Dear Mother, let me share the cover with my lover
July 1, 2008 5:11 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to communicate with my parent regarding my wishes for an upcoming visit from the girlfriend? Specifically, sleeping arrangements...

Soon, my girlfriend of several months will be visiting me at my parents' home for a number of days. Neither myself nor my siblings have ever brought a romantic partner home, not even to watch a movie in a group during high school and certainly not for a stay of several days.

In discussions with my parents regarding this visit, they've brought up the subject of where to let my girlfriend sleep. Their consensus seems to be that I will sleep in a spare room, while she will sleep in mine. When this is mentioned, I either do not comment or say that we'll figure it out upon her arrival.

Their idea is not acceptable to me. I am a senior in college, and my girlfriend has graduated. At the end of this summer, she will be relocating to another continent for several months, so until next year our only convenient opportunities to see each other will be during the summer months.

Prior to leaving college for home, my girlfriend and I spent every night sleeping together in the same bed. To go from this arrangement to one where we will not even be in the same room is extraordinarily frustrating for us both.

Unfortunately, I have no choice but to host in my parents' home. I do not have the financial resources to acquire an apartment, and the unusual schedule of my college makes it difficult to fit into traditional lease and sublease cycles in the first place. I return home rather than remaining at college because it is extremely difficult to obtain summer housing at my school, which with few exceptions does not let students live in housing not owned by campus. (This is not a religious school). While I do intend to visit her at her home (currently also her parents' home), that will not be possible for a number of weeks.

My question (finally!) is this: what is the best way to approach my parents about this situation, and to convince them to take my side? To be clear, my goal is not to be given their blessing to have a week of nudity and wild sex, but simply to sleep together in one bed while clothed in sleepwear. My parents are not conservative, but their own admitted limited experience in relationships other than their own, the lack of history of anything like this from myself or my siblings, and their stated desire to keep us in separate rooms makes me nervous about how I approach this subject.

Any advice from those who have been in similar situation, or from anyone who wishes to provide some suggestions, is greatly appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (59 answers total)
Wow, that title is creepy.

You're over-thinking things. Rather than make an impassioned plea to your parents, you put her suitcase in her rooms, your suitcase in yours, and then after the house has gone to bed you meet in her room (or yours -- it's your choice, obviously) to sleep together.
posted by kate blank at 5:20 PM on July 1, 2008 [6 favorites]

Give up, as gracefully as you can. The odds of being able to convince them of "your side" are slim, you're in their house, and it's only a few days.
posted by nkknkk at 5:20 PM on July 1, 2008

I should have added, if you MUST stay together, spring for a hotel room nearby for the duration of your visit. Win win.
posted by nkknkk at 5:21 PM on July 1, 2008

I think its your parents place and they make the rules. Since you cant afford a hotel, you kinda have to suck it up. Sorry, I know it sucks.
posted by boyinmiami at 5:22 PM on July 1, 2008 [10 favorites]

you're still in college and you mention that you are not financially independent. you are bringing a guest into your parents' home. they get to make the rules—not you. you can let them know that you would like to be staying in the same room as your girlfriend but if they insist on separate rooms, well, you're SOL. it's their house, their rules. if you insist, you should then suck it up and pay for a hotel room.

(this is based on what i and all of my friends have dealt with at that age—and some even into their late 20s.)
posted by violetk at 5:22 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]

It's their house, and they get to make the rules.

You can always ask, but I think you might just be opening up a possible fight.

I see their suggestions of sleeping arrangements as preemptively telling you their rules, in order to avoid a fight. They are not stupid. You might want to follow their lead.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:22 PM on July 1, 2008

It's their house so they can stipulate whatever they like, but there's nothing to prevent your girlfriend from sneaking into your spare room (or vice versa) after the parents' have retreated for the evening. That way you don't even have to have an awkward we want to "sleep together in one bed while clothed in sleepwear" conversation.

This at least is how I always arranged things.
posted by bluenausea at 5:24 PM on July 1, 2008

You're living in their house. They've told you what their preferences are. This is one of those times that I'd say you have to choose your battles, and if I were you I'd keep my powder dry on this one.

When you have moved out, and are 100% financially independent of them, things will be different.
posted by ambrosia at 5:27 PM on July 1, 2008

While you're probably right in that you feel mature enough to share a bed with your girlfriend, and the whole sleeping in the spare room thing feels like a big fuss for nothing, you are in their home and you must abide by their rules. End of story. Whether you follow their rules or make a show of following them while sneaking around is entirely up to you and dependent on how much respect you have for your parents and how important these few days are in the great scheme of things.
posted by fire&wings at 5:27 PM on July 1, 2008

unless you live together, and they know it, do as kate blank suggests. it will make them happy, it will satisfy your desire to have a little snuggly time with the lady, and it will, most importantly, keep the peace.

choose your battles wisely with your parents--this is not worth the ill-will that could result from pressing the matter, especially when a perfectly reasonable workaround is available.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:27 PM on July 1, 2008

I do suggest that you give it a try and speak to your parents first. Be respectful, be honest, and be direct. Being mature and respectful might show your parents your sincerity.

On the other hand, if that doesn't work, you're pretty much SOL since it's your parents' house. They make the rules. Abide. Your girlfriend is a guest in your parents' home, not a paying renter. I understand your hope and desire to sleep together is not motivated by sex, but really, if this is only for a few nights, deal with it.

If you have such a burning desire to spend time with your girlfriend, then go out and spend the time with her outside of the house, then come home late at night, kiss her on the cheek and go to your separate rooms. Perhaps in time your parents will mellow out, appreciate your respectfulness, and let you share a room / bed on her next visit.

Good luck.
posted by HeyAllie at 5:30 PM on July 1, 2008

If your parents have explicitly said you two will sleep in separate rooms, then deal with it. Fighting over it will just make both of you dig in your heels and then the whole visit will be awkward and unhappy. If this is the first time anyone's ever brought a significant other home, you and your girlfriend must be fairly serious. Do you really want her first visit to meet your parents to be all about how you're old enough to decide where to sleep?
posted by lilac girl at 5:32 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I had the same problem. The first time my boyfriend visited, he got a hotel room, and I spent every night there.

If that's not an option, I really do recommend the "putting up a social front" solution of sneaking around. It'll prevent a fight that you really don't want to have, and it's actually sort of expected.
posted by muddgirl at 5:33 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oldest of five boys here. Two down from me is the only one married and they get to sleep together at the Parents. Rest of us don't. I can't imagine not being next to him normally, but their rules apply - and I respect that. Without being all preachy about it - I think you should too. They're trying to tell you something in their brief ministrations about the arrangements - go with it, they'll think more of you both.

PS Sneaking for a couple of hours is fun!
posted by Blacksun at 5:34 PM on July 1, 2008

Some people don't care what their unmarried kids do in their house - some do. It's certainly "normal" for your parents to want you to sleep separately, and you don't have any right to find it unacceptable because it's not your house. (It's also kind of crappy, in my opinion, to make a big deal out of Forcing Them To Acknowledge That You Are Sexually Active when it clearly makes them a bit uncomfortable, and yet they are being gracious enough to host your visiting girlfriend). The solution is to cuddle to your heart's content, then retire to separate rooms when it's actually time for sleep. A better solution is to get a hotel room, in which case you could have wild sex and sleep together sans sleeping clothes without bringing your poor parents into it at all.
posted by moxiedoll at 5:36 PM on July 1, 2008

My brother did this for six years with his current girlfriend. Even after they had both graduated (and had been dating seriously for five months) they still maintained separate apartments and he always slept in her parent's spare room. They both knew it wasn't worth making trouble with the parental rules and causing bad blood, plus, it is respectful of their rules.

Plus, has your significant other even met your parents? If not, I highly suggest that you don't try to get the room together at this point in time. It might negatively affect their impression of your SO.
posted by nursegracer at 5:39 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Please believe me, in a few years (probably less than two) you're going to realize that it's not your house and never was, even if it takes a few more years after that for "home" to mean "the place where I sleep" instead of "the house I grew up in and where my parents still sleep."

