of you to have a cordial relationship with your folks. Which can best be achieved by you (and him) showing your parents that you will respect their wishes when you visit their house. Or at the very least, getting a (cheap) hotel room so you’re not sleeping together under their roof.

Kate B. Kate B. August 12, 2014, 10:40 am

Their house, their rules. You want them to respect your beliefs, you have to respect theirs. You are not entitled to respect, you have to earn it.

avatar Bekahtravels August 12, 2014, 10:45 am

I totally understand LW where you are coming from. I grew up in a conservative Christian family and I chose to live with my partner despite it not being acceptable to my family. I moved overseas as well. It was a way to figure out who I wanted to be on my own terms. The first few visits home were awkward in separate bedrooms and I intensely disliked that. I wanted to prove to my family that my choices were the right ones and I wanted show them I was better off. You can still do all that in separate bedrooms or in a hotel. Respect your parents and I hope they will respect you back. Enjoy your trip and be happy with your boyfriend and parents! This trip could be a step in the right direction to a better relationship with your family and affirm you are in a good place despite their reservations.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 12, 2014, 10:45 am

I love Wendy’s differentiation between “respecting” and “accommodating”. This particular confusion is at the heart of the religious freedom debate, isn’t it? Having your beliefs respected does not mean you get to shove your beliefs down someone else’s throat (cough Hobby Lobby cough). You’re trying to force your parents to accept that you’ve rejected (vehemently, it seems) the belief system they foisted upon you, and that’s why I think everyone on her has jumped all over you.
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And to my fellow DWers, it sounds to me like there’s a lot more to her frustration with her parents than what happened when she was in college. We have no idea what transpired during her childhood as far as religious indoctrination goes, and as someone who was raised in a super Catholic household, I can empathize with the confusing and toxic ideas that require years and years of deprogramming to overcome. And before the religious among you have a start with the #NotAllChristians and #NotAllReligions stuff, I’m not talking about you, or Christianity as a whole. I’m talking about the LW’s upbringing, which, regardless of your opinion on the matter, was toxic enough for her to not speak to her parents for some time.
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That said, LW, you need to bite the bullet on this one. If you want to have a relationship with your parents, then you’re going to have to agree to disagree. As far as freaking out about your kids learning damaging belief systems, I think you know that the exposure will be minimal and that they’re going to be exposed to all sorts of ideas you don’t like anyway. I’m guessing this situation is a bit raw and you just need a breather. You seem to realize you’re overreacting and just needed an outside opinion to help you see that. Godspeed! (pun intended!)

avatar Simonthegrey August 12, 2014, 5:26 pm

I agree 100%. I didn’t grow up in a terribly confining household. My dad was pretty strict about what we could and couldn’t watch on TV, and I went to Catholic school as a kid, but my folks were pretty lax about most things. This one situation has become emblematic to the OP of everything that happened in her childhood and young life. There’s a lot of hurt there, and a lot of bad feelings that time doesn’t exactly paper over.

A rational discussion with her parents may or may not be possible. They may not be open to any reasoning about why the OP feels this way. They may not care. They may feel that as parents they always have the final say. I agree that OP should still face it head-on, perhaps get a hotel or if there is other extended family to stay with.

The children will grow up with the belief systems the parents give them. OP’s parents won’t be in the picture much if OP and her husband to be live in another country. It’s also a good opportunity to explain to children that not all people believe the same thing, and that respecting someone else’s belief is not the same as believing it yourself.

avatar Ali August 12, 2014, 10:57 am

Wendy and several others made the great point that this family has already lost a daughter/sister under tragic circumstances. However, I don’t think it’s a far reach that these parents should be a little more understanding and accommodating of their remaining child now that they know what it’s like to a.) be cut off for years and b.) actually have a child die. I really think that this issue is just one of many that the relationship between the LW and her parents has been fraught with due to their differing beliefs. Unlike other commenters, I don’t find it to be a particularly “entitled” behavior to be angry that your parents would stop supporting you right in the middle of college just for co-habitating. We’re not talking about failing out of college or drugs or other illegal activity here. It’s reasonable to expect that if you assure your child that you’re going to pay for college but then cut them off the second they start becoming their own person IN A PLACE YOU SENT THEM TO THAT IS DESIGNED TO HELP THEM BECOME THEIR OWN PERSON that the child is gonna have some resentment. When you become a parent, you MUST be aware and accepting of the fact that your kids are not going to be a controllable extension of yourself and will sometimes do things that are against what you taught them in order to assert their independence. That’s part of the job–biologically, humans are programmed to rebel from puberty until the complete formation of the brain in the early 20s because that’s how people survived without their parents back in the day–and if you can’t handle it because God told you that you’re the final word in your home, maybe you should rethink your parenting or not become parents at all. It’s true that we are now talking about 4 adults, but 10 years ago when this nonsense all started, we would have been talking about 2 adults who would rather fight and lose their relationship with their not-a-fully-adult daughter (no matter how grown up she thought she was) over sleeping arrangements than, say, act like grownups and deal with the fact that you can’t punish a 20-year-old who is away at college and expect it to work like it did when she was 8. After the death of their younger daughter, one would think they might see, as mature adults with years more experience than their college-age offspring, that life is too short to battle over what bed your daughter sleeps in and whether or not she gives someone else–with whom she is in a committed relationship–access to her “soul” via her vagina. I think a fair bit of detail was left out of the LW’s description of why she cut her parents off and why this remains such a sticking point–I doubt that the parents simply said “You know our rules, God says not sex before marriage so we’d like your boyfriend to sleep in a separate room.” Parents of this ilk usually come out with all kinds of hurtful and accusatory shit about their daughters’ (never their sons, I notice) characters and choices, and it puts the daughters up in arms every time they feel like a judgment is being made thereafter. That’s not the way to raise a child with whom you want to be close as adults, and they should know that they are now reaping the relationship they’ve sown.

I agree that the LW should go to a hotel with her boyfriend to completely negate the discussion and make her point that under no circumstances will she be forced into following her parents beliefs, but she should also know them well enough by now to see that they won’t change and that their beliefs are more important to them than their relationship with her–which sounds like the true reason for her anger. If she feels it’s important to see them for the holidays and maintain a connection with them while still being true to herself, she should not stay in their home when she visits.

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 11:05 am

Who says it was the parents’ choice to not speak? Sounds like they just decided to not pay for her college (which they aren’t required to do) because they disagreed with her way of living. Nothing wrong with that. I just assumed it was the LW who stopped talking to the parents.

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed August 12, 2014, 11:36 am

from the letter: “they refused to help me at all financially, and I subsequently cut off contact with them.”
You’re right LBH. The LW was the one cutting off contact with the parents because of this. Not the other way around.

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 11:39 am

Look at you, reading the letter for facts before commenting! :) haha, thank you for pointing that out.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 11:48 am

Yeah I read this as–they told her if she moved in with BF she would be cut off, she moved in, they cut her off and she reacted by cutting off contact with them. May be totally off base here. If in college my parents had said–if you move in with your boyfriend we won’t pay for your apt-I wouldn’t have moved in with my boyfriend, and if I had I would have done so being prepared for the outcome (them cutting me off) . It is their money and they are allowed to do whatever they want with it–I hate how so many people (not talking about this LW here specifically) feel so entitled to their parents money. Some of my friends are this way and it is insane. I mean, ah I can’t even.

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 11:55 am

I don’t get the entitlement to parents’ money at any point other than childhood. I see it with older folks too all the time in estate planning or after their parents pass away. Its very weird to me.

avatar ktfran August 12, 2014, 12:24 pm

Same. I never expect my parents to pay for anything. Ever. If they help out, it’s a gift and it’s because they want to. Although, I’m paying for college via student loans, so for me, it wouldn’t have been a money thing, it would have been a disappointment thing and I still don’t like to disappoint them.

avatar courtney August 12, 2014, 11:54 am

I know that my parents would probably also be uncomfortable with me sleeping in the same bed as someone in their house without being married. Would they forbid it? I don’t know. But, if so, I would just suck it up and respect their wishes.

avatar ktfran August 12, 2014, 12:21 pm

Actually, I 100% guarantee that if my parents had a son, the same sleeping arrangement rules that applied to us would have applied to him. It’s not always a gender issue with parents who think like this.

Cassie Cassie August 13, 2014, 11:25 pm

Those lines… you sure do read in between them.

avatar Laura Hope August 12, 2014, 11:01 am

I want my way!!! And if I don’t get it I’m gonna throw a tantrum!!! (but I’m very mature)

avatar Laura Hope August 12, 2014, 11:03 am

I can’t “like” comments. Obviously, I’m signed in so I’m not sure what to do.

Dear Wendy Dear Wendy August 12, 2014, 11:20 am

Hmm, I’m not sure why that would be. As long as you are logged in you should be able to like comments. Can you try logging out and logging back in and see if that does the trick? is anyone else experiencing this?

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 11:34 am

one solution is simply to write “what Addie Pray said”. ;)
*
sorry i’m in a mood.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 12, 2014, 11:03 am

Ugh. Please.
Such an 80s Baby letter…
Me. Me! ME!!
Wah. Wah! WAH!!
.
My reaction?
Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.

avatar something random August 12, 2014, 11:06 am

Hee, hee, hee.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 11:16 am

So old that this just becomes an 80′s baby default. People from every generation can be entitled not just those born in the 80′s.

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 11:22 am

were you born in the 80′s? just wondering b/c i LOVE IT when people born in the 80′s get annoyed by the “80′s baby” insults. it’s kind of cruel of me but part of me likes to should “80′S BABIES” just for the reaction. p.s., love you, mucha!

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 11:22 am

*shout (not should)

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 11:26 am

yeah I was, I mean a lot of people I know my age *are* entitled but it honestly has more to do with their socioeconomic status then the years they were born IMO. IMO that is just not an excuse for being entitled you know.

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 11:32 am

haha, i knew it. can’t you let us have this one insult? we’ll let you keep your youth.

avatar something random August 12, 2014, 11:28 am

I call entitled people from older and younger generations 80s babies, too ;)

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 11:35 am

riiight? because that’s what 80s babies means! i don’t know why for some it’s such a hard pill to swallow.

avatar Molly August 12, 2014, 11:07 am

I am a long-term reader, and I’ve been following you since the Frisky. This advice is so phenomenally offensive. I will no longer be a reader. You clearly do not understand what it means to renegotiate boundaries with a controlling family entrenched in their ideology. This LW is an adult who rightfully takes nothing from them. She owes them nothing, but especially she is not obligated to meet their arbitrary infantilizing expectations.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 11:19 am

You are correct-she isn’t obligated to do that, in which case she shouldn’t stay at their house. How is it infantalizing? I know *so* many parents who would expect no less from their children then this.

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 11:21 am

So they should respect her beliefs, but not vice versa? How does that make sense? If she doesn’t want to follow their rules in their home, the obvious solution is just staying elsewhere.

Dear Wendy Dear Wendy August 12, 2014, 11:22 am

I respect your decision to no longer read, but I think that to call this advice “phenomenally offensive” is a bit of an overreaction. Knowing nothing about you, I respectfully suggest that perhaps there’s some projection on your part. Regardless, thanks for your years of reading and take care.

avatar something random August 12, 2014, 11:22 am

“phenomenally offensive”? Someone has some unresolved issues…

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 11:31 am

if telling a letter writer to respect her parents’ wishes to keep the peace and sleep in separate bedrooms while on holiday is “phenomenally offensive” i am dying to hear what she thinks about actually phenomenally offensive things, or bittergaymark, ha. (boom?)

avatar Kicia August 12, 2014, 11:39 am

I think the advice is pretty reasonable. Part of growing up and showing maturity is learning to pick your battles and sometimes we have to make small sacrifices to maintain good relationships with our loved ones. From the many stories of other commentors above, it seems like the parents aren’t requesting anything overly controlling; it sounds like a common request from an older generation. Maybe the lw left out a lot of details of their “controlling” behavior but the details she did provide honestly don’t really strike me as out of line.

avatar TMD260 August 12, 2014, 1:19 pm

Why is are the LW’s parents supposed to adhere to the LW’s beliefs, but she doesn’t have to with them? That’s a big contradiction. I don’t think Wendy’s advice was “phenomenally offensive” in the slightest. It’s very simple: respect the parents wishes under THEIR roof, or go elsewhere if you absolutely cannot. For the record, I am an 80s baby & I sensed major entitlement issues coming off this letter. If the LW wants respect, then as an adult, she should know to extend the same courtesy to her parents. Simple as that. As an adult, you should be able to spring for your own hotel room of you know your parents aren’t comfortable with their unmarried daughter sleeping in the same bed as her boyfriend. I don’t agree with the parent’s beliefs, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be respected in THEIR OWN HOME.

avatar TMd260 August 12, 2014, 1:21 pm

Why are**

avatar jlb80 August 12, 2014, 9:47 pm

I think we’ve found the lw.

avatar Lily in NYC August 12, 2014, 11:14 am

Huh. My parents aren’t even all that conservative and my sister and I always slept in separate rooms than our SO’s when visiting – I think maybe even when my sister was engaged (can’t remember). And even though I thought it was silly because they actually weren’t weird about our having sex lives – I never, ever complained. Their house, their rules. OP, get over yourself. All your letter proves is that you have a lot of maturing to do.

avatar Kelly August 12, 2014, 11:27 am

Overreacting a bit, yes. If its that important, get a hotel room. Problem solved.

Fabelle Fabelle August 12, 2014, 11:47 am

“Their house, their rules” makes sense on the whole, but “Their house, their rules, you immature entitled brat!” doesn’t make any sense to me?
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Their rules (“you must sleep separately!”) in this instance also makes no sense to me—an ADULT should be able to sleep in the same room as her partner no matter where she’s visiting. I mean, is that entitled-sounding? To me, it’s like the same as a visitor being able to have access to a bathroom & bedsheets. Buuuut I never, ever understand the separate bedrooms rule, nor have I ever encountered it (unlike other readers here) so whenever it comes up, I’m like that’s totally nutso LW & they’re (<—the other commenters) are like, "Oh, this happens sometimes, just roll with it."
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Basically, get a hotel.

avatar lets_be_honest August 12, 2014, 11:54 am

Uhh, you sound entitled to sheets and bathrooms, Fab. 80s baby?

Diablo Diablo August 12, 2014, 12:18 pm

That’s the beauty of rules, fab. They don’t require understanding and consensus, just followin’. I know Wendy asked us not to hack on the LW for immaturity anymore, but I’m going to re-frame the debate in slightly different language, because I actually think this can be a helpful comment for the LW. LW, you being so mad about the no sleeping together rule is the problem. It’s not that the rule is stupid and pointless, which it is. The “maturity” thing could come down to this: live a bit longer and you’ll see that nobody respects your beliefs, because nobody spends a whole lotta time respecting anybody else’s beliefs about anything, or even being intently aware of what they are. Even your close friends will have trouble remembering what your core vitally important beliefs are unless you bore them to tears with them constantly. They are more interested in where to have lunch. So the real issue here is being cool. If you are really so over your parents belief system, then why have a big fight? you know you won’t change them, right? So why isn’t your response, “Sure, Fine, Whatever.” You know who you are, and you know who they are. Wanna be cool? Don’t let shit bug you.

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 1:02 pm

right on, diablo

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 12, 2014, 12:23 pm

It’s called respect. Something many of you constantly demand for yourselves while proving yourself utterly incapable of giving it to others as you are all too self absorbed. It’s all you. You! YOU!!

Fabelle Fabelle August 12, 2014, 2:09 pm

But is anyone suggesting a course of action that isn’t respectful? No one is saying, oh fuck them, stay there &then bang loudly with the door open… they’re saying get a hotel, OR just suck it up & follow their rules (& some are adding insults on top of that). To me, the LW doesn’t even sound immature or selfish–she says, “I’m not sure where drawing the line stops being the mature, independent thing to do and starts becoming simply rebellious and/or manipulative.” She’s asking for guidance on how NOT to come off like a bratty, rebellious child. And people are responding by calling her a bratty child. What even? (Diablo, you make good points, but I kind of just wanted to throw myself in here to give the LW some support….like, no, you’re not crazy for thinking your parents are crazy,)

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 2:30 pm

But this “Is it manipulative of me to warn them that such treatment of my choices will cause me to rethink future visits and our future relationship, not to mention their relationship with any potential children of ours?”
–seems to really be blowing the whole thing out of proportion–and yeah, being pretty manipulative if one rule of theirs results in this reaction, that is bizarre no? I think there may be a lot to this she hasn’t disclosed, but with what we are given it seems a lot extreme to jump to this over a really small and insignificant matter. I agree it is a stupid rule and totally redundant because obviously her parents must know her and her boyfriend sleep together/etc. but it is still their rule and more about respect and what makes them comfortable. She clearly doesn’t respect them but wants them to respect her decisions? This is definitely entitled and I can see how it comes off a little bit eh to a lot of commenters.

avatar SasLinna August 12, 2014, 4:25 pm

This. I don’t think anything the LW said can be framed as “not respectful” or immature. If she can be criticized at all it’s because she’s considering a response that just seems a little harsh. I’m not really seeing entitlement, I think she’s been hurt before and is in danger of lashing out against her parents when a calmer approach would be better. And I totally agree with you on the insults that have been thrown at this LW. Way over the top.

Diablo Diablo August 12, 2014, 6:22 pm

Sure, sure, and when i slept on a cot the first few times at M’s parents’, I thought it was effin’ ridiculous, especially given that we already lived together, and her parents had visited our home (though not overnight). But “whatever” is a powerful word. i get what Saslinna is saying about not automatically caving to a rule you believe is unreasonable or against current norms. But: 1) the rule is actually not that uncommon among older, religious or conservative people; 2) I wouldn’t care about that anyway, cuz fuck norms and rules; and 3) it’s STILL no big deal. If it is, then don’t go there. She isn’t being asked to recant like galileo in front of the damn inquisition, just sleep apart to pay smirking lip service to her parents antiquated views. Hell, half of life is learning to get by with people whose beliefs disagree with yours. As a proud Saskatchewan socialist, do you know much crap I have to take from right-wing ideologues who have never taken a minute to think about social justice, but feel entitled to downgrade people who are not as lucky as them? And that’s just my parents! But still, my house, my rules. I still remember the first time I enforced a rule on my Dad and made him go outside to smoke in the dead of winter. Clearly, he did not feel my rule was reasonable. Too bad, Dad. Also, neener neener.

