My husband and our 19 year old daughter aren't speaking

Agony Aunt's picture

Dear Patricia Marie,
My husband and our 
19 year old daughter aren't speaking.

The problem is, she recently brought her boyfriend home from university to stay for the weekend. During the first night, my husband bumped into him coming out of our daughter's bedroom. He was furious, as he had expected the boyfriend to sleep downstairs on the settee. The next morning a row broke out between my husband and daughter, which prompted her and the boyfriend to leave suddenly.

I believe my husband acted irrationally, but he was brought up in a strict environment and feels he has done no wrong at all, and upholds his decision not to let the boyfriend sleep with our daughter in our home. I would be interested to hear what you think. 

Patricia Marie says...

Most parents at some time have to face the dilemma of letting the girlfriends or boyfriends of their children either sleep together or not when they visit.  The only way to resolve this is for both parties to communicate in a mature way and be able to compromise. You might have said not under our roof and that would have been acceptable. But you then should have listened to their side of the argument, that they're over 18, have a physical relationship and may even live together at university.  

Next time, perhaps recognise this and offer them the option of a shared room, as by offering them separate beds you won't feel like you are running a love hotel, and not forcing them to sneak about either - which however way you view the behaviour of the boyfriend, I feel sure he would rather not be having to hide away. It sounds like there were no boundaries set and that your husband presumed the boyfriend would sleep downstairs, which is what your husband may well have done in his single days.

As difficult it is to recognise when you're a protective father, things are very different now and if he values the relationship with his daughter, he really does need to try to see her point of view, yet at the same time, your daughter should respect how her dad feels too. Nevertheless, at this moment she has taken another option  - not to visit a father who considers his daughter a fallen woman and her boyfriend dishonourable. However difficult the situation seems at this moment, negotiations and mutual apologies might resolve this, I do hope so. 

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