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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Uh, weird. I've been with my BF for nearly 6 years (so, practically family). Yes, a SO of an extended period of time falls into a gray area of "not a typical houseguest, but not quite family either" area. I've usually spent a week with BF's family at a time. I'd help with cooking (chopping stuff, stirring stuff, or I'd be in charge of a side dish), dishes, my own laundry if I did any (unless we did a load of cycling clothes), or tidying up the bathroom. (That mostly consists of "keep my stuff corralled and my hair out of the drain".) Now that we've been together longer, I have no problem with helping to clean the kitchen or something similar. I don't like touching other people's stuff without permission, so my helping out still ends up being "Where does this go? Where do you want this? I need to do x. Where is y?" Usually it's faster for BF to do it for me. (Yes, I've been visiting these people for a while and I still don't know where everything is...)

    It was the same when we visited my parents when we were in college. He'd help with the cooking, strip his bed before he left, did his own laundry, and "keep the bathroom neat" is "don't leave soap and hair everywhere and hang up the bathmat when you're done." No "clean the bathroom" stuff.

    That response from his mom... Who does that?
    Last edited by Owlie; 12-01-2013 at 04:07 PM.
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  2. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,066
    Ok, the asking to help with a chore and being annoyed she forgot I guess you could chalk up to different house rules and child/adult distinction, and them treating your daughter as a family member more than a guest. But being openly furious afterwards and refusing to accept a written apology is just way beyond different customs. It's either incredibly rude, or there's something more behind this. Is there anything your daughter maybe didn't pick up on? Is there any way they have been annoyed at her for some time, for not helping out regularly when she visits, for instance? Or does she change the way they relate to their son? And are they used to having house guests? Some people (I'm one of them) enjoy visitors but it stresses them a lot.

    I'm not defending them, just trying to understand their rather bizarre behaviour.

    Helping out can be a fine line - when our son was small and my ILs would babysit, my MIL felt very free to "help out" at home. I didn't mind her straightening the kitchen and putting away the dishes, but when she started making our beds and picking up clothes in the bedroom I had to politely tell her to please, stay out... I like to help out too because it makes me feel useful, but I stay out of people's bedrooms!
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  3. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259
    Those people sound psychotic! If I were your DD I'd be thinking very hard on whether this is a family I want to be involved with long-term. Unfortunately, when we marry someone we are also marrying their family. My MIL is a royal PITA and has said and done some really exasperating things over the years that make me so envious of my friends with wonderful ILs. My MIL's obnoxiousness has not been a total deal-breaker (in large part because she has always lived out-of-state), but I have friends who have true "monster-in-laws" and it has caused irreparable damage to their marriages.
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  4. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    130
    Meh, hostess gift, damn yes, not wine (who says a hostess gift is wine? That is quite an assumption and I drink a lot of wine) but something. 18 is not adult when you live with your parents, however liberal you might like to think you are. I think there is more to this than you are getting. Frankly at 18 she should be helping out with anything a family member would do, and over and above as a guest for a whole week. Maybe she isn't expected to clean in her own home? Forgetting to clean up her bathroom after she was asked is pretty off IMO. My In laws stay for extended periods and I make a point of asking them to do stuff because they don't really get up and do stuff unbidden. I am almost 50 and a grown up and not a maid. House guests pull their weight. Otherwise get a hotel. I was 18 once too. My in laws never bring a hostess gift but they don't like me LOL, but they always bring stuff for my kids so that is all good.
    Don't be boiling mad for her, be neutral and get her to think about what went wrong herself. 18 yr old sleepovers with boyfriends is standard where you are? Does she sleep with him in his parents house? That is pretty liberal in America, no? ( I am not american but where I live in the USA this would not be standard behaviour)

    Edited for horrible spelling.
    Last edited by Skippyak; 12-02-2013 at 11:23 AM.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    Well, I respectfully disagree. I treated my kids as adults when they turned 18. Of course, there were expectations in return, but normal, treat us the way you want to be treated. When they came home from college or the military, they just had to tell us if they were't coming home at night, so we didn't worry. Girlfriends were accepted.
    My parents treated me the same way. You are right, values are different in different places. My kids turned out great, despite their liberal upbringing.
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  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301
    Ditto! When my son brought his girlfriend home last Christmas she stayed in his room. I was fine with it. I figured if he's old enough to be sent to war he's old enough to make those kinds of decisions.

    Of course, in a lot of places me being a lesbian isn't acceptable either, but I don't give a damn. What I do in my personal life is nobody's business...same applies to my kids.
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  7. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,203
    Sounds like a dreadful time, from what the OP wrote. I know when I was 18, I was definitely not an adult even though I was a sophomore in college, and I made many questionable judgments and decisions. I think it's a time when the brain is still developing. I needed more guidance on some aspects of life and social conduct.

    A few good life lessons from this seems to be:
    1. Always bring a hostess gift (it does not have to be wine)
    2. When in Rome...play by the rules of your hosts. If they have different rules that the guest cannot abide by for whatever reason, it's best to excuse oneself from the situation altogether (i.e., bow out gracefully and go home).
    3. Always write a thank you note (and send it directly to the host)
    4. Everyone is different and people have different expectations and ways of conducting family life, particularly when children (even 18-year olds) are still living under the family's roof. That will not change in a week of hosting.
    5. There might be some long-term decisions to be made from this, including the potential in-law thing. In-laws/parents can wreak havoc on a marriage if the couple is not ready to stand together on their own, and at 18, few couples are ready to do that.

    I hope your daughter can learn from this experience, as I'm sure she will encounter many more unexpected and flabergasting situations along the way. She sounds like a responsible person.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    I second what Tulip wrote. Even though I treated my kids like adults at that age, I can sympathize with what *might* have been going on. It can be exhausting when your adult children plus guest come home for a week, more cooking to do, more dishes to be washed, etc. So last time our son's gf was here, I did get annoyed that while they would bring their dirty dishes to the sink, they never loaded or unloaded the dishwasher, and I let them both know this. She replied that in her parent's home, guests would never be allowed to do that, and in fact later when her family entertained us and I got up to help clear the table I was firmly stopped. I let her know it was because we are treating her as family and not a guest, that we expect everyone to contribute. If we do the cooking, we want them to help clean up etc. It was all settled amicably through dialogue, but sometimes one has to be sensitive to different families having different customs, expectations, etc. For me, it was kitchen help, perhaps for them it was bathroom help, but I can understand how they may have felt.

    For now, instead of being angry, I think she should work on repairing the relationship if she is serious about this young man. How about swallowing her pride, mailing a thoughtful after gift (doesn't need to be expensive, but now that she has been in their home maybe she has a better idea of what they might appreciate), and a thank you note/apology.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    1
    I think it was pretty rude that they asked her to clean the bathroom (of all things) while she was a guest in their home. When she forgot to do it, it would have been classy to just let it go. The fact that they even mentioned this to their son and then responded that way to her super sweet gesture to apologize just shows how rude they are. It sounds to me like they could be trying to sabotage the relationship.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    247
    Tulip nailed it. Take the high road.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,545
    I don't have children, so I don't have the family perspective. But these people sound like control freaks. I can't imagine asking a guest to clean the bathroom -- or do much of anything regarding housework, really.

    I don't like guests pitching in to help very much at all (got that from my mother) so perhaps I have a bias.

    Hope this is resolved without additional distress to your daughter.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    perpetual traveler
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    1,267
    I would wonder what the BF's take is on all of this. Is he going to stand up to his parents and visit your daughter even if they forbid it? What is going to be the consequence if he does? Your daughter and her BF need to talk this through.
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  13. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    My kids aren't guests in my home, and now that they are married, their wives aren't, either. They both helped in appropriate ways a couple of weeks ago when both were here. DS #1 and his wife, often stayed here when they were dating and they had a commuter relationship. That situation was probably more like a guest thing, and she followed my son's lead. I don't have guests often, but I don't find it onerous. The only time I required anything more than clean up after yourself with my kids was last spring when DS #1 and his wife stayed here after going to a wedding near my house. As pre-arranged, we met them there at the end, DH took them back here, and I drove their car back here, as they had been drinking. DIL got sick in the night and tried cleaning up in the middle of the night. DH went into the bathroom and saw she had not done such a good job, which sent DIL into a frenzy of cleaning, as she felt horrible! I love cooking for others, and don't expect them to clean up, although they offer to help. We mostly go out, or take turns cooking and paying for restaurants.
    My kids always write thank you notes to others, and perhaps having a Bar Mitzvah at age 13 and having to write 50-100 thank you notes seared it into their brain! The rule was to write 5 a night, until they were done. My older son ran for class secretary based on his thank you note writing skills! The class laughed at his speech. Two years ago, he single handedly planned and pulled off the ten yr. reunion. I told him it was payback for all the organizing I had to do for him. Seriously, give your kids more credit. I know some 18 year olds need more parental guidance than others, but if you do the talking and teaching along the way, it's not so bad.
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  14. #29
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,041
    My daughter just wants to be able to see her boyfriend and will do whatever it takes. If she has to jump through hoops to deliver her apology in a manner his mom will accept, she will.

    I advised her to wait to attempt a 2nd apology, because I thought everyone could use some time to cool down. She's got several tests and finals coming up, and doesn't need the distraction of melodrama. I try not give unsolicited advice, especially to her, but this time I did, and she listened to me.

    I talked to a friend of mine who lives in his town, and she offered for either or both of them to stay with her if that is needed.

    I get the feeling that the boyfriend is on the verge of severing relations with his parents. The fact that they still do support him financially and that he is very close to his little brother is all that's keeping him from doing that. Of course I only know his side of it, as told through his girlfriend. But they should be careful or they'll drive him away completely.

    The hardest part for me is that there is really nothing I can do. Well, nothing I ought to do! I had quite a few imaginary conversations in my head where I gave his mom a piece of my mind. But of course I wouldn't really talk to her, the kids have to work this out for themselves. (I did quietly unfriend her on facebook.) My daughter has had a really difficult time adjusting to college. Her first semester was very hard. Her first roommate didn't work out, at the mostly-male engineering school she didn't make friends right away, the classes were difficult, and she was so homesick & lonely. She got pretty depressed. When she came home Saturday night she was on cloud 9, happier than I've seen her all semester. Then she got up Sunday morning and told me "His mom thinks I'm rude and that I'm a terrible guest". Right back to upset & depressed. It's awful to feel so helpless when she's suffering.

    But only 2 more weeks and then she'll be home for winter break.
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  15. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    perpetual traveler
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    1,267
    You are a good mother, Melalvai.
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    Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

 

 

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