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Q. My boyfriend and I have been dating for two and a half years, and everything seemed to be going great—until this past July. We moved into his dad’s second house, which he rents to people. My boyfriend has been away for an extended work training and I had been living by myself. I decided to fly down for the weekend to visit, and when I came back I found everything cleaned perfectly—including the toilet. My boyfriend (30 years old) was scolded by his dad because he didn’t like the condition of the apartment.
Mind you, all my friends have said my apartment is always clean, which it is. Aside from breaking and entering, he touched my belongings. I can’t let this go and I am dreading seeing his dad in the future. My boyfriend had a conversation with his father, and his father thinks he did nothing wrong since it’s “his house.” I was always under the impression that he was my landlord. I have been upset for months, moved back into my parents’ house, and my boyfriend and I will be officially moving out this month. I don’t want this to be an obstacle for our relationship, especially when we’re moving into a new place, but how do I let this go?
– An Averagely Clean Person
A. The good news is that your boyfriend understood why this was a problem. He spoke to his dad about the issue and was open to moving somewhere new so you can feel respected and safe. All of that says a lot about your partnership.
As for the anger toward your boyfriend’s dad, that might affect your relationship. For now, let the two of them figure out their own family issues. All you have to do is maintain your own boundaries and see if you can get past this enough to smile at family gatherings.
Wait to see your boyfriend’s dad until you’re settled in your new place. It might feel less upsetting when you can walk away from a conversation and go to your own home.
Also, maybe after some time with a new tenant, this man will have a better understanding about why you were upset.
Many letter writers come to this column because their in-laws have crossed boundaries and they don’t know how to handle it. The question I ask back is whether their own partners have made an effort to listen, understand, and manage their own families. That seems to be what’s required to make these complicated relationships work.
Your boyfriend did all of that, right? That’s a good sign.
The house is his property, it’s not his home. He has no right to enter without 24 hours’ notice as a landlord. As a parent, that is just a very creepy invasion of your adult child’s privacy. You are right to be concerned. THATGUYINRI
Your boyfriend’s father was wrong but he will never see it that way. . . . Your boyfriend handled the situation very well. SEENITTOO
Love how people want to crucify the old man. For all the letter writer knows . . . this was the arrangement in place with the son. DOGSKI
Yes, he crossed a boundary line, but you calling it breaking and entering is a little much. BKLYNMOM
Find the new season of the Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show. Meredith Goldstein wants your letters! Send your relationship quandaries and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.