Your son is 27 and due to financial problems, you've invited him to move home. His 30 year old girlfriend is coming to stay. Should you oppose them sharing his double bed during her visit?

This question involves much older people than most others, but, I feel it is very much related to parenting, since, this behaviour isn't shared by wider society/friends/relatives.

I ask because my parents are asking (if not telling) me to sleep on the floor downstairs. Am I unreasonable to expect both us and my folks to respect personal space?

None of us are religious and I'm unsure of the origin of their concerns.

How would you handle this discussion? My parents and I have an otherwise happy relationship.

  • 2
    Unless there is also a religious component to their concerns, I'd have to agree with Torben. If their reasons for the rule have religious routes - whether you agree with their beliefs or not, it is a slightly more complex issue in regards to how to address things with your parents. Can you add this detail to your question? Commented Jan 20, 2013 at 0:49
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    Are they REALLY asking you to sleep on the floor? I mean, no air mattress? No couch? I mean, I get that not everyone has a guest bed, but your mom is also opposed to you sleeping on the couch. I'm just wondering if you're not being a tad melodramatic in your assertion that they want you to sleep on the floor. Cause, personally, I find it more offensive that they expect you to sleep on the floor than that they've asked you to not sleep with your girlfriend.
    – Meg Coates
    Commented Jan 20, 2013 at 3:45
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    Then I agree with Torben. I'd find a hotel for the night--especially if they don't really seem to have a reason behind it. Are they maybe just uncomfortable with the idea? It's sometimes hard for parents to see their kids as adults with adult relationships and opinions--we call it "powdered butt syndrome" in our house :-D
    – Meg Coates
    Commented Jan 20, 2013 at 19:56
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    "I'm unsure of the origin of their concerns." Why? The fact that you're coming here and asking us instead of asking them seems a bit weird to me, especially in the context of an "otherwise happy relationship." To be honest, without knowing what is motivating them, I don't feel there's much that we can do here except speculate.
    – Benjol
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 14:28
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    Thanks everyone for a lively discussion and for a wealth of ideas. The reason I was unsure of the origin of their concerns was it was initially near impossible to engage in a dialogue without them shutting down, avoiding the subject altogether or beginning to argue. Torben's answer involving addressing control issues was the primary source for a resolution. Ultimately, we were indeed allowed to share a bed and all parties were happy with the arrangement :)
    – Nick
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 3:06

10 Answers 10


I see two aspects in this, summed up in these words:

  • on one side, the son is a guest and should respect the house rules and/or the wishes of the hosts,
  • on the other side, the parents are making a rather silly demand on their son because he is no longer legally underage and doesn't need to be supervised.

In the end, the parents are the hosts, and therefore their rules are final. But it is worth a try to discuss these rules before accepting them!

This son and his girlfriend are adults. They will be expected to know how to behave themselves (or be quiet about it). For this to be a problem in the first place, it seems to me that the parents have some issues that need to be either addressed, accepted (sleep on the floor), or knowingly ignored (hotel, or sneak upstairs after lights-out).

If I were that son, I'd present my arguments to my parents in the hope to convince them to let me share a room (and bed) with my girlfriend. Frankly, if the parents can't handle two grown-up guests sharing a bed in their house, then the son should take his girlfriend to a nearby hotel for the night. This would likely not be popular with the parents, but that's their problem.

If I were those parents, I'd have to realize that we have control issues. Our son is a grown man, and we need to accept that. We could discreetly request him to keep his hands above the covers while he's a guest in this house. But come on -- demanding him to sleep on the floor is nothing short of silly.

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    I'm guessing 'financial problems' might preclude the hotel option.
    – Benjol
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 14:25
  • @Benjol: You may have a point! After all, the young man appears unable to support a home of his own -- but if the girlfriend is visiting for a short while, maybe he can afford to share the hotel bill with the girlfriend. The "hotel" doesn't have to be expensive; it could also be a bed&breakfast, or a youth hostel, or similar less expensive alternatives. Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 16:38
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    Thanks for an excellent response - I have accepted this answer as control issues were indeed the root cause. These have no been overcome (at least in part) and we were able to share a bed. I believe their objections were related to previous experiences where they hated my ex and couldn't stand us being together. Introducing them to my current partner gradually has worked well and slowly bringing up the idea of modern sleeping arrangements when shown in TV and film, non-directly led them to volunteer a positive solution themselves.
    – Nick
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 3:11
  • @Nick: excellent -- congratulations! Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 7:22
  • There might be a concern about pre-marriage sex (which some don't like) in a less-than-comfortable-soundproof house (which keeps some awake). Explicitly asking what the reason is, might help. Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 7:23

None of us are religious and I'm unsure of the origin of their concerns.

Well, then go an ask them. There are a few completely different things that may be going on here:

  1. They feel that it's really not a good thing that you are 27 and living at home. They try encourage you to get a decent job and a place of your own by making your stay awkward.
  2. They may have a rather irrational conception that "one does not do this". I have no idea where it comes from but I have seen it frequently in US parents (much less in Europe). Pretty much all our kid's girl/boyfriend's parents display this. Although the kids are of age, in long term stable relationships and have places on their own where they often stay together, it's a no-no in the parent's house. It's quite baffling but very real.
  3. There are social ("what will the neighbors say") or religious concerns that you are not aware of.

Halving an open conversation should clarify that. As it stands, it's their house so their rules apply and your best shot is to get your financials in order and find a place on your own.


There are also valid secular reasons for a lot of "religious" rules. Sex has very real financial consequences. It also happens to be highly motivational, and perhaps your parents don't want you to get too comfortable in a temporary situation.

I happen to personally have religious objections, but I think I would try very hard to put those aside in order for my son to feel welcome visiting. However, a visit from a self-sufficient child is very different from one asking you to support them financially. If you want personal space, then buy it. If you want the privileges of an adult, then assume the responsibilities of one. If you want someone else to support you financially, then accept their conditions.

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    Very good answer. I agree that often religious rules were created for very practical reasons. Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 21:57

I am at the parent end of a similar situation - 23 year old son who lives at home "part time" and with his girlfriend the rest of the time (20 miles up the road, closer to their respective colleges). I decided that being welcoming to him and his girlfriend (both well into adulthood, and in a long term stable relationship) should take priority over my imposing my views of propriety when they stay at our house.

On the other hand, when my 18 year old wanted his newly-minted 16 year old girlfriend to sleep over - it was a categorical "no".

In a sense, my attitude reflects my thoughts on whether a particular relationship is healthy and appropriate for my child, in their particular stage of their life. As a parent I try to steer my children towards what will make them happy. Which is not the same thing as giving in to every request. And I do expect that my wishes, when expressed, will be respected. But since I like it when my children come to visit I try to think carefully about what "rules" to impose. There's a fine balance between the role as a parent (which never stops), tolerance of the adult that your child has become, and the feelings of everyone involved. Not easy.

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    Happy update - the 23 year year old in this answer has married the girl he used to bring home...
    – Floris
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 22:22

Are you paying a reasonable rent to your parents or are you staying for free? In my mind this makes a big difference!

If you are a guest (i.e. staying for free) then although you may not agree with your parents you owe it to them to follow the rules that they've established. They have after all allowed you to return home and to put a roof over your head.

On the other hand if you're paying a reasonable rent (market value for example) then ultimately you are in control of what you do in the privacy of your bedroom. Obviously that doesn't mean you're free to throw wild parties or set up a meth lab, but your personal and private behavior in your space is your own business.

Rent aside pushing the issue is more than likely going to cause problems and strain the relationship with your parents. Only you can determine if you're willing to push those boundaries and are willing to accept the risks of damaging the good relationship.


Maybe parents don't like his girlfriend, so they try to make her stay as uncomfortable as possible.
Maybe they're afraid if they let their son share a bed with her, she will move in too.
Maybe it's a hint for a son, that it is time for him to get his own place.
Anyway at the end of the day the parents own the house, so they make the rules.

  • 2
    +1 since the issue seems to have stemmed from a prior girlfriend whom they [unfortunately] despised.
    – Nick
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 3:12

Your son is 27 and due to financial problems, you've invited him to move home. His 30 year old girlfriend is coming to stay. Should you oppose them sharing his double bed during her visit?


Is it reasonable?


Something is up... ask them why. Maybe it's as simple as "we'll be grossed out hearing 'it'" to which there's a simple solution: promising that you won't do 'it' when they can hear 'it'.

  • 1
    I wanted to explain a bit, but didn't want to clutter up the original thought. at 27, you've been out in the world and on your own for at least a while. In a lot of famblies, 27/30 have a kid or 2 already. Would they expect you to sleep separate then?
    – monsto
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 12:45

It's the parents' house and they would be the ones to decide.

How much leeway do you have to negotiate? It depends on

  • the kind of relationship you have with your parents. Are they autocratic, or do you get to have your say?

  • the wider impact of either decision on the other people involved and the overall cultural acceptance of such behavior. In some cultures even having an unmarried partner in the house would be taboo. In others, people would wonder why you don't share the bedroom at all.

You should definitely get into a negotiation if this is a long term arrangement - for the sake of your own sanity. At the same time, you are in no position to dictate terms to them.


I think it is about time we all understand that human beings have a strong "chemical machines" component. Imposing abstinence to youngsters is just cruel and it disregards this very common fact mentioned above.

Thus, once you accepted your son back home at his age, means also accepting his girlfriend and their relationship, especially if it is a long lasting one.

Maybe you should consider how they will contribute to your common life and this includes the girlfriend.


I'm late to the party but I find it bizarre and ridiculous that the parents would demand that. They should be happy if their son is happy; they have done a decent job raising a man who can have a meaningful relationship (as I hope) and they can be proud of it.

The son is clearly not a normal guest, so the arguments that a guest should follow the host's rules are utter nonsense; even if they weren't, the hosts have at least as much obligation to make their guests feel comfortable.

If the parents cannot let their son live with them in his own way and space, i.e. share the family home with him as peers on equal terms, it is time to move on. One can live cheap. And in fact, that you are not on your own feet may be the underlying issue here.

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