avatar csp August 12, 2014, 3:14 pm

So, my friend makes everyone take off their shoes when entering her house so that the kids won’t get gross stuff from shoes. I think that is weird but I am a guest. My grandmother expects us to dress up when we see her like we are going to church. We get a free meal and are expected to dress for the occasion. I don’t let people smoke in my home. They are all rules that others might deem silly but in my home, I want someone not to smoke.

becboo84 becboo84 August 12, 2014, 4:21 pm

I don’t find that to be an equivalent argument: Secondhand smoke is objectively damaging, and the impact (odor, etc.) remains long after the smokers have gone. Sleeping with your SO is not objectively damaging, nor does the impact remain after you and your SO leave.

avatar csp August 12, 2014, 6:34 pm

OK, but is your parents allowing you to knock boots in the house the same as asking you to take your shoes off when you get in the house? What about no running in the house? What about expected table manners or dinner attire? What about expected dinner prayers? name the rule/expectation.

avatar Miss MJ August 12, 2014, 9:45 pm

Clearly you missed the conversation about the “sex juices” mattress! ;-).

Lyra Lyra August 12, 2014, 3:19 pm

Personally this is how I see it: in the end, my parents are still my parents. They care about me, they raised me pretty well, they always want the best for me. No matter if I’m 14 or 54, they’re still my parents. I love them and respect them. Yeah there are times when I absolutely disagree with them, but in the end it’s water under the bridge. If it makes them uncomfortable for me to sleep in the same room as a boyfriend when I’m visiting overnight, that’s fine by me. That’s where the respect thing comes into play.
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When I was with my ex and we were visiting over a holiday, he snuck into my room so we could cuddle and talk in bed for a while. Literally that was all we were doing. Of course we fell asleep and when he got up to sneak back to the guest room at 4 am, he ran into my dad in the hallway on the way to the bathroom. It wasn’t pretty. I got really upset that my dad reacted how he did, but at the same time I felt so bad for not respecting their wishes. When I saw JUST how uncomfortable my dad was with it, I realized it absolutely wasn’t worth breaking my parents’ trust.

avatar kaymad41 August 12, 2014, 11:55 am

Sometimes parents do things for your own good, or what they think is for your own good. My daughter lived at home while she went to college. Right after college she wanted to immediately move in with her boyfriend (whom we liked a lot). We thought it wasn’t a good idea for her to go from our house to her boyfriends, someone who would take care of her. We thought it was important that she live on her own, manage her own finances and household. We used the only weapon we had, money. We told her if she did that we wouldn’t pay for her wedding.

She was quite angry with us and wanted to move forward with her plans. Her boyfriend (now husband) came and talked to us and we explained our reasoning and he thankfully agreed. Maybe your parents felt the same way. Maybe they thought it was more important for you to live on your own.

Anyway, if you feel so strongly about maintaining a shared bed just get a hotel room.

FireStar FireStar August 12, 2014, 12:02 pm

Something else must be going on here. LW you seem to go to defcon 1 whenever you don’t get your way and assume that your parents are trying to control you. Why can’t they just disagree with you? If they are paying for your education and living expenses (out of their own generosity) and you act in a manner counter to their belief system – why should they continue to fund a lifestyle they don’t agree with? Why is that a fatal choice? Should they instead continue to support you so you could live counter to their beliefs? Does that make sense to you? Would you do that?
They invited you and your boyfriend home for the holidays – they don’t want you in the same room without the benefit of marriage – many families are like that – so your response is to threaten to keep future grandchildren away from them? You say you understand it is their home but it’s your life. That’s like me saying I understand the law not to crash my car to people going under the speed limit in the passing lane… but it’s my life. It’s my life… living in a society with rules. And it’s your life visiting your family with rules. If you understand it’s their home – like how you would expect people to understand YOUR house rules when they visit you – whatever they are – then that is the end of it. Your choices are now how to mitigate the loss of doing what you what. hotel? staying with them for a couple of days and hotel the rest? your response shouldn’t be trying to manipulate them into doing what they want (which you already suspect is the case). Be kinder than that. These are people who lost a daughter forever. Why would you threaten to take away another one over nonsense? This isn’t a question of abusive parents – nothing in your letter says so – this is a question of you not getting your own way. You are old enough now to figure out that will happen in life and how to make the best out of those situations. So do that….Oh and when you have those kids you want in the future try and model for them the behaviour you want them to follow…including how to respect and treat their parents. Kids learn from what you do – not what you tell them to do.

