Parents don't think unwed couples should live together

kelly726September 8, 2004

My boyfriend has finally got a job in the same city as me! Instead of each of us living alone we planned on saving some money by getting a 2 bedroom/ 2 bath. [Side note: we have been friends for over 3 years and dating for over 1 year. If age is important I'm 24 & he's 23.] Well we just found the perfect place close to both of our work buildings and for the price we want (nice apt too). He calls his parents last night to tell them he's found an apt. They are happy till he says that he'll be sharing the apt with me. Then they let him know that that would be embarassing for them to tell friends and family. I guess its some sin to live together unwed in their eyes! And now he doesn't want his family to hate him so he won't live with me. And we can't seem to reason with them.... :-(

My parents have no problem with it b/c they say I am old enough to make these choices, plus we'll each save around $400 a month living together. And together we have all we need for an apt. Plus my parents aren't for pushing me to get married anytime soon, they say its okay to test the waters first. We're talking about a 2 bedroom/ 2 bath not a 1 bedroom. Oh and also we work opposite schedules, he works 3:30pm - midnight and I have a 9-5 job,we'll be lucky to see living in the same apt.

Any ideas convincing my bf to just live with me anyways or convincing his parents that it will be ok? Or is this a hopeless cause?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

At some point, everyone needs to become their own person and learn to make their own decisions -- does your boyfriend intend to run every life decision he makes past mommy and daddy? You do that when you're a child, not when you're an adult. Viewpoints and opinions from other sources are all well and good, and help the decision making process, but if he's basing his entire decision on whether or not they'll be embarrassed by his decision, that's ridiculous, IMHO.

Their viewpoint is rather parochial in this day and age...millions of people live together nowadays without the benefit of marriage. It's not suitable for everyone, of course, but for a lot of people it's an affordable decision, and makes it so that you can figure out if you can stand the other person well enough to consider marriage someday. There's no reason that his family and friends need to know that you two are living together. It's not like his parents need to post a large sign on their lawn, or take out a newspaper ad that says "Our son is shacking up with his girlfriend," for pete's sake...

Not to sound too judgmental or tell you how to run your life, but do think seriously about whether or not you want to commit yourself with someone who puts his parents concerns above his own or yours -- I'm not saying that one shouldn't respect one's parents, or ignore what they have to say, but at some point, each person has to forge their own life's path, and make their own decisions and own mistakes. If he's already willing to completely reverse his own opinion to cleave to his parents, that wouldn't bode well, in my mind, for future issues in your relationship.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2004 at 5:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Any ideas convincing my bf to just live with me anyways or convincing his parents that it will be ok? Or is this a hopeless cause?

If he's 23 and supporting himself, he is going to have to be a grown man and make his own decisions. If he's not prepared to do that, then wait until he is. No amount of "convincing" is going to convince his parents of anything. He should just make his own decision. If he can't, then you'll have to live with it. Any involvement by you with his parents in this matter is only going to make them think you're a hussy, or worse, who is trying to corrupt their baby, which he apparently still is.

Do yourself a favor and stay out of it! You'll only hurt yourself in the end.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2004 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

He may also be a grown make and make his own decisions, even IF he decides not to live with you if you're not married. Deciding to live with you is not proof that he's a grown-up; bowing to his parents' wishes and values in this respect is not un-grown-up.

Deciding that he thinks they're right, or that he cares what they think and doesn't want to embarrass them, doesn't mean he can't make his own decisions. And it doesn't mean he isn't a loving boyfriend.

And it sounds like he HAS made his own decision: he has decided that his parents' values and opinions matter to him. Matter enough to mean he wants to change his plan about living with his girlfriend that he's not engaged to or married to.

Also, he's 23. I think it's still OK if he's guided in large part by his parents' advice. Sheesh, he hasn't been out of college that long, and he doesn't live in the same town as them. Relying on them for guidance, and being influenced by their standards and beliefs is pretty normal.

He's not married to you right now, and he's not required to put you first. Maybe one day he will be, but he's not now. So I don't agree that you should dump him over this. He wouldn't be "not living up to his commitments"--right now he's only committed to being your boyfriend. Should he propose, he's making a different commitment. And his parents might have a very different reaction.

