The Boyfriend-Back-Home: Always bad news?

by cv harquail on September 1, 2009

200909011008.jpgWe got an interesting request for advice from a host mom who just found out that her incoming au pair has gotten a BBH — a Boyfriend-Back-Home. This mom is concerned because her first au pair – host mom experience was marred by her au pair’s devotion to the BBH over her commitment to the host family. The specifics of that situation are interesting, and I’ll post them in a few weeks, but right now this mom wants some advice:
One of our very important interview criteria was “no boyfriend” due to the experiences we had with our previous aupair regarding this issue.

Long story short, below is part of the email I received from our new au pair to be today.

Hi, How are you?
I went to Paris for my visa and I will receive in the coming days. I want to warn you that I met a man but this don’t change my motivation and my desire to live with you during one year, I’m always excited to come to the United States.
Have a nice day. A bientot!
Obviously my concerns with this new au pair is that we now possibly have another boyfriend situation on our hands. This caused a lot of headaches and heartbreak the last time around. My concerns is that we run into similar as well as other issues related to the boyfriend i.e. additional homesickness, wanting to go back etc.
We would have not selected this au pair if she would have had a boyfriend or any “close” relationship at the time we interviewed.
We are planning to bring this up and get a better feel for it when we talk to her the next time. However, her visa and everything is already in place and her arrival for the orientation is scheduled for September 14th.
Here is where I need your advice: Should I pull the plug right now and see if we can find a replacement aupair or what would you recommend? I cannot see myself going through another year like last year.

I can completely understand why this mom is spooked– We have always screened au pair candidates carefully around the boyfriend issue.

At the same time though, we’ve had two au pairs with BBH and in neither case did it turn out to be a problem. Both young men were encouraging of their girlfriends’ year of adventure, and encouraged the au pairs to stick it out through the initial homesickness phase. One of the boyfriends stayed with us before and after his vacation trip with our au pair, and he was not only a pleasure to have around but also had lots of fun playing with our little girls when our au pair was on duty for two days. In short, it could not have gone any better.

I think that this host family has the right idea in planning to call their incoming au pair to talk to her about how the boyfriend might influence her year here. Given that it’s a relatively ‘new’ relationship, who knows if it will even be active, much less serious, three weeks from now? (Not to sound jaded, but you remember when you were 19, right?)

Do you think a BBH is bad news? Do you have any good strategies for managing BBH issues as they come up? Please share in the comments…

{ 40 comments }

Hula Gal September 1, 2009 at 11:59 am

Our first au pair told us she had a boyfriend in our interview with her but was ending it. We matched with her six months before she was to arrive. She ended up meeting someone else not long before she left for her au pair year with us. We did not know about the new boyfriend until she arrived in our home. She only lasted from Thursday until Sunday and out of the blue announced that she didn’t want to be an au pair and went home that following week. She couldn’t articulate as to why she wanted to go home, at least anything that made sense to us. We could only assume it was because of the boyfriend.

Dare I say that if you have this much anxiety about the boyfriend issue you may want to reconsider. But, it may come to nothing. Your best hope is that the boyfriend ends up being a fling and doesn’t last because the first few months of any relationship are intense and exciting and the last thing anyone in the duo wants is to be separated. I wish I had something more helpful to say about this but it really comes down to making assumptions and taking a chance one way or another. Trust your instincts and don’t look back.

Sue Bastian August 30, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Hi! What would you have thought about your au pair having a boyfriend in YOUR country? Would you consider it important for her to tell you this?

HRHM August 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm

YES! If she didn’t, I would consider it a lie of ommission – I always ask if they have a boyfriend, so we would have talked about him in general. My question is something along the lines of “Does he support you in your choice to come to the US as an AP?” And if he lives here, the answer would likely contain that information (“He’s excited that maybe we’ll see more of each other since we’ll be in the same country”) unless you are actively trying to hide the fact. This would start our relationship out with a level of mistrust that is most likely going to lead to bad places in the end. The whole truth – you may not match with some families, but you wouldn’t want to be with them (or them with you) anyway. Best to be up front and get the right match for you.

anonamomma September 1, 2011 at 6:37 am

After being burned once on the boyfriend issue – during interview: no boyfriend, but by the time she arrived (3 months later) had found the love of her life and couldn’t bear to be without him! I would never take on an AP with a boyfriend.