Is your parents' position ridiculous? Yeah. But they're allowed to have ridiculous positions concerning what goes on in their home. And you're going to feel silly about it when you're about 27 if you fume too hard.

Just do what my generation used to do back in the late 90's-- sneak into your girlfriend's bed at 2:30 AM. Your folks sound fussy, but not enough to call you on it if they suspect anything. And the waiting and fear of being caught will make it all the more memorable for you later on. You must trust me on this point.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:39 PM on July 1, 2008 [4 favorites]

You say "I have no choice but to host in my parents' home. I do not have the financial resources to acquire an apartment" and yet, you expect to set the rules. Yes, this is another "it's their place, they make the rules" comment. I mean, really... there's no harm in spending a few nights apart, and it will please your parents.

In college, eh? On your way to adulthood? Well guess what: being an adult isn't all about getting your way. It's about compromise. You want somewhere to stay and you want somewhere for your girlfriend to stay as well. For you, it's all take and no give. If your parents prefer you two sleep in separate rooms, give them that.

Show your parents the level of respect you want them to show you. Over time, as you become a man, you will find that they will. Fighting with them about petty stuff like this does you no good in the long run.

Best of luck.
posted by 2oh1 at 5:39 PM on July 1, 2008 [7 favorites]

When this is mentioned, I either do not comment or say that we'll figure it out upon her arrival.

contrary to what everyone else says, i don't think you should hedge around the issue. tell them, "we have been sharing a room for the past X months, why should we sleep separately here?" ask them to voice their specific concerns. letting them treat you like a child doesn't help you OR them.

you are an adult, act like one. they must accept the fact that you have an adult relationship. they are kidding themselves if they think they can force you into separate rooms.
posted by gnutron at 5:42 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm confused.

Why haven't you just said, "Hey, don't sweat the details moms and pops. We'll just stay in my old room." Are you even sure your parents would object?

Fact is your parents are imposing an artificial barrier on your relationship which would not otherwise exist. You should follow up with them. Say, "Look mom & dad, we spend every night together already, it's silly to split us up just because we're under your roof. You guys seriously need to get over it..."

Act like it ain't no thang and leave it at that. If they object you'll have to abide by their rules, but I think if you stand your ground they will maybe fold.

Good luck.
posted by wfrgms at 5:45 PM on July 1, 2008 [4 favorites]

you are an adult, act like one. they must accept the fact that you have an adult relationship. they are kidding themselves if they think they can force you into separate rooms.

gnutron, this might fly if the OP wasn't financially dependent on his parents. but regardless, it's their house. do you feel entitled to go into someone's own house and dictate to them what the rules are? cause if you do, you've got a big set.
posted by violetk at 5:46 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm sure they realize you guys have an "adult" relationship, but it's more a respect issue to do what they ask in their house. I don't really see the big deal in sucking it up for however long. Definitely better than make a non-issue into a conflict just to impress your parents with your ability to get laid.
posted by doppleradar at 5:49 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Their house, their rules. Ask them like an adult and gracefully bow to their wishes while you are living in their home. Later on when you are visiting (and living elsewhere, one presumes) it seems more inevitable that if you bring your girlfriend/partner along you both would sleep in the same room. For now, while you are an adult you're in the precarious position of being dependent on your parents for your home (unless you're actually paying rent, in which case the situation is totally different IMO).

Also, while this relationship is obviously significant to you, you have been dating for only a few months. To your parents, who haven't even met your girlfriend before now, it might seem more like a casual fling than a long-term relationship. Judging from the parents who I know (and whose homes I've stayed at) the longer they've known me/the gf, the more likely they are to be flexible on the sleeping arrangements.

If you're looking for a place to have sex while she's visiting, get a cheap motel, wait until they go to work for the day, or get creative. If you're looking for, as you mentioned, snuggling with pajamas on at night, consider getting a cheap motel (go on Hotwire- I frequently see hotels going for $29/night) or ask your parents, fully expecting them to say no.

If you have 'the conversation' with them and they say no, my advice is to respect it. Like I said initially, their home, their rules.
posted by arnicae at 5:53 PM on July 1, 2008

Your parents are your parents forever. The girlfriend may at some point no longer be in your life. You're much better served by respecting your parents and taking a few days off from the snuggling. It really, really will not kill you or disrupt your relationship with the girl.
posted by desjardins at 6:00 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Have you gotten your girlfriend's opinion on this? nursegracer brought up a good point in that your parents' opinion of her might be adversely affected by whatever "scandalous" actions you take while she's there. Whatever you decide to do, sneaking around or not, make sure she's cool with it.
posted by phunniemee at 6:04 PM on July 1, 2008

It's not your house. I've had long term boyfriend visit at my parents house and we always slept seperately. It really isn't that big of a deal. It's their house and their rules. Is it really so bad to sleep seperately for a few nights? You get a whole bed to yourself!
posted by pieoverdone at 6:07 PM on July 1, 2008

When faced with similar situations, my boyfriend and I would often fall asleep together on a couch in the family room. My parents just figured we fell asleep watching TV, and we were still in clothing, so nothing untoward was going on. We weren't lying or sneaking.

Because, yeah, their house, their rules. Certainly if they're supporting you financially. We stayed separately until the day we were married -- and that was after grad school!
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:16 PM on July 1, 2008

As the first sibling to bring a boyfriend home for a visit during late college, I used the approach given early in this thread - go into your separate rooms, and then meet up once everyone else has gone to bed. It's annoying (especially if you have to be up before everyone else so you can sneak back out), but doable. If you go this route, YOU should sneak into HER room. Then the responsibility is on you if Mom and Dad find out, and it won't be quite so awkward for her as the new person who is under scrutiny.

A few months after my younger sister graduated from college, she brought her long-term, live-in boyfriend home to my parents' place to visit. My mom spent the whole day beforehand agonizing over their sleeping arrangements. She knew perfectly well that they shared an apartment and a bed normally, and it didn't particularly bother her, but she felt like OFFERING to put them in the same room would be like condoning it or encouraging it or something, which she was not comfortable with. She ended up making sure the guest room was ready for a guest, and then letting them sort it out on their own - she didn't even help them bring their suitcases upstairs, because she didn't want to deal with the awkwardness in the hallway. She wasn't opposed to them being in the same room, she just couldn't be the one to suggest it. A little crazy, yeah, but imagine how you'd feel thinking about your kids having sex. It's just weird, and it skews your logic.

My advice would be to bring it up with your parents politely, before your girlfriend arrives. In my experience, at least, the parents just needed to have the tiniest push for them to acquiesce.

To all the people who are admonishing you for questioning the house rules when you're the guest -- people have different relationships with their parents, and even now into my late 20s, where I've lived in my own place for years, I've never been made to feel like a "guest" in my parents' home. Sure, it's not really my home anymore, but it used to be, and to some extent it always will be. I respect my parents and their wishes, but I do take liberties in their house that I wouldn't in a friend's home. Of course it all depends on your relationship with your parents, but the way you handle differences of opinion here are probably different than if you were staying with, for instance, a former professor or a coworker or something. I think it makes perfect sense to stand up for your wishes a bit more in this situation, because you're not a guest - you're family.
posted by vytae at 6:18 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Your parents aren't ready for you to be grown up. That's their problem, but it's also their house.

You crave the intimacy of your girlfriend. Trust me, I've been there. If it's summer where you are, take a lot of long walks in secluded places and enjoy the intimacy of being together alone. A little time apart won't kill you and it will make the time you have together more intense and enjoyable.
posted by plinth at 6:22 PM on July 1, 2008

nervous about how I approach this subject

So let me get this straight, you are over the age of 18 and your parents allow you to live in their home while you study in college. You are currently dating a woman around your age who is going to stay in your parents house for a few days. Your parents have mentioned several times that she will sleep in a separate bedroom and, rather than voice your concern at the time, you instead get scared and nervous to even ASK IF ITS POSSIBLE. Um. Sure, it's their house but, uh, could you at least ask? If they say no, they say no. Your parents aren't mind readers and you being childish and keeping quiet and building some huge resentment against them is not helping you get what you want. You're an adult, it's time to start acting like one.

And if you are entirely to scared and witless to actually approach your parents as an adult, then just sigh and accept whatever their wishes are without speaking up. But, if you do this, you must remove this resentment you feel towards them right now or you are going to be so incredibly assholish and passive aggressive to your family and your girlfriend during her visit that she's not going to want to come back. You and your parents are entering new and uncharted territory - act like the adult, act like you're confident, and treat your parents the way you would like to be treated. If they haven't had much experience (as you claim), they might not even GET that you might want to sleep with your girlfriend in the same room.

So ask, be polite, courteous, and, above all, respect their rules. You are over 18, not some emo kid who spends his days listening to Fall Out Boy and writing HEART MUSE on your notebooks. Sheesh.
posted by Stynxno at 6:23 PM on July 1, 2008

Get a hotel room.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:26 PM on July 1, 2008

Nthing their house, their rules. Once I was out of college, my parents have let me stay in the same room as visiting boyfriends. Other boyfriend's parents, however, have had different comfort levels with that, and -- as a guest in their homes -- I have always accepted the boyfriend's parents' rules in order to make the best impression. (Yes, this has meant that at times, in my 30s, I have stayed in a different room from my boyfriend when we were at his parents' house. Big deal. We fooled around on the couch after they went to bed. Result: everyone happy.)

So please understand: if you make a big stink about this with your parents, it may quite possibly have an impact -- fair or not -- on how positive they feel towards your girlfriend.

You want to really be an adult? Be respectful towards your parents, and do what it takes to make the time with your girlfriend as comfortable and positive as possible for everyone -- not just you.
posted by scody at 6:29 PM on July 1, 2008

I think this thread has a lot of good advice, particularly arnicae's. If you can be forthright with them, respectfully, it might cut through a lot of potential awkwardness.

This is your parents' first time having one of their children's partners over and that's got to be a little weird for them. Mu parents are extremely liberal and open about sex (maybe too open), but when I first brought my boyfriend home, we slept in separate rooms. I don't remember there being a choice, but it was clear that was what my parents felt comfortable with. Now when we visit, they're fine with us sharing a room (and bed), but we've been together for years.

I also agree that the financial support factors into this. I'm from the school of thought that you're not really fully an adult (in regards to your parents) until you receive no financial support from them. This doesn't work for everybody, but I could see that as being a factor. When I graduated and got my "big girl job", I was most excited about pure independence from my parents.
posted by kendrak at 6:35 PM on July 1, 2008

My (younger) brother is engaged and his fiance stays in a separate room (on a separate floor!) when she visits. I believe my aunt and her then-fiance stayed in separate rooms at our place when I was a kid (and she was well into adulthood at that point). It just happens. That does not preclude sneaking around, of course, but I wouldn't stir things up by insisting.

Instead of agonizing over this until she arrives, think of some creative ways to get some alone time. It'll keep the air clear, and you'll have fun feeling like you're doing something bad!
posted by backseatpilot at 6:38 PM on July 1, 2008

You know, here's a thought: offhand, prior to the visit, mention that you've gotten used to sharing a bed, and that you know they're probably uncomfortable with the idea, but that you'll miss the intimacy of falling asleep together -- and would they be okay with you sharing a room if you kept the door open all evening?

If they say yes, then great, and do so, and be respectful; no shenanigans (at least in that room at night.) If they say no, shrug it off as no big deal, and be respectful. It's really your only shot at this point; anything even slightly more demanding, confrontational or covert will just cause problems, and you owe it to your parents, your girlfriend and yourself to have a good visit without any nonsense.

Incidentally, you're still free to sit next to each other on the couch and lean on each other, hold hands, kiss hello and goodbye, and all the other non-PDA intimacy that is typically allowed during daylight hours in polite company, yes? Try it on for size; sometimes that kind of intimacy, especially around your own parents (who presumably did the same thing when you were growing up), can make you really happy and be fulfilling.
posted by davejay at 6:40 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

You're the oldest: so much worse for you. My younger brothers had it easier. I'd just get used to the idea. I speak as someone who did this for thirty straight days after living together for a summer. You feel a little cheesy as you say goodbye that first night. But then you hold hands during the day and watch movies sitting next to each other and feel cute.

Every family is different, but if it's as important to your family as it is to mine, you're just going to cause a big stink and tarnish her in their eyes, whereas if you play along, your mom will love her and buy her a birthday present even when you tell her not to. There are issues and instincts and a social web here bigger than just you, and gracefully giving in might be the smoothest way to go.
posted by salvia at 6:45 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is a no-brainer. Being an adult means understanding your parents make the rules in their own home.

For you to fight it makes you seem very much less than grown up.

An adult would respect the parents' wishes.
posted by jayder at 6:46 PM on July 1, 2008

My comment was a little unclear, but my suggestion was that you show respect for what makes them comfortable (and not even sneak in at night). (Sneak off during the day.)
posted by salvia at 6:47 PM on July 1, 2008

If you want them to allow you to sleep in the same room without a fight, marry her. That's the only surefire way to convince them.

And, invest the time now so that someday, when your parents visit you in your house, you can make them sleep in separate beds, because after all, "My house, my rules!" I actually did this to my in-laws once. In jest, of course.
posted by mikewas at 6:51 PM on July 1, 2008

Their money, their roof, their rules. Besides, if you aren't confident enough to ask them, I'm not sure you should even bother. I dated a guy for 7 yrs and both sets of parents only loosened up on the sleeping in the same room rules near the end. I don't think you mentioned that ya'll lived together. Hell, if you stay with her for any period of time, your parents are bound to loosen up.
posted by CwgrlUp at 6:59 PM on July 1, 2008

It's their house, it's their rules.

But there are a bunch of options you haven't explored yet.

First, you should talk to one of your parents (not both together, that's a different dynamic), whichever is more sympathetic. Usually that's Mom, but every family is different. You say that you want to talk about where your girlfriend will be sleeping when she comes. You express a desire for cohabitation, but that first and foremost you want to make sure everyone is comfortable and feels respected. Allow this to be a conversation that takes place over several days -- don't demand a response RIGHT NOW, and don't have a tantrum if the answer is "no." And if your house has thin walls, understand that there everyone's desire to not have to hear the humping all night long is not totally unreasonable. Beds creak, moans and gasps happen; it's not fun to listen to all night long.

Second (assuming the answer is "no"), talk to your parents, aunts and uncles in the area, friends, relatives, etc -- explain that your girlfriend will be visiting and you were wondering if someone will need housesitting, or has a lake cottage you can use, or a hunting cabin, or whatever. Beggars can't be choosers, and if anyone offers to let you use a place, no matter how awful, take it.

If that doesn't pan out -- no generous uncle with a guest cottage -- you can get a cheap hotel room, or take the girlfriend camping, or finally have that big "I'm an adult dammit" argument with your parents. The point being, there are lots of options here, and you will need to start by having a calm and respectful talk with your parents; the result of that chat may be good or you may have to start looking at more complicated possibilities.

That said, however, the thought I'll leave you with is that just because separate bedrooms are mandated doesn't necessarily have anything to do with who sleeps where -- you can do the sneaking around suggested above, or even sometimes simply both sleep in one room; if the proprieties of separate rooms are maintained, the realities of which tab goes into which slot at which time can be ignored.
posted by Forktine at 7:09 PM on July 1, 2008

What is the best way to communicate with my parent regarding my wishes for an upcoming visit from the girlfriend?

Like they did, directly and honestly, like an adult. They've already brought up the situation and expressed their wishes. You pretended not to hear or put it off to a later date. That's not adult behavior and they're not stupid, they know exactly where you stand on this by now.

Sit'em down and bring it up again. Talk to them, ask them when they don't want it and be ready to assuage their fears or compromise. Do not get angry or demanding, you'll lose right there. Reason as best as you can, realizing that their reasons may not be rational. And finally, be prepared to lose.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:19 PM on July 1, 2008

If you don't think they're all conservative and likely to object, just bring it up. My brother's brought a few girlfriends home for Christmas over the years, and my mother's always agonized about whether she needed to find a way to accommodate them separately, or if she should put them together, and which they'd prefer and how it'd work and blah, blah. If your mother has mentioned it a couple of times, she may be trying to make it clear that that's how it's going to be, but she may also be trying to give you an opening to discuss it.

Be ready to take no for answer, and accept that with complete grace, since it is entirely up to her what she's comfortable with, but just tell her that you and girlfriend are you used to sharing a bed when you're together, and if she doesn't mind, you'd prefer that.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:15 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Would you ask her parents if you could sleep in her room at their house? If yes, then ask your parents. If not, suck it up and live by their rules. THe sneak thing works too. My mom was "cool" enough to ask me in the morning when my girlfriend of 6 years was visiting, to not smake so much noise when "talking about your day with each other in her room at 2:45 in the morning". Oops.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:10 PM on July 1, 2008

One thing that isn't clear is if you have any younger siblings still living at home. If so, that really up stakes since your parents will feel that whatever they let you do, they are giving your younger sib permission to do.
posted by metahawk at 9:19 PM on July 1, 2008

So, yeah, I'm for the their house, their rules team. That is, I think you're rude to try and change their rules which are probably based on long-term values or upbringing.

That said, this would work on me: "Hey Parent, I'm planning on having sex (sleeping, if you prefer) with my partner who is not underage, and it would be safer and more convenient if we did it at home instead of the alleyway, or the car. What arrangements can we make so this will work for everyone? We particularly promise not to be noisy or draw attention to the fact that your little baby is a sexual being, because that's just as oogie as imagining your parents having sex, and we shall refrain from odious PDAs too."

You tell them what you intend, and ask how it can work for everyone. That's about it.
posted by b33j at 9:49 PM on July 1, 2008

I got all the way to the bottom to see metahawk's comment. Here's my agreement ...

We have five kids in the early adult stages and one fourteen year old in our family. The rules have always been that your boy friend or girl friend doesn't stay in the same bed until they are a live in partner and there is some sort of commitment.

This isn't because of any old fashioned views about sex - it's about giving the teenager a view of sex and relationships that includes commitment. Two of our older kids are in long-term relationships and if they stayed I would put them in the same room. One of the others operates a revolving door policy with boyfriends - there is never any question about the rules when she comes home.

Also to be honest, I look so shocking in the morning that I only want to bump into my nearest and dearest on the way to the bathroom.
posted by chairish at 10:02 PM on July 1, 2008

If I were the girlfriend, I would be intensely uncomfortable with the idea that my boyfriend had, on the occasion of my first visit to his parents' home, bullied them into letting me sleep with him when they were uncomfortable with the situation. It doesn't exactly engender positive feelings or contribute to a positive first impression.

I would let this go. The "their house, their rules" stuff that everyone else is saying above is all true. But in addition, if you believe that this girlfriend could be serious or long-term, you should think about this as a visit between her and your entire family, and think about allowing her to get to know your parents without the S-E-X cloud hanging in the background.
posted by decathecting at 10:18 PM on July 1, 2008

Yeah, it's a their-house-their-rules thing here. Can you afford to splurge for one night in a hotel while she's in town? It would give you a bit of what you want and you'd make a passive-aggressive type point to your parents at the same time. i think i'm using passive-aggressive correctly. probably not though.
posted by hootch at 10:26 PM on July 1, 2008

My mother and stepfather have lived together for over 20 years. They have also never gotten "married"; so when they visit my grandparent's house for holidays and such, they are not permitted to sleep in the same room.

I don't think there are any hotels within 40 minutes of my grandparent's house, so this is just the price my nonreligious liberal mother pays if she wants to visit her religious conservative parents.
posted by dgaicun at 10:27 PM on July 1, 2008

Their house, their rules.
posted by k8t at 11:22 PM on July 1, 2008

It's their house. Be a good son and do as you're told.
posted by rokusan at 12:09 AM on July 2, 2008

Jeez, is everyone here old? "it's their house..." It's also your room, I'd say.

When this problem arose in my life, long ago, and my mother asked my gf to sleep in the spare bedroom, I just asked my mother: "er, don't you think this is a bit silly?" To which, to her credit, she said: "Now that you mention it, yes." And that was that, more or less. The trick, I think, is to approach this lightly and not make a big fuss over it. The old wink and nod works wonders.
posted by NekulturnY at 3:36 AM on July 2, 2008

I agree that you should at least explicitly ask your parents, but..

Prior to leaving college for home, my girlfriend and I spent every night sleeping together in the same bed. To go from this arrangement to one where we will not even be in the same room is extraordinarily frustrating for us both.

Come on, suck it up! My ex-boyfriends were always allowed to sleep in the same room as me at my house (during high school and college), but I've never been put in the same room at their house, and it's really not the end of the world. You can hang out in one person's room most of the time -- but once you are actually asleep, how much difference does it make? Doesn't seem worth upsetting your parents over, especially when they are welcoming her into their home.
posted by puffin at 4:13 AM on July 2, 2008

I disagree with the majority of the comments in this thread. I don't think that your parents are trying to set a hard rule against you sleeping in the same bed with your girlfriend. They're just waiting for you to assert yourself and tell them of the necessary arrangements -- without themselves saying, "So I guess you guys are going to sleep in the same bed, huh? wink wink, nudge nudge", because they feel uncomfortable about it.

At least that is how I would have interpreted it -- you know your parents better.
posted by qvtqht at 7:11 AM on July 2, 2008

Several people here are reading things into the question that weren't there:

do you feel entitled to go into someone's own house and dictate to them what the rules are?

I would be intensely uncomfortable with the idea that my boyfriend had, on the occasion of my first visit to his parents' home, bullied them into letting me sleep with him when they were uncomfortable with the situation.

"Dictate?" "bullied?" Where in the question are you getting that the OP wants to demand that they sleep in the same bed? Because I'm not seeing that at all. The question at hand is "what is the best way to approach my parents about this situation, and to convince them to take my side?" [emph. mine]

Man up, and discuss it with your parents (either together, or one alone) honestly and directly. If they still say no, you should respect their wishes. But it is not the case, as some respondents here seem to believe, that parents' rules are Like Unto The Word Of God, Carved In Stone, And Which Can Never Be Changed.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:25 AM on July 2, 2008

All the people who are saying "Their house, their rules:" I don't actually think the OP is sure it is a rule. OP, you need to actually talk to your parents about this before you can go any further. Your mom suggests separate rooms and you skirt the subject? No, no, no. Just act like it's no big deal and say: "I figured we could both stay in my room." If your mom says "Uh, um, I'm not sure but ok" then you're fine, and if she says "No way, no how," then you've just got to suck it up. But first - talk to your parents. Give them the chance to treat you like an adult. Just make sure that you deserve to be treated that way.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:43 AM on July 2, 2008

As the parent of a child about your age, here's what I would expect from a conversation about sleeping arrangements:

You bring it up. I'm not going to be the one to suggest the two of you sleep together.

Let me know that you're practicing safe sex. I don't want all the details but I do care that my child is safe.

Let me know that you'll be respectful of the other people in the house.

And some assurance that you'll be cleaning up that messy room wouldn't hurt. (Or whatever is appropriate in your case.)
posted by maurice at 9:46 AM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

duude. i'm over forty, living with a partner for over five years. we own a house together. but i'm not going to force my parents to "condone" our "behavior" by insisting on sleeping in the same bed when we visit *their* house. it's not worth the stress they will experience, and thence infect the air withal.

it's about time you started treating *their* house like it's *their* house--you're nearly an independent adult, and basically living in their house until you can afford to live elsewhere. really, you're almost a guest--a family member guest, but still a guest.

if you need to sleep in the same bed enough to challenge their obvious interest in sleeping arrangements that are appropriate for *them*, then get a hotel room. the sneaking idea might be okay to a point, unless they are religious and might have a meltdown and start praying over you. but that seems far more juvenile that either sucking it up or springing for a room.
posted by RedEmma at 10:11 AM on July 2, 2008

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