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Au pair boyfriend visits.... Wwyd?

(25 Posts)
BrainSurgeon Sun 23-Sep-12 20:55:38

Our au pair has found herself a boyfriend (online) and they have been together for 4 months now. She is now spending most weekends with him, at his place.
I'm not sure what the 'etiquette' is with regards to boyfriend visits, is it OK for him to come and see her?
What are the 'do's and don'ts here?

flubba Sun 23-Sep-12 21:27:54

When I was an au-pair (many moons ago), the (very) Catholic family allowed my boyfriend to come and stay with the, ahem, understanding that he would sleep on the mattress floor - I think this was probably for the benefit of the kids.

How old are yours?

blueshoes Sun 23-Sep-12 22:14:05

My house rules say no male visitors in the house, except a long term boyfriend we have been introduced to and only when we (and not just the children) are also in the house.

Fine if she is at his place most weekends. Long may it continue. I would not offer or broach the subject of him staying over. There is no need for that if the current arrangement is working out.

It is your house, after all.

It does not bother me about other people having sex under my roof. It bothers me that a strange man is in the house with my children.

BrainSurgeon Sun 23-Sep-12 23:37:41

Thanks - two very different views smile

BrainSurgeon Sun 23-Sep-12 23:41:26

I only have one little boy aged 4.
I'm not that bothered about the sex issue... I just wonder if it would open a Pandora's box ie. once you allow access it might be hard to restrict it... And I don't think I'd be comfortable with boyfriend visiting when we're not in (with or without DS) tbh...

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 24-Sep-12 09:57:56

We allowed last year's longstanding German boyfriend to can quickly start to feel like a hotel.

What is your general visitors policy? We say once per month in the letter/contract now and that the same rule applies to any visitors/partners met in the UK who also live in the UK.

Don't raise it, wait til she asks, and as Blueshoes says: "Fine if she is at his place most weekends. Long may it continue."

If it does come up I would say no more than once a month and not during working hours (which could include babysitting in the evening.) I'm guessing this woudl cover most of the time you'd she'd be on her own with the children.

BrainSurgeon Mon 24-Sep-12 10:23:07

Thanks Lady Harriet

So would that be once a month to come during the day, or to stay overnight?

Oh dear I can just see how breakfast would become really awkward with both of them there..... hmmm..... maybe no overnight stays.... aaaargh I need more opinions please!

I don't want to be mean or unwelcoming but don't want to feel awkward in my own house either!

BoerWarKids Mon 24-Sep-12 10:28:11

I'd want au pair to invite him round first to meet the family, including children, so they get used to him and so he's not a stranger.

If she wants him to stay over, make sure she agrees it with you beforehand and hr's not just turning up! Like a pp said, it's your home and you don't want to feel like a hotel grin

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 24-Sep-12 10:53:39

We would now allow overnight stay once a month.

They seem to know to try to avoid breakfast with the family... I really don't think it's likely they would come down in their jim jams but you'd want to set some ground rules with whatever you're comfortable with...Our AP and her boyfriend were also 'robust' eaters too which drove me batty. He didn't turn up with a single house gift the entire year or even so much as a Christmas card. Honestly - he was a nice bloke but you have to wonder about people's sense of entitlement at times...

I mean our boyfriend rule is designed to be accommodating to an AP who left a boyfriend behind in their home country. It seems harsh to say no boys at all under those circumstances (and a receipe for a potentially unhappy and home sick AP) nor would I feel great about making a young person pay for a hotel.

The rules were NOT designed for an AP meeting someone or potetnailly more than one person in the UK and expecting them to be able to stay over regularly. There is a difference in my mind. I think if they need that much independence, then it's time for their own flat not living with a family.

But I am very biased as I had long distance relationships in a similar situation and had to make my choice so to speak.

MrAnchovy Mon 24-Sep-12 11:01:29

My personal opinions based on 10 years experience of live-ins...

During working hours she should be working which is not compatible with hosting personal visitors (exception could be if there is a long-standing partner known to the family who has something to offer e.g. boyfriend to play football with teenagers).

Babysitting after children's bedtime can be different.

Would you expect your au pair to feel awkward over breakfast if you are there with your partner?

Any house guest pulls their weight - if they are there for dinner, they do the washing up.

We have never had to lay down rules like "only once a month" at the outset, but have always said that we trusted them to be reasonable and we have never had to tell them it is getting out of hand; there are usually more problems with nannies/au pairs meeting their friends ("nanny mafia") during working hours IME.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 24-Sep-12 11:07:45

In my experience of four years of live ins, expecting them to do what you would personally consider to be usual and 'reasonable' is what got us into trouble with the last one.

You can always set a rule and relax it later once you get to know an AP.

It's no different from communicating other expectations you may have about living together, looking after the children etc.

"Would you expect an au pair to feel awkward if you are there with your partner?"