bondbabe bondbabe August 12, 2014, 12:16 pm

So, almost-29-year-old, you feel disrespected about YOUR beliefs but won’t respect your PARENTS’ beliefs??! Incredible. Guess you wear the I’M RIGHT-YOU’RE WRONG crown proudly. I recently remarried–at age 50, and even though we were living together, we weren’t allowed to sleep in the same room while visiting his parents and relatives. We respected their wishes. If it’s such a big hassle and infringement on your beliefs, rent a hotel room—AND GROW UP!

avatar Anna August 12, 2014, 12:43 pm

I know a lot about this topic, seeing as how my parents also cut off my financial aid due to my relationship when I was 19. They have consistently and openly ridiculed/berated me for not following their religion and that is why we don’t have a close relationship. I feel disrespected like I’m sure the LW does too. I am going home to Ohio to visit friends and family over thanksgiving and I plan to stay with my best friend rather than my parents for these reasons. If she weren’t nearby, I would stay at a hotel regardless of whether I have a man or not but especially if I did. And I don’t think it’s that bad to question whether they should be involved in your future children’s lives either. I could honestly see my mom trying to convince my kids someday that I’m going to hell and saying all kinds of disrespectful stuff about me, plus trying to convert them to the baptist way. That would piss me off to no end so I have honestly thought the same thing about future family relations.

avatar Portia August 12, 2014, 1:31 pm

I have a question: what if this situation were slightly reversed and instead of the LW staying with her parents it was her parents staying with her? And one of their conditions for staying with the LW was that her and her boyfriend couldn’t share a room? Would you advise the LW’s parents to do the same thing, either respect that they’ll be sharing a room or find a hotel? I’m curious…

Amanda Amanda August 12, 2014, 1:33 pm

Yes.

avatar jlyfsh August 12, 2014, 1:35 pm

Yeah, I would definitely tell them the same thing. It’s her house her rules, if it makes you uncomfortable get a hotel.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana August 12, 2014, 1:38 pm

Absolutely–if hypothetically my parents had a problem with my boyfriend and I sleeping together/cohabitating and listed as a stipulation of them staying that we couldn’t sleep together while they were there, I would tell them sorry but if you feel that way a hotel is in order. IMO noone gets to dictate how someone wants things in their own home-except for a significant other. In fact at one point with an ex-it was Christmas and my parents didn’t mind him sleeping in my room (I lived at home) my aunt and uncle (with no kids, who are atheist and extremely liberal) berated my mom and dad for letting him sleep there and they basically told them that it was their house, and if my aunt and uncle felt uncomfortable with the situation they could get a hotel room.

Dear Wendy Dear Wendy August 12, 2014, 1:43 pm

If it’s the LW’s house, it’s her rules and the parents can find a hotel if they don’t like it.

avatar Portia August 12, 2014, 1:43 pm

Thanks for responding, guys. This is something I had to consider in my own life. Thankfully other arrangements were made and we were able to avoid bringing it up, but it was something I had to consider. I felt guilty about it at the time, but now less so.

Addie Pray Addie Pray August 12, 2014, 2:32 pm

I think the “their house, their rules” rule should always apply. Depending on the rule, however, I may say “their house, their rules, so suck it for the sake of keeping the peace” or “their house, their rules, so stay at a hotel” or even a “their house, their rules, but fuck them, don’t waste your vacation time on them.” For example, if they asked the couple to stay in different rooms only because they were gay or biracial or something – or insert something fundamentally important to you.

avatar scattol August 13, 2014, 3:35 am

These parents would then share a room at the hotel!!! That defeats the purpose. That’s logically flawed.
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At best one at the LW the other at the hotel.
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I would presume that the host would be accomodating as any host should be with 1 in a room the other one on the couch. This, of course, presumes that there is space.

avatar Eve August 12, 2014, 2:08 pm

Now similarly to Molly I know a lot about controlling parents and I can deeply empathize with adult kids setting basic boundaries with such parents (and these sort of topics and the responses strike a nerve very often for me too). I don’t think the only reason she cut them off was them cutting her off financially, I bet there was a lot more than that going on but the LW didn’t go on into their whole family history.

HOWEVER, with all my first-hand experience and understanding of these situations, even I think the LW is totally wrong for being like this! LW, I get it, you’ve probably been controlled and manipulated all your life (for reasons other than boyfriends as well) and you still have some anger towards your parents. So since you realised this and became 18, you wanted to make sure that you’ll never be controlled again and you are being extra careful setting boundaries now that you are an independent adult. Good for you, many adult kids never learn how to set healthy boundaries.

The only problem being that I don’t think you have actually learned properly how to do that. You want to be SO sure that you’ll never be controlled again, that you don’t realise when to stop and when you’ve started being manipulative and controlling yourself (ie where the boundary truly is). Think about it, there are a huge number of completely understanding supporting loving (but religious/conservative) parents in the world who still wouldn’t allow their daughters to sleep in the same room as their bf IN THEIR OWN HOUSE. This particular case doesn’t make them controlling or toxic or treating you like you’re 18, it makes them conservative. I’m sure they genuinely have been controlling throughout your life in many ways, but I don’t think this is any of these cases. In a way it’s similar to them wanting you to help out with dinner and shopping, or to clean/tidy up after yourselves, as you’re in their house. Unfortunately, it’s their house, it’s their rules and I imagine millions of adult kids coming back home to their families have to face similar circumstances.
Overall, it seems like you’re now having a hard time distinguishing between actual controlling behaviour (for example insisting on when and where you should live, what to work, what to study, who to meet up with) and a house rule being set in their own house for just a week or a couple of weeks or so. Other than these 2 weeks or so, you can do whatever you want. You can get married, have sex with your boyfriend, live with him when the time comes, get a pet, have a kid, whatever.
Since both you and your parents are putting effort into having a stable relationship, it must be worth it. Keep setting HEALTHY boundaries like any adult should, but try not to confuse it with just general rules. It’s an easy mistake to make, I don’t blame you for it. I hope getting a response from someone with a bit more understanding will make you see things clearer.
Best of luck.

avatar CattyGoLightly August 12, 2014, 2:48 pm

Ohh it is pretty frustrating having to go back home after being an adult and paying your own way, and living your own life, and then feeling like you are being pushed back into the “child” role again. Especially when you are using your money to get there, and you probably don’t get to see your boyfriend that often (Use Ryanair!!! It’s sooooo cheap).

However, it is your parents’ house. It’s just better to sleep in separate bedrooms and not ruffle any feathers. I know you probably can’t afford to stay in a hotel the whole time, but what about a few days? That way you and your boyfriend can sex it up, have a little space, etc. but still spend some time with your parents?

avatar SLS August 12, 2014, 3:26 pm

Wow… I have been very intrigued by all of the comments in regards to this letter. I certainly agree with the majority – ‘your house, your rules’ – but I am amazed by how many people view this rule as being absurd (insert similar word, I can’t find the best one). My parents have the same rule, and I am not bothered by it the least bit (my boyfriend and I live together in another state). Honestly, think about it from your parents’ perspective. You were once their little kid. As much as I don’t ever want to imagine my parents having sex; I imagine my parents don’t want to have the same thoughts regarding me! (haha). But also some of the responses regarding the absurdity of the rule (need for a hotel) sort of sound co-dependent, IMO. Is a couple not capable of spending a couple of nights in separate bedrooms? In regards to the letter writer, if the relationship is long distance then I can understand why you might want to share a room because y’all don’t a majority of time. In that case maybe plan a little stay-cation in your home town for a couple of nights. Or is there a destination in a couple hour driving radius from your hometown that you would like to show your boyfriend? You could always spend a couple days there to get a more “vacation” feel to your trip to your states. But I wouldn’t get worked up about the separate rooms, in the end it really isn’t a big deal.

mandalee mandalee August 12, 2014, 3:51 pm

I didn’t comment earlier, and I do think the LW should just compromise and sleep in separate rooms peacefully or get a hotel, but I do think the sleeping in separate rooms thing is absurd, especially if you are an older adult. Then again, my parents respected my privacy and independence and I was able to have boyfriends sleep over from 16 or so on. Hell, my dad met my now husband during a late night run to the bathroom the first night he slept on.
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Anyway, my main point is I think the “you can’t sleep in the same room” rule is silly, because it implies that every time two adults climb into bed together they must be screwing. So, by separating them, you what, ensure that no sex goes down under your roof? Or try to convince yourself that sex never happens otherwise? I just think it’s silly. The LAST place in the world I want to have sex with my husband is in my mother-in-laws house after I spent an exhausting day with her, but it is nice to shut the door, climb into bed together and decompress after a long day with family. But we definitely had sex during the day in random places while visiting family in our younger years, so really it seems like an appearance thing, since forcing us to sleep in twin beds in different rooms really didn’t do much to deter anything from happening.

avatar SasLinna August 12, 2014, 4:00 pm

I’ve commented excessively already, but here goes. I don’t think the rule is “absurd” necessarily, it’s just based in a conservative morality that I don’t agree with at all. The rule can’t be about being squeamish about “your little kid” having sex since after all the rule wouldn’t apply to a married couple. The parents would let them share a room if they were married. This isn’t about hearing a relative having sex nearby or even imagining that happening, this is about enforcing a conservative sexual morality. Which is why I disagree with it. Of course it’s not a “big deal” compared to other problems, but the fact that it’s not a huge deal doesn’t mean you can’t be affected by it or be upset by it or try to fight it. Sometimes this “suck it up” mentality just goes a little too far. I and others are trying to empathize with this LW a little bit and delve deeper into the discussion than just “no big deal, their house, their rules”. I’m having this discussion because I think it’s valuable and sometimes the small problems in life DO matter and hopefully we can help a LW deal with such issues a little more productively.

avatar SLS August 12, 2014, 4:21 pm

So we can agree to disagree then. The statement about the “little kid” was merely to bring a little “lightness” to the discussion because I do think people are taking it a little to seriously. But, this is also why I provided two alternative options for the letter writer in an effort to follow her parents rule in the house and enjoy the vacation. You are correct, I can’t empathize with her because personally, I don’t view my parents rule (for whatever reason they have it) as being silly. Simply, it doesn’t bother me. So maybe I am not the best to have an opinion on this situation because my opinion is that I don’t feel the need to get worked up about it.

avatar SasLinna August 12, 2014, 4:32 pm

Yeah I get it and didn’t mean to pick on you, sorry if it came across that way. I also often don’t understand why certain LW’s get upset at certain things, but we all have our issues. I’m simply seeing a trend of people dismissing an LW’s experience just because they can’t relate, which I think can be a bit of a tone deaf response to real struggles (again, not you in particular, this is more of a general observation).

avatar islandgirl August 12, 2014, 5:12 pm

Before I got married, I visited my future in-laws with my now husband. We were engaged but not married. His mother made it clear to him that we would be sleeping in separate bedrooms because we were not married. I was completely fine with it since it was their home. I didn’t think it was a big deal. In fact, at the time I was in a long distance relationship with my husband, so we didn’t see each other all the time. At the same time, we didn’t spend our whole vacation with them either. I would suggest the LW spend a few days with her parents and then spend the remaining time at a hotel. I don’t think her parents are manipulating her but rather just expressing that she should respect their beliefs. If they were manipulating her, they probably wouldn’t invite her boyfriend to stay at their home.

avatar Simonthegrey August 12, 2014, 5:36 pm

A few years ago, I went back with my then-boyfriend, now-husband (the Ginger) and his parents to visit extended family in a different state. We lived together, and his parents – very secular and liberal, at least on his mom’s part – made arrangements for where we would stay. Half the trip was to stay with his father’s mother, and the other half with some cousins. When my now-mother-in-law spoke to HER mother-in-law, she said that the Ginger and I would need to sleep in separate rooms since we weren’t married. The Ginger relayed this to me, and I said that was fine. His grandmother, her house, her rules. My MIL was incensed and decided that she and my FIL would stay at Grandmother’s home also, to use the spare room so that Grandmother couldn’t separate the Ginger and I. I kinda felt like that was overreacting (I mean, it was only for sleeping….) but that was how we spent the vacation. It was kinda funny to me that my MIL had this decision of how this would go, but then again, it gave her a chance to stick it to HER MIL, so that was probably why she wanted to.

avatar pinkaffinity August 12, 2014, 7:20 pm

Yeah, people have been saying suck it up OR stay at a hotel. Why not both?

avatar MissDre August 12, 2014, 6:10 pm

I actually find it incredibly odd that everybody’s parents make them and their SO sleep in separate bedrooms while visiting. I guess I’m in the minority, but when I came home for Christmas at age 22 with my BF, we slept together in my old bedroom and it was never even questioned. Now that I’m 28 and living with my mother again, my BF sleeps over all the time. Its just normal for us. I guess I’m lucky?

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed August 12, 2014, 6:11 pm

It’s normal for me too! I think my parents would be weirded out if we didn’t want to sleep in the same bedroom.

Lyra Lyra August 12, 2014, 7:48 pm

My parents are religious and have conservative values — it isn’t uncommon among older generations. They are a big reason why I also have fairly conservative values.

waterbug waterbug August 13, 2014, 1:37 am

With my fiance’s mom, totally expected we stayed in same room/bed from the beginning, even when we didn’t by my choice! My parents…much harder time accepting that and they are not religious. The first time he came on a family trip (5 years into dating) my parents were all awkward and uncomfortable while my grandfather winked and made suggested comments to him. I think it really is a case by case thing.

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