Dear Abby: Dad's decree on boyfriend & bedroom draws fire

Posted: June 21, 2011

DEAR ABBY: I couldn't believe your response to "Stumped and Trumped in Ohio." You made a point of saying to the father that his daughter and her boyfriend are in his house and they should abide by his rules and sleep in separate bedrooms. It's his wife's house, too, and she thought it was fine for them to share a room. Since when should the man's opinion automatically trump the woman's?

Furthermore, what about hypocrisy? He admitted that he and his wife had indulged in "premarital mambo," as he so quaintly puts it. In this day and age, you can assume his daughter and the boyfriend are as well, especially since they wanted to stay in the same room. So it was OK for him, but it's offensive when they do it?

Nonetheless, it is the parents' house. If they had mutually agreed that the youngsters should sleep in separate rooms, so be it. This is something the husband and wife should have worked out together before "Julie" brought her boyfriend home for a visit. But in saying it's the man's house and everyone should abide by the man's rules, you insulted women everywhere.

- Burned Up in Springfield, N.J.

DEAR BURNED UP: You're right. I was clumsy. While I agree with you that the writer and his wife should have reached a mutual agreement before the daughter and her boyfriend arrived, they didn't. Call me a stick-in-the-mud, but I don't think an unmarried houseguest has a "right" to share a bedroom if either parent is uncomfortable with it. And while the father may know his daughter is having sex, theoretically, I'm sure he isn't the only parent who would prefer it was "out of sight, out of mind." Readers were divided about this:

DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I were dating, and even after he moved in with me before we married, whenever we visited his parents' home, I always slept in the guest room. Why? Out of respect for his parents' wishes. It was never something that was asked of me. I did it out of respect for someone else's home.

This man's wife caved under false pressure. The daughter will visit just as often. Sleeping arrangements rarely stop someone from visiting. If the new boyfriend stops accompanying her, then everyone should realize he's not worth his salt. Respectful adults don't just "happen"; they are raised that way.

- Rebecca in St. Paul

DEAR ABBY: Today's letter had my blood boiling. I wholeheartedly agree that rules of a household should be respected. However, the father's objection to his daughter and her boyfriend sleeping in the same room isn't about respecting his "wishes." He's upset because he's trying to control his daughter, and he isn't willing to accept that she's grown up and deserves the same freedom he and his wife had. I'm surprised you encouraged him, given that he made it clear he had no problem with premarital sex. He's a blatant hypocrite.

- Caitlin in L.A.

DEAR ABBY: I think guests, including children and grandchildren, who live together in today's world should be allowed to share a room. Times have changed. Prudishness is out of date.

- Realistic Contemporary Grandma

DEAR ABBY: Before my husband and I married, we visited my straitlaced aunt. Neither of us expected to sleep together there. If you don't want someone's morals imposed on you, what gives you the right to impose your looser morals on them?

- Diane in South Carolina

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self- addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby - Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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