Miss Conduct

Advice: I’d like to ban his girlfriend from our house

My boyfriend and I are fighting over his son’s disrespectful girlfriend.

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My boyfriend’s adult son “Matt,” and Matt’s girlfriend “Olive” sometimes stay at our vacation house. Olive locks herself in the bedroom to sleep or watch TV all day, and comes out for dinner dressed provocatively and wanting something other than what we prepared. When we hosted our annual family cookout she hardly socialized. I went to their room get some extra sweatshirts and was shocked to see wet towels, suitcases opened and contents spewed on the floor, a basket of Olive’s shoes in the middle of the room, TV and A/C on, half-eaten food, several half-filled glasses, and open soda cans. I snapped a few pictures, which Matt happened to see later on. When my boyfriend confronted his son about Olive, Matt said she hates coming here and they were offended by me photographing their room. Olive looks like a Barbie doll with her collagen lip injections, lash and hair extensions, breast and butt enhancements, and top designer threads and accessories, all at his son’s expense. I want to tell this woman that her behavior is unacceptable and she is no longer welcome to stay with us, but my boyfriend is afraid that his son will stay away.

L.G./ Cambridge

There is probably an “olive branch” joke to be made here, but your litany of complaints has me too tired to reach for it. Bottom line: Olive and Matt are an established couple. If your boyfriend makes Matt choose between him and Olive, Matt’s going to choose Olive. And if you make your boyfriend choose between Matt and you . . . well.

You clearly hate this young woman for reasons that may or may not be valid but have generally thickened into a cementlike roux of loathing. I sincerely doubt she’s unaware of it, and her preference for hibernation probably reflects that. I wouldn’t be especially eager to spend quality time with someone who’s clearly devoted extensive thought to the chemical composition of my breasts and lips, either. Honestly, why are you complaining that someone you hate spends most of the time locked in her room? Isn’t that what you’d rather she do? And snapping the photo of their room was extraordinarily rude and an invasion of their privacy. You owe Matt and Olive an apology for that.

Matt and Olive should stop coming to the vacation house for their own sake. Who’s even enjoying these visits? Not you, not Olive, probably not Matt. Your boyfriend? Only if he’s the opposite of an empath. Matt and his father can bond in other ways and at other times. Or they can do an occasional father-and-son weekend at the vacation house while you and Olive stay at your respective and hopefully far apart homes. If your boyfriend wants the couple to enjoy the house, he can let them use it on the weekends the two of you aren’t. Suggest this to your boyfriend — not because of “Olive’s Offulness” but because it makes sense.


You and Olive will probably never be friends or even friendly. Give up on that, and instead work hard — harder than you think necessary, L.G. — on being nonjudgmental and civil, and giving people their space.

Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology.