Myths about Au Pairs: The Fox in Your Henhouse

by cv harquail on April 7, 2009

Close behind the myth that every Au Pair is a "Hottie" is the myth that au pairs are out to steal your Host Dad.

Red Fox Pup mikebaird.jpeg I guess this is one of those where the exceptions are so salient that you end up believing that it happens a lot. I haven’t ever met a host mom or heard of a host mom in my cluster where this actually happened…but there are always stories. And if the stories aren’t about the au pair running off with the host dad, they’re about the au pair and the host dad getting somehow ‘involved’.

I can understand the fantasy and the fear, but –nothing against most host dads — they aren’t as a group the most compelling possibility for a girl who wants to snag an American husband. Were I out to snag an American husband, I’d pick one (1) without kids and (2) without a wife. But that’s me.

So it this something host moms really worry about, or is it just another salacious myth?

Have you heard stories about an au pair 'getting involved' with a Host Dad?

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I blame Jude Law. And Robin Williams.

Tawny Owl Chicks keith marshall.jpeg

Even if it is a myth, there is no reason why you should choose to match with an obvious Ameri-golddigger. I think it’s okay to take a pass on applications from potential au pairs who send photos of themselves in bikinis. But screening out problems is harder than we’d think, since girls who might cause problems probably don’t advertise that on their applications.

It’s also okay to take a pass on the application of a potential au pair who is just too pretty or too hot. You don’t need to make yourself or your husband uncomfortable by choosing an au pair who will draw attention to her face, her figure or her availability.

As one mom commented on an earlier post:
Honestly, before we consider interviewing an au pair, I make sure she is not my husband’s “type”. My husband asked me for that, to avoid being uncomfortable in his own house. Truth is, males are attracted to young pretty women. Civilized married males will do nothing about it, but we have to make sure that we will be comfortable with a potential au pair in all aspects.

Why is this myth so potent?

I believe that one of the reasons this myth is potent is because it’s very awkward to recognize for yourself or to discuss with your spouse or partner the way that having a young adult woman living with your family can make everyone more aware of sex as a concept.

Some families may feel uncomfortable knowing that their au pair is out socializing with men who may take advantage of them, or (okay let me just say it) out having sex with a guy or guys. This is one reason why families (like ours) have rules about no overnight male guests. Who wants to explain that to an 8 year old? Bad enough she wants to read the Twilight series!

For other families, having a young adult woman who knows /thinks about sex may make it a little uncomfortable to continue with your pre-au pair romantic rituals without some conscious or unconscious adjustment. What kids don’t see/hear, young adults wonder about.

[[Note: How Host Dads behave is a topic for another time. Yes, we’ve heard those stories too….]]

What are your thoughts, host moms? And host dads?

Tawny Owl babies by Keith Marshall.


hostmomtobe April 7, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Thanks cvh for bringing this up as a topic. When I originally posted this concern to you weeks ago I was in a different emotional place. I had so many questions and concerns about being a first time host mom and I found the salacious comments, provocative inquires, and eyebrow raising in regards to a new AP to be very anxiety provoking. It seemed that everyone’s mind was in the gutter! Even a female “friend” gave me a good eyebrow raise at which I responded (half jokingly) that I would make sure to choose an unattractive AP. Her response was: “she doesn’t need to be good looking, just accommodating”!!! Well, now that I have had some distance from that time I recognize that there may be several things at work here: (1) these comments are likely the refection of that persons own marriage or anxieties, (2) There are people out there (even related to us) who would rather not see us succeed or find happiness – just sour grapes, and (3) there are those folks who just live with their minds in the gutter! There might be little to be done about stopping these comments but there is a lot that can be done towards my reaction to them. I think first is to recognize my own anxieties about having a young and attractive young woman living in our house. I think it brings you face to face with the reality of aging and a longing of wanting that bikini body once again! It also is a moment to take inventory of your own marriage in away that you haven’t had to before. It’s a good reminder that a career, children AND marriage all require care, love, and nurturing. So bring on the lewd comments because I have evolved people!
HM2B (thanks for the acronym cvh)

cynthia April 8, 2009 at 12:49 am

This post cracks me up! I never even considered what my au pair looked like or have ever even thought about my husband messing around with her while I picked her. He actually hates going anywhere with her becuase people constantly think she’s his wife (we are military so older guys with younger foreign girls not so uncommon). I travel for work often and if I didn’t trust my husband, I’d probably be pretty miserable leaving knowing that my husband and au pair were alone together for days on end. My husband gets comments at work all the time about whether or not he’s “done it” with the au pair yet. We both actually think it’s pretty funny, becuase while she’s an attractive girl, my husband and I have a great relationship. I think anyone who comments on these sorts of things negatively, is insecure in themselves and/or their own relationship. The thought has honestly never crossed my mind and the only comments I’ve ever made about it have been in jest and my husband literally killed me for even joking about it to him. I have been on other blogs before where the au pair supposedly seduced the host father, however, it takes two to tango and I am sorry any husband who couldn’t resist a young girls passes would have strayed down the line anyway.

au pair April 8, 2009 at 8:10 am

I am kinda shocked with this Post. Au pairs and Host dads? It´s like … disgusting. Most of host dads are old enough to be au pair´s father. I really dont think this kind of stuff really happen. Also au apairs are not gold diggers. Also host parents doesnt look like Jude LAw at all lol I think this post is a little bit absurd. I would never get involved with a MARRIED man specially a man who is old enough to be my father.

a-Mom-ymous April 9, 2009 at 1:52 am

@ au pair — that’s why you are no doubt a good AP! The idea is gross to me, too!

Most tangible effect of having another woman in our house is that my husband insisted that he and I take the bedroom that is furthest removed from the kids’ bedrooms and the au pair’s….even though it means our AP is sort of living with the kids, sharing their bathroom 24/7.