You may think that their point of view of parochial and out of date and stupid. He, however, grew up in their household learning their values. So if he's not really pooh-poohing them, maybe he shares those values. If they're coming from a religious perspective, let me point out: God doesn't change. Just because society accepts sex outside of marriage doesn't mean God does. (sure, you can have sex outside of marriage even if you don't live together, but if you live together, you're ADVERTISING that you do). And it's really only in my teen and adult lifetime (and I'm 44) that living w/ a member of the opposite sex has become acceptable.

And one VERY hip advice columnist, Carolyn Hax of the Washington Postn, believes that couples shouldn't live together until they're engaged. Because it makes breaking up harder.

It changes the dynamic of the relationship before the commitment has been made. So even if you don't think you'll break up, it makes it harder to truly evaluate whether you want to be in the relationship. It's not that the arrangement is immoral or embarrassing; it's limiting and risky--therefore stupid.

SHE'S not parochial--I think she's pretty smart. (I put a link to her archives--dig around in there and see if you can spot her talking about it. She's pretty eloquent.)

I agree that you should not get involved in this. He needs to decide (sounds like he already has), and you'll have to live w/ his decision. If you want to pressure him into this, I wonder if you are moving too fast for him.

I do NOT think you should ask him to lie to his parents. I think that's REALLY unfair to him. They're gonna want to visit him, and then what will happen? Or he'll be just talking to them, and it'll slip out. Whatever he decides, he needs to tell them the truth. He needs to be in a relaxed, open relationship w/ his parents, not a furtive, keeping-secrets one.

It sounds like you need to find a place to live w/ a female roommate, and give this 1-year-old relationship time to develop on its own speed, without the pressure of cohabiting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Carolyn Hax--very interesting reading

    Bookmark   September 9, 2004 at 2:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree and disagree with some of the points made above.

Going to parents for _advice_ and opinions is good. Completely reversing his decision based on their embarrassment is not so good. If the reasons that his parents had stated that they were against his moving in was because he was too young, not emotionally mature, whatever, then okay. But their reasoning for being against it is that they would be embarrassed by it...and he's letting himself be guided by their embarrassment, which is not a reasonable decision, in my opinion.

The fact that he was gung-ho about it, and then completely reversed his decision suggests to me that he is not emotionally mature enough to handle it, so in that sense, I agree with Talley Sue. I also agree with some of the other posters -- if he's so willing to change his decision based on his parent's embarrassment, then that's not a situation you want to be involved in; he's probably never going to go against his parents, even if you were married. If he's this much of a wimp at 23, when he's probably been out of college for a year or two and should at least be nominally an adult that can make his own decisions, then there isn't much hope for him in the future.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2004 at 4:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why do you want to live with him? To save money by sharing expenses....or because you are in love with him and never want to be apart and you want to sleep with him next to you the rest of your life?
Think about it before you get all bent out of shape because his parents don't approve.
Ever think that it's you they don't approve of and not the living arrangements? could be....and that's a whole different can of worms....
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 12:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First off - thank you everyone who replied. I needed to hear different points of view.

Here's where I'm at: I have come to realize there is nothing I can do. And its only going to hurt me to stay mad that things aren't going like we planned. So I've decided to just force myself to move on and get excited about decorating my own place and trying to get excited for him too. He says that this whole not living together till marriage was a value you was raised on and that his parents just reminded him. He apologized for what has happened. Yes I am concerned about him needing to run every idea past mommy & daddy in the future but this was a first. And I believe what Tally Sue said was right, he doesnt have to put me first now... we arent married. So I guess I'm just trying to make the best of the situation now b/c this isnt the end of the world ;-)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 2:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You sound like you've got a good attitude about this.

You know, after reflecting on what I said earlier, it might be that it's not that he "can't" make a decision without mommy's approval but rather that he just happened to make one that agreed with his parents' viewpoint. He might have gotten caught up in one side of the situation until he really thought about it and realized that living together isn't what he wants to do right now.

Anyway, you can both continue to save money by finding other roommates and you can see each other as much as you like! Good luck with everything.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 4:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you've made a wise choice - there really isn't anything else you can do in this sort of situation that will reflect well on you, or make the situation better.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 4:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you hope to marry this man someday, I should think you'd understand that his family, particularly his parents, will be a huge part of the package. Why would you want to alienate them right from the start? I'm glad you've decided to move forward instead of throwing a hissy because you didn't get your way. It shows good character--a commodity far more important and valuable than $400 a month.

I've read statistics that support that couples are actually more likely to stay married if they *don't* "test the waters" first. This is because the committment is there. When you just live together without that step, you can walk away at any time. This "disposable/easy out" mentality carries through and makes it easier to just up and leave later when things get difficult. I have a daughter, too, and I simply can't imagine advising her to put herself in that position.

Instead of viewing your potential husband as a Mama's boy because he listened to and respected his parents' wishes, you should consider that that's the kind of father he would make too. Perhaps one day your own children will show you that same respect, because he modeled it for them.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 6:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This might be a generational thing. I read the first post and thought, good grief: is this guy going to run to mommy and daddy everytime he makes a major life change? And if he does, is this the kind of person she should even CONSIDER spending the rest of her life with?

But hey, you guys are both still in your early twenties. Perhaps you still feel that some guidance from mom and dad is important and beneficial. Now: if he's still doing this in his 30's and 40's, you got yourself a bit of a problem IMHO...

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 9:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree, I think it's a generational thing ;) I have a feeling that most of the younger folks who answered this had the same thoughts as you and I, MJ, and those that are somewhat older, answered like parents would :) I can speak as one data point -- I moved in with my boyfriend when I was 19. It was the best thing I ever did...we had a great time together, and now we're married.

The reality is, each person is an individual. What works for one person may not for another. Some people can move in with someone else, and it's a great thing. For others it might not be. Some people need to rely on their parents more for decisions, some don't. I couldn't bear to live with a man that had to run to his parents about every major decision...even in his early 20's. That's why asking for opinions from strangers on life choices like this is going to get such a wide range of opinions, because a lot of people are going to answer from their own experience or their own world view (religious, political, parental, whatever). The smart thing to do is read it all, use it to help clarify your own viewpoint by perhaps getting some opinions or suggestions you hadn't thought of yourself, and then make your own decision.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I couldn't marry into a family like that. but then I'm the matzoh ball in the spaghetti sauce at family gatherings ;) and it means the world to me that my very catholic inlaws value me as a person and a partner to their son more than they value 'their ways'...and have never by word or deed done anything but love and respect a day and age where they risked PUBLIC censure for it, not just some tongue wagging.

but I gotta kinda agree with lindaC here...

building a home and a life together is a good reason to live together- but there is something to be said for each of you taking time to have a place of your own, to explore decorating and organization and chore priorities and sleep schedules and comfort zones...

but I WOULD have a long talk with him about the 'why's' involved in his decision- because if it's really an issue of values...I'd be very concerned about a boy who's willing to spend the night with you, but not stand up and admit to you by moving you in to his house.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 4:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kudos to the OP for taking such a mature attitude and *respecting* her BF's values, whether you agree with them or not! I'll just add these few things (though Tally Sue pretty much said it all...):

1. If you ever end up marrying this guy, you will be *glad*...yes, glad, that you had a chance to live on your own, decorate on your own, have your own remote control, etc before getting married. I think this is *soooo* very important for a person to have before getting married - you find out a lot about yourself when you live alone, and you get to have everything just the way you want it without having to compromise. Everyone should experience that, IMO!

2. While dating, this is your "private hideaway". When you get upset, or frustrated, or one of you is having a bad day, you will have your own apartment to "take a break" in. Yes, you've been friends a long time, but a 1 yr. old relationship doesn't *need* the pressure of having no escape. Yes, some people move more quickly, and they make it work, but it's much harder than it needs to be from what I've seen (just about all of my friends moved very quickly, and let me tell you, it wasn't fun for them to go through...or for me to watch) - consider this time for you to grow your relationship without the pressure of being physically "stuck" with the other person. Trust me, there's *plenty* of time for that later!

3. By respecting his parent's advice and allowing them to remind him of his values, he's showing you that he respects the opinions of those he loves. Someday that could be *you* - it's a *good* thing. A man who treats his parents with respect will also treat his wife with respect - you want that.

4. Now is the time to be exploring your beliefs. Obviously he was raised in a more "traditional" environment than you...this isn't just going to affect issues of living together - it will affect his views on marriage, raising children, etc. Those are bigger issues to deal with than "shacking up" - it will be good for you two to discuss and deal with them *before* committing enough to live together. If you already knew about them, you should have known what his decision about living together would be after he spoke to his parents...because you were suprised, that tells me further "research" on your part would be good before taking that huge step of deciding whether to live with him.

Practicality isn't everything - it's worth the extra $$ to protect yourself *and the relationship* by moving slowly. You're young - plenty of time ahead of you. :-)Living together has the *potential* to hurt the relationship (not that it will, but it has that potential)...*not* living together will absolutely not *hurt* it if it's any kind of relationship at all. Patience is never a *bad* thing. ;-)

I got married two weeks ago to a man I had a crush on in high school, was friends with since I was 18, started dating at 22 (I'm 29 now), and have been engaged to for 2 yrs. We lived separately up until our wedding day - because we felt it was the right thing to do (me for both religious and secular reasons, DH for just secular reasons, as he's not religious). We still feel it was the right thing to do - and because we've seen how each other lives independantly over the years, we haven't been suprised at the little things that come up while we're living together - no "trial arrangement" needed, because we *know* each other's habits intimately from spending time together. So living together isn't the only way to learn whether or not you can live with someone - how better to see how they live than walking into thier personal space after you haven't been there?

Anyways, it doesn't matter how long you date, or are engaged, or anything like that (I only mentioned my circumstances so you'd know where my point of view stems from). What matters is that you respect each other's needs and wishes no matter where the relationship goes, and I'm impressed with how you have made the choice to respect his. Well done, and I hope you continue to do that for him, and he for you. :-)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 6:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Some of you keep talking like these people are 18 or 19 -- we're talking 23 and 24. They're not that far off from the average age of people getting married (25 for women, and 27 for men). I'm just guessing, but I imagine they have been living on their own for a while now, and so have had the opportunity to try decorating for themselves and living on their own and all that. It's also not like they've only been in a relationship for a few months -- it's been over a year. They have been "moving slowly" from what I can tell (not to say that's bad). It would irk me, frankly, if at the age of 23/24, my boyfriend/girlfriend of over a year was basing their personal decisions on his/her parent's approval, and I would question their commitment to me after that much time with them, but hey, to each their own.

Here is a link that might be useful: statistics

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 7:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What I find odd is that the young man apparently didn't already know that his parents would be against his living with a young woman. If they had any strong values, they didn't do a good job of communicating them.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2004 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I disagree, lazygardens--I think the young man in question knew right well, but needed to be reminded of his upbringing.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2004 at 3:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As far as I am concerned, the parents should be thrilled that their son has a girlfriend----period. They should be thrilled he has a job----period.

Parents of the disabled, etc. can only dream about romantic and emloyment scenarios for their kids. Think of parents of the disabled going to tens and tens of weddings in their lifetime buying thousands of dollars worth of gifts, and knowing their disabled child ISN'T dating material, ISN'T marriage material, or ISN'T job material.

PARENTS: Enjoy your good fortune. All I can say is PICKY, PICKY, PICKY.

If your son should become disabled, I can assure you that this minor crisis would be one you wish you could repeat a thousand times.

The parents are quite lucky and should count their real blessings.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 5:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

MOTHERSCOTHIE- very wise-your post re: this situation-perfect. Kelly reacted maturely to a mature action-IMO.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 7:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just a thought...maybe the young man agreed to move in with you because he didn't want to hurt your feelings, knowing that once he told his parents of the living situation, they would be displeased. Knowing that his parents wouldn't agree with the situation might have given him the reason he needed without coming off as the "bad guy". Enjoy the time you have now. I would suggest keeping a watchful eye on how he reacts in different situations. You've been friends for 3 years and boyfriend/girlfriend for 1 year. Being a friend is a good basis for a lasting romantic/committed relationship. Take advantage of the time you have.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 10:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I may not always agree with my daughter's arrangements, but I wouldn't presume to tell her how to live her life. At some point, people do move on, make their own lives with or without Mom and Dad's approval and seek their own values.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 1:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scarlett sounds like the perfect parent.

Our educational system is deeply, deeply flawed. On-the-job training is not how parents learn to be parents.

So many children seem to be the exact opposite of their parents.

