Sons girlfriend doesn't say hello to me or my wife when she comes to our home

(31 Posts)
how77 Sun 08-May-11 12:01:17

I am new to mumsnet, and I'm not actually a woman, hope this isn't an issue. I am a stepdad to an 18/19 yo son, and yes I do mean son, as that is how I see him, and not my stepson.

My son has recently started dating his first serious girlfriend, she is 3 years older than him (early twenties).

We are quite liberal with our son as he is a decent person who has never caused issues or been a bad child (something that perhaps many children cannot say in this day and age).

I came on the scene when he was 13, so almost 6 years now, and our relationship has always been good, more of a testament to him allowing me in rather than my great parenting skills.

So back to the subject, since he has starting seeing this girl, who we have met and had dinner with (once), she has stayed at our home perhaps 20-30 times, and on only the first occasion did he bring her to wherever we were in the house and say hello. We felt the meal we had together would break the ice, which it did, but even now, when they come to the house, our son dissappears in his room with her and we don't even see her unless we go to his room and say hello. I was initially surprised at this as she is older than him and I would have thought that she would insist on saying hello even if he didn't want to do it.

She may be shy, and he may be embaressed, but on his side this would be very much out of character, we discuss everything with him and I have always ensured that I never judge him but give him honest caring advice.

I have allowed my wife to take the front seat with this as has always been the case (just for information, we have always made joint decisions when it comes to our son, and discussed parenting tactics). So after the first couple of times it was just ignored by my wife but now, its grating on me that this doesn't seem quite right and as its our home (thats all three of us), it feels disrespectful on his part and hers.

Any views or opinions are welcome. I must stress that this is not a stepfather/stepson issue, and I'm not as interested in the dynamics of our relationship as not blood related, don't forget his mother is, well his mother, and neither of them acknowledge her when they come to the house.

We will have to approach this subject, as it feels like two houses living under one roof and a real devision. Ladies, parents what are your thoughts, would this be acceptable to you? And if it is acceptable, why?

Lastly I know he is not a child, but he is our son and still has a very immature view on many things and while strives for independance lacks the drive to seek it our for himself.

Many thanks in advance.

amberleaf Sun 08-May-11 12:05:11

I think its a bit rude but what is your sons role in this?

If i brought a guest into my parents home i would know that the correct thing to do is to bring my guest to say hello, i would expect it to happen naturally after the first few maybe awkward times.

What is your son like with his guests normally ie not girlfriends just platonic friends?

how77 Sun 08-May-11 12:15:56

His friends normally come and say hello regardless, even when I was new to the family. My son comes to get drinks or food which is eaten in his room (again not an issue with this).

And I'm not after a hello everytime, but it just never happens, for me it is odd and thats the part I don't understand, especially as she is older and noticeably more mature than him.

Hassled Sun 08-May-11 12:22:38

It does seem a bit off/rude, and in your shoes I'd be feeling the same as you. I have two young adult children, one still living at home, and their respective BFs/GFs over the years have always done the token embarrassing polite conversation thing with me when they come to the house. It can't be much fun for them, but they've always acknowledged me.

Have you spoken to your son about it? It could be that the embarrassment thing is coming from him, rather than her - that it's him who hurries her upstairs rather than her avoiding you. Because when you're 18, the whole concept of a sex life/relationship is fairly new, and he's dealing with a whole range of emotions he's probably never had before - he may well be a bit confused/panicked by the whole thing.

crystalglasses Sun 08-May-11 12:25:01

the op has posted on 2 different threads - this one and the student one. I'm confused as I've already responded on the other one.

how77 Sun 08-May-11 12:30:39

We have always been very open with him to discuss things, sex/relationships, but it is understandable that he may not feel this way, this is why all of your comments are very helpful.

She is quite quiet, and we have done the introductory 'hello how are you', and even went out for a nice meal to break the ice.

You mentioned he hurries her upstairs, the other slight issue, is that our house is the other way around, entry through the basement (bedrooms on the same floor), kitchen and living room upstairs. So they arent passing the living room and ignoring us, but the lack of acknowledgement still doesn't feel right.

We have spoken to him about it, but he felt that our conversation was infringing his freedom and privacy, this conversation really went nowhere, and as such was not pursued.

how77 Sun 08-May-11 12:32:28

@crystalglasses
apologies for the double posting, but I didn't see the 'student' thread.

as this was behaviour I thought it should be here, then saw the student one

not trying to confuse matters

ledkr Sun 08-May-11 12:38:22

If you have already done the intros and been for a meal,what else did you want? Sorry if i sound flippant i dont mean to,my 3 ds's would introduce me initially and then from then on shoot upstairs with gf's apart from if they came down to get a drink or eat when we would pass afew pleasantries.When they got older was when i started to speak to them properly and now have 2 very close dils. I think its just abit of embarrasment on their part,just shout "hiya" when you hear them come in.

how77 Sun 08-May-11 12:44:03

@ledkr
Your comment does feel somewhat flippant, but its good to hear an opposing view.
To answer your question, we would like to see her occasionally, as it stands we know she is here because we can hear her voice (not an issue, we just have thin walls) but other than that there is no interaction. I don't think we need a formal hello everytime she is here but I've only seen her 3 times and she has been at our home 20 - 30 times. Im sure there is some embaressment. You mention pleasantries, awkward or not that would be nice.

crystalglasses Sun 08-May-11 12:46:07

18 year olds can be very touchy and yes, he sounds immature. I don't really think this the girlfriend can be blamed for this. As you say, the layout of your house doesn't make it very easy and she will be taking the lead from your dss regarding acknowledging your existence in the house.

I don't think it is on that he is treating your home as a flat share. What are her circumstances? Does she live at home and if so how often does he go to her house and do you know what happens with her parents?

I suspect that he wants to convey an impression of independence to her and sees living under the parental roof as being a little too dependent.
Very difficult for you but at some point you and your wife will have to lay down some house rules or this could continue for ever and be repeated with the next girlfriend.

how77 Sun 08-May-11 12:54:37

She is a student living near our home in london, she sees her parents once a month, they live outside of london. Our son hasn't met them yet.

Thats a very good point on the 'giving the impression of independance', I hadn't thought of that.

74750447 Sun 08-May-11 12:57:00

My DDs do this with their friends - introduce them once, they say hello if they wander into the room, but otherwise it's straight upstairs for all of them, with nary a glance.
I doubt I'd be very comfortable or happy with it if it was a partner.

Since it's not her home she mightn't be comfortable seeking you out just to say hello, I'd just mention it to him over dinner or a cup of tea or some such, that you'd appreciate seeing them both when they come into the house.

ledkr Sun 08-May-11 12:59:16

My dils now tell me they were a bit scared of me moi? i am brash and blonde and my boys had told them i was strict grin There was one rudeish girl once who hardly spoke to me but was happy to eat all my food-i was a poor single parent- isaid nothing untill one day she had a go at ds cos his little 3 yr old sis had eaten one of her biscuits!! I did shout rather loudly.
She,being a tad older may also be slightly paranoid that you disapprove.I think you should speak to ds and suggest al ordering a pizza or something one night and spend time together slowly.If he's anything like my ds's she wont be the only girl you get to meet.

BluddyMoFo Sun 08-May-11 12:59:30

She is dating your son and not you. Yes it would be lovely for YOU if she felt comfortable around you and wanted to chat but she is there to see your son and that is who she wants to spend her time with. I cant see the problem. Its not like she is actively rude to you.

crystalglasses Sun 08-May-11 13:04:15

I don't agree with BluddyMoFo. I wonder if sh has any adult children living at home

Crysalis Sun 08-May-11 13:09:57

i had a really good friend who used to ignore my parents when we were late teens.

my mum challeneged me on it and i asked my friend in the end.

turns out, he had a terrible family life and parents who couldn't have given a crap if he was home or not, let alone saying hello when he got in... so it was a weird norm for him to not talk to parents, anyones. he was also excruiatingly shy.

my mum works with teens, so she gently managed to bring him out of his shell a little and cured it with kindness.

i think you having dinner all together was a really good start. is there any other way you could make her feel included?

alemci Sun 08-May-11 13:11:07

i can relate to this. My dd brings her bf home sometimes. I find it uncomfortable but he does tend to say hello and I do talk to him but if they are with other people then he does not.

I think it is a bit rude of her TBH

madrose Sun 08-May-11 13:14:27

embarrassingly I was like the girlfriend blush - i honestly wasn't rude, but I was/am so painfully shy it was easier to stay in the background. The only thing that help was that my boyfriend's parents would always say hello and have a chat - eventually i was able to relax and would go and say hya.

give it time, do go and say hello and over time it will sort itself out. Age is no factor - even in my 40's that painful shyness and lack of self esteem still occaisionally kicks in.

tallulah Sun 08-May-11 13:18:47

I didn't speak to my ILs at all when I was going out with DH. I was very very shy, they aren't the sort of people I'd have had anything to do with under other circumstances and I didn't know what to say to them. It must also be said they aren't the sort of people to put you at your ease..

