¦ Our 26-year-old daughter lost her job and has moved back home. She has a boyfriend, whom we like.
Last week, she asked if he can share her bedroom at weekends. This sounds old-fashioned, but I just don’t like the idea of them having sex in the room next to ours.
The thought leaves me feeling deeply uncomfortable.
>> Adult children returning to live at home nearly always create issues. Add to the mix a partner and it’s understandable that this change is causing difficulty.
You are uncomfortable with the idea of them having sex in the room next to yours. Take a step back.
Is it because her bedroom is next to yours? Or is it the idea of your child having sex in your home?
Look at your attitudes, which are deeply ingrained. I imagine, when you were her age, you wouldn’t have dreamed of making such a request. But we are living in different times.
Couples live together, some for many years before even thinking about marriage. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t committed to each other.
In the past, many Irish people married young, because it was the only way they felt they were able to have sex. We could argue as to whether this was a good or a bad thing.
But let us stay with you. For economic reasons, your daughter is back living at home. When an adult child returns to the family home, it is not easy for either the parent or the child.
She has to respect that you have been living your own life and it won’t be the same as when she was a child.
Equally, you have to respect that she is an adult.
Will you return to doing everything for her? What will her role be? She may resent that she has been landed in this position.
You may resent the disruption to your ordered life, though the love and care is as strong as ever.
Space has to be shared — kitchen, sitting room, TV and washing machine, among many other facilities. This is not always easy.
What do you do if you have guests, and what does she do if she wants friends in to visit? The list is endless. These are the things that we all have to manage every day.
So to her boyfriend, whom you know and like. How about asking her, if she were the mother, what she would think, in light of this being her childhood home?
Help her to see that all this is a change for you. The two of you ought to have an adult-to-adult chat and discuss what would be in the best interests of all concerned.
You also need to remember that they have had their own life up to now. If they were married and having sex in the next bedroom, how would it be? When your children were teens, were you sexually intimate or were you afraid the children might hear?
These are some of the thoughts that I would urge you to look at. After all, she is being honest about her steady relationship and you do like the boyfriend.
¦ Marie Daly is a psychosexual therapist with Relationships Ireland; visit www.relationshipsirleland.com. ¦ Please send your questions to: email@example.com
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved