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No, the boyfriend can't stay.

(47 Posts)
FrauMoose Wed 20-Mar-13 12:30:37

My stepdaughter - earlyish twenties - moved back in with us in August. Her late teens and time at university had been a bit turbulent, as her relationship with her mother has been up and down.

Essentially it's worked pretty well having her back, but her boyfriend's visits can be a bit trying. As he lives in another part of the country, when he comes to stay it's for several days. My stepdaughter doesn't seem to like asking if it's okay for him to come - so sometimes his arrival has just been announced. Her boyfriend also sometimes changes his plans. Either we don't know when he is going to leave or then it is announced that he will be staying an extra day or so.

On the one hand he is pleasant and friendly and wants to get stuck in. On the other hand he is a bit loud and full of himself. The house always seems more crowded when he is there, larger meals have to be cooked, laptops suddenly appear on crowded kitchen surfaces and are constantly being used even if the TV/DVD player is also on - and we get to hear a great deal about his business ventures. (My stepdaughter is very keen on him and they will probably get married.)

At the moment we are in the middle of a hugely stressful time involving my elderly father-in-law - not resident but nearby - who is not taking good care of himself, and who is being demanding and rude. We are exhausted by dealing with him. My stepdaughter is due back this weekend at a time when the crisis with my father-in-law is coming to a head. We haven't seen her for six weeks because she's had a placement abroad and then gone to see her boyfriend for a few days. She wanted to bring her boyfriend back for the weekend.

Having initially said yes, we thought about it some more - and for the first time have said no. We would really like to spend the little bit of spare energy we have catching up with her, before she resumes her course on Monday, rather than having to be hospitable to her boyfriend too.

What do other people do about the partners/boyfriends/girlfriends of young adult children?

FrauMoose Thu 21-Mar-13 11:57:16

Thanks Eldritch. That final paragraph summarises things very neatly.

EldritchCleavage Thu 21-Mar-13 10:51:00

"We're not a family that wallow in crisis. We get up and group together with friends and carry on"

I appreciate you may not have meant that to be a sideswipe at the OP, Hazel, but it read like one. Not exactly full of the milk of human kindness, was it?

There is nothing wrong (and actually a lot right) with being able to tell people close to you, including your adult children, that things are very hard for you and you'd like people to cut you some slack. That's all that's going on here, surely? And I think an adult ought to be able to hear that without getting offended.

IAmNotAMindReader Thu 21-Mar-13 10:49:11

OkayHazel I don't think it's a case of stiff upper lip or wallowing. Some people just prefer a bit of privacy when dealing with some of the more difficult aspects of family life. This may not even be for them but out of respect for in this case FIL.

2rebecca Thu 21-Mar-13 09:50:31

I would politely tell her no, and to me if they were married it wouldn't change anything, I'd just think themvery rash to get married when they are unable or unwilling to live independently. I moved away from my parents age 18 though so do think young adults should spend time in bedsits etc.
If she's mature enough to want a boyfriend to stay over she's mature enough to understand why you're saying no.
If she doesn't like it she can look into renting a bedsit or flat somewhere.
I don't think you have to justify your reasons. As far as I'm concerned when children reach 18 the family home isn't really "their home" but they stay there as guests of their parents and on their parents conditions.
I have no desire to start running a hotel for my kids' friends and lovers when they reach 18.

FrauMoose Thu 21-Mar-13 08:00:37

Well OkayHazel it's lovely to know that you are open, do not wallow in crisis, and 'carry on.'

It is of course always possible that you have not had the experience of having to persuade a 90 year old man with a declining memory who regularly makes himself ill because he has no grasp of food hygiene that if he wants to live in sheltered accommodation, it is not going to be the size of his old two bedroom flat. You may not have had to help him to realise that he does need to move, even if it is very hard to sacrifice independence, because he is finding living on his own increasingly frightening. You may not have had the experience of finding a really excellent provider of sheltered accommodation sorting through possessions, cleaning up a place that has been completely neglected, redecorating, buying new furniture, dealing with estate agents, solicitors and leasehold agreements, while escorting this relative to GPs, specialists, and other hospitals over the last 18 months - and then being told by this man that your behaviour is selfish. (You do this partly because the only other relative, your brother-in-lawy lives in another European country, and only visits his father once a year - preferring to dispense sage advice from a distance.)

You may not have had to deal with a stepchild who got abandoned by her mother in the middle of that daughter's A-level studies, who you took in immediately and without question. That same stepchild several years ago declared she never liked you and no longer wanted you in her life . She had always liked her mother best. Whose mother got her to move back in four years later, but only after a matter of months that stepchild realised that her mother was not right all along but was actually a high functioning autist who had always very little real regard for others - the abandonment in the middle of A-levels had perhaps been a clue....

