My 20 Year Old Daughters New Boyfriend Is Making Himself Too Comfortable.

Updated on February 23, 2017
C.J. asks from Vancouver, WA
20 answers

I would love your opinions. My 20 year old daughter (college student still living at home) has been dating a guy she works with for about 6 months now. My husband and I only met him 2 months ago, so we don't feel like we know him very well. My concern is that he is way too comfortable in our house so soon. He comes over more than I'd like, makes himself a sandwich when he's hungry, cooks my daughter meals. I think a lot of this is my daughters fault (tells him to help himself). I just don't feel comfortable with this behavior so soon. I'm not even sure how much I like him yet, lol. I don't want to push my daughter away and make them feel like they can't hang out here, but would like to feel relaxed like I can put my pj's on without having to worry about him dropping by to see her. I don't want this to become a habit! Am I being too petty? How should I approach the subject without hurting feelings? They seem to REALLY like one another.

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answers from Boston on

My oldest son is 18 and still lives at home while going to college and working. His girlfriend, who also lives with her parents while going to school at a local college (excellent college with housing but her house is much nicer than a dorm so why live there), is here all the time. I don't mind it. The way I see it, he's saving me a ton of money by living at home and attending an inexpensive community college for a couple of years before heading to a larger school, so I'm fine giving him some of the freedom and leeway he would have if he lived in a dorm or an apartment. If he were living away (like my SD is to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars a year), he would have friends over, they would make food, hang out, watch movies, study, etc. It was a little jarring at first to sometimes have his girlfriend come bounding in with breakfast for the two of them at 7 am on a weekday, and I often go to bed while they're still here (both adhere to a midnight deadline to be in their respective houses), but overall, I don't mind. They're young adults living their lives. If they were away at school, I wouldn't know any of this. I don't feel the need to curb his freedom too much just because he chose a more practical road to adulthood that is much easier on my wallet. My house is by no means a dorm or frathouse - there is no drinking or substance use here, she doesn't stay over, they don't spend time in his bedroom, etc. If the worst thing two college-age kids are doing is cooking and hanging out, you're doing just fine.

FWIW, my son's girlfriend knows that she doesn't get the "company ready" version of me or my house. I treat her like one of the kids and she sees me without makeup, in my ponytail and sweats. Maybe in a few more months you'll get there with your daughter's boyfriend. I'm not saying that you're wrong to feel how you do, just wanted to offer another perspective. I know that my son and his girlfriend appreciate that they are always welcome to be here.

16 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I actually feel as though its your daughter who is too comfortable. It's nice that you're allowing her to live at home, and I hope that you've established some new rules that went into effect after she was no longer a minor, but would be a legal adult who is continuing to live in your house.

Now would be a good time to have a talk about grown children who continue to live at home. It's not the same as it was when she was in high school. Now she's assuming the relationship of an adult who is sharing your home. And as with all roommate situations, there have got to be accommodations, expectations, and boundaries. After all, if she shared an apartment with a friend or two, there would be rules and boundaries. Often roommates label food for individual use, or inform the others about social plans.

Who pays for the food in your house? To what does your daughter contribute (food, utilities, rent, etc)? If she pays nothing, then you can establish whatever boundaries you like and she can accept them or move out and become independent. If she buys the food for these sandwiches and meals, then it's a matter of asking for polite advance notice that she'll be having guests over. After all, if you were inviting some friends over for dinner, wouldn't it be natural to say "oh, [daughter], by the way, we're entertaining my boss and her husband Friday night, and so the kitchen, living room and dining room will be in use. Please make other plans for that evening."

It is nice that your daughter's boyfriend can cook, and that he seems to enjoy being at your home. I would certainly hope that they clean up after themselves and don't help themselves to the finest groceries that you've purchased specifically for some occasion, or eat all the cookies. I hope he's polite.

I don't think this is a matter of being petty. Adult roommates (and that's pretty much what your daughter is now that she's 20) establish certain expectations and rules.