Good Lord.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 24-Sep-12 11:17:30

An obviously it's best to discuss your views on issues that are important to you like guests/partners staying over before they sign the AP can decide for herself if her views are in line with yours...and if no she can say no, thanks.

NotMostPeople Mon 24-Sep-12 11:23:52

When we had an AP she had a boyfriend back in her home country. She was totally fab, I couldn't have got through having two babies within a year without her help so we said yes when she asked if he could stay. I don't see what the problem is tbh. I wouldn't want any stranger in the house with the dc's but I was always around, so I just treated AP and her BF as if they were my grown up children.

BrainSurgeon Mon 24-Sep-12 11:38:56

NotMostPeople sounds like you found a good one there envy
I would probably have no reservations to do exactly the same in the situation you describe.

However, as I said in my OP, it's not a long distance relationship at all and she only met him on a dating site a few months ago.... She is our first AP and it didn't cross my mind to discuss this with her at the start.

Unfortunately she is not a good communicator at all so having a "chat" about it is not an option... I mostly get "yes" or "no"s from her! (although I do speak her mother tongue fluently!!!)
That's why I am trying to get a feel from here on what's the common theme and build on that, so I can explain to her when the time comes.

BrainSurgeon Mon 24-Sep-12 11:47:44

Mr Anchovy - "Would you expect your au pair to feel awkward over breakfast if you are there with your partner?" confused

Genuinely not sure I understand how my partner, the father of my child and co-owner of the house, compares with a bloke off the internet we never met before?

metrobaby Mon 24-Sep-12 12:31:53

We have a no boyfriend rule which is similar to blueshoes'. However, last AP still snuck her boyfriend into our house without asking, when she thought we were not around angry. This was despite knowing our rules on this before she joined.

However that said, it is important to state what you think is acceptable/not acceptable with bfs from the start.

MrAnchovy Mon 24-Sep-12 12:53:50

Yes LadyHarriet, I agree that clear rules at the outset are vital. I should have said that the rule that we have in the contract is "nobody in our home without our express approval". When we choose to relax it (and we don't always choose that) the conversation goes "X seems like a nice chap, if you want to have him to stay on a weekend now and then just let us know" rather than "ok, if you want to have x over to stay you can only do it once a month".

I know that my attitudes are more libertarian than many but I am genuinely surprised that in 2012 anyone could feel awkward about an adult sharing their own bed with another adult with whom they are in a loving relationship. It is (for the time being) the au pair's home too.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 24-Sep-12 13:31:58

Hah! our rule in last year's contact said: no problem with visitors (as the previous two had a handful a year and we bumbled along assuming we'd have roughly the same) and no problem with boys staying over. Don't even think we said 'in principle.' smile

Own goal, massively, when APs boyfriend/fiance came to live in the UK.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 24-Sep-12 13:35:36

I think I did say no more than one visitor per weekend. Maybe it wasn't quite that bad. But it was definitely open to vast interpretation (in APs favour).

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 24-Sep-12 14:27:49

Interesingly, I would never say: "No one in our house without our express approval."

The one time a month reference is to get across the idea of what we mean by coming over "now and then". I wouldn't have a conversation the way you described above either with an AP I liked and trusted either.

I am just saying that the very broad language we used, with no guidelines whatsoever about exactly how often was often enough for us, caused a problem with an AP who had very different ideas than we had and it is better for US to be more specific.

BrainSurgeon Mon 24-Sep-12 16:36:01

Mr Anchovy - "I am genuinely surprised that in 2012 anyone could feel awkward about an adult sharing their own bed with another adult with whom they are in a loving relationship. It is (for the time being) the au pair's home too. "

I don't feel awkard about that and I even said in a previous post I'm not fussed about the sex thing.

I just imagine I would feel like I'm running a free of charge B&B with this stranger coming to sleep here and possibly expecting to receive the same treatment as the au pair ie. meals

Believe you me she has everything she needs to feel at home (including us making her tea etc) I'm just not convinced about extending the treatment to this new boyfriend...

BrainSurgeon Mon 24-Sep-12 16:42:05

I wonder if I should ask to move this to AIBU as I feel a bit mean now...

andagain Mon 24-Sep-12 17:12:24


I would leave it alone until the AP brings it up but have your answer ready before that happens and stick with it (and then put it in the contract for your next AP).
If it assists we have it in the appendix to our contract that we are happy for AP to have boyfriend/girlfriend over occasionally but only when not working (as in weekends) and that she must check with us before arranging it that the weekend she is planning on having the visitor suits us.
It has so far worked really well for everyone concerned (the current AP is our third live in person).

BrainSurgeon Mon 24-Sep-12 22:21:47

Thanks andagain that's nice and clear (except for the "occasionally") but I'll figure that out.
And I made up my mind - no overnight stays. She can go stay wih him whenever she wants.

BrainSurgeon Mon 24-Sep-12 22:23:53

Sorry that bracket was meant to go at the end

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