My mom won’t allow unmarried couples to share a bed in her home

Send me your letters and relationship questions. It's my birthday week and I want to read them. Email [email protected] or use this form.

Now, a question about the letter writer's relationship ... to a romantic relationship:

Hi Meredith,

A friend recently reached out to ask if she could visit me for a couple of days this summer. We're both in our early 20s and I'm currently living with my parents to ride out the economic downturn until I can afford to move out. I had a conversation with my parents, asking if she could stay for a few days, and they happily agreed and would welcome the opportunity to get to know my friends.

However, this all changed when she later messaged me asking if her boyfriend could stay over as well. The conflict doesn't really have anything to do with said boyfriend in particular – he’s super nice, respectable, and I enjoy his company. The source of contention I believe is that my mom has a rule that significant others who are unmarried cannot sleep in the same room.

It’s my parents house and I try and respect their rules while I'm living under their roof. I talked to my friend and explained the situation. I offered a suggestion, saying the boyfriend could join if we set him up on a futon elsewhere instead of with her in the guest room. Said friend now is deciding to forgo visiting me at home. I don't really know if my family's rule scared her off or if it was something else. Personally, I have always found this rule too conservative and a bit offensive since not everyone decides to get married, but it's their house and not mine.

Do you have any suggestions going forward? I’m disappointed I won’t have the opportunity to host my friend but rather not override my parents’ opinion.

– Unwilling Enforcer

It's the rule, I assume. Your friend really wants to be able to sleep near/with her boyfriend.

The fact that she asked to bring him tells me that he's the priority right now. It was supposed to be about her seeing you – a friend reunion – but then it was him, too.

You've been kind and generous. The only boundaries you've enforced were created by the person who runs the house. I hope your friend was nice about backing out.

I wish she'd been clear about the reason for her change of heart so you didn't have to stew about it. I also wish she’d come up with another way to see you at some point – because it sounds like you miss her. Maybe you can tell her that.

For the record, I have a feeling your mom's rules will change when people stay unmarried into their 30s. It doesn't sound like she's trying to impose this rule on a couple that's been together for years (although, what do I know?). Regardless, by then, you can get your own place and make your own rules. It sounds like staying where you are will make it easier to save for that great day, when you can be hospitable in any way you like.

You didn't ask about this, but please don't let this downturn – and your current residence – stop you from considering romance for yourself, if you want it. There are ways around rules. You might meet someone who has their own place, or find creative ways to be alone. I feel like a lot of people will wind up with family to save money right now, and I hope they can still date – and more.

– Meredith

Readers? What rules do you have in your homes? For your kids' friends? Any advice on dating when living at home?