Should Daughter’s Boyfriend Share Her Bedroom?

By Amy Dickinson | March 22nd, 2024

The parents disagree

A young couple in love embracing, woman and man. Image by Gstockstudio1. Article: Should Daughter’s Boyfriend Share Her Bedroom?

Should an adult daughter’s boyfriend share her bedroom when he visits? Her parents disagree. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson has to say.

Dear Amy:

My wife and I have a difference of opinion regarding our 20-year-old daughter. We would love your perspective.

Our daughter is a sophomore at a university in Europe, and has recently started dating another sophomore (male) student. When she comes home for the summer, he plans to visit.

In conversations with my wife, I have indicated that I will expect him to sleep in our guest bedroom and for our daughter to sleep in her room during his visit.

My wife makes the case that they are practically living together in college. While I acknowledge this, I feel uncomfortable with explicitly allowing them to sleep together in our home. I am having a hard time verbalizing it, but it just doesn’t seem right to me.

Am I getting hung up by this country’s puritanical attitudes toward sex and my Roman Catholic upbringing, or is there some legitimacy to my desire to have them sleep in separate rooms?

– Pondering Papa in the Pacific Northwest

Dear Pondering:

Yes, your reaction might be a puritanical thing, and also a Catholic thing. But mainly – it’s a dad thing.

This is about dads and daughters, and the ancient and protective dynamic between them that seems to override logic.

I have not noticed this particular dynamic between mothers and their daughters (mothers and sons have their own unique issues).

Yes, you know that your daughter and her boyfriend have sex, but as long as this happens elsewhere, you’d rather not think about it, thank you very much.

Also, unless you’ve met this guy before, he is essentially a stranger to you. Letting a stranger sleep with your daughter in your own home violates your innate bond to protect her.

The “legitimacy” of your reaction to your daughter’s boyfriend lies in the fact that you are having it. Understand, however, that this couple will sleep together. Unless you intend to police the hallway at night, this will be happening in your home.

You might compromise by offering the couple two rooms – one room might be a place to keep his things and bunk down (if he wants to) while he is visiting. You could then leave the rest up to them, without dictating specific terms.

This might help you to maintain the cognitive dissonance you seem to require in order to admit this relationship into your world.

This is your opportunity, however, to begin the process of letting go. It is a tough but necessary developmental step.

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from an adult daughter’s boyfriend to dark family secrets and DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

©2024 by Amy Dickinson

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