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Living at home with parents - dating and relationship rules?

(40 Posts)
PlumPixie Fri 22-Jul-16 04:06:41

First time poster: please feel free to move this thread if in the wrong place!

Summary: What is a sensible stance on relationships when grown up (21+) children still live at home?

I am 25 years old am currently living at my family home with my parents. I moved away for university at 19, returned home permanently at 23. I have since worked and am now back at university doing my masters.

I have been in a serious relationship with my boyfriend (26) for 6 months. He also lives with his parents nearby.

My parents have always had a rule since I was a teenager that I was not allowed to stay overnight at bf's house (in same room) and vice versa. This was a mainly painless rule as a teenager as spending time in the day/evening was sufficient for my teenage romances. And honestly I was quite shy and did not want to bump into someone else's parents in the kitchen in the morning! And then moving away for uni gave me the independence to make my own judgements etc.

This rule still stands now that I live at home again. So I have never spent the night at my bf's house (in any room) and he has never slept at my house. My mum has always believed that as a daughter I would be open to much more criticism for spending the night (especially from bf's parents) and that I would risk being considered "that type of girl".
Everybody gets on well with each other so this is not just a consequence of someone disliking somebody else.

I don't want to raise the issue of teenage relationships and parents' rules - I would like to know how parenting changes when children are grown up but still live at home? Is this an unreasonable rule while I still live at home?

(N.B. I pay no rent at home and studying is fully funded by parents; boyfriend lives at home to save money)

Additionally, I do not know how to approach the subject with my mum (who is more in charge of the "house rules" than my dad) without the conversation descending into a teenage-style argument?

It does impact negatively on my relationship as it feels like we both cannot be trusted. We are both frustrated with getting out of bed and driving me home after having a very normal couple evening together. I also think he takes it personally that he is somehow not good enough (absolutely not true).

If I could understand the reasoning behind this more, it would help. So any advice and all opinions are appreciated.

Although I am only talking about the actual act of falling asleep/waking up together (not sex - we have sex in bed in the evening like normal people and then I go home. Not very romantic) it does feel like something is missing if you can't do that with somebody you love.

Any ideas?

DementedUnicorn Fri 22-Jul-16 04:26:28

I pay* no rent at home and studying is fully funded by parents; boyfriend lives at home to save money*

I sound incredibly harsh and don't mean to but if you live the life of a teenager, expect to be treated as one. And I say that as someone who is in the same age group and who is supporting their wife that is back in full time education.

If you and your boyfriend are serious, get a place of your own.

Isetan Fri 22-Jul-16 04:44:56

You know what your mothers reasoning is, she doesn't want the world to know that you're sleeping with your bf, even though you are. I doubt very much that she could say or do anything that would make you agree with her and I am assuming, you haven't confronted her about it because you are afraid that this is the price for your parents financial generosity.

Your choices are simple, stay and accept the unwritten terms of their generosity--means of control-- or, start living like an independent adult by living independently from your Mum and Dad.

GruffaloPants Fri 22-Jul-16 04:44:56

Your parents are entitled to say that you can't have someone stay over, even if it is restrictive etc. I don't agree with them and my own parents weren't like this.

You are an adult and it is ridiculous that they'd ban you from staying out at your boyfriend's house. I think you need to forget asking permission. Just say "I'll be staying at Egbert's tonight, see you tomorrow". If your Mum wants to start an argument don't engage. Just say something like "I know you don't agree, but I'm happy with my decision, I'm an adult and he is my boyfriend". If she persistently refuses to accept things there isn't much you can do, other than move out.

GruffaloPants Fri 22-Jul-16 04:44:57

Your parents are entitled to say that you can't have someone stay over, even if it is restrictive etc. I don't agree with them and my own parents weren't like this.

You are an adult and it is ridiculous that they'd ban you from staying out at your boyfriend's house. I think you need to forget asking permission. Just say "I'll be staying at Egbert's tonight, see you tomorrow". If your Mum wants to start an argument don't engage. Just say something like "I know you don't agree, but I'm happy with my decision, I'm an adult and he is my boyfriend". If she persistently refuses to accept things there isn't much you can do, other than move out.

NuclearTextbooksAtomicCrimes Fri 22-Jul-16 04:50:47

No, this is ridiculous. The wisdom of your parents funding your study is a separate issue. But they shouldn't be using that to exert this much control over you.

MN wisdom would probably decree that they can prevent you sleeping together in their house, although I would argue that if they don't have a problem with your BF it is a bit silly given your age and that you have been together for 6 months. But attempting to prevent you from staying over at his is just absurd and really nothing to do with them. Is there some religious issue involved in this? What would happen if you just did it?

PonchosLament Fri 22-Jul-16 04:52:22

I have to say I agree with Demented.

I'm in my 40s and since my marriage broke down 4 years ago I have had 2 boyfriends. One had temporarily moved back in with his parents after his own marriage broke down and I was his first girlfriend since. He asked his parents if it were ok if I stopped the night and shared his room. They said, "yes", but we were both perfectly prepared for them to say no and to behave accordingly.

The other lived alone, but when I went overseas with him to meet his family, he told me that his mother would expect us to sleep in separate rooms as we weren't married. Again, both he and I were perfectly respectful of her wishes on this as it was her house.

Age doesn't have anything to do with it. It's about respecting someone else's house rules. You live in their house, you play by their rules. Whether other people agree with those rules or not is irrelevant.

NuclearTextbooksAtomicCrimes Fri 22-Jul-16 04:55:43

Would you have not stayed at either boyfriends' houses if their parents didn't mind but your own did Ponchos? Because that is the situation the OP is in?

PonchosLament Fri 22-Jul-16 04:56:16

Oh yes, should add that the rules as to who stops in their house are up to them, but they can't actually dictate to you what you do. So what would happen if you said you were staying at his?

Are you allowed to stay at friends' houses? What is the actual fear?

PlumPixie Fri 22-Jul-16 05:04:00

Thanks for your reply - I do actually agree with your points! I am aware that me and my boyfriend are incredibly lucky to be supported by our parents at this age and we are very appreciative for that help. I am aware of this privilege.

The quotation you used from my original post was meant to provide a brief overview of the circumstances surrounding why both my boyfriend and I both still live at home. To clarify, my parents and I have an informal financial agreement to support my studies because of the lack of postgraduate funding in comparison to undergraduate funding. The money my boyfriend saves is reinvested into his own business he runs alongside with his full time job.

Reasons for remaining at home aside (for which there are many - not always financially motivated), do you have any ideas on creating a meaningful dialogue with a parent in that situation?

LyndaNotLinda Fri 22-Jul-16 05:09:30

Why can't you stay over at your bf's house without your parents' permission? How does that work? What would happen if you wanted to go away together?

PlumPixie Fri 22-Jul-16 05:25:43

Thanks for the replies everyone, it was great to hear quite a varied response!

Yes I realise my mum is a bit bonkers on this point! Boyfriend not staying over at my house is something I could live with. Ultimately it is their house and they do have the right to say no to their child if they are not happy about something happening under their roof (even if she is 25).

The problem with staying overnight at the boyfriend's house is my main problem, as normal logic would deem it not under parents roof therefore okay?

Honestly there is no fear of losing anything for being "disobedient" - there would never be any taking away of anything, I would not be banished etc.

My parents are not religious but my mum has a very old fashioned view of dating and relationships. She will never view a relationship as being "real" until there is a commitment (probably an engagement).

So do I have to work on modernising her view first? Because this whole situation is quite ridiculous!

PlumPixie Fri 22-Jul-16 05:34:47

The way I see it there can only be two options:

1) Stay over at boyfriend's house and risk family disagreement over something that is more of a teenage argument rather than an adult one. Potentially sound a little ungrateful for all their support and letting me live in their house?

2) Say nothing and continue with current system until it becomes possible to move out - potentially in over 6 months time.

justwondering72 Fri 22-Jul-16 05:35:40

What would happen if you told your mum that you are going to stay over at your BF house, that his parents are fine with it, and just did it? What would happen?

PonchosLament Fri 22-Jul-16 05:40:31

You don't need to work on modernising her view.

You have no choice but to respect her house rules, but if your bf's parents are ok with you staying there, then I don't think there's any harm in saying, "i won't be home tonight, I'll see you tomorrow"

What would happen if you did that?

Your mum can have whatever old fashioned views she likes about dating and relationships. And you can have different ones. Part of the reason you're giving so much credence to her viewpoint is that you haven't fully made that break away from being a kid at home.

My mother has disapproved of pretty much everything I've ever done. We are completely different people. And she was very vocal about it. By the time I was in my mid 20s I just ignored her. I didn't live at home and was rarely welcome there, such was her strength of feeling towards me, but I just got on with it.

SandyY2K Fri 22-Jul-16 06:14:23

Your parents were exactly like mine in that regard. In fact no age was acceptable to have a BF stay over with my parents. It's not the done thing from a cultural point of view, especially for a girl.

They would only allow someone who intended to marry me stay over. So my now husband was allowed to once were engaged.

I had no problem with this rule as I wouldn't have wanted to have a BF stay over at my house.

That's why once I left to go to Uni I never moved home again. I needed my freedom.
While living away at Uni I had a couple of relationships and I could do what I wanted.

I don't think there is a blanket rule and every set of parents have their rules, based on their own principles. I honestly wouldn't get into a discussion about it. I'd just respect their views as long as you live under their roof.

I'd probably end up telling my folks I was staying over at a female friends house while I was with my BF.

I'd apply the same rules to my DDs when they are old enough to have boyfriends. I don't want any BFs staying the night. End of story.

HappyJanuary Fri 22-Jul-16 06:22:57

Book a holiday, weekend away or festival. Your mum would have to be crazy to ban you from going, she won't even try, and if she does then you can easily put up a pretty robust argument.

Once you've done that, once you've essentially told her that you have slept in the same bed, have a night out that necessitates an overnight stay at your boyfriend's house - cheaper to get a taxi back to one address or whatever. Again, she can't argue with your reasoning and once you've done it once it will be easier to do it again.

I suppose what I'm saying is - do it gradually if you want to be kind to their sensitivities and avoid confrontation. It's what my dd did with me and we laugh about it now. She managed to manipulate me from an outright boyfriend ban to allowing him to stay here overnight at least twice a week. I didn't want to 'condone it', although I now recognise how crazy that outlook was, so she gave me reasons that weren't 'we want to have sex' and it allowed me to climb down from my position gradually.

Ifailed Fri 22-Jul-16 06:23:15

I needed to check the calendar, I thought it was 1956.

Up to you of course, if you want your mum to control your life like this. What does your Dad think, or doesn't his views count?

Findmuck Fri 22-Jul-16 06:49:18

There's ways of doing things to avoid confrontation and HappyJanuary has nailed it

HermioneJeanGranger Fri 22-Jul-16 07:59:50

They can't tell you where you're allowed to spend the night!

I live at home because when my last relationship broke down I moved back to be near my family. My parents don't want my boyfriend staying over, which is fine (I wouldn't want him to stay over here anyway - awkward!) but they can't stop me staying at his.

Why can't you just say "mum, I won't be home tonight, see you around 6 tomorrow" and just go out?

Ic3lollyr3d Fri 22-Jul-16 08:40:56

Will his parents be ok with you staying over ?

If so why not stay ?

However I would keep it to a couple of times a week

If you lived further apart surely you would not be able to return home. Your parents dont know that you are in the spare room or on the sofa !

I would not let your boyfriend stay at your parents house due to the "my house, my rules"

What plans do you have for a job ?

Do you work part time ?

At 25 you should be able to make your own decisions (respective of other people)

PonchosLament Fri 22-Jul-16 08:58:59

HappyJanuary How old was your daughter? If she was under 18, or even under 20, I could understand that. But did you really need her to manipulate her into being able to spend the night with her boyfriend into her 20s?

Why do parents feel the need to police their daughters and their daughter's bodies in this way?

There's an open letter I read online a couple of years ago from a dad to his infant daughter about how he wanted her to have a proper and fulfilling sex life when she was an adult and how he wasn't going to behave as the custodian of her vagina. Or something, I might have the details a bit out. It was great.

There are some funny ideas out there.

TiverMeShimbers Fri 22-Jul-16 10:35:30

My mother was old fashioned and very much of a "not under my roof" mentality. I moved away for uni aged 18 and my bf and I were never allowed to sleep in the same room in their house. Even when we moved in together after 5 years together, we were not allowed to sleep in the same room when we stayed with them! We were very respectful and never flouted their rules, but looking back now I wish I had challenged them a bit or stayed in a hotel when we visited them.

Your mother can have rules in her own house, but you are an adult and she cannot tell you what to do anywhere else. Just stay over at your BF's house and be honest about it...what's the worst that can happen?

HappyJanuary Fri 22-Jul-16 11:08:40

Ponchos, she was 18. I don't know why I felt like I did, I can't explain it now really. Part of it was how I was parented myself. Part of it was not wanting to be seen condoning or facilitating it.

If dd had put her foot down and stayed out all night there wouldn't have been a thing I could have done about it, but we were very close and she was a bit smarter about it.

By the time they'd been together six months he was staying here twice a week and I was perfectly happy about it. I just needed it to happen gradually so I could get my head round it. All my problem of course, and I'm lucky she was kind enough to be considerate of my (irrational) feelings.

MrsJayy Fri 22-Jul-16 11:16:17

Why are you acting like a teenager my adult dds live at home but still manage to be adults they say stuff like im not coming home tonight or im going away for the weekend you know simple words you are over complicating things if they dont agree with partners staying over go to his . You need to get out of this im a child who needs approval mindset you dont need your parents permission or approval to live your life.

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