Perhaps you could post a calendar in plain sight in the kitchen, and have your daughter mark down when her boyfriend will be coming over. And you do the same; mark when you have plans that don't include boyfriend and girlfriend cuddling on the couch and making supper when the mood strikes. If she's getting a free ride at your home, explain that she needs to contribute to the budget for groceries and cable tv, or stop being so free with invitations to eat your food. She's old enough now to assume a more adult role.

Oh, and make sure you keep this conversation about being an adult, respecting the other adults in the home, and not about potential doubts about the boyfriend. It's a fairly new relationship, you've stated you're not sure how much you like him, and frankly, if your daughter was doing these exact same things with a college study pal, or a friend who's a girl but whom you don't know well, or a long-time boyfriend whom you thought was delightful, you'd probably have the same hesitations you do now. It's really about her being accountable to the other adults in the residence. Make sure that you extend the same courtesy to her, and make sure you're preparing her to live on her own reasonably soon (contributing to expenses as able, respecting boundaries, being a reliable and helpful roommate/partner).

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think I'd sit down and explain to your daughter that, for the sake of everyone's comfort, it seems reasonable that you be given some consideration. First, establish some 'visiting hours' when he *is* welcome to come by. Next, tell her that you expect a call beforehand. If he doesn't call, then they need to go out of the house to spend time with each other. It's just common courtesy. Sort of like when my husband decides to bring a friend back to the house or if he's made a plan with another family to have them/their kid over-- he calls to give me a head's up. Make sure I've got a bra on, ha ha. ;) . Again, it's common courtesy.

And then, since your daughter is choosing to date a guy who can actually *take care* of himself and doesn't expect her to wait on him-- try to consider that a good thing. Let her know that you expect she (not he) will ask about food being used, so that the food you have planned for dinner isn't consumed.

I'll just say, as a young woman, I dated a lot of guys who would never have taken care of himself or made meals for us, so unless there's something sketchy about him, I would try to be patient and take a 'wait and see' approach. At that time in my life, I would have been elated if one of those fellows had wanted to meet my family and was interested in me enough to want to spend time around my family. So, that's my two cents. Make rules about the super-important things (prior notice before arriving AND checking in about what food is available) and try to let them figure out what they are doing on their own. If they "REALLY like each other", this could be a guy which might be in your life for a while. Consider how you lay the foundation for your own relationship with him.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I understand that you feel kind of territorial about your house. I understand about wanting to put on pajamas and not worry that someone else is going to walk in.

But the positives here are many: Your daughter lives at home, so you pretty much know where she is sleeping most nights. This relationship is playing out right in front of you. You know what's going on. She's 20, and your job as a parent is pretty much done. She dated him for 4 months before introducing you to him, but for 2 months he's been hanging around your house. He cooks for her. Really - how many people would love that??? He helps himself, but she told him to - so your issue isn't with him at all. On the plus side, she feels you are accepting and accessible and open. Roll with it.

So, my suggestion is that you put on your pajamas whenever you want, and if he shows up, he shows up.

She's 20. She lives at home. He makes meals. What are your options? Kick her out? Say "no" to him and then she moves out to live with a man she's not ready to live with? Are you sure that's what you want? And ask yourself if you are being a little unreasonable about what the status of a relationship is when both parties are 20-somethings. Are you upset that they may be having sex? What discussions did you have with her about this over the past 6-7 years?

Your best bet is to welcome him into your home. If they break up, they break up. But if they stay together and you are the big obstacle, you will lose this battle big time. Better that you know who you are dealing with.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

i don't think it has anything to do with being petty. Just say you'd prefer guests (any guests) didn't help themselves to the pantry nor cook meals. Say this to your daughter. He's her guest, but it's your home.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Is he stopping in when your daughter isn't there? I would tell her that I'd prefer he not come over unless she's there. If she's home when he comes over then really there's not much you can do other than find somewhere else in the house to hang out. Personally if you want to wander around in your pjs then throw a robe over it and do so. You should feel comfortable in your house.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My 16 yo granddaughter lives with me. She.has several friends visit. The ones who come over often, use the kitchen for snacks and sometimes meals. Her 18.yo boyfriend often eats here. I know the boyfriend. I only superficially know the other friends. We don't have meals together aND I rarely cook. Perhaps that is one reason it's OK.

It's your kitchen. IF you don't want him to use it, just say no. Don't make it about how long your daughter or you've known him. You're not comfortable. Have a conversation with your daughter about your boundaries.

I suggest this will be awkward. Hasn't she had girlfriends over the years who ade themselves at home? Perhaps you knew them better. It is easier to get to know girls. Otherwise what is the difference? If he's been coming to your house for 2 months, why do you feel you don't know him.?

Or is your concern that your daughter is too involved with her boyfriendr? Does she complain. How close she is,is your daughter's decision. SHe is an adult.

However, it's your house. You decide what is OK in your house bas ed on your comfort level. I suggest that you not use your discomfort as a way of telling your daughter that she's allowing the relationship to move too fast. She is likely to resent your judgement made in an underhanded way. Be straight with her.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Choose your battles, maybe don't worry about the sandwiches as long as he cleans up after himself, but set time limits so you can hang out in your PJs as is your right in your own home :)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

This is something you need to tell your daughter about. Where does he live? There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries.

I'm surprised your daughter is doing this considering how much of a problem you have with it. Not that there is anything wrong with you not liking it and another family unit welcoming it. She should know you well enough, to know this is not your way.

She is your daughter, not an equal college roommate you need to tiptoe around. You are a grown MOM who wants privacy.

No, you are not wrong or petty. These are your feelings. How does your husband feel about it?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Yes, your house means your rules! Yes, bringing this up will most likely NOT go over well. Would you prefer they hang out at his place? This might be a good time to discuss your daughter's "moving out" timeline. Honestly it's a great time for her to live alone or get some roommates:)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Well, has she been restricted from inviting friends over when she was under age? Or did she always have friends over and everyone was comfortable? I have friends that always have a house full and some that don't like any kids over. Either way it's your home and how she's been raised should be how she's acting now.

If you don't want her having company over then you need to speak up. I also wonder what the plan is for her to move out. I completely understand saving money and keeping her at home as long as possible too.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I'd have to agree. He doesn't need to be there without her. After that I'd have a private conversation with her letting her know that you guys are thrilled to have them both there but there a few things you're not comfortable with. Be gentle though. Does she live at your home? Or is she just there periodically? I think that would make a difference in the conversation as well.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I never let the fact that my daughter's boyfriend is over stop me from hanging out in my pj's.
As long as he doesn't eat what I have thawing for tomorrow's dinner, or my doggy bag from a restaurant, he is welcome to whatever was in the fridge.
He occasionally spends the night, and that's fine. Mr. Fuzzy and I just turn up the tv in our room.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I have had boyfriends and girlfriends of my kids over millions of times - even when they got married and were my son-in-law/daughter-in-law I don't think that any of them ever just "helped themselves" to whatever in the kitchen when they were hungry (unless they bought in/brought it) or I offered "hey, if you are hungry, there are snacks in the cupboard." The idea that I would just get up an have one of my kids' boyfriend/girlfriends here at any time day or night - nope, not happening. My kids' wouldn't even think this was appropriate on any level. My God, my husband would NEVER walk into my mother's house and just make himself a sandwich and we've been married for over 20 years!

I guess you have to do what is right for you, but you did ask for opinions so here it goes. 20 yr olds shouldn't be living at home. If they are, they should be subject to the rules that make YOU feel comfortable and them uncomfortable. Why? Because part of growing up is taking responsibility for their OWN place and their OWN rules. 20 yr olds living at home become 25 yr olds living at home, become 30 yr olds living at home. I know that there is a huge trend towards kids living at home during college years or parents "rescuing" their kids after failing to living on their own by providing them with a condo or something. If your 20 yr old is so in love with living at home, why would she move out ever? (or just boomerang back home when things get a little rough in the real world).

I'd tell your daughter she can have company during "normal hours" subject to checking with you first. The boyfriend can come for meals, but the kitchen is off limits to him (unless the daughter wants to make them both a snack to watch a movie). If an adult is going to live at home like a child, then they should be subject to the same rules as a child would be. If an adult wants to make their own rules, then they should live in their own house.

Set some rules for your daughter and boundaries for the boyfriend (or any guest she brings for that matter).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Your house, your rules.
You have total control over who comes over, when and how often.
The reason adult kids shouldn't feel too comfortable at home themselves is so they are motivated to move out on their own eventually.
Her/your goal is to have her finish school, get a job in her profession and move out as an independent adult who can then shack up/live with who ever she wants under her own roof.
Talk to your daughter about this.
She needs to ASK YOU if it's convenient that he come over and if you say
"No Honey. I'm not in the mood for guests right now. Maybe next week."
she should accept it and go hang out at his house/dorm or where ever he lives or maybe just see him another time.
I NEVER would have anyone over without asking my Mom first - and I lived at home through college till I was 25.
I often went to visit my boyfriend (now husband) an hour away a few times a month.
We both had school work to do and too much togetherness would get in the way of both our grades.
If he's so familiar - start asking him what his intentions are and they'd better be engaged before he feels free to make another sandwich in your house without asking.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I love Elena and JB's posts. I think this is very good advice.

If your daughter ends up marrying him one day, you'll be glad you were welcoming and loving to him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome back! You've been gone a long time!

From what I read? Your daughter is the problem, AND YOU. You are both to blame for this situation - She's an ADULT living at home and doesn't have boundaries. You've allowed her to live at home and not given her rules and boundaries.

It's YOUR house. YOUR rules. Don't like it? SPEAK UP!! IT'S YOUR HOME!! You pay the mortgage, not either one of them.

Set rules and boundaries. Period.

You state when he can come over. You tell your daughter that he MAY NOT "help himself" to your food, unless he asks. It's great he's cooking for her - yay! But it's still YOUR home.

If your daughter is working and going to school? Maybe she can get her own place or pay you rent? She's an adult. Let her live like an adult and have adult responsibilities.

On a side note? I have have two kids that are over to my home frequently - so much so they have a bed and a dresser at our home. They even call it home #2. They are like my son's and are allowed to help themselves to whatever they want in the kitchen. They still ask - as do my children - before they partake of the food. Only food they don't ask about are 'snacks' as I might not need it for a meal. Otherwise? It's free range! :) and **I** set the rules to MY HOME.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Wear your pj's.
Your house, your rules.
Bump up her rent to pay for the food.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hey Joe, you seem like a nice guy, but I still don't know you all that well. Would you mind asking before you make a sandwich, or helping yourself to things in the house?

Or, you can ask your daughter to tell him the same thing. As far as his dropping by, I don't know how you limit that -- if you don't feel comfortable being in your pj's with him in the house, and he is going to come over all the time, maybe it's time your daughter got her own place.

I don't think you are being too petty, you have a right to ask guests in your home to behave however you choose. I wouldn't care if my daughter's boyfriend saw me in my pj's, but I'm not you. However, I don't understand your being uncomfortable approaching your daughter. Are her feelings really that easily hurt that you can't have a simple discussion about this?

Hey daughter, Joe seems to be spending a lot of time here and he's making himself a little to comfortable in my house. Do you think we can _____________ ?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think there are some important other details here - How old is the guy? What is his living situation? You say he cooks your daughter you mean he buys groceries and plans a recipe, or he just rummages through your cabinets and cooks up whatever you have?

In general, having free use of a kitchen is one benefit of having one's own place. But I think you need to figure out your "bottom line" here -
Do you want your daughter (and this guy) to get their own place? If so, say something like: "no more cooking without asking me or guests without asking me - when you have your own place you can invite anyone over any time, but this is my house" (hints and reminders about the benefits of moving out).
On the other hand, if for cultural or economic reasons you are hoping/expecting that your daughter will live in your house for a few more years, you need to develop an "adult roommate" relationship with her and do something like the suggestion below about creating a "kitchen use calendar" or something similar.

Also, unless I'm misinterpreting things - your daughter must really like him, because she has already "introduced him to her parents"! So the fact that you're not sure how much you like him, should probably be balanced against the fact that it seems like she might really like him.

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