When couples are unmarried but cohabitate, debate or controversy may be stirred when invitations are issued to visit parents or other relatives. Couples may wish to share a bedroom on family visits, but may find their desire at odds with that of their family’s.
From the standpoint of etiquette, guests generally sleep where they are told. Usually married partners expect they will share a bedroom. However, depending upon one’s parents’ ideas of moral behavior, the expectation to use the same bedroom may diminish for the unmarried couple.
For some families, this is a non-issue. Parents recognize that their children are in a committed relationship and have no problem with offering a single bedroom to an unmarried couple. In other circumstances, the children recognize that the parents would feel very uncomfortable with the request to share a bedroom, and simply don’t expect it. Other adult children would never dream asking to use the same bedroom with an unmarried partner because the idea of discussing one’s sex life with one’s parents is just too unpleasant to contemplate.
The issue may become more contentious, however, when other issues enter the picture; when, for example, a couple cannot be married, such as the case a same sex couple. In most states, same sex marriages are not permitted. Even if they are, they may not be acceptable to a couple’s parents. Sometimes the issue of being permitted to share a bedroom is really an issue of the adult child wanting the parent to accept his or her homosexuality.
Instead, if a couple wishes to use the same bedroom, and this is really a matter of some importance, the couple may wish to consider staying at a hotel or motel while visiting parents. This may help a family visit be less fraught with conflict.
With both gay and straight unmarried couples, a parent may simply not wish to have a couple share a bedroom. If the parent has strong moral convictions against cohabitation, it is probably unwise to expect that such convictions will suddenly dissipate. If parents can otherwise accept their children there may be no reason to push the issue.
On the other hand, a parent who creates conflict over the situation may warrant making visits short and choosing accommodations elsewhere. For the unmarried couple, most etiquette experts tend to agree that it is rude to request to share a bedroom, when this will upset the parents or undermine their moral stance. Thus, respecting parents’ feelings regarding sleeping accommodations in their own home is only polite.