Boyfriends add another dimension of loneliness and homesickness for an AP. While they may be ready to cut the apron strings on their parents and spread their wings – leaving is not seen as a loss – yes it is scary but the AP does not feel like they are loosing something. This is not the same as leaving a boyfriend.

When you leave behind a boyfriend (even if they support the decision to AP) the AP now has to deal with the loss of the emotional (and phyiscial!!!) contact.

To my mind this is a huge obstacle to overcome and is too much for most.

I was quite annoyed when our AP arrived, moped around the house for a month or so and then dropped it in conversation that she had started seeing someone before she left to come to us. I knew right then that the match would not work – her head was somewhere else to where it had been when she matched with us and she didn’t really want to be with us.

She left 5 days later. We spent in excess of $2,000 on her during that period.

Now we screen for boyfriends in our selection process and unless the applicant is extremely strong (or in one case the AP’s boyfriend was already in our country – acceptable) but we do not select AP’s with boyfriends.

Anna September 1, 2011 at 10:38 am

I’ve been “burned” on the boyfriend issue numerous times; not all of them resulted in a bad match however.

Once, an au pair told us she didn’t have a boyfriend, but when she arrived, she told us she did – she started dating an ex again soon after the match but before arrival, several months already. Her boyfriend came to visit, she took her 2 week vacation to be with him, and right after the vacation she announced she wanted a rematch, the work and life with us was too hard and depressing for her, and “she didn’t come to America to feel like this”

Once, an au pair told us she didn’t have a boyfriend. When she arrived, she said she did, and that she started dating him shortly before arrival so she was not lying on her application to us (sounds familiar? and she was the one after the au pair above). Turned out this was a lie, I saw their pictures together in affectionate poses taken way before she applied to the au pair program. And, less than two months after her arrival, she announced she decided to go back home after 6 months mark, because she wanted to go to college next year (grrr…. and why she hasn’t thought of that when matching?). I do suspect that it was completely fabricated and she has arranged with her boyfriend to come back soon. Because four months in, she met a new love interest here, broke up with a boyfriend back home, and announced that she changed her mind and wants to stay a full year… (we rematched soon after for a different reason…lies etc.)

Anonymous September 1, 2009 at 12:01 pm

BBH aren’t all bad. But this situation would raise a red flag to me about maturity and whether the AP is “boy crazy.” I would prefer a mature AP with a BBH than a boy crazy, immature AP. You have to speak with the AP and probe – which doesn’t look easy unless you are fluent in French. I would definately pull the plug if you get the sense the AP is boy crazy. Even if the man back in Paris is temporary, you don’t want to deal with a year of emotional drama (immaturity) and “boy craziness.” You really don’t want an AP who’s primary (sole?) interest is men; those AP’s will meet all sorts of men in all sorts of situations (online, military bases, etc.) and will often lose rational thinking when it comes to men putting themselves and your family in danger. If I had picked up on some red flags like this one, we would have avoided a rematch.

PA au pair mom September 1, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I was a little leary about an AP with a BBH when we selected our last AP but it ended up not being an issue. The only problem was when they “broke up” in January. She was tearful for a few days, rightfully so. The problem was that after that when she was “free” she started going out nearly every night. Before that she had gone out much less (which I liked better).

This time our new AP (arriving Friday) does not have a BBH. I am anxious to see how it will play out differently.

If the BBH issue bothers you that much, I think you may want to consider rematching. Will it affect other judgments you make about her and her personality, work ability, because of the BBH issue? Not sure in your case.

Good luck.

Emma September 1, 2009 at 1:06 pm

I have a BBH, but he is supportive of me being away for a year (not that I ever actually asked,) and he seems to understand that I need this year for personal growth etc. I can understand where a BBH could have very detrimental effects on an au pair who is immature or unable to handle the situation, but I don’t think it is effective to assume every au pair will be that way. I think the best course of action is to call or skype with the incoming au pair and have a long, thorough conversation about her feelings about this boy, how she expects to be able to handle the anxiety, and homesickness that can come with separation, your fears and concerns about him, and how he feels about her leaving. Only after really discussing this and gauging her comments and hesitations can you really know if it will be an issue or if you should pull the plug, I think.

AnonymousHostMom September 1, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Like PA au pair mom, ours recently broke up with (= was dumped by) her BBH, which manifested itself in her gloomy mood and diminished job performance after we returned from separate vacations last month. (She finally told us during a “status meeting” a couple of weeks later.) We did not know of the BBH until long after we had matched, and additional photos were being exchanged, and we were concerned. It didn’t seem to really affect her performance until the break-up, but like the mom above, we’re not liking the emerging “party girl” persona. She insists that she isn’t too tired to work after being out until 1 or 2 a.m., but I see much less engagement with the kids, frequent yawning and even drowsing off while a child is playing nearby, which is not acceptable. And of course the risk of auto accidents increases with the frequent late-night & weekend driving when more drunk driveres are statistically on the road. She’s old enough to drink legally, and we are concerned about some of the online photos she’s posted of parties where she is scantily (some might say scandalously) dressed, obviously drinking. Wonder if someone shared these with the ex- or if the wilder behavior started afterward?! We had long since given up the hope that she would, unlike our previous au pairs, join in more family activities and possibly bond more with our older child by inviting her to the movies or to the mall with her sometimes on her days off. You can be sure we’ll be watching carefully for any infractions that would make re-match a reality. Unfortunately, our LCC doesn’t really do a great job anyway, so that’s not a resource we can go to. Thank goodness for this site and all of your help & advice!

an au pair September 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm

I agree with Emma. I also have a BBF who is totally supportive of my year away. He is visiting in a couple months, which the family is fine with, so now I have something to look forward to instead of focusing on the homesickness aspect. Even if I was crying myself to sleep about it every night, I wouldn’t allow my work to suffer because of it and I wouldn’t consider leaving early because I made a commitment to this family. It does help (A LOT) that I can call US cell phones through Skype (I pay like $3/month for unlimited calls), and it also helps that we aren’t one of those couples who fight all the time. Personally, I’d be more into partying and guys if I were single, so in my family’s case it’s probably a good thing I have a BBF.

It will be a bad situation if you have an immature au pair or an au pair who has crazy screaming fights with her boyfriend, but I guess you won’t know until she arrives. I think you should definitely call her first and find out details before deciding what to do. Definitely find out about what this guy thinks of her leaving. If she is with someone supportive, things will be much, much different than if she is dating a jealous, clingy, unsupportive type.

Anonymous September 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Oh what I wouldn’t give to have our AP with her BBH instead of with her new boyfriend she’s met since ending things with the BBH. When she arrived with a BBH she missed him, but spent a lot of time with our family and with her girlfriends. She ended things about three months after arriving, then spent the next 9 months or so dating once in awhile before meeting a new boyfriend. He has turned out to be controlling, unpleasant, and completely disrespectful of her job in our home. He has done things like talk her in to leaving town when she was scheduled to work, and refused to bring her home when she was supposed to be there. Now instead of honoring her 11pm curfew, she is out with him half the night on worknights. She has changed dramatically since meeting him, and we’re frustrated and upset – and just in to our year renewal.

Give me a BBH any day. :-((

CoCa September 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm

It’s interesting that you bring this up as our incoming AP (arriving on Friday) is our first, and does have a BBH. We knew about this throughout the matching process, and while it has caused me some concern, I decided that since she seems a very good match I would trust her statement that the boyfriend supports her decision to go away for a year, particularly since he has another year left of school while she has graduated. I have also agreed that he may visit during the year.

I think this is possibly one of those issues where it is impossible to predict what is going to happen. In the case of the asker’s AP, I would be a little concerned about the fact that she wants to “warn” the family about having met someone. One wonders, what is she warning them about? Perhaps a phone call is the way to find out?

