Imagine spending the night snuggled up in your partner's arms, only to roll out of bed in the morning, head to the kitchen, and find two people sitting at the breakfast table staring at you. These two people are your partner's parents, and you're officially feeling awkward AF. Turns out, this scenario is a lot more common than you might think. Sleeping over a partner's parent's house might feel necessary for young couples trying to spend time together, as a 2019 study by TD Ameritrade bank shows that more and more young people are moving back home after college. In fact, 24% of the millennials and Gen-Z's surveyed indicated they plan to live with their parents until after they turn 25 years old.
As living at home longer becomes increasingly normal for young people, knowing how to best navigate this situation — including how often it's appropriate to sleep over — becomes essential, licensed mental health counselor Michelle Henderson tells Elite Daily. "Because of financial burdens, many people are living at home with their parents longer or have to return home to live with their parents temporarily at some point in time,” she explains. “In most relationships, the couple chooses to spend more time at the person's house who does not live with their parents, but if this is a challenge or if both people live at home with parents, choosing to stay over when parents are present may be the only option the couple has." But how often is too often? Here is what Henderson advises.
How Often Should You Sleep Over?
When you’re in love, it can be tempting to spend every night with your partner, but that can be difficult when they still live at home. The right balance can vary depending on the couple and the circumstances. “This is something for you to decide with your partner,” Henderson says, adding that the parents should have some say in the matter as well. “Also talk about it with or inform their parents. Some parents may feel comfortable having you stay over whenever you like, while other parents may feel uncomfortable with the idea altogether. Much of this will depend on cultural factors within your partner's family. There is not a magic number of what the right frequency is to stay over; it's whatever you, your partner, and their parents can all agree on as being OK.”
Meeting The Parents First Can Help
If you plan on staying at your partner’s house regularly, minimizing awkwardness and making it feel more natural and welcoming can make all the difference. This is why meeting your partner’s parents before staying over can be so helpful, says Henderson. “Have a dinner together or spend some time talking with one another before you stay the night for the first time,” she suggests. “Nothing is more awkward than running into your partner's parents the next morning when neither of you have met yet. It's also important for your partner to let their parents know when you'll be staying the night in advance so that there aren't any surprises about when you'll be there.”
Being A Respectful Guest Can Make All The Difference
If you want to continue to be a welcome overnight guest at your partner’s parents’ place, Henderson says it's a good idea to be the kind of guest you would want in your home. “It's important to show respect for your partner's parents because you are in their home,” she explains. “Be polite, clean up after yourself, and be quiet after they've gone to bed. If your partner's parents have any ‘rules’ for you while you're in their home, do your best to follow them or talk through any concerns you have about the rules sooner rather than later so you can reach a compromise.” Ultimately, even parents who are fine with having overnight guests are probably not going to warm up to you if you're not polite or if you don't show any sort of appreciation.
Staying over at your partner's parent's home doesn’t have to be a big, awkward deal. It really just comes down to being polite and courteous to everyone involved. “While it can feel weird at first, this is a very common situation for a lot of people. Keep the lines of communication open between everyone as much as you can if concerns arise,” Henderson concludes. Doing so can go a long way toward making it possible for you and your boo to rest easy, even with with their parents sleeping down the hall.