Clueless or inconsiderate?
November 18, 2011 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Marital strife filter: Was my husband out of line to invite three women to spend the night at our house when I was out of town?

I’ve been with my husband for seven years. I recently went out of town with my young daughter for the weekend. I knew that while I was gone, my husband would be going to a concert where one of the band members was a female classmate of his from many years back. He went to the show, and after having some beers with three women from the band after the show, he offered them a place to stay the night. The three women, who I have never met, stayed at our house that night. When I got home, he told me they had stayed over. He said nothing happened and I believe him. Still, I’m upset. My husband is a bit clueless when it comes to this sort of thing and can’t understand why I’m mad. Was my husband out of line, or am I overreacting?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (63 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not usually one for caring about the gender of one's platonic friends, but inviting three female band members (two of whom he met that very night) to your house while you're away sounds remarkably lunkheaded.
posted by xingcat at 5:42 AM on November 18, 2011 [10 favorites]

You admit your husband is clueless, so set ground rules about things like this. "Honey, inviting strange people into our home without letting me know is NOT OKAY." Not women, but people.

I don't think you're overreacting, but it sounds like your husband deserves a one-time pass if he really doesn't realize his mistake.
posted by InsanePenguin at 5:43 AM on November 18, 2011 [10 favorites]

I don't think he was out of line. In fact, I'm not sure what your objection is. If you don't trust him, then that's one thing, but you seem to suggest that you do trust him, and believe that nothing untoward occurred here. So what's the problem? Are you worried that your neighbors think he was having an orgy?

I've spent enough time in sub-cultures where people are fairly itinerant to think that offering a place to stay to a travelling friend is basically an obligation.
posted by OmieWise at 5:48 AM on November 18, 2011 [67 favorites]

He was out of line, and not considering the gender of his guests is absurd. As a straight man, the dynamic between him and strange women, especially after a night of drinking, is completely different than the dynamic between him and some guys that he met. There is something to be said for not doing anything fishy that makes your partner worry...and inviting strange women to spend the night when your wife is out of town is enough to make most (sane and not naive) women worry.
posted by crawmama at 5:49 AM on November 18, 2011 [17 favorites]

There's no way anyone can make a judgement about this for you without a lot more information.

Is your marriage basically a stable, happy thing? Has he given you any reason to suspect that he's been unfaithful before?

It's a slightly weird thing to do (or it would be in my marriage). I'd probably at least call my wife and ask if it she was ok with me putting these people up for the night. She'd probably say that it was fine. But that's my marriage, not yours.

It doesn't sound like your husband tried to cover anything up after the fact. He met an old friend in a group situation, got to know her friends a little, had a few drinks and then found out that they needed a place to stay. He probably thought he was just being hospitable. And maybe, as he'd had a few drinks, he decided that a late-night call to you to check your feelings wasn't absolutely necessary. After all, there were three of them, and he's not exactly the type to be asking three women to come over and indulge in wild group sex (or is he? You know him. I don't.)

At a guess, I'd say that the fact that he did this was probably slightly inappropriate, in that he didn't clear things with you first. But in a lot of relationships that would be fine, and covered by the fact of mutual trust. He probably has a slightly rosier idea of the level of trust that exists between the two of you, and thought that this would be no big deal. I'd say that you're probably right to be a bit annoyed that he didn't check with you, but that he just didn't feel there would be any problem. So to answer your last question, a little of both, but probably nothing to endanger your marriage unless there are other factors you haven't mentioned here.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:49 AM on November 18, 2011 [6 favorites]

I am baffled. This man is an adult, and this wasn't a single woman (which would seem more intimate/strange) and might cross a boundary. Having a few folks (especially friends/friends-of-friends) crash at your place, after going out for beers seems and when it wasn't going to wake up/bother anyone else, feels totally reasonable to me regardless of gender.

I'd be pretty upset if my wife decided I couldn't, at 30, invite people over. I'd be more upset if she indicated that this was a sign of being "pretty clueless", and we would absolutely have to talk about why she was perceiving me that way -- I'm with your husband in not understanding why you are mad.
posted by ellF at 5:49 AM on November 18, 2011 [58 favorites]

My husband and I regularly attend indie concerts where touring bands are looking for places to crash for the night after the show. We rarely offer up our place because 1) we really don't have a lot of space for folks to sleep, 2) we are concerned with how some band members might react to staying with a gay couple, or 3) we have work or other plans early the next morning and are not sure how easy it will be to get everyone out. That being said, we have offered up our place 3 or 4 times in the past 2 years. If I was out of town and my husband had a band stay over, it would be fine with me. Perhaps your husband has more history with small touring bands. It is pretty common for band members to crash at the houses/apartments of someone who came to the show. Especially if there was some prior friendship with any of the band members.
posted by hworth at 5:57 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I tend to agree with OmieWise. If your objection is that a trustworthy person having overnight guests of the opposite gender is somehow a breach of propriety, I just can't agree with that.

Where I do think you have cause for complaint is that two of these people were strangers and they were all in your home overnight without your prior knowledge. That would make me uncomfortable.
posted by tel3path at 5:59 AM on November 18, 2011 [10 favorites]

Letting friends in a band crash on your couch is pretty normal in many circles, but that doesn't mean you have to put up with silently. Tell him he needs to clear it with you the next time he wants to let people crash at the house, since you both share the house.

That said, I'd also add that having three women over is several times less suspicious than having one woman over.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:02 AM on November 18, 2011 [12 favorites]

If he was bisexual that would mean no overnight guests at all ever, right? Sounds kind of restrictive to me.
posted by Brian Puccio at 6:03 AM on November 18, 2011 [11 favorites]

Given you believe him that nothing happenened, why are you upset? I can think of reasons why you might be, but the specifics matter. You don't say why, and without that information it's impossible to know whether you're overreacting.
posted by caek at 6:04 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

It seems like something I would do and it wouldn't cause drama in my relationship. If it was a single woman, I would probably feel like I should reach out to my wife to make sure she was OK with it before I did it unless it was a close mutual friend or relative. I would be astonished if she had a problem with it, but I would feel like that is close enough to a strange boundary that I would feel that I should make sure she was comfortable before I extended the invitation. If it was a group of people, I wouldn't even imagine that she might have a problem. Then again, we have a big house and it isn't uncommon for us to end up with overnight guests, especially if drinking is involved. So I don't think that making the invitation was inherently out of line. I might ask first or I might not depending on the hour and what she was doing (I'd likely not wake her up to ask, for instance).

The important bit to me would be how things were handled once he realized you were upset. If I issued the invitation and then found out that it upset my wife, I'd be very careful to apologize, express that I didn't dream that it would trouble her and try to understand exactly WHY she was bothered. That might mean reassuring her that there was nothing between me and the old friend or it might mean reassuring her that the house wasn't a wreck or that the neighbors weren't scandalized or I don't know what. As long as I was making an effort to understand her concerns, express sympathy for her hurt feelings and trying to understand how I could avoid making her feel bad in the future, things would be fine. If I was making her feel bad for being upset or telling her she was crazy, we'd have issues.

In and of itself, having houseguests of the opposite sex doesn't seem like something is obviously OMG bad.
posted by Lame_username at 6:04 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

You are overreacting.

First, you haven't mutually agreed on boundaries regarding/prohibiting things like this. Second, there's nothing inherently wrong about having house guests of the opposite gender. Third, you trust him that nothing happened (and he told you about it and didn't try to hide anything).

So what's the problem?
posted by J. Wilson at 6:04 AM on November 18, 2011 [8 favorites]

Well let's take some principles as a starting point.

1. You're upset. So this means you're upset! Can you hone in on which part? Is it the lack of permission, is it the one woman in particular, is it that you were away doing important stuff and he was back at the house getting loaded and having a party, is it the privacy of your house being invaded by strangers, is it the lack of permission, is it the surprise? (I keep hearing you say female, so, I think that's a big part of it?) Get down to it. It's okay that you're upset—you just are!

2. Your husband is baffled. He sees this as: had a good time with friends, maybe saw an opportunity to keep people from drinking and driving or staying in a crummy hotel or on someone's floor, he had a good time, and he told his wife all about it. His point of view is: he was being helpful! And having fun! And also dutiful! So he's like "um hey!"

You feel betrayed or startled or both; your expectations weren't met. And he feels blindsided. I have been surprised by betraying people's expectations in this way, and I have to say, the surprise is quite a shock when you think you're doing something fun and nice and suddenly your spouse is upset.

So if you can get to the heart of your betrayal, and he can listen to it, you guys can get over this, and with any luck, he can take away some future lessons for it. Marriage is (as you know I'm sure) about understanding the different values of spouses and knowing--in advance!--how to respect them.

(N.B. My opinion about whether what he did is "okay" doesn't matter. For the record, since I can't resist, I'd be as baffled as he is most likely, though in your shoes, I'd probably be like "HEY WTF YOU HAD A PARTY WITHOUT ME?)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:07 AM on November 18, 2011 [17 favorites]

Are you upset about the "women" bit or the "strangers" bit? Or just the "unexpected guests" bit? My Guy would be annoyed with me if I spontaneously invited three people to spend the night in our house, whether he were in town or not. I think that's a legitimate complaint because I know that he's protective of his personal space and I need to be respectful of that. I don't need permission to invite people into our house, but I must balance invitations I make against his feelings about boundaries so that he doesn't feel alienated in his own home.

Your husband's invitation was not objectively Wrong and your reaction is not objectively Wrong. But you need to figure out what upset you about it. Did you feel your personal space was invaded? Were you embarrassed because you know the house was a mess when you left? Were you jealous because you were off with your child and your husband was partying with the band? Is it simply that you would never invite strangers into your home? Figure out what bothers you about the circumstance and tell your husband, "Hey I know it was a generous impulse on your part. I know it's a circumstance not likely to happen with any regularity, but I was bothered because [reason for being upset here]." Ask him if that makes sense to him and then talk about how you can prevent it in the future.

After that, let it go. You could let it go earlier, too. Like if you figure out what bothered you about it, and he's made a sincere apology for your hurt feelings, you can just let it go.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:08 AM on November 18, 2011 [6 favorites]

It seems like something I would do and it wouldn't cause drama in my relationship.

This is me as well. I regularly have people staying at my house who I don't know too well. In my culture, this is how you behave, you don't send friends to stay in hotels if you have space. I know this isn't true for other people, but it's how it works for me. I don't cohabitate with my partner, but I have with other partners in the past and I'd be fine with this. That said, I would also expect some sort of notification "Hey my friend and her friends need a place to crash so I'm putting them up in the guestroom, that okay?" Depending on how your relationship works you may see this as asking permission or just letting the other person know, but it's a great way to make sure there aren't any weirdnesses lurking under the surface. So I wouldn't care if a partner put up a bunch of strangers, but I'd be a little prickly that he invited three people to stay in my house without at least letting me know [this is mostly because I'd want to make sure he told them where the clean towels were and bla bla but because I'm a total hermit, but I am a bit of a hermit...] and we'd talk about it and I'd assume that next time he'd notify me beforehand and all would be okay. And I'd expect him to be like "Oh hey sorry I didn't mean to hurt your feelings" [or whatever] even though he didn't do anything wrong.

So, you feel weird and bad and that's fine and I go along with other people here that it's a good idea to listen to that feeling and figure out what aspect of this most upsets you. The not asking permission? Was he weird about it? The fact that it was three women? The relationship with the one woman that you don't know? This is just one of those little things that comes up, to me, where you learn how to set boundaries that you may not have even known needed setting before. Best of luck.
posted by jessamyn at 6:14 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

In my social group, offering crash space to out of town friends is a pretty normal thing to do. I'd expect my partner to mention it first, because hey strangers in the house! But if I was away from home at the time then that wouldn't really seem necessary, since the strangers aren't going to be bumping into my undressed self on a late night bathroom trip or anything like that.

It would certainly never become a problem solely because of the gender of the guests. If I thought I couldn't trust my partner I wouldn't be living with him.

He said nothing happened and I believe him

So this sounds to me as if there are explicit unresolved jealousy/trust issues going on; maybe you could address those independently of the issue about crash space. I'm saying this because otherwise it seems a little odd to start having discussions about whether he did or didn't fuck the house guests.
posted by emilyw at 6:14 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yes, be upset. About him having strangers into your home overnight without your knowledge.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:14 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Your husband was more clueless than out-of-line... If anything, considering his trustworthiness, he's quite sweetly naive.

I don't think you're overreacting, exactly, but this is an opportunity to be productive and set those boundaries. Articulate calmly exactly what the issue is (which obv entails you figuring out your objections). Agree upon how you will both deal with this sort of situation in future.

You're not wrong for having those weird, icky feelings one gets when your partner does something that makes you uncomfortable. To help those feelings go away, focus on the positives:

A. He told you exactly what happened, without you having to probe him.
B. He didn't do it maliciously.
C. Given the above, it is unlikely that he will ever intentionally do anything to hurt you, which is the best you can ask for.

Explain and resolve the issue, forgive him, and go do something nice this evening.
posted by dumdidumdum at 6:16 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

My boyfriend would flip his shit if i brought three strangers home without giving him at least a heads up, unless there was a damn good reason.

As for it being women making it a little hairier- YEP. Just because you trust someone doesn't mean you have to be comfortable with have three drunk women in your house alone with your husband.

I find it a little weird that this hasn't come up before in your long ass relationship, but just tell him that the space belongs to both of you, you need to know your privacy and your home is respected, and that allowing strange women to hang out in your house alone with him makes you uncomfortable. If it was an emergency (like they were going to have to sleep in the park) then he could have called. It wasn't and it was too late to call you then he should have said "I'd love to offer you a place to stay, but our house isn't set up for guests. maybe next time you're in town."
posted by Blisterlips at 6:18 AM on November 18, 2011 [9 favorites]

He said nothing happened and I believe him

For those who are wondering why she is upset, this line says it all to me, because OP would only ask if she thought that maybe he had impure intentions, he wanted to make something happen but didn't or was rebuffed, or would have if there had been only one woman instead of three, or DID and is lying about it, and so on.

There seems to be a cultural divide here, similar to the now-famous ask vs guess, in which people are coming from completely different places on this issue. True or false: When a man invites an old female friend to stay over at his place, it's reasonable to assume he probably wants to sleep with her. I say false, and so do many people in this thread, but many people are also saying true, and both sides are baffled at the other. Seems like OP and husband are on different sides of this. OP, the best course of action is to let go of "clueless" and replace it with "different", accept that both of you are right given your own set of beliefs, try not to be angry at him, and accept that you are asking him to override his beliefs with yours and while that's not unreasonable in a marriage you have to be clear and precise about your needs and be patient while he internalizes them.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:33 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

This is completely a matter of trust and yu know your husband better than anyone else here. If you believe him that nothing happened then honestly, why are you upset? You need to dig deeper in your own soul for this.

I can definitely say that if this was in my relationship this would have been not a big deal at all. But this is because 1) I totally trust my husband and 2) this is exactly the sort of thing he would do because he's just a super nice guy (he's the type who would wake up early to go to the grocery store to get bacon and rolls for the impromptu guests as well.)

If I got upset at all, it would have been because the bathroom wasn't as clean as I would have liked it to be if I knew guests were coming over.

On balance though, I think he could have at least given you a head's up with a text or a call. But that's as far as I personally would push it. As others have said, hard to say without more details about your relationship and what exactly you were upset about.
posted by like_neon at 6:37 AM on November 18, 2011

When a man invites an old female friend to stay over at his place, it's reasonable to assume he probably wants to sleep with her.
If I invited a female friend to stay with me who was an old friend while my wife was out of town, it would be odd. It would look like trouble and I wouldn't consider this without expressly discussing it with my wife . I know I'd never fool around and my wife knows I never would, but I'd still be very reluctant to make that particular invitation. A group of people that included an old friend seems completely different to me.
OP would only ask if she thought that maybe he had impure intentions
We don't know that she asked. If I were in her husband's shoes and my wife was upset at the invitation, I would make sure to make it absolutely clear that nothing happened very early in the conversation.
posted by Lame_username at 6:39 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

This--inviting multiple opposite-sex houseguests over while drunk and your spouse is out of town--would not be okay in our relationship, for a variety of reasons. Were I in your position, I'd like to know my house looks decent first before guests come over, for example. But also, it just looks bad. In our relationship, we're careful of these kinds of boundaries, because it's important to both of us.

My husband says--and I agree--that yours should have called you first to let you know what was up. That would diffuse most of the tension here. A lot of what feels off about the situation is that he told you after the fact.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:01 AM on November 18, 2011 [16 favorites]

I think your husband should have definitely given you a call before he invited these women over. That's pretty straightforward, because yeah, you're his wife and you and your child/children live in your house too.

Other than that, though, I don't think there's too much to be upset about. It seems like your hubby was just trying to be a nice guy. My wife and I host people on the road all the time, and it's a great experience for both parties for a variety of reasons.

It's possible that your husband was intrigued by the idea of having three women stay over and he didn't want to call you in case you rained on his parade. That doesn't mean he had any intention of cheating on you, etc., or that he did.

I think it's good that he told you what happened the next day and that you two seem to be communicating about this pretty well. I'd just chalk it up to a misunderstanding, make your expectations for the future clear, and try and move on.
posted by Fister Roboto at 7:20 AM on November 18, 2011


Are you more upset about the fact that they were women, or the fact that they stayed in your house without you knowing about it? What I mean is, if theywere three MALE bandmembers, would you still be kind of miffed?

If you would, then that's probably something you want to make clear to him (and yourself) -- because it's your house too, and he didn't give you a heads-up; that's sort of a disrespectful gesture. I mean, hell, I'm just ROOMMATES with a person and I'd still be a little annoyed if she blithely said "oh, yeah, while you were out on vacation I let someone stay in your room" or whatever. An advance or in-the-moment warning -- "hi, sorry to bother you while you're away, but this stuff came up and I wanted to let some people stay here because they're in a bind" -- would be totally different, and would let me know that SHE knew "yeah, but it's Kim's place too; she'd be cool, but I want to make that gesture of respect".

If, however, you WOULD have been cool with three guys, then that's something you may want to think about why that specifically bothers you. I can't speak to that, as that gets into the inner voodoo of your relationship with your husband and trust and issues about which I do know know the specifics.

Either way, it sounds like your husband just got caught up in the "oh, crap, it's late and it would suck to kick people out, I can't be that heartless" and that was totally his only thought. It's also possible that he DID think to call you and give you a heads up but thought maybe it was too late at night, or whatever. But I'd definitely consider him to be more innocently-clueless than nefarious.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:23 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

A lot of times when I see questions asked like this, people talk about trust - as in, well, you have to trust the person that nothing else happened, etc. But I think there are times when the thing itself is already not okay. My wife and I trust each other about as much as any couple could, in my estimation, but I would say that for her to drink with 3 guys and then have them stay the night would simply be out of line by itself, and I imagine she would say the same for the reverse situation.

Not a 'trust issue' - just that it's what I would consider to be beyond the bounds of our commitment. Of course, those bounds differ by couple, and they're not always spoken - my wife has never told me not to have 3 women stay overnight while she was out of town, for example.
posted by ftm at 7:32 AM on November 18, 2011 [8 favorites]

You only have any reason to be upset if you could ask the question without mentioning the sex or sexual orientation of these people - if you really trust your husband. Also, has either of you had overnight guests, including relatives, before? Because if it's happened before, why would he think it wasn't okay?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:43 AM on November 18, 2011

I think this has more to do with your attitude toward other women than it has to do with your relationship with your husband.
posted by hermitosis at 7:51 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think you're overreacting, but it also sounds like something he probably could've avoided by simply calling you to say that some of the band members needed a place to stay and he offered.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:51 AM on November 18, 2011

I agree with others that you need to be more clear about what in particular upset you.

If you trust your husband then yes you're overreacting if the problem you have is that the guests were women and you wouldn't have had a problem with male band-members. If you have a problem with him having women over when you're out of town then you don't trust him.

If the problem is strangers in your home without your knowledge, that's more complicated. People have different ideas of what is appropriate behaviour in someone else's home and of personal privacy. Based on a past thread there are definitely some mefites I wouldn't want in my home. In someone else's home, even a fairly close friend I wouldn't touch anything that wasn't clearly left out to be touched/looked at (eg. magazines/books on a coffee table), I would never open their cupboards or medicine cabinet without permission. There are some people who think if its not locked away its fair game to be perused and fondled. I would not want those kind of people in my house whether I was there or not but in general I wouldn't have a problem with my partner letting people crash on the couch while I was away. If I was there, I would be miffed if he did it without checking in first.
posted by missmagenta at 7:56 AM on November 18, 2011

I think you are perfectly fine with your reaction. Here's a way to look at it:
If you share a house (the state of cleanliness, the safety of your belongings, who you invite in) therefore I would expect my significant other to call and just let me know if he is bringing guests over. He didn't, he told you when you returned (after the fact). That implies he either didn't want you to know, is being inconsiderate, or that he didn't think this was an expectation. If it bothers you, make it an expectation going forward.
As for having guests over of the opposite sex after having drinks, it's happened with me and my boyfriend plenty of times (I have male guests from out of town or vice versa when him or I are not in town). But it's always planned... neither of us would be cool if we invited someone over unannounced AND who brought strangers to stay the night. If your husband knows you, he should have thought "Would so-and-so be bothered by this? I should call her and let her know and reassure nothing weird will happen". Otherwise, he's being inconsiderate.
Listen, I'm not married and my boyfriend and I are lax about these sort of things but that's because we're kind of party animals and have guests over all the time. If that's not common with you, it at least merits a discussion about what's expected (on BOTH sides).
posted by hillabeans at 8:22 AM on November 18, 2011

This isn't so much a trust issue, as an appearance-of-impropriety issue. Although opinions differ, it is indisputable that there are many people to whom inviting three drunk musician ladies to spend the night when one's wife is away would seem quite sketchy. The OP may trust her husband, but still be angry that he created the embarassing appearance of impropriety, and that his cluelessness about this forced her mind to even consider the possibilities.

A lot of this has to do with age, though. To bohemian 20-somethings, spontaneous couch surfing musicians may be normal and not appear strange; not so much for older professionals with a kid.
posted by yarly at 8:27 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm not sure why this is a problem, honestly. It strikes me as odd that if I finally get married, I (as a female) cannot invite my male friends who need a place to stay, to crash at my house even if my husband is out of town. If all three were strangers, that would be another matter entirely.
posted by superfille at 8:32 AM on November 18, 2011

There are certain expectations that are difficult to articulate sensibly, but are nonetheless real, and it would be unseemly to violate them. And for your husband to bring three women that you don't know, into your marital "nest," is unseemly and you are justified in being offended.

Yes, it's easy to critique that view as being untrusting and irrational and having distorted view of other women, or whatever. But such super-logical protestations ignore the fact that bringing women you don't know into your home to sleep touches a legitimate, primal nerve for you, and your husband was clearly inconsiderate of your feelings and didn't observe proper boundaries.

It has nothing to do with you not trusting him. It has to do with him not being respectful of your feelings and not understanding the nuance of this situation.
posted by jayder at 8:41 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

This might be hard for you to understand, since I'm sure you love your husband and think that he's great, but there were three of them. I don't know your husband, but unless he's a rock star or professional athlete, it does not matter; he does not have that much game. Period.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:55 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

I would only be okay with this if I had previously met, and liked, the female friend. We wouldn't need to be best friends, but I would want there to be a basic level of trust and mutual respect there.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:55 AM on November 18, 2011

(Also, he wouldn't have to sleep with all three of them--the fact that there were more just increases the possibility that one of them was attractive, drunk, and willing to sleep with a married guy. Doors close, you know.

This wouldn't worry me but it is a completely valid way of looking at the situation.)
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:57 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Whenever I see one of these "how mad should I be?" AskMe threads, I always wonder what the OP is hoping to gain. I think the post title here is really telling "clueless or inconsiderate?" In other words, OP, you are assuming, from the start, that your husband has done something wrong, and you're trying to figure out, with our help, how mad you should be, or how mad you're justified in being.

I think that, in general, it's best in relationships to always answer this question with the least amount of mad I can manage to be.

TO your question of "clueless or inconsiderate?" I'll answer: neither, this is a relationship boundary issue that you thought went without saying, but it turns out it doesn't and you need to explicitly hash this out. This is not an issue where one of you is right and one of you is wrong. You just have different ideas about this situation, which you hadn't reconciled because it's never come up before. Well, now it has come up, so the thing to do is focus on coming to an understanding about how to handle this situation in the future, not assign blame for what's already happened.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:03 AM on November 18, 2011 [16 favorites]

You wouldn't have been overreacting if you'd said to him that it kind of upsets you, for whatever reason, that he invited three women to stay in the house that is both yours and his without asking first. You're allowed to have emotional reactions to things even if they're not necessarily rational or even particularly reasonable. A big part of making relationships work is recognizing when that's happening in yourself and making allowances for its occurrence in your partner. A bit of give and take, sort of thing. Ultimately there's no supreme arbiter of what is or is not reasonable; I firmly believe that the only hard rules in a relationship are the ones you both agree on. So instead of arguing that you're reasonable or not, talk about it, explain what upset you and try to find middle ground between the two of you.

I say this because it seems like it's bothering you that he had three women staying over without telling you, and it maybe seems a little like three guys might not have bothered you as much, but at the same time you trust him and believe that nothing happened. That is the very definition of a reaction to which you're entitled, it being yours and all, but which makes no logical sense. After all, if you trust him then it shouldn't matter that they're women. But if it does, then that needs to be talked about, so maybe you can figure out where it's coming from and he can be more aware of it and avoid doing things that would upset you.

You might have more luck in this discussion with him if it's framed that way. Using words like "clueless" will make it seem like there's a right answer he's not aware of. The problem isn't his cluelessness or your initial reaction; the problem is that you have different ideas of what's okay to do here and it didn't come up until now.

See, the thing is, there's a division of reaction among the responses here and it's fairly scattered; this tells me that this scenario is one of those things where people just have different approaches. For you, this is something that is obviously a boneheaded move. For him, this is a totally normal thing to do. And what happens a lot of the time is that one side honestly can't see how the problem isn't obvious, and the other side honestly can't see what the problem is. When something like this happens in a relationship and it's not something you've specifically discussed before, your best approach is not to think of it in terms of who has a right to be mad, but to look at what went wrong, talk about what upset you, and move on together.

Maybe ask that he give you a heads up in future if he's going to invite guests to stay overnight.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:04 AM on November 18, 2011 [5 favorites]

Expectations about this vary by relationship. Many-or-most would at least phone first. But some have an open door policy to guests, some dislike surprise guests but planned ones are ok, some have a very strict no-opposite-sex-guests policy, some are fine so long as they don't walk in on an orgy, etc. etc. It varies.

Deeper question: what is AskMefi going to clarify? If we all say you're right to be angry, do you "win"?

The only winning moves here are in conversation with your husband. Figure out with yourself why you're mad -- which boundary you wanted him to not cross -- and communicate that. Was it not calling you? Having strangers over? Having female strangers over? Doing it all last minute? Playing stupid when you explain how it made you uncomfortable?
posted by ead at 9:39 AM on November 18, 2011 [5 favorites]

Partly possibly a culture thing I think. From my perspective I would not think that you had "three women" "spend the night" at your house. I would think, members of a band on tour crashed at your house for the night. This is very normal, very common behavior for any band that isn't significantly financially successful: touring is expensive, the margins playing little clubs and such are very tight, and skipping as many hotel bills as you can is a solid strategy for beefing up your bottom line.

Which is not to say you're necessarily overreacting, I'm not sure I would be cool with my wife inviting several strangers of whatever gender to sleep at our house while I'm away without involving me in the decision at all. But I do think it's worth considering the context of this as a fairly normal favor in this particular world of working bands.
posted by nanojath at 10:14 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

FWIW put me down as another vote for "why is this a problem?" Either you guys trust each other or you don't. The notion that adult people can't have friends of the opposite sex without being suspected of impropriety seems like something that belongs in sitcom world, not the real world.

If they'd left the place a mess and the husband hadn't cleaned up you'd have something legitimate to complain about, but beyond that I'm not seeing the issue.
posted by yoink at 10:14 AM on November 18, 2011

Not clear if y'all have established general agreements about inviting people to stay over and the focus seems to be on the sex thang, but y'all would be far, far, far from the first people to have things like jewelry, digital cameras, etc., disappear when friends of friends, friends of old acquaintances, etc., stay over.

As a one-off, more a faux pas than a felony, but I can live with either of y'all wanting to know who's going to be sleeping in your dwelling.
posted by ambient2 at 11:04 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

If your objection was that he invited overnight guests when you hadn't prepared your house for company (that is, you were thinking "Omigosh, I didn't vacuum and the bathroom was a mess when I left!"), then maybe I'd feel your outrage. But otherwise, to be honest, it sounds like he was just being nice in offering three musicians a place to crash after an evening of conviviality. I've been married for 17 years, and if Mr. Adams offered to let three of the Go-Gos stay at our house while I was away, my only question would be "Did you get anything autographed?"
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:20 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not clear if y'all have established general agreements about inviting people to stay over and the focus seems to be on the sex thang, but y'all would be far, far, far from the first people to have things like jewelry, digital cameras, etc., disappear when friends of friends, friends of old acquaintances, etc., stay over.

This. If I were in your shoes, and had a generally trustworthy husband, I'd be counting the spoons first and thinking about what he was up to second. Maybe I've run with an exceptionally shady crowd in the past but often "having band members or their friends crashing at my place" (and I don't mean gutter-punks, I mean "nice"clean-cut college-educated people) meant small items (and prescription drugs) going missing. The angle I would be taking is not "I don't trust you!" but "I don't like strangers sleeping in my house when I'm not there."
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:23 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'm surprised at the number of people saying "why is this a problem?" It'd be a problem for me, regardless of the number or gender of the guests or my presence on the night in question. Even if the person inviting them was my roommate and not my SO (and in the case of roommates, hookups are forgivable, but bringing three friends to crash without warning would seriously bug me). It's my home too - my personal space - and I should have a say in who gets to spend the night there, when I'm asleep or absent.

If it's a big deal for you, it's a big deal for you. The "you're overreacting" responses probably give you an idea of why it's not a big deal to your husband.

It'll help your case to explain to your husband why it's a big deal for you. Is it because they were women? Because your husband didn't clear it with you? Because there were strangers in the house? Since the two of you see things differently, see if you can communicate to him what exactly you're upset about, and how you'd prefer this sort of thing to go in the future.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:34 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

I guess this is a cultural thing...some people would NOT be okay with this, and for some people this is not a big deal, and sometimes a routine thing.

I just don't understand why he didn't call you and get your okay before he allowed them to stay at the house. Was it that hard to make a phone call? To me, it just seems like basic decency/consideration to let your s.o. know somebody is staying over before it actually happens.

Just make it clear to your husband what are your feelings for future occasions.

Also, I don't know where you live, but when he and your kid are out of town, I know a couple of hot surfer dudes who are traveling and need a place to stay...I'm sure it won't be a problem...
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:47 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

If I went to a friend-from-out-of-town's show, and found out at the show that they didn't have a place to stay, regardless of their gender, I would be offering my place to crash. Only two bandmates? They can totally crash too. Random groupies? Leave them at the bar, sorry.

Now, my boyfriend and I have had a random crashing houseguest before (a dude friend of mine, to be specific). After that first instance, I talked to him about it to kind of apologize for the super short notice, and he said I never have to ask him about something like that. Maybe he's just super laid back, but I'm more likely to suspect it's the principle of the thing. If a friend needs a place to stay, and you're in a position to offer it, well, offer it! That's a major tenet of hospitality and being friends!

If your husband was going to cheat on you just because you weren't home and there were ladies who'd had beers, that's a whole 'nother problem, and if your relationship has had problems with things like that, then there would be a lot to talk about here.

In my opinion, your husband sounds like an awesome guy who helped out his friend. If you have a gossipy next door neighbor who will tell your entire small town about this and so you're worried about the impropriety, then you live in, like, a 1960s sitcom and should probably move.
posted by redsparkler at 1:48 PM on November 18, 2011

Yeah, just for some more perspective I couldn't imagine not offering a bed/couch/floor to people who were in from out of town. Just wouldn't happen. I get it if you're not ok with it, but I think it's up to you to define where those boundaries are, because it's obviously different for different people.
posted by auto-correct at 1:58 PM on November 18, 2011

I just don't understand why he didn't call you and get your okay before he allowed them to stay at the house.

Probably because it was really late (like, 2am late).
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 2:17 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

If something had happened he wouldn't have told you they came over.

If he hoped something would happen and it didn't, he still wouldn't have told you.
posted by clarknova at 3:25 PM on November 18, 2011

I would personally have problems with someone (anyone) staying in my house when I wasn't there without me knowing about it prior.

I wouldn't exactly be happy about three women staying in the house when I wasn't there (if I was there, it would be a different matter). But I would give it a pass provided it wasn't a regular thing.

However, I don't agree that if something happened he wouldn't have told you ergo nothing happened. People aren't always the most logical (as evidenced by a married man inviting three women to stay at his house while his wife was away).
posted by mleigh at 4:32 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would have no problem with this, just as a data point.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:37 PM on November 18, 2011

It's out of line if it's a boundary the two of you set that he crossed knowingly. That's not what this sounds like. It sounds like last minute cluelessness about how you would feel, and lots of people are guilty of that.

But that doesn't mean you can't still be upset about it. The next step is to communicate with your husband about it, instead of trying to figure out who is wrong about what.
posted by sm1tten at 4:46 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I actually don't see this as a trust issue, but more of differing opinions of what is appropriate within a marriage.

To me, the question is:

"Is it appropriate (within the bounds of good taste and respect for the marriage) for a married man to bring three drunk women back to the marital home when the wife is not there and without her consent?"

Regardless of "trust" or whether anything "happened", I personally find it to be this to be distasteful and inappropriate. Others disagree with me.

Maybe the discussion that you should be having with your husband should not be about trust but about what you each consider to be appropriate/inappropriate within the bounds of marriage.
posted by Shouraku at 4:49 PM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'm in the no big deal camp also.
You trust that nothing happened, they presumably didn't trash the place, what is there to be upset about? What has been lost?
Your husband had a good time and offered an old friend and new acquaintances some kind hospitality.
posted by fruit sandwich at 5:32 PM on November 18, 2011

I think this has more to do with your attitude toward other women than it has to do with your relationship with your husband.

Seconding this. Possibly this could also be a self-confidence issue on your part. Either way, this looks to me more like your issue than his issue. (I would not have a problem with what your husband did.)
posted by DarlingBri at 8:33 PM on November 18, 2011

Ok so here is my take, this is one of those nothing happened , but you know appearances still matter things. This is single dude behavior. Maybe even dude with girlfriend behavior, but not so much married with baby behavior. It sort of sounds like he regressed to dude with girlfriend behavior and I get why that rubs you the wrong way, but at the same time he didn't break any vows or do anything unforgivable. So yeah not totally ok, his life has changed, he's a father and a husband, bringing three girls home to crash a little unseemly, but for a first offense I'd let him off with a warning.
posted by whoaali at 11:21 PM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Never assign to malice that which can be explained by cluelessness.

Random, platonic overnight guests happen with my partner and me, and that's just dandy with us.

I have other friends and have been in other relationships where this was clearly against the rules of the relationship and a serious breach at that.

You have to negotiate the rules of your own relationship. I am also surprised that this hasn't come up in 7 years, but no better time than the present to establish those boundaries!
posted by kamikazegopher at 4:46 PM on November 19, 2011

You don't give a lot of info. as to your marriage; however, assuming everything is hunky dory and he hasn't given you any reason to suspect infidelity, I think you can take him at his word, although perhaps mention that a phone call to check whether it would be OK beforehand would be appreciated(!)
posted by the milky bar kid at 8:30 PM on November 19, 2011

I agree: if this is "people in my house and I don't like not knowing about it until afterwards", then just communicate that and be done with it. Some people view their homes as places in which to be hospitable, some people view their homes as private spaces.

If it is more "I trust him but..." then I would say that you maybe don't really trust him as much as you think. Some people might frame it as "oh, I trust *him*, but I don't trust these strangers to not entice him," but that's still "I don't trust him to not say no".
posted by gjc at 7:04 AM on November 20, 2011

First of all, by the time I'm married I hope I don't have the type of friends who go out of town and don't even think about where they're going to stay. Maybe I'm a stick-in-the-mud or something, but...seriously. There are $30 motels pretty much everywhere. I also think three women spending the night is MORE bizzare/inappropriate than just one woman, unlike a lot of posters. I mean, it's 3x the women to try something with (or three times the women to try something with him--trusting your husband doesn't mean trusting every person he's ever met, especially when he's only met them one time and has now extended an invitation to sleep at his home while his wife and kid are out of town). If I were in your shoes, I would feel like you do--not exactly accusatory but kind of, "WTF? Why did you think that was a good idea?"
posted by masquesoporfavor at 11:40 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

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