Let’s not forget that at this age, people are very different and their relationships are very different. That isn’t limited to just boyfriends – I know 18-year-olds who can not bear to be away from their mothers for more than a few days at a time, meanwhile, I left home at 16 and only saw my parents occasionally even at that age.

That said, if you have been open from the beginning about the ‘no boyfriend’ criterion, you would be well within your rights to stop the process at this point. However, if it were me, I think I would try to arrange a phone call to have an in-depth conversation about it.

an au pair September 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Coca, I thought that she was “warning” the hostmom because the hostmom had been concerned about the au pair having a BBH during the interviewing process, and/or made it clear that they weren’t interested in those with a BBH. Since she didn’t have a boyfriend during that time, and now does, she was kind of obligated to warn the hostmom if she knew the hostmom would not be happy about it.

That’s just how I interpreted it, but obviously I could be wrong.

NoVA Host Mom September 1, 2009 at 6:18 pm

An interesting point is brought up in the original post: we remember being 19. It was not the longevity of relationships then, but the intensity. If this new AP is young, and stary-eyed, then the HF could be in for a wild ride as the AP races through the ups and downs of “the one” newly discovered and recently separated by an ocean. I’d definately call the AP and express my concerns, also try to figure out just what was in play here.

Our 1st AP said she had no BBH, and that was true. He had already come to the US and, as he was a dual-citizen of her country and the US, after she left us (we went to rematch) I learned of the wedding plans (read: hunt for a green card). She got bounced from the country or at least lost her visa status, but I don’t know if she actually left. Don’t really care, either. She spent every moment not “officially on duty” out of the house, and supposedly stayed at the house of another AP from the same country. I still have my suspicions on that one. It has made me be much more involved as a HM about BBH and in country.

Calif Mom September 2, 2009 at 12:39 am

Anonymous Host Mom — most traffic accidents actually occur in the early mornings, close to home — when people are tired and rushed. I hope your party girl isn’t driving the kids anywhere in the mornings.

Drowsing off IS a performance issue, even if she says she is ‘fine’. These situations are hard; and when I most feel the future rushing toward me as a parent!

Susann September 2, 2009 at 9:17 am

Just my 2 cents… I have been an Au pair for almost 3 years in 3 different countries, my first year was in California.
I went to the US without having a BBH and I enjoyed being able to flirt around and date a bit without having to feel guilty. I was also able to spend a lot of time with my host family and we had a brilliant year. Neither did I have a boyfriend whilst in Switzerland but I did have one when I went to Luxembourg. Did that make a difference? Yes, in a way that I was keen on going home to see him (Luxembourg and Germany aren’t that far apart) and I also talked to him every night either on skype or phone. However, I still participated A LOT in activities the family did, I went on trips with them, I watched the children on weekends (to be fair, I didn’t have a contract and no working hours – I was on duty when the Mum worked but I never had an actual working schedule which for me was fine). The family knew from the very beginning that I had a boyfriend, he came to stay with me when I stayed in the house during their vacation. They liked him very much, the girls still have his pictures (even though we are not a couple anymore and they know it). For me, having a boyfriend had nothing to do with the way I connected with the family. On the contrary, my boyfriend didn’t like my host family, he kept telling me the children are noisy and little monsters, which they are absolutely not. I stood up for the family…
If a family would have rematched with me so shortly before I came to join them, just because I had a boyfriend, I would have been devastated. It’s not fair, because you cannot assume that each girl will react the same. Many of us will actually see this year as a chance: a chance to explore the world, to find another “family”, to connect with great people and also a chance to see if an existing relationship can last. Because if it can last the year, it can last a lot.
Do speak to your Au Pair, tell her that you are concerned and ask her how serious she is with this guy. Ask her how she wants to deal with it. Communication is a key, I have learned that the hard way after having to rematch in Switzerland and cancelling on her a mere two weeks before she is due to arrive in the States seems very harsh to me.
Susann

This Friend of AP September 2, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I think we should all give this girl a credit for saying the truth. She could have lied about having a BF, but she wanted to be fair and “warn” the family (I’m sure she didn’t want to use that word, she just didn’t know what is the more polite of saying this).
Future APs lie about having BF, about smoking cigarettes, about their previous experience with children. And they still go through the screening process and HFs won’t ever find out! They have no idea! But this girl said the truth and I’m sure that proves she is mature and responsible adult.