You may not have had to deal with realising that your other stepchild aksi has Aspergers, and that his stepmother has probably been concealing this knowledge for years rather than trying to access support for this child who is now a confused and unhappy young man. Your stepdaughter knew but has been concealing the information because her mother did not like them talking to their father about her own family background. You have just had to have a difficult conversation with this young man about the possibility of his being on the autistic spectrum, which went quite well.

And while all this is going on we of course continue to earn money, see friends, go to walks, concerts, read books and generally get on with our lives, and look after the teenage child who we have together. It is just that right now - after my father in law's old flat has finally sold and after he has turned on us telling us about our selfishness - being mere humans we are just feeling a tiny bit depleted and tired and in partictular need of a weekend when we can nuture ourselves.

This must be terrifically hard for other, superior beings to understand. So I thought I'd just spell it out, so the full depth of our inadequacy is on show.

girlywhirly Thu 21-Mar-13 07:55:10

I don't think it's unreasonable to not want the boyfriend to stay at certain times, as the situation with your FIL at present is difficult and tiring. However, I think it would be most helpful to know exactly when the boyfriend is coming and for how long, just so that you know and can plan meals and shopping, unless your stepdaughter is going to organise meals for them both. I think it's only good manners on the boyfriend's part to show his hosts this courtesy, and also to let them know if he is delayed, or can't come at all.

And don't be afraid to ask that they tidy up, keep the work surfaces clear of laptops etc, get them to help with meal preparation and washing up. I agree that after such a long time of knowing the boyfriend, he should be mucking in and not expect to be treated as a guest.

scratchandsniff Thu 21-Mar-13 03:47:48

B4bunnies - they've been together 4 years so I don't think he's just a bonk mate or a case of her just wanting a shag.

If I was step daughter I'd understand but would start to feel a bit pissed off if you vetoed too many more future visits.

OkayHazel Thu 21-Mar-13 03:37:01

I also think that after 4 years the boyfriend should be part of the family by now, he should be in the home but considerate and a weekend isn't really much time at all.

But I understand that my experiences of home hospitality are a little unorthodox as 100% open. We're not a family that wallow in crisis. We get up and group together with friends and carry on.

anonymosity Thu 21-Mar-13 03:35:52

I don't know why you're asking AIBU if you've already put your foot down and said no. Bit redundant really.

OkayHazel Thu 21-Mar-13 03:31:39

Totally Its the dynamic my parents and I have. Totally different to the Op's situation. Not saying it's right or wrong, but it's how we are. We also have no extended family to be in that situation. Boyfriend isn't a stranger.
I live in a house of 'open door' culture. Its not a case of asking permission, people are forever coming and going. Nobody asks 'can _ stay' they just do. Would not be considered insensitive, even in the ops scenario. Won't work for everyone, works for us.

My point entirely was that different families work in different ways. Obviously not articulated well enough.

My opinion on the OPs problem is to have a reasonable discussion with her step daughter, as to not sever relations with her or the soon-to-be family member. Maybe some meeting in the middle could be arranged, though my parents would never expect it.

TotallyBursar Thu 21-Mar-13 03:18:08

Hazel - you would be offended that your parents, stressed, worried and by the sounds, tired due to a situation with your grandfather requested that they have no house guests? Once. When the family is in crisis? I think that is very insensitive. Surely the adult thing to do is try and ease the strain and lend support & attention - the bf could be a stranger to the grandparent & so be left alone in the house.

Yanbu op, it seems your dsd can see why. He may be held in fond affection but he is not family in terms of being comfortable ignoring him/telling him to kindly fuck off dear/lie on the sofa weeping in your underwear (just me?). This time is no deal breaker in terms of a possible lifetime together & a mere blip in a 4 year relationship. No harm, no foul.

My dh & I were together but not engaged as my brother was dying. Many times dh was with us & was a great help for all of us; but sometimes it needed to be us the unit and he wasn't involved. It sounds like your dsd & bf will act with the same grace as my dh did - quietly gave us space without being asked, without judgement or ill feeling. All these years on he's as much family as one can be but has offered still to stand back. As I have with his family - I helped a great deal with his mother but at certain times she just wanted her son - I can totally understand that. I wouldn't be offended in the least.

