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His parents want them to sleep apart

Carolyn Hax

Hi, Carolyn: I’m going to my boyfriend’s parents’ house for Christmas. We are 27 and have been together close to five years. We are self-sustaining adults and while we don’t live together, we spend almost every night at each other’s apartments.

His parents are very conservative Christians, and the standard is for us to sleep in different rooms. I want my boyfriend to ask if we can stay in the same room, not because I can’t bear to be apart for three nights, but because I think it’s important that we don’t pretend to be something we are not. If they say no I will respect that and we will sleep separately or get a hotel, but I want him to ask.

Am I being unreasonable? I feel like if we stay together for the long haul there are going to be a lot of “stand up for who we are” moments that are more difficult than this, and we should get in the habit.

– Dealing With “Not Under My Roof”

Yes, I agree, approach this as a matter of forming good habits. Start by asking yourself what you hope to accomplish with each prospective battle. In this case, is it to get his parents’ approval? Or is it just to live by your own values, thereby establishing how you expect to be treated as a couple?

If it’s the former, then, good luck. I don’t see how forcing his parents to say out loud what everyone already knows would put you on the side of the angels. If it’s the latter, then just book the hotel and be done with it.

And – this part is important – if and when you ever do get married, keep staying in the hotel. To meet your standard of not pretending to be people you’re not, you need to decline to stay with them as long as you object to their conditional hospitality, period, whether you’re on the “right” or “wrong” side of their terms.

Just as you will encounter a lot of “stand up for who we are” moments, you also will have a lot of opportunities to decline to get on your soapbox, most of which I suggest you take.

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