DH similarly didn't say more than 2 words to my parents in the 2 years before we got married. They tried to make him talk but he just wasn't comfortable with them.

DS2 now has a GF who doesn't speak to us grin

smoggii Sun 08-May-11 13:20:34

She may be older than your son but she is still young and I think it's for your son to control. Just mention to him that you would prefer it if they came in to say hello when they arrived even if just for a minute so that it was comfortable for everyone should they bump into each other in the house later.

I don't think it would be easy for her to pop in and say hi if her BF (your son) is ushering her up the stairs.

KatieMiddleton Sun 08-May-11 13:25:10

I suspect the girlfriend is not the problem. I expect she's just following your son's lead. If he takes her straight to her bedroom that's where she'll go. She doesn't know what's normal in your family and just takes your son's lead on it.

If you want things to be different talk to your son and say you'd like him to come and say hello when he comes in.

Are you perhaps missing spending time with him now he has a girlfriend? Maybe it is time to let him go a bit??

jellyvodkas Sun 08-May-11 13:32:54

she should say Hello, she is rude. You should say something to your son. Maybe tell him it makes you andyour wife feel uncomfortable, and you find it unfriendly (in your own home) and rather rude. I have had teenagers coming round llike this, and I dont like it. I have told my children too. Some kids have no training in manners at all. angry

southofthethames Sun 08-May-11 13:40:43

Welcome how77, dads and stepdads are of course welcome here. Hmm, I think both of them should come in and say "hello/good afternoon/good evening" and "how are you" at some point during that visit. Not necessarily immediately if they think you might be busy, but soon after. I don't agree with family members "treating the home like a hotel" and just wandering in and out without a greeting. But that applies to both your stepson as well as his guest. What does your wife think - does she think it is rude too?

PenelopePitstops Sun 08-May-11 13:45:43

I think if she doesn't go directly past you in the house to get to his room then it doesn't really matter.
I am in my early 20s and don't live with my boyfriend. His parents house is laid out so that when I go round i can go straight upstairs without knowing whether they are in or not. I often go into the house and go straight upstairs BUT when getting food etc we will both go downstairs and it is then I will speak to them. We live in different cities so don't see much of each other, but I always make some sort of effort, i find it easier when we are going out because there is no expectation to hang around for hours talking! I get on well with them and do text his mum and dad happy birthday etc. I think she is a bit rude for not speaking to you at all when you are in the house together. Do they never make food or anything? Perhaps you could suggest to your son that he lets you know if they are going out and bring her upstairs?
You aren't infringing his privacy at all, its a matter of respect really.

hocuspontas Sun 08-May-11 13:52:52

She obviously takes her lead from your son though. How many of us women would have said 'Oh just a sec while I pop upstairs to say hello to your mum and dad'? (Not me!) On the other hand she MAY have said this and your son told her not to bother!

Also, the fact that you don't make a point of coming to say hello to HER, she may think that it's fine the way it is.

It's not just her that's rude. When they come in presumably your son doesn't come up and say hello either. If he is already in and she knocks, you could always go and answer the door yourself?

Me, as long as I know who's in the house I'm not that fussed. If I had a problem I wouldn't blame the guest. I think you are reading to much into her age and what you think she 'should' do.

PenelopePitstops Sun 08-May-11 14:06:45

Hocus yes i agree about she may have said it!
I used to say to my ex shall I say hi to your parents, he said dont bother and hurried me upstairs!

amberleaf Sun 08-May-11 14:24:07

On hearing the lay out of your home i think i agree with whoever it was that said about 'giving the impression of independance'

how77 Sun 08-May-11 14:31:46

Thank you all for your comments and encouraging the debate, especially from those of you who were in the gf position. Just to clarify though my Op didn't say rude, as I don't think this is the case, but disrespectful to me, my wife and home. She is most likely taking his lead which leaves us in a stalemate. Anyway enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone.

PenelopePitstops Sun 08-May-11 14:39:27

Possibly a stalemate, encourage them to eat with you and stuff, there are ways round this how77, ask your son how he would feel in your position.

jenmelbourne Mon 06-Jun-11 10:21:17

Madrose, I am the same too. I was a painfully shy person - getting to know my now-fiancee was hard enough, let alone having to get to know his parents!
If they'd come into the bedroom and offered me to come out for a coffee, I would have - I just wasn't great at initiating the conversation. So I avoided it

fozzy26 Mon 06-Jun-11 20:27:05

That was me a few years ago too! I spent quite a bit of time at my boyfriends house and would disappear straight into his room as I didn't want to be 'in the way' or for his parents to get fed up of me being around. I now realise I probably came across as quite rude but at the time I thought I was being the opposite!

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