Dawn April 10, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Our current AP is (IMO) exceptionally beautiful, and I’ll admit that I did have a moment’s hesitation before choosing her. However, what it came down to is that (a) she seemed like the “perfect match” for our family in every other way, and (b) I trust my husband’s fidelity completely. Now that she is here, she and I have developed a very close relationship, so another factor that adds to my comfort level is that I know she really cares about me — so just like I know that none of my close friends would ever try to “steal” my husband, I know that she wouldn’t either.

I do think that the more common problem is the one you alluded to as a “topic for another time” — I have heard of several stories about HDs making passes at or inappropriate comments to their APs. (And I have been appalled to find out that the agencies have been willing to place other APs in those homes after the first AP rematched! IMO, that kind of thing should disqualify a family from hosting an AP!)

Anonymous (this time) April 15, 2009 at 4:34 pm

(I have posted regularly) I think this is a sensitive but important topic to bring up. Host parent / AP relationships in a home environment are multi-faceted and complicated. I am sure that 99% of the time everything is fine. But both comments on this board, and the “complaints”/ news sections of, and from personal acquaintances lead me to believe that in rare instances boundaries are indeed crossed. Either a host father makes unwanted advances towards an AP, or a (seemingly) wanted romantic affair does take place. And don’t forget the third possible combination – between a host mother and a male AP. Especially when a single parent may be hosting an AP. Remember that there are wide differences in cultural norms and that these are lonely young girls far away from home.

My husband is twice the age of our APs and I trust him, so I have never had any worries. He has always had a fatherly “coach” relationship with them. But each year I have traveled away from home for a week, and have always made sure that the AP feels OK “alone in the home” with my husband and child – by giving her contact telephone numbers of my other relatives, neighbors, etc. and by checking in from the road. Parents who are away a lot on business trips should plan ahead to keep things smooth on the home front.

I don’t think this should be any reason for prospective host mothers not to take an AP, but if for some reason your marriage is shaky it might be worth delaying. Not that that necessarily increases the risk of an affair but because you are “on public display” for so much of your time at home (or she may hear you quarreling in a small home with thin walls anyway), it’s nice to present a united, calm household front to the AP instead of a bickering one.

miranda April 20, 2009 at 11:38 pm

well, I’ve been pretty impressed with the information written here but this is really possible… do you think that you know everything about the person you’re talking to??? I know a lady, so her best friend wanted to “steal” her husband but he was faithful enough, but she still doesn’t know about it and is friends with this girl, so is it ok????? one can’t know who is their neighbor, who is their teacher or their future AP, they just have to hope for the best!!!
So, wishing everything the best to the families that are looking for AP!

just an aupair's oppinion August 11, 2009 at 7:26 am

i just felt a little bit of prejudice when you referred to aupairs as girls who wants an american husband. are you sure? cause in europe and south america locals always joke that american men are fat, silly and have a horrible sense of humour, so we def dont go to the US to find an american husband. maybe we will fall in love but with a young and available american boy, without children (please!!!!!!!! most of girls dont want to be a free aupair dating a guy with kids and ending up by taking care of his children and the host-family’s children. thats way too much of aupairing!!!!!) anyway if you are a jealous mom, think twice about hiring a good looking and nice aupair, cause you might get jealous at some point and be mean with the girl even if you dont notice it, even if she actually is a good aupair. i agree with the idea of not hiring an aupair who is your husband type just to feel more comfortable with her. that will be good for everyone in the long run. but be careful with the prejudice, some good looking girls are not even looking for boyfriends, so maybe you miss the chance of matching with a great aupair because she is cute and young. years ago in the school of my host-kids there was a famous case of a host-father who divorced his wife to live with their romanian aupair. but that doesnt happen much. in one of the families i worked a few years ago, the host-mom was only 9 years older than me but she didnt take a good care of herself and seemed even older. in my second week in that house she told me that she hated me for being so skinny and beautiful and started to force me eating dessert every night after dinner otherwise she wouldnt let me finish my work day and go to my bedroom. i got 10kg in a few months and then she started to treat me very nicely but i was miserable myself and our relationship became horrible. so, i would advise you, if you are the jealous type, just hire a fat or ugly aupair so you will probably have no worries about your husband having fantasies with her whatsoever. but please DO NOT hire a good looking girl and they suddenly become mean to her just because of it.

Lynn September 3, 2009 at 11:07 am

I am hosting my 5th our pair. She is the first conventionally attractive one and I am not enjoying it. Her and her friend come down in their PJ’s at 11PM to talk to my husband. Certainly he would never act on this and neither would she or her friend. But I know how much she enjoys that slight shift in his behavior. I remember when I was young, that reaction older guys give you. The whole I would never, but ahhh how nice to consider. It gives you a sense of power, however false it may be.
I have had it. She is young carefree and in skin tight clothes. I am older, work full time and run the family….hmm who is more fun to hang out with?

NewAPMom September 3, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Could you get around this by setting boundaries? No one walks around in their PJs in public in our house – PJs are confined to the bedroom. No one talks to anyone at 11 pm either – that’s quiet/alone time. It probably wouldn’t resolve the underlying tension but it might at least take away some of the triggers.

What I wouldn’t give to be young, carefree, and still look good in tight clothes…

an au pair September 3, 2009 at 3:58 pm

My host family has seen me in my pajamas, in the morning, but my pjs are a t-shirt and shorts so I don’t really think that’s inappropriate…I’m pretty thin and not unattractive, and the dad is not bad looking himself, but I definitely don’t have a crush on him and if he ever seemed to be into me at all, I would be completely freaked out and want to leave. Lynn, not every girl enjoys that kind of attention from older men- especially not married ones with children! People that cheat on their spouses disgust me, plus I prefer guys my own age (actually, my boyfriend is a year younger than me).

Emma September 4, 2009 at 6:39 am

As an AP, even though my PJs are sweatpants and a tee shirt (often with a long sleeve tee shirt underneath as it is chilly here in the evenings) and both my HPs are super nice/practically like family already, and entertaining ideas about either of my HPs is super creepy, I still confine myself to my room when in PJs, unless I have to use the toilet in the middle of the night, and no one is out then anyway.

Lynn, while the whole fox-in-the-henhouse thing is mostly a sexist, male-fantasy-based myth, you’re right- it is true that many young women just like the feeling they get mutually flirting with someone off limits. In this case though, it really is unacceptable. I think it is totally appropriate to confine her to her room unless fully dressed, and if necessary to discuss her behavior (with both her and your husband, though separately and carefully.)

Lynn September 4, 2009 at 10:20 am

Hi all, Forgive me this is a book!
Thank you for your responses! I was in a really bad place yesterday. I am starting a new job, my kids (5) are starting school, three of them for the very first time, which I will miss do to the whole new job thing.
She had a friend visiting and I didn’t set up appropriate boundries, which is not a task I am comfortable with. I want people to feel at ease, but I didn’t consider my own ease. I spoke to my husband unfortunately with out the grace and composure i had aspired to…However he said he felt he acted appropriately (he did) but apologized for not recognizing and responding to my discomfort.
I spoke to AP, who is no Dr.Evil mind you. And she apologized for not giving me enough space to have time with my husband. I apologized for not being up front with her about boundries.
I think as a relatively new and young au pair, perhaps it is fair to say that she didn’t quite see the invasion of privacy that I felt, espcially since my husband didn’t mind. He does not have as much need for the space and privacy that I do.
though I am cool now, I think I am done hosting au pairs (after this), I do like to have time with just my family and don’t have a strong desire to bond with someone 20 years younger then me, who really can’t relate to my life. And if I am not interested in that aspect I think I may not be a good fit for the program. I have a hard enough time making time for my family, friends , husband and myself. So hanging out with someone each night after I finally get the kids down and have 2 hours for myself and for myself I mean straitening up the house, looking into music lessons, setting up playdates, catching up with my husband I really am not in the mood to look up train schedules, discuss possible classses, the pros and cons of foriegn countries and othe topics that are of course important to the AP. Last night husband worked late. I got everything done and sat with the remote to watch some horrible Lifetime movie in peace….but no. it was time for me and AP to hang out and talk until 10PM. Then husband is home. I think I have been alone for about 10 minutes in the past month. I think that I blew things out of proportion and that I am overwhelmed right now. But then you just don’t know do you? …….If the need to come down and talk to my husband in PJ’s after 11PM happens again I will ask for a mediation with the LCC, because maybe she can say the things I can’t
PS yesterday she had a car accident, that makes ever;y AP we have had so far has had one! She is fine, the car is only dented.

Kim September 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Perhaps your au pair thinks that you expect her to spend this much time with you? I’ve been an au pair twice and the first time, the family kept on insisting that I spend my free time with them (which I was not happy about). So I switched to a different family who were more respecting of my privacy, but I was always worried that if I wasn’t social towards them, they would not e happy with me, therefore I kept on spending time with them when they hadn’t asked me to, and I didn’t even want to. Perhaps your AP is worried that if she doesn’t spend a portion of her free time with you, you won’t be happy with her? Maybe she actually would rather not spend the time with you but is worried you’ll think she’s antisocial? I’m sure not that many AP’s really want to spend so much time with the HF. Or maybe she just hasn’t made many friends yet and is lonely?

Calif Mom September 4, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Lynn, you are ALL going through some tough transitions. I”m sorry. It’s hard to switch jobs. If you’re anything like me–and this is especially true at the beginning of a new job–when you are at work you are thinking about all the family stuff; at home, you are worried about screwing up work. You feel like an octopus being stretched in a zillion directions. It’s really hard.

My job is in a serious crunch. My boss expects us to be on blackberry all weekend. My family expects me to be enjoying the holiday. I am stuck in the middle. But it’s not forever — the balance will find its way back, and that will happen for your family, too. I can’t imagine the additional guilt/stress/logistics from managing a big family and a career. I’m impressed and overwhelmed just thinking about what you must consider in a day!

Our APs have NEVER hung out with us in the evenings; or at least, they only come out of their rooms when they need something (I don’t mean that in a needy/selfish/icky way, just that they are usually on skype or doing homework. Or napping. I DO get jealous of the napping.) We see them when they need my help with something — help buying used books online for college, or dealing with a kid, or handling paperwork of some sort–or they need a snack.

Otherwise, they are either out with friends or hunkered happily in their room. I have had both extraverts and introverts, so that’s not it.

It’s worth considering if there is a feeling from them that you expect hanging out time? Or maybe your living room is too comfy? :-)

Anonymous September 5, 2009 at 3:22 pm

I agree that most aupairs are not interested in their host fathers.
They want to go out and have a good time with boys their own age.
Having said that, you are vulnerable to a young woman who has the opportunity to see you at your worst.
It seems odd, though, that no one worries about traditional housekeepers. I think most aupairs are out of the host fathers’ league.
No offense, guys, but she sees you at your worst , too, and she knows that if she marries you she might have to take care of the kids and the house and not get paid anythiing. Worse still, she might have to engage an aupair and go to work at some menial job to pay your child support.
So why do we all assume that men are only attracted to young, skinny blonde women who are totally dependent ? Why not the super efficient housekeeper who never complains or some up and coming associate in his office. Personally, I agree with Don Draper on Mad Men who said ” Roger, no one thinks you’re happy;
they think you are foolish “.

aussiegirl October 5, 2009 at 5:18 am

With my 2 host dads, I would never have looked at them as anything other then that. They were lovely guys and very kind to me but I am there to look after there kids. In my second experience in Canada. I would spend the evenings with both or one Host Parents watching TV, Playing Cards, Running Errands and it was great and they encouraged me to do so. I found it good that I was able to spend time with the parents without the kids present with out it being uncomfortable. In my first experience I never spent anytime with the parents with out the children present. The Mum would go to bed at the same time the kids did and the dad wasn`t there during the week.

Oliver Chettle April 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm

People who say this is too horrible to think about or would never happen anyway are totally unrealistic. Middle aged men have been carrying on with young women living in their households for thousands of years. There used to be many times more young women who worked as live-in servants than there are now. It is only recently that the idea that a man of say 35-50 shouldn’t have a relationship with a girl in her late teens/early 20s has come about. Historically it was perfectly normal – half the kings of Europe had such relationships, and so did many of the heroes of classic literature, e.g. Mr Darcy, Edward Rochester, Heathcliff. And those three all appear in books written by women.

Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I think you missed the subtext of those novels. There is a plethora of critical treatments which will make it clear. Then too,
Barbara Ribault Chase wrote a great book on Sally Hemmings.

polishAUPAIR April 18, 2010 at 1:34 am

„It is only recently that the idea that a man of say 35-50 shouldn’t have a relationship with a girl in her late teens/early 20s has come about.”

Well, if he has a wife and children he shouldn’t!!! As a future au pair I’d hate an idea that my future host dad could think like you. It’s just wrong. At least respect your wife if it’s too difficult to respect an au pair.

sunnyvah April 18, 2010 at 5:37 am

@Oliver: Oh you mean the women who loved to have affairs with their masters because if not they would be fired? And have no living?
Oh, and don´t forget the children of these “relationships”. The wifes sure loooved these servants and their kids. And isn´t that the kind of relationship we want between HF and AP???
Good that you reminded me of that. I mean thats so up to date for like 1870. Seriously. Lots of crap and b******t.

@CV: If you remove this comment, feel free to remove my comment too :D I just couldn´t stop myself from typing!

Euromom April 18, 2010 at 9:23 am

Sorry Ladies but I totally agree with Oliver – it is perfectly normal for older men to be attracted to younger women. And sad but true – both side act upon that attraction.

It is not a load of B*** and it happens every day of the week.

Any we all know the whys?

Why for the male? the obvious,

Why for the female – the term sugar daddy springs to mind.

So please let us not all be so niave about the matter. Is is going to happen with every au pair – no of course not but yes…. it does happen… with the babysitter….with the secretary and for the females … with the gardener

It happens.

Euromom April 18, 2010 at 9:28 am

And I am a very young HM with a very young HD – we would be less than 5 years older than our au pairs.

HD – is great looking, fit, and has a great sense of humor.

Does that sound unrealistic to anyone that a young lady might be attracted to this man only (about) five years older?

It happens.

I do however trust him completely.

Euromom April 18, 2010 at 9:30 am

And it will not happen to me

Donna April 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Reading this I find it crazy that a ‘member of the family’ is not allowed out of the room in her pyjamas?! I’m hoping to become an Au Pair in August/Sept and the idea of not being able to go out of my room in my pyjamas seems insane! Saying that I hope to find a HM where I feel comfortable and can be more a ‘big sister’ or cousin, not just an employee.

MommyMia April 18, 2010 at 11:54 pm

I don’t think it’s a big issue in most households, so don’t worry too much about it, Donna. I’ve seen lots of “club wear” and outfits on AuPairs going out for the evening that reveal waaay much more than I’m comfortable seeing, while most of the pajamas that any of us would wear are simply comfortable and not very revealing, and if they were questionable, we’d just have you put on a robe. Certainly I would think that you can get up, go down the hall to the bathroom in your pjs, get ready for bed in your room and then go brush your teeth, even come down to breakfast (if you’re not on duty) – even go the kitchen in your pajamas for a snack or drink. Gosh, we’ve all seen each other in bathing suits in the swimming pool, so what’s the big deal?

PA AP mom April 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm

I think that is does in fact happen in some situations, but I don’t feel like it is the norm. I know 10 other host families who have had nearly 75 au pairs in total and there hasn’t ever been a problem.

Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Sure it happens – sometimes. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but many young , pretty, intelligent women are not interested in married men who are seriously older and bogged down with wives , children, lawns to mow, bills to pay, mortgages, etc. Most of these young women are interested in men their own age.
As far as the literature goes, most of those stories go , it is perfectly clear that the women were women who suffered from very poor self-esteem and/or were socially disadvantaged. Those relationships represented power imbalances and abuse. Sleeping with a women who is your employee ( Rochester ) or your slave ( Jefferson ) is abusive if not covert rape.
Moreover, although it happened , there were strong social taboos against it . There is a scene in the original Sabrina where Humphrey
Bogart says to his brother, William Holden ” You slept with a servant in your mother’s home … what kind of man are you ? ” or words to that effect. And Danzy Senna says her aunt told her ” you can call it love if you want to, but it is an old southern story .. a woman attaching herself to a more powerful man who could protect her minimally even if he never did acknowledge his children “.
Age difference is one thing … abuse of power is something else again.
Romancing anyone in your employ or a member of your household is not the province of nice men.

Czech Aupair May 27, 2010 at 11:11 pm

I heard that a lot, too. Especially East European girls shall be the ones lookin for rich American men. To speak from my point of view I would never ever think or do anything like that with my host dad… Especially as I watch his kids and I have a good relationship with his wife… How could people think I could be able to ruin a family I care for?! I never thought about that bfore I came here but now people are asking all the time… “So, you live together??? And that´s okay with your hostmum?”

noone June 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm

ok i am an Au-pair and ok loads of people might think i am a slut or whatever for this but yes once it happend to me but he was a single dad at the time, his wife left him with 2 kids and i was with him from when they were 6 months and 2 years until the youngest was 5 years old, no one ever does it cause they know its gonna happen i was there for his kid and it happen he was 5 years older than me, but if he had a wife i wouldnt have done anything it was a drunk night after i put his chilldren to bed and we were talking and then it happend, i dont care if you think i am a slut or whatever, but not every au-pair are going there for a relationship or to sleep with the HD if they are married or not, and if you dont trust ur husband enough to be an HD then you shouldnt get an au-pair

(sorry but thats just my point of view)

NewAPMama June 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Was this is the U.S.? I am wondering how you stayed for 3 years?

no one July 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Yes it was in the US

NewAPMama July 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I am still wondering how you stayed in the US for that long?

charlie July 8, 2010 at 12:44 am

Your not a slut. There is no such thing. If you’re ashamed of yourself just get over it and don’t let it happen again. Or you can be proud of the compassion and support you showed at such a low point in his life. Your sexuality is yours to give don’t worry what others think or the hangups they try to put on you.

noone September 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

I had family in the US in the first place, so it was easy for me to stay this long

aupair21 July 5, 2010 at 5:27 am

Wow are you speaking from experience? Or do you have an au pair at all?
I have an “attractive” host dad but I would NEVER EVER even THINK about him in any other way than my host dad.. I have been on weekend trips with him and the kids while the mom stayed home and while some of her friends reacted negatively to it, she trusts both him and me, I dont think the thought would ever cross her mind if her friends hadnt mentioned how crazy she is for allowing that. Even if I had not looked upon him as my “family”, I would never do anything in respect for my hostmom! I love her and would never do anything to hurt her feelings..
I think its incredible that you know so many men who slept with the babysitters.. were these live in au pairs??

Hula Gal July 5, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Sorry Charlie (pun intended) that you have such a negative worldview. I married a man who has morals and ethics which overrule his “biological imperative to spread his seed.” Not all men are amoral pigs. I’m not going to try to convince you that you are very narrow minded about the capability of men to be mature and respectful of their wives and children. But I would like to reassure the au pairs reading this that most host dads will not hit on you.

Euromom July 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm

But does Charlie have a negative world view or is it just being realistic? I believe some HD’s are out there are banging the nannies – some HD’s will get away with it, some HD’s won’t, and yet will do it anyway.

This topic did not get to become a cliché because of its rarity and as much as I hate to disagree with Hula Gal (normally we read from the same hymn sheet:) I personally have grave concerns when it comes to the capability of men to be mature and respectful of (and to) their wives and children. In fact there are so many men who lack these exact qualities that divorce courts all over the world are full to capacity and over.

And Charlie has a point when she comments on working inside a marriage. There is a huge cultural norm amongst young women (and men) these days to give up and let go – for whatever reason and this negatively affects a marriage. I see it every day, some women are utterly stunning until they marry and have children, then they completely let themselves go. And it’s not just looks, but personality too, ambition, humour, all those little things that made you you, that made you special to your partner slip away and then …

…….you add a gorgeous young lady to the mix and maybe although she knows better, knows she should not be but….is genuinely attracted to this good looking, educated and charismatic HD. Recipe for disaster ladies, recipe for disaster.

I’m not excusing this behaviour one bit but we have to acknowledge that it does happen.

My grandmother gave me a very special bit of advice that I will share – once you’ve got him, enjoy him but always remember you have to keep him!

So back to Charlie and me being a stupid little twit for trusting my hubby– here’s a twist just for you.

Do I trust him completely – absolutely.

Do I also watch him like a hawk, you bet your sweet a$$ I do.

aupair21 July 8, 2010 at 4:53 am

even though what you said makes sense, i still have to disagree that i have thought of him in a sexual capacity. i can also say that my real dad is “good looking” but i dont mean anything by it obviously.

My point is, just because I acknowledge that my hostdad is “good looking”, doesn’t mean that Ive thought of him in a sexual way. I see him more as an uncle or something in that direction. (both of my real uncles are good looking men as well, still no sexual thoughts there!) :)

Anna July 8, 2010 at 10:05 am


thank you for being honest.
My husband is also honest with me. Men who don’t admit to being attracted to young women in their prime are either low on testosterone (which is a common problem in today’s society), or don’t want to admit it even to themselves. There is nothing wrong with it, it is just how humans are made, and what differentiates humans from animals is that we don’t act on every instinct. Men who are in touch with their nature have a better chance of realistically assessing the situation and their weaknesses, and avoiding compromising their marriages as a result.
My husband is older than you (and older than me by almost 10 yrs), but in a good shape and healthy. We do host au pairs. But, we both realize that having a woman in the house that my husband finds attractive, is not good for our marriage, even though I am sure he would never act on anything.
So when we are interviewing au pairs, we make sure that she is not “his type” and he doesn’t find her attractive. This is really subjective, because almost all our au pairs were really attractive in my opinion; they were just not so attractive to him (they were more like sisters to him, because this type of beauty is what his family looks like)… But then again, he finds me attractive, and I don’t think I am so beautiful.. And I find him stunning, but he thinks he is just a regular guy…

PA AP mom July 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

I am sure that my hubby would say that he finds our AP attractive. Most men would. She’s very pretty and has a wonderful personality to match. That said, if I thought for one second that hubby might not be able to control himself, I wouldn’t have an AP and put myself, or our marriage, in that situation.

I am older than my hubby, have a great job (as does he) and value my family and my marriage over everything else.

My hubby travels out of town (the country actually) for business each week. Are you suggesting that I should also follow him there, just in case a young intern is waiting to pounce on him in a supply closet?

I trust my hubby with all my heart. Call me a mindless twit or whatever you like, it’s been working for 13 years, 2 beautiful kids and through countless beautiful women that he has interacted with.

If a man really wants to cheat on his wife, he will find a way. He doesn’t need a hot European AP to do so.

And really, it is kind of creepy that you are on this board when you don’t have an AP and don’t want an AP (or so you say).

PA AP mom July 8, 2010 at 10:28 am

When I said “interacted with” I meant worked with, met at conferences, played golf with, etc….not interacted emotionally or sexually with. Just clarifying.

Anon Host Mom July 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I do think that Charlie has a valid viewpoint and it is something that I have taken into consideration when deciding on going the au pair route for our childcare needs. It is a sensitive issue because it touches directly on our own personal beliefs about men vs. women, sexuality, marital fidelity, etc. I think Charlie has a valid point because infidelity does happen, of course; we see it all over the place, and saying that “it will never happen in our marriage” or “not MY husband” is rather naive. I would venture to guess that many wives whose husbands cheated on them once thought “he would NEVER do that” also. Hopefully, the vast majority of HDs have the maturity, respect and commonsense not cross that line or even give it much thought. Hopefully the au pairs do as well. And I absolutely agree with another poster that if someone wants to cheat, they are going to find a way, and we certainly can’t shield our spouses from all the potential opportunities they may come in contact with at work, travel, etc.
That said, however, I do think Charlie could have shared his perspective in a much more articulate and reasonable manner. As someone mentioned, these boards usually contain “substantive, respectful” discussions, not ones that resemble men’s locker room conversations.

Ann from NE July 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm

As I’ve noted elsewhere, I left my husband “alone” with my APs during their overlap week (one starting, one ending), and he took each on at least one long day trip (not overnight) to go leaf-watching in New England so they would not miss a beautiful season in the past of the country, or to show some other regional spot that I thought would be of tourist interest to them that they couldn’t access without a car, on a weekend day when I was just swamped with house or work projects.

While each AP was blonde and attractive in a different, Northern European way, we never had any problems. There is a very large age gap: my husband is twice the age of the APs so he could technically be their father! (and he’s 10 years older than I am); my husband and I have been together almost 15 years, in one way or another, so it’s a well-established partnership; he travels away frequently on business; and while I find him attractive he’s no longer the buff, energetic cover boy by a long stretch :) so I’m sure the APs would look elsewhere first. I had also met or emailed with the APs parents directly at least once at some point in their year with us.

So the relationship between my husband and the APs was a friendly, fatherly, coach / mentor type of relationship. I would worry about the details of her childcare for our daugther and the daily schedule and he would be the fun, social guy who liked to cook and find out what they liked to eat and talk about American culture over dinner. We had both met while living as housemates in a coop house so we liked hosting a younger person and having interesting dinner conversations. The APs also saw that we both worked hard and don’t have a large, fancy house so I don’t think there was much lifestyle envy. We also were clear to set boundaries: the APs had a downstairs (small furnished basement) bedroom/bathroom/TV/computer so I think that helps when off duty the family and the AP have their own space.

Now, if the HD and I were much younger, closer to the APs age; if we were newly-weds, not with a well-established marriage; and if she were stunningly covergirl attractive; I could see that potentially bringing in dynamics with undertones in a more insecure situations.

For us having an energetic 20-year old was a good reminder of what we used to be like and a nice preview of the parenting issues we’ll encounter with our daughter in 15 years.

Euromom July 9, 2010 at 4:16 am

Ann – what a wonderfully insightful comment particularly identifying the difference factors such as the length/strength of any marriage/partnership which come in to play for this particular topic (more so than in others) and also for demonstrating yet another joyful aspect of hosting an au pair – sharing their experiences. I have been known to be more than a little envious of my au pair’s social life but truly love hearing about what she got up to and where she is planning on going next. Helping her plan and prepare. It inspires me to do more.

anonym July 24, 2010 at 10:09 am

well i am an au pair and i do have an affair with my host dad. so unfortunately for host mums this is not a myth.
He is 11 years older then i am and i wouldn’t even describe him as attractive even though i am attracted to him. he is almost baled and overweight (i know thats horrible to say but the truth). i am in my extension year and we are sneaking around for more than 7 month now. they are together for 10 years and married for 7 years. i know you all are gonna tell me now awful that is but i want you to consider two things. 1. if their marriage would have been so great he wouldn’t have looked for something different and yes i do feel bad for my host mum course i would have described us as close friends before that started but i love him and i am not quite sure how to change that.
i only have a short time left in my program and he is confused. he still loves his wife but doesn’t know if that is enough anymore. but then there is this little problem that i will be thousands of miles away soon and we don’t know if it work between the two of us. i think he is gonna try and work things out with her when i am gone and although that breaks my heart i think they should get a second chance.

Gianna July 24, 2010 at 2:27 pm

My dear, if this man says he is going to give his marriage a second chance , you have no chance at all. None. You are not close friends with your host mom. If you were her friend, honey, you wouldn’t be sleeping with her husband. If you were her friend or her sister, how would you feel about ” you”. As for your statement that if the marriage were not so great, he would not have looked for something different, don’t you believe that for a minute. They have a great marriage – for him. She is supporting him and his children and providing him and paying for an aupair who sleeps with him. Even if he makes more money then she does, it is community property ( and you are not defined as part of the community ) As far as your broken heart is concerned, don’t feel too bad. He’ll replace you very quickly. She has a big problem but it isn’t you – she has a husband who cheats. There have been others before you and there will be others after you. You describe grief but not remorse.
Maybe she’ll leave him and take the kids. Maybe she’ll leave him for a younger , hotter, richer guy. Maybe they’ll stay together. Maybe they will be to counseling.
Maybe he’s say ” She meant absolutely nothing – she was just an aupair who was easy”. Is he going to buy you a nice piece of jewelry ? Betcha he doesn’t. Betcha he buys her a lovely Christmas present.

aupair21 July 24, 2010 at 4:51 pm

if you dont mind me asking, where are you from? just curious, thats all

JJ Host Mom July 24, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I’m betting this is the same troll who’s been posting on other threads.

anonym July 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm

gianna – i see what you are saying. if i think about it in a realistic way with common sense i totally agree with you. but then there are the moments that i can think about anything else then him.

aupair21 – i am from a western european country. dont know why u wanna know but thats all i am gonna tell you.

PA AP mom July 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm

So, what exactly do you think is going to come of this relationship? Is he going to leave his wife and ask you to marry him or are you going to return to your home country?

I just don’t understand how you can live in their house with them day after day and carry on the charade. Do you have no morals at all????? What about if the kids find out? Would you expect them to also like to their mother about what they know?

I have one word for you….(word deleted, although it was not a swear word) He sounds like someone you should really aspire to be with. If he cheats on her with you, he will also cheat on you with someone else!!!!

Do the honorable thing and ask for a rematch and get the hell out of there as soon as you can. If you still want to carry on the “relationship” with him, then find another way, but not while you live there and have to be so deceitful. Have some self-respect.

anonym July 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm

well the kids a way too young to understand.
and yes i ll be going home to my country soon and i guess thats when i ll find out whats really between the two of us and what’s it worth.

Dorsi July 24, 2010 at 10:54 pm

There is a point here that needs a bit of further exploration, in my opinion. Charlie at first asserted that he knew tons of guy who were having sexual relations with the AP. He then amended that to be mostly interns at work, occasional babysitter, etc. While I believe that it happens (AP-HD relationships) I think they are much more rare than people (including Charlie) assume.

There is a special dynamic of the AP relationship. While many young women are attracted to older men in power (think teacher-student relationships, boss-secretary, etc.), a HD does not have the typical power an mystique that another employer would. The average guy is taking out the trash, changing diapers, watching football in sweats at least part of the day — even those men that are well maintained. I am sure there are a few debonnaire host dads out there that breeze in after work, have a glass of wine before dinner and then smoke cigars and read fine books into the evening, but that situation is fairly rare. A regular HD is a lot less attractive to a young woman than some mysterious man in power (which is why all of Charlie’s friends are banging the interns at work and not their APs– and why they couldn’t).

Sure, it happens that there is a mutual attraction and mutual sloppy morals. But I think it is quite rare.

How does someone find this site if they don’t have an AP and have no interest in ever having one? Google “sex with vulnerable young women”?

Gianna July 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I agree with Dorsi. I also think that nothing works to dampen a woman’s lust for a man than taking care of his kids all day. Another point, is this man going to come home from work , change into his smoking jacket and ask the aupair ” tell me about your day, dear ? “

Anonymous July 25, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Sometimes unexpected things happen. I was an Au Pair in the United States a couple of years ago, and started having an affair with my HD while he was still married. We are a normal couple today. It has been almost two years since he told his ex-wife about us. I still carry guilt every day. I looked up this website because the guilt and dwelling is on my mind every day.

But I love him. We have been together for more than two years now, and I don’t think it would be fair if we could not be together just because of society’s expectations.

People fall in love. It happens. Infidelity is a terrible act, and I can’t imagine what great loss it must have been for my boyfriend’s ex-wife. But I really feel, deep in my heart, that it is right for me to be with this man. I have tried so hard to forget about him, hate him, move on, find someone else. But I love him so, and we have the most wonderful chemistry and good communication – and I have decided I want to be with him. If I could do that without it hurting his ex-wife and children, I would have.

People fall in love. I am still very young, and have lots to learn about life and relationships, but I know one thing. I have to follow my heart. I can’t control other people’s decisions – only make sure I do what I feel is right to me.

aupair21 July 25, 2010 at 10:01 pm

i am just curious, how old are you?
just wondering, because your last sentence seems a little immature to me; “only make sure I do what I feel is right to me”
i am not trying to be mean or anything, but honestly, did you not think about the kids at all when you made your decision to even get involved with him?
if i would only think about what was good for ME in life, i would definitely hurt a lot of people..

cv harquail July 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I appreciate your honesty about your feelings now… I understand that marriages do break up and that second marriages/relationships can end up being the “right” one.

The part that I (and other host parents) struggle with is the part about inviting someone into your family, only to have them ruin that family.

This dynamic is not limited to au pairs, but can happen with ‘best’ friends, etc. Breakups that occur through infidelity with a trusted person who is just like family represent more than one betrayal– It’s more than a husband betraying a wife, it is an au pair betraying a host mom, or a friend betraying a friend. And, it hurts the relationship between the children and their father in an additional way, since he betrayed their mother and their family with someone they liked (the au pair). These are very difficult things to repair, and it is a rare relationship that can both cause a set of breaches like that and continue long enough and well enough to even make a dent in repairing them.

anonym July 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm

so you think the kids are better off to grow up in a broken marriage were people are dammed to life together and be unhappy? i guess thats would make a great perspective for them.
after 18years your kids go to college and move on with their life’s but you are gonna be stuck with somebody you don’t love until you die?
i am sorry but i don’t believe in that.

CS Nanny July 26, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Yes, I guess that’s what the part in the vows, “til death do us part” means.

HRHM July 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm

There is a middle ground – you work on a bad marriage as a couple, and if you figure out that it’s not able to be repaired, you respectfully get a divorce and move on with your life. THEN you let Mr. Happy out with the first tart you run across.

So, no, he didn’t have to sleep with a girl that his wife entrusted with her family and that his children thought of as a big sister BEFORE he decided to end his marriage. And you DIDN’T have to sleep with him BEFORE he made up his mind to get out of his bad marriage.

PA AP mom July 26, 2010 at 8:16 pm

I don’t believe that a bad marriage is good for anyone. That said, if you really respected host dad, host mom, the children, or especially YOURSELF, you would insist that he end the marriage with host mom before taking up a relationship with him. That makes you “the other woman” and quite frankly (not a swear word but deleted)

Rationalize it however you want, in your heart you know it wasn’t the right thing to do.

anonym July 26, 2010 at 10:33 pm

well we didn’t want to break anything up without knowing if it would work out between the two of us. since otherwise i guess his marriage isn’t perfect but yet good enough. but i don’ think thats my call to make.
and i do know in my heart that it was not the right thing to do and that we are being very selfish but sometimes it is really hard to change that (and i am not expecting any sympathy right now, i am just saying how it is)
and i know i am ‘the other woman’ and usually just second choice and it makes me angry but sometimes its better to be the second choice then nothing at all.

PA AP mom July 26, 2010 at 11:36 pm

I hope when you return to your country of origin that you find someone who makes you truly happy and wants you for you and the person that you are. You shouldn’t have to settle for second best. I have a feeling you are much better than that.

Good luck!

Anonymous July 29, 2010 at 9:53 pm

People make mistakes. And I am sure divorce is a death – BUT THERE IS A LIFE AFTER THAT DEATH.

I am sure I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did if I had a husband and children, but I didn’t. I was young and didn’t think. And now, in my case, it makes sense to continue my relationship with my boyfriend. Family and friends are accepting our relationship and supporting us. His ex has moved on and the kids actually seem to be doing well.

Gianna July 27, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I consider the person who wrote “ANOTHER VIEWPOINT ” very cruel. Certainly not funny.

(I agree, so I deleted the comment- cv)

Jan July 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Or just kinda weird. I agree, however, that everyone is capable of cheating. I don’t think that DH would have an affair with the au pair, but who the heck knows what can happen. I told DH that a.) if he thinks he can handle a 21 year old and all of the hassle that comes with it then go ahead and have at it, but b.) he better make sure I never find out cause I’ll beat the snot out of him.

alexander October 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Good evening,

My second wife and I were looking for stories similar to ours… unfortunately, we are only finding stories talking about affair… So we decide that I could talk about my story.

I am a men, aged 38. Living in Western Europe – in Switzerland. I have 3 kids coming from a first marriage.
Here, I will not talk about an affair. But about a love story between an aupair and her host father.

My ex-wife and I were used to welcome aupair for years, mostly US aupairs, swedish aupairs, russian aupairs… We have 3 kids. We totally got 7 aupairs in 7 years.

Once, I secretly felt in love of one of those aupairs… I think it’s important to explain such a story, while my family, close friends and kids know this story.

At that time, my relation with my ex-wife was really bad.
To be clear : there was no more physical relation, no more friendly relations, nothing left. We were acting as parents. No more as lovers. The reason(s) is(are) not really known yet, years after. But this zero-relation had strong consequences in the kids grown, and that started some months before the -particular- aupair came to our house.

My ex-wife and I tried to reconcile (several therapies for almost 6 months).
During this process, it was the end of the contract for our 6th aupair, she supported us very well despite the problems between my ex-wife and me – at some times, I was persuaded that this aupair would have given up because of the hard reconcile process…

Then, the new (7th) aupair arrived at home, and some days later, my ex-wife and I had to admit that the reconcile has failed. We were embarrassed for the new aupair because finally, we knew that she will not be with us for a long time as we have taken the decision to live separately (not to divorce).

Until I found a new place for me, I was sleeping in another room in the house – this point is not really important, it is mentioned to point out that my ex-wife and I were no longer sleeping together.

Day after day, I firstly became a good friend of this aupair.

And one day, I realized that it was more than a friendship. I was invited to the 40th birthday party of a friend, with my kids and the aupair came with us. Spending much time than usual with this aupair made me closer of her. I was in love. At this time, that was just something inside of me, I even did not talk to her about this. On the way back to home, that was awful… should I talk ? should I not talk with her ?

And finally, some days later, I decided to tell her. And she admitted she was feeling the same. That was totally weird…
But still not an affair. Nothing physical happened although I was understanding that could finally happen.

We discussed a lot about this particular relationship. I told her that I would be ready to start a relation with her, but that was not the good time. I have 3 kids, still married while I knew this marriage was over.

So I asked her to quit her job and to go back to her home country. That was the best thing to do. She agreed.
I only had this deep feeling at that time, I knew that was a strong love and I was afraid to lose her because she was going back to her country.

So she quited and went back to her parents. She told them this story.
I told my parents this story too.

Then, while I was still living with my ex-wife – I explained the situation to her. I also told her that it would be better to divorce, instead of “simply” live separated.

We decided to divorce. We have taken time to prepare the divorce, to be sure about the conditions that we had to show to the court, still thinking about the kids. Before the divorce was given by the court, I found my own place. As agreed with my ex-wife, that was on the same street where she lives now, so it’s “easier” for the kids.

That was some years ago.

Finally, the aupair became my girlfriend. 18 months later, I asked her to marry me.
And we married. After years I am still in love of her. We lost a baby together. We are now in a new stage, to build a family again.

It’s true to say that falling in love can happen to anyone.
You might fall in love of an aupair. Of your boss. Of your employee. Of your best friend… You never know.
You might have an affair with your boss. Your employee. Your best friend…

Host father falling in love with the aupair (and marring later the aupair) is probably more rare than host father having affair with aupairs !

Just having an affair is a lack of respect for the person who doesn’t know (mostly the host mother and the kids), I think it’s not responsible at all and totally selfish.

I hope that my comments are readable, english is not my mother tongue.

AP child February 20, 2011 at 11:41 am

My dad had an affair with our aupair. There were warning signs before we discovered the messages which entailed that they had looked at houses together and he was going to leave us, although she was 20 and he 53. Me and my sister had pretty much grown up with au pairs and had had nothing like this happen before. Just be on lookout for signs – I wish I had done.

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