Straight Talk Advice

Jun 08, 2011

Daughter home from college—where will b.f. sleep?

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: My daughter is a junior in college. She’ll be coming home shortly with her boyfriend who we have not yet met. They do not live together but I’m pretty sure they spend the night with each other frequently. I would like to know what other parents do when their (older) kids visit and bring a significant other. It wouldn’t bother me if they shared a bedroom, but I know it would her father. I don’t want them to cut their visit short over this. Is it realistic to expect him to use the guest room? Also, any tips on how to get her father to approve? I would love to have them stay here for the summer and look for work locally. — Thank you from Woodland, Calif.

Liva 21, Santa Barbara, Calif. Ask me a question

If her father isn’t comfortable with them sharing a room, then they shouldn’t. Hopefully your daughter can understand and respect that. I’ve not (yet) brought a boy home with me from college. But my older sister did. He was meant to stay in the guest room, but I know for a fact that he didn’t because my sister and I have adjoining rooms. Whatever rules you lay down may or may not be abided by. Now when my sister and her boyfriend come home, it’s acceptable for them to share a room since they live together. However, with extended family, he still stays in a separate room as our grandparents aren’t comfortable with an unmarried couple sharing a room — even knowing that they live together.

Katelyn 16, Huntington Beach, Calif. Ask me a question

It’s your house, your rules. If it is okay to share a bedroom, let them. However, if Father doesn’t approve, respect his wishes and ask your daughter’s significant other to use the guest room — or register a hotel room for them. Don’t be pressured into something just because it might “drive them away.”

Lennon 24, Fair Oaks, Calif. Ask me a question

My dad (as a single parent), never had a problem letting my girlfriend sleep with me in my room, even as a senior in high school. Your daughter and her boyfriend are going to want to sleep together. She’s what, 21? Living on her own in college? Best thing you can be now is a friend.

Rachel 19, Petaluma, Calif. Ask me a question

Some grown friends’ parents let their significant other stay the night and others don’t. Start by having a realistic conversation with your husband. Often fathers like to believe their daughter is the next Virgin Mary. But if you all meet each other and he likes your daughter’s boyfriend, it’s possible he could shift.

DEAR WOODLAND: There is no right or wrong. But I don’t recommend talking your husband into anything. A father (or stepfather) needs to come to peace with his daughter’s “liberation” on his own schedule. This is purely emotional for him and if he goes against his emotions in order to please you, it can easily backfire — often in the lovely couple’s presence. (Similar disasters have occurred.) Giving the decision to him is also your best bet for warming him up as he will have nothing to polarize against.

Whatever you decide, establish the rule before they arrive. You don’t want to greet the couple emerging tangle-haired from her bedroom (surprise! — we drove all night!). Speak separately with daughter and husband to determine their hopes and expectations. If they conflict, give your husband preference and play diplomat with daughter. It is totally realistic for her boyfriend to use the guest room. They are very likely expecting it and you won’t lose your daughter over it. The worst that will happen is they won’t stay long before making other accommodations. But if the relationship is serious, they’ll be back.

Editor’s Note: To all daughters, sons, or potential daughters- and sons-in-law: if you are allowed to stay the night together with your significant other when you go home, be respectful. No noises may emanate from your room and no skimpy sleepwear, or lack thereof, may be worn outside the closed bedroom door. These things may not seem like flaunting to you, but I guarantee it will come across as such to parents and/or stepparents. It will also be a bad influence on younger siblings if any are present. —Lauren

  1. By Marge, age , from Toledo, OH on 06/08/2011

    We had the same issue in reverse.  My son asked if he could bring his girlfriend when he came home for Spring Break.  I said that was fine and that we would put our extra bed in the room that his younger sisters share which is what we do when female relatives and other female guests stay with us.  He said there was no need since they are legally adults and often spend the night together when they are at school, so she could sleep in his room.  I told him that I can’t control what they do at school, but I’m not comfortable with this in our home, especially with his sisters right in the next room.  He said that he didn’t want to inconvenience his sisters.  The girls have a nice large room with plenty of space for an extra bed and are very good about sharing their room with visitors.  They also sleep three and even four in a room when they have sleepovers with friends, so something like this is not a problem for them.  However, I told him that if he was so concerned about his sisters, his girlfriend could sleep in his room and he could sleep on the couch.  He decided that he wasn’t so concerned after all, and agreed to the arrangement.  His girlfriend got along well with my daughters and it actually worked out quite well.  By the end of the week, she was so comfortable with them that she joined them in using our hot tub in the nude which our daughters often due together and with girlfriends.  It’s “girls only” when they do this, so our son had to find something else to do. 

    Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I just don’t think it’s appropriate for unmarried college students to sleep together in one of their family’s homes, even if they are legally adults and sleep together at college.  It’s also a bad example when younger children are in the home as in our situation.


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  2. By M.C., age , from Santa Ana, CA on 06/08/2011

    My older daughter is gay and wanted to have her girlfriend from college stay with us during break.  She saw no problem since they’re both girls and pointed out that she used to have sleepovers with girlfriends when she was younger and that her younger sister (who is straight) is allowed to have other girls sleep in her room, so she said that I was “discriminating” against her when I said that I would not allow them to sleep together in our house. However, I see it as no different than Marge’s situation.  I therefore stood firm and required her to share a room with her sister and had her girlfriend sleep alone in her room.  I see no problem with her sharing a room with her sister as I am confident that there would be no sexual issues.  My younger daughter accepts her sister and has no problem and is even comfortable undressing in front of her.  But sharing a room with a girlfriend who is also gay is totally different, and I think I was right in not allowing it.

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  3. By Jessica, age , from Roseville, CA on 06/08/2011

    My mom wouldn’t let me sleep with my boyfriend when he stayed with us and I had to share a room with my sister who I don’t get along with, so none of us was happy.  It was totally stupid and hypocrital.  Although she has never admitted it, by doing simple math based upon when my parents were married and when I was born, I know that she had to have been pregnant when they got married, so we wouldn’t be doing anything they didn’t do before marriage, and unlike them we’re smart enough to always use protection.  It was a real drag to have to share a room with my sister and not be with my boyfriend and I really don’t understand why she had to be so puritanical about something like this, especially since she wasn’t an innocent virgin before marriage!


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  4. By Jen, age , from Rohnert Park, CA on 06/10/2011

    My boyfriend and I are sexually intimate, but we both live in a college dorm with same sex roommates.  His family lives close enough to the college for him to sometimes go home on weekends, and I sometimes join him.  However, I share a room with his 16 year old sister who is very gracious about sharing her room with me.  The thought of sleeping with him never occurred to me.  I would be very uncomfortable and inhibited sleeping with him with his parents right there in the house a short distance away.  I could never feel comfortable having sex in that situation.  In addition, he shares a room with his brother when he’s at home so it wouldn’t work, anyway.  With him sharing a room with his brother and me sharing with his sister, it’s not that much different than when we’re at college living in the same dorm, but on different halls with our roommates.  However, we are able to find opportunities to have sex by working out things with our roommates and doing the same for them when they need private time with their boyfriend/girlfriend.  I really think it’s best to sleep separately in someone’s family’s home when you are still in college and not married.  There are plenty of opportunities at other times. 


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  5. By Lisa, age , from Sacramento, CA on 06/12/2011

    Our situation is similar to the one Jen describes except that my brother has his own room, so it would be possible for him and his girlfriend to sleep together in our house.  However, when my brother brings his girlfriend “Judy” home they are respectful enough not to do so and she shares my room (and even my double bed).  Even though we all know they probably have sex when they’re are at college, I would be uncomfortable knowing they were doing it in the next room and our parents or very prudish and I know they would not be comfortable with it.  Like many kids, I can’t even imagine our parents ever having sex even though I know they must have done it at least twice!  I actually look foward to the times Judy stays with us and shares my room.  She become kind of like a big sister to me.  I’m not comfortable with my mom seeing me naked and talking to her about female things like my maturing body and other sexually related matters, but I’m totally comfortable in this way with Judy, and she has eased concerns about things about private parts of my body that I would never have been comfortable letting my mom see or talk about.  Sometimes we stay up late having “girl talk,” and like I said it’s almost like having a big sister.  I agree with Jen and the others who say that it’s best to save the sleeping together and sex for other occassions, and I will do the same when I get older and am in this situaiton.


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