1. Spend thrifts/frugal
2. Slobs/tidy
3. Extroverts/introverts
4. Atheists/fundamentalists
5. Night owls/early-to-bed
6. Sexually liberated/ not sexually liberated
7. Smashing Pumpkins/Lawrence Welk

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 10:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Children learn what their parents teach them when they're young. I'm none of the above on the left, and yet my parents left me alone to live my own life once I was 18. I think there's more to be said for kids that can step out on their own once they hit adulthood and make their own choices and live their own lives, then the ones that constantly run back to mommy and daddy for input, money, what have you.

The point she (and I) have tried to make is be the best parent you can when your kids are children and hopefully you've done the best you can. Once they are adults, leave them alone as much as possible so they can actually become adults -- be there for love, support, and whatever they might need if they're desperate, but don't keep handing them everything, or forcing your own life choices and opinions on them past childhood. I think you do more damage in the long run if you do that. Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 11:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Look, you are adults. I had the same situation with an ex and we made it a point to have 2 separate bedrooms and live as roommates instead of bed buddies.

When I got engaged and moved, we had 2 separate apartments in the same complex to satisfy moral convictions and were paying well over $1k/month because of it. It felt right, but financially was wasteful. We found a great deal on a house and moved into that before we were married. Lived in sin and happily married ever after.

Its a hard call I guess, but you are adults and someone is going to just have to get over it.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 8:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

UPDATE: Well I posted this topic of mine back in Sept and I am currently living alone while my boyfriend lives alone just down the street in a different apt. complex. We rarely spend a night apart..... and in my mind its soo stupid to be living seperately. Our leases will be up in Sept/Oct and I really wish I could convince him to get a 2 bedroom apt with me THIS TIME. But I'm guessing he wouldn't dare upset his parents by doing so since he wouldn't last year either. And possible engagement isnt in the near future (atleast a year away since he'd like to be half way through grad school). Slightly frustrating to pay for a seperate place, yet constantly be together. But I feel like I can't hold it against him b/c well I don't know, its like telling him to throw his good morals to the wind!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 10:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

well- at least you will both know how the other keeps house on their own...

and I can't argue with sticking with a guy who sticks to his the long run, its the convictions, and the ethics that matter- especially if kids are part of your master plan.

besides- when you DO finally cross that barrier, it will be a financial as well as an emotional reward, since you will be used to living solo :)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"ince he'd like to be half way through grad school"

Are his parents paying for grad school?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 2:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A value is a precious thing to waste.size>color>

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 1:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do the two of you not have roommates? That would be a way to spend less on housing.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 3:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

my 3 cents worth:
he's just not that into you.
that's right, i said it. if his parents' input is that important to him, then he should have just moved back in with them. what better (extremely lame) excuse could one use? and you fell for it.
the rest goes like this: don't waste the pretty. end it now and move on now for what you want now. the worst case scenario - you're just his bed (or wherever) mate, so-to-speak, and that's putting it nicely.
good luck.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 7:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree that he's "just not that into you." I'm betting HE will move on after grad school. (I think that will NEVER happen, we don't know the two of you, etc.)

Maybe you should look for a male room mate? You can spend whatever nights you spend together at your boyfriend's apartment.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 12:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You're spending every night together, then how does that jibe with his "morals" thing? It doesn't. He's using his parents as an excuse to keep you right where you are - in limbo. He's getting the eggs without buying the chicken or something like that.

This seems like a mismatch and I do think you're being snowed.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 12:01PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
How common are door notes for communicating with tenants?
Is it legal for an apartment manager to put paper notes...
fyi-spammer attack on gardenweb-don't click!
The spammers are out in full force today. Do not click...
Share your condo townhouse noise experiences...
I would like to know from those of you who have lived...
Noisy neighbor - am I being oversensitive?
Live in a townhouse next to people with two small kids...
Moth problem..Help please.....
Allright I have had a moth problem for about 5 maybe...
Sponsored Products
Modernoutdoor | Kenji Table
Mr. & Mrs. Pilsner Glasses
Classic Hostess
Contemporary Pendant Light with 2 Circular Acrylic Shades
Beverly Tufted Sofa - NAVY
$3,299.00 | Horchow
Aristocrat Bench in Black
$198.99 | Dot & Bo
Shoal Creek Ready-to-Assemble Matte White Armoire
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™