OkayHazel Thu 21-Mar-13 02:14:20

As a early twenties woman looking at moving back home for my masters degree, I would be hideously offended if my parents decided my boyfriend couldn't stay. I'm an adult and treated like one. But then again, I'm paying rent and treated as a equal adult by my parents. Anyone is welcome in our house at pretty much any time. Particuarly as boyfriend is set to become family.

IAmNotAMindReader Wed 20-Mar-13 23:59:54

YANBU this is an adult we are talking about here, over 21 to be doing a post graduate course. So someone well capable of seeing anothers point of view. Explain to her the situation with your father makes things a little more fluid for the time being.
To those saying YABU at what point do we step back and stop putting our little darlings on a pedestal so high they come before everything else every single time?
I believe once they are adults even if they haven't quite left home yet they are perfectly capeable of reasoning that they can take care of their own needs in some situations in favour of giving their parents a break. Why does parenting for some have to be a case of the chic with the ever open mouth and not about helping a child to blossom into a pleasant, compassionate, self reliant person? I am not saying cut them adrift once they reach 18 they will always need us but when do we let them make their own way?

TheSecondComing Wed 20-Mar-13 22:25:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSecondComing Wed 20-Mar-13 22:22:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maddening Wed 20-Mar-13 22:20:11

so he has asked and she said fair enough - so all is reasonable all round once more ?

b4bunnies Wed 20-Mar-13 22:15:49

for goodness sake, she's living in someone else's house, she doesn't bring home her bonk-mate. it isn't her house, its her parents' house. she doesn't have rights to bring in anyone she likes just because she wants a shag. forget it. put your foot down!

FrauMoose Wed 20-Mar-13 22:14:29

Having talked to my husband sounds as if my stepdaughter does understand how tiring her grandfather is being/has been and is philosophical re change of plans. (She also knows her father tends initially to take too much on, say yes to too many things, then only engage brain later.)

She has only been living with us 6 or 7 months out of the time she has been with her boyfriend, They aim to see one another once a month, taking turns about who makes the journey to see the other. So not that many visits so far and we're working it out as we are going along. I think it's not quite like when permanently resident teenagers first start acquiring boyfriends/girlfriends and you can say, 'Okay, these are the rules.' I think it's more about seeing how things go, and making tactful requests - e.g. 'Can you shift those laptops as we need to set the table now?' - as and when..

EvaM Wed 20-Mar-13 21:43:55

YABU, it's her house , too.

If some things annoy you: change of plans, latop at the kitchen table. Lay down some ground rules before you start harbouring resentment.

Re the family crisis: if you had said no, not this time to start with it would have been different but after having invited him, it would be rude to change your mind now.

FrauMoose Wed 20-Mar-13 21:09:17

She's doing a postgraduate training course, so her overdraft would be a great deal bigger if she were renting.

She and her boyfriend have been going out for a little over four years, but without ever having rented a place jointly and they are hoping to live together next year - if jobs etc work out - but nothing has been finalised.

I think if they were engaged/married/whatever the situation would be very similar, in that we'd still want to try and schedule their joint visit for another time. (I couldn't imagine them living together as a couple here other than in a crisis/in a very short term way - the house is just not quite big enough. Plus his work is on the other side of the country anyway.)

badguider Wed 20-Mar-13 20:39:21

What's her situation with living with you? Is she still studying? (you mentioned a placement) or working? Is she in a position to move out and rent?

I'm asking because I couldn't live back with my parents in my 20s if I had to ask permission for my future husband to stay... I rented with friends after uni so I could make decisions for myself about who stays over when.

Domjolly Wed 20-Mar-13 20:31:55

I think the issue is you didnt lay any ground rules at the start

Why cant your op be the bad cop so to speak then you can give tea a sympathy and say never mind there relatiionship will always be strong

IHeartKingThistle Wed 20-Mar-13 20:30:42

Hmmm...tricky. Would you say no if they were married?

MrsHoarder Wed 20-Mar-13 20:24:23

Is it possible she needs the support of the man she loves due to the crisis with her gf? But generally yanbu.

aldiwhore Wed 20-Mar-13 20:20:19

If they're going to get married they're going to come as a pair always at some point.

I don't think YABU though as you are going through a very stressful time at present, hopefully once your DH has explained this (and I think in the first instance he should be the one to do so, no matter how good your relationship with your SD) your DSD will understand, it's not like she hasn't seen her boyfriend for a while.

I have a similar situation (although my children are primary school age), my FIL is in crisis and takes up most of my emotional energy, certainly tolerance. My children are great, and for their age very understanding, but I couldn't cope with a houseguest other than close family right now, so for that alone YANBU at all.

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