CoCa September 2, 2009 at 1:25 pm

an au pair and This Friend of AP: Just thought I would clarify that yes, I think it may well be that the “warning” was simply a way of phrasing the fact that “even though I said I didn’t have a BF, I do have one now”. I realise it might have sounded as though I thought the “warning” meant something bad or dangerous ;-) – I didn’t.

What I really meant was this: Yes, it could be that she just wanted to be honest rather than come across later as having lied in the initial interview. But it could also be that she really does think that having a BF might affect things in some way, such as wanting him to come visit at some point, being less likely to want to extend even if things work out, being more homesick etc. etc. I still think that if it were me, I would want to call the AP to discuss the matter.

This Friend of AP September 2, 2009 at 1:42 pm

You know what I just thought? I looked at this problem from a different angle and something else came up to my head.
It is very possible, that she had this BF BEFORE and she lied about not having one. Don’t you think it’s weird she told you about having a BF just AFTER she got a visa? She knows that since she has a visa in her hand she is safe and you can’t really stop the process of bringing her to the country. You could rematch after a day or so after her arrival, but now there is nothing you could do. The AP program bought her a plane ticket, she has a visa, she is safe.
As I said before – APs lie, because they want to get to the US.
I think you need to talk with her about when she met this guy and if is it a serious relationship. And try to find out then she met him. Maybe a simple question like: “What did you do on your B-day?” or “Did you get any presents from your BF so far?” would bring the truth out.

This Friend of AP September 2, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Edit: If she just met this guy, in the last couple of days, he would not be even worth of mentioning it. But since she says anything about him, it means he might be someone special.
Don’t you think?

Amelie September 2, 2009 at 4:25 pm

This Friend of AP: If she had a BF before, why would she tell the truth now?

Most girls are really willing to have a very nice year with their host fanily. Some lie about smoking or about child care experience (I didn’t have as many hours as my application said, and still, I really think I’m a great au pair), but, in general, we really want to find a good family and be a good au pair. All this girl did was telling the HF she got a BF, and now everyone is assuming a lot of things.

I don’t have a boyfriend, but if I had, I wouldn’t interfere at all on my job as an au pair (as it wouldn’t interfere on any job I could have).

Give the au pair a chance! Maybe she’s an amazing girl, and you don’t know how devastating it is when a the HF decides to undo the match even before the AP comes to the US (it happened to some girls I know).

PS. Most of my friends have BBH and it doesn’t seem to afect their jobs.

Amelie September 2, 2009 at 4:28 pm

To me, it sounds just like saying “I don’t like ap from this country” or “never get an au pair from that country”. Each person is different!

CoCa September 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm

Actually, Amelie, while I do agree that each person is different, I don’t see anything wrong with having a preference for one country over another.

To pretend that it isn’t true that the culture of one particular country may be more or less suited to your family’s ways is to my mind politically correct to the point of being naive.

Yes, there are always exceptions, but when screening a large number of candidates, you have to use statistical probability.

After all, the AP chooses which country to travel to, as well. Presumably because she has a particular interest in that country, and/or thinks that the cultural exchange would be successful for her there.

NewHostMomtoBe October 24, 2009 at 12:24 pm

This is so true. Thank you for posting what I feel. I get sick of hearing how ‘bad” some host families are because they prefer one country and/or language over another. I don’t think it is PC, but I am not trying to be. I want a good experience from our Au Pair year and to us, that includes cultural exchange. We are specifically interested in a certain country and language. That doesn’t mean that we dislike any other. We are just learning a new language and would love to have an au pair from that country so that we can also learn about her culture. I think that it would also help her feel more at home since we could also understand her native language in case she has any problems with English. {Think of how helpful that would have been to some of the host families and APs who first arrive and can’t completely understand one another}.

As for the boyfriend, it makes perfect sense that some parents may not want an AP with a boyfriend back home. We have all been “in love” as teens and being down the street is hard. It is even harder when you are in another country and can’t just stop by to see said boyfriend. I do think that is a problem and I am glad that it was brought to our attention. While I am not against anyone having a boyfriend, it only makes sense to consider the seriousness of it as that will definitely impact how the AP feels and how much she will miss him and/or want to go back home.

I also want to say thank you for this site! I have gotten so much valuable information and help here by reading the discussions.

Deb Schwarz September 2, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Hello all,

We’ve had 15 au pairs over the past 8 years (sometimes two at a time) – and 5 of them have had boyfriends at home, including our current one.

#1 – Our first au pair had a BBH, and it was great because she didn’t stay out late trolling (not that she would have anyway, since she wasn’t that type). It didn’t get in the way at all.

#2 – was a 2nd year au pair that had a boyfriend (also an au pair) on the East Coast where she had spent her first year, but she was determined to experience CA. She was a great au pair, but the kids told me that one night she was crying in her bed, clutching a teddy bear from him. I had a heart to heart with her the next day and told her that I would find her a host family back near her boyfriend, which I did. I told her that life was too short to be sad. They ended up getting married two years later and they live happily in her home country of South Africa. She still writes to me about how unselfish and insightful I was. (which makes me feel good on some level).

#3 – had just met a guy before she arrived (we had matched 5 months previously). She looked fantastic on paper – but I knew I was in trouble when she broke the news on the way home from the airport and asked me if I could help him find a job here (I nearly drove of the road). That one lasted one week – she was a plane home since she missed her boyfriend. She actually left in the middle of the night but left us a bottle of wine and a lovely note saying that our kids weren’t well behaved – and that she missed her boyfriend (LOL).

#4 -right on the heels of #3, was a 2nd year with a boyfriend back on the East Coast (you think I would have learned???) She lasted two weeks, but mainly because she backed my car into my husband’s car, and couldn’t handle four kids.

#5 – is our current au pair. She Skypes her boyfriend every day – and talks about him a lot – but is considering breaking up with him since she’s met a guy that “she’d like to kiss”. LOL. I have noticed a difference in that she is very focused on making money in order to travel with him after her year. This is definitely more a “means to an end” than any other au pairs that we’ve had – although she is good with the kids, her heart doesn’t seem to be in it like some of our others. I still think I would pick her over again, though.

So – there you have it. My take on it is that it really depends on how intense (as someone mentioned) and importantly, how NEW the relationship is. The more settled a relationship is (longer longevity) – the easier I think it is for the au pair to put it “on ice” for a year.

I never discourage host families to not accept an au pair that has a boyfriend – but to get a sense if they think it will get in the way of their year (e.g. ask them how they plan to cope with the separation).

Deb

an au pair September 3, 2009 at 5:08 am

This friend of AP, I agree that the AP might have lied from the beginning. That makes perfect sense based on the circumstances. It could just as easily not be the case though.

Darthastewart September 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm

I’ve had a bunch of au-pair’s like Deb. (11 years and counting).
#1 Had a BBH and has been one of our best au-pairs ever. He came and spent two weeks with our family and was delightful.
#2 Right on the heels of #1. Went home within a week of arriving- was miserable on the flight over here.
#3 Had a BBH. He came for a visit at the end of the year, like #1’s and was also delightful.
#4. She broke up with him after 4 months.
I’ve had several that have had boyfriends here (and incidentally… a true but HILARIOUS story.. 4 of my previous au-pairs are godmothers to my youngest…Well, one of them brought her boyfriend to the luncheon, because he’s american, and he’s here.. And it turns out.. He was the EX of another of the girls.. Boy wasn’t that a _weird_ situation. They all ended up hanging out together for the few weeks they were all in town. Makes my head spin.)

Calif Mom September 3, 2009 at 8:27 pm

We had an AP who repeatedly stated–firmly and with serious conviction which I teased her mercilessly about–that she had broken up with her BFBH. When she caught him cheating on her back home with her friend (through FB, I might add) she was miserable for several days and then fell head over in heels with a local boy from her country of origin two weeks before going back home. She is back (I don’t ask about her visa) and they are still in love, several years later.

Anonymous September 4, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I know of a young man in our area who dates every aupair in the neighborhood. At least two of my aupairs thought it was a serious relationship. One aupair asked for a rematch because she was so upset when she found out that he just waited for each aupair to go home so he could meet the next one.
Sometimes he met the aupairs or train into the city. Sometimes it occurred in the bagel shop around the corner. Sometimes it happened in the library.
I haven’t heard anything about him in a very long time. Since he was young, single and handsome and good with words, there really wasn’t too much to do in terms of interference. What ground had I to object ? The other nannies on the carpool pick up line at school told the last aupair about this fellow. Apparantly, this fellow had never approached the other nannies but everybody knew about him. It was all very sad.

Calif Mom September 4, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Anonymous — that is horrible! how predatory. evil. sad. AND reason to help our APs build relationships with other APs. We wouldn’t possibly know this stuff, being old fuddy duddy host moms…

Anonymous September 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm

I agree that it is good to know what is going on and you are right, sometimes we cannot possibily guess this sort of thing without a little inside information. Looking back, if I had known, I would have said to every arriving aupair : ” There is a real cute single guy in the neighborhood and he dates a lot of aupairs. ” But I didn’t know, so I couldn’t say this.
I did tell my LCC and she was very understanding but said that her hands were tied – she could hardly call this young man up and tell him what’s about. She was just there to pick up the pieces.
I had an impression that the LCC thought I should been a little more in touch with my aupair’s emotional life but she never said that. The truth is that at that point in my career, I was too stressed out to take on another child. I needed someone who could hit the ground running and manage my household while I was at a
very demanding job. And, alot of these girls do not go to anyone with their issues because they think they are adults and can handle themselves. They are very young and sometimes need someone much older and wiser to talk to. That is why, I , for one, have no issue with ” gossip at meetings “. If the aupairs feel they can confide in the LCC, so much the better. Sometimes they talk to each other and get advise that is not so wise although it is well intentioned.
In my case, they LCC told one aupair that it was unrealistic to exspect me to come home from work and listen to her problems for an hour.

Au Pair October 23, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I really don´t know what to do! A HM said I am wonderful but chose someone who is without a boyfriend. Should I lie about having a boyfriend? Or should I be honest and wait for a family that is not concerned about BBH? I am really worried about this, because I don´t want to lose a match with the perfect HF, just because I have boyfriend! If I thought I am not able to handle the distance between us for a whole year I would never aplly to the program! Any suggestion?

NewAPMom October 23, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Au pair, I’m sorry you missed out on a match. I hope that doesn’t stop you from being honest in the future, though. If you start out the relationship based on a lie, things will just get worse and worse. As you can see by this thread, not all host families are bothered by a potential boyfriend. You’ll eventually find one who’s not.

Au Pair October 23, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Thank you NewAPMom! I am really sad, but I will not lie. You are right I will find a HF.

ASHTON February 24, 2011 at 1:49 am

hi all. am currently an au pair in the USA. i have a BBH . and i have only been her for a 2 weeks. we have agreed not to use the word “i miss you,i cant wait for you to be home,or hope you not cheating on me” and since we dont use those words i dont miss home. it has helped me alot.even though im in rematching process .i still dont miss him much. my advice is limited the phone calls .facebook and skype time with your aupairs. i only skype my parents every second day and for short times. i even asked my BBH home to please tell me postive news and it works. if i feel down and want to let my emotion out i cry but i write my feelings in my journel and it. and as an au pair .i would tell my host mom about how im feeling and if she could give advice i would most probably take it..
so host mom be patience

Should be working January 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Returning to this topic (can you tell I’m in matching?): I came across a candidate who looked wonderful on paper. She is also wonderful in interviewing and in apparently every way. We’ve skyped for hours, done the due diligence, called references, she’s an oldest daughter of a big family, laughs and is energetic and creative and patient. But, it came out in our second conversation, she has a boyfriend. Relationship is 3 months old, but she has known him for several years as a friend. She feels confident; he is supportive of the AP year.

So now what? I never wanted an AP with a boyfriend, but she seems a better fit than I have seen in weeks of searching now. I guess I want a few good stories about APs with BBHs–is it really possible that it works out fine for the HF? I wish we had a statistic somewhere about this.

AFHostMom January 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Just departed AP had a fiance back home and it honestly NEVER came up. AP before her had a BBH and they broke up about 3 months in. There was crying and screaming and drama but in the end she got it together and there was no real change in her performance, either way. I’d say maturity is far more important than relationship status.

Anna January 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm

We had a similar situation; it wasn’t a problem

Taking a Computer Lunch January 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm

I had a couple of APs who broke up with boyfriends before they came to us – one boyfriend visited us for a few weeks toward the end of an APs year, but otherwise she seemed to have a great time going out and meeting people while she was here. One AP had a young man from home “stalk” her while she was here – he sent her gifts and flowers regularly, but got cold feet when it came time for her to return home – go figure. One AP pined for a man with whom she had a friendship at home, but as far as I could figure their relationship had not been sexual.

DH and I lived apart for several years – first time was when we were living on opposite sides of Europe (back before Skyping and phone cards – we wrote each other a lot of letters), and then for several years in the US as we started out on the career path. I’m sympathetic to APs who have left behind boyfriends. It can be done.

Returning HM January 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Our current AP has a very serious BBH. Last spring, when we were going through matching, after two weeks of skyping and emailing and feeling very comfortable about each other, she told us that she wanted to match with us. The one thing that held me back from immediately saying the same thing back to her was BBH. I ended up sending her the following note the next day:

“So after our conversation, I was left with one concern that I wanted to raise again with you, and this pertains to how you feel about leaving [BBH] for the year. One of the big sayings among host families is never to pick an au pair who has a serious boyfriend, as sometimes those are the au pairs who decide that they don’t want to or don’t need to struggle through the difficult process of adjusting and they decide to go home after only a few
weeks. The first few weeks and sometimes months can be challenging as an au pair. Being with children can get tiring. Classes may be difficult. Adjustment to living with a new family can be hard. Au pairs can feel homesick. The au pairs who have someone special at home, especially someone who is saying “I miss you, I wish you were here” all the time, can sometimes think to themselves, “Why am I bothering to make this adjustment? I can just go home.”

So this is why I am raising this again and asking you to really think about what it will mean to be abroad (and away from your boyfriend) for a year. Other than this one concern, we think you seem like a great au pair for us, and we are optimistic that you would be a good fit for our family and would be happy here with us.”

I sent this, and then I waited. Nothing came back that night. Nothing came back the next day. Finally, the next night a note came. What had taken her so long was that she had arranged for a serious sit-down with BBH and really talked about the year ahead. They talked about what she would do, what he would do, what their relationship would be like, how they would weather the storms of her being in the US and him being at college for the first time, and when and how they would see each other. She handled this so maturely that when she wrote to say that she felt confident that he was behind her 100% and had promised to support her, I felt very comfortable going ahead with the match.

We just hosted BBH in our home for two weeks over the winter holiday, and it was an absolute joy to meet him and to watch them together. Probably my most favorite part of having him here – aside from seeing AP so incredibly happy and really blooming to be able to show him her life here – was to watch HIM recognize how much SHE has grown up and matured in her half-year thus far with us. He was bursting with pride at how well she has done as an AP. It was really an incredibly special thing to see.

I think, if you put the situation to your prospective AP in a similar way and really ask her about the boyfriend, you will see how she reacts and can gauge her level of commitment to the AP program. You can also gauge how realistic she – and he – are being about hte separation. Once our AP took our query so seriously and used it as an opening to put her own questions to her BBH, I had a good sense that the match would work.

I hope things work out for you with this AP as well.

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