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POLL RESULTS: Apron Strings Attached: (16 comments)
POLL: Apron Strings Attached
in Reader Questions by Guigar
Friday, January 01, 2010 - 12:00 AM
A reader writes... Q: I have a 25-year-old boyfriend who has a decent job (and is currently in the process of improving it), very mild debt (compared to most his age) and his whole life ahead of him. The problem is, he still lives at home. Well, actually, this isn't so bad. He wants to stay until all of his debt is cleared. But what I can't stand are his parents! They baby him so much, I don't think he'd ever really leave, given the choice. His mom cooks five nights a weeks, his dad handles a majority of his finances and they both do little odds and ends things that, I feel, leave him completely clueless to how things are going to work once he's out of that set up and in the bigger world. The real issue is that I feel his parents are hindering him by doing this, and not knowing any better, he doesn't stop it. His mother has already said in passing that whoever he marries will have to handle his finances, wake him up for work, etc. Basically, take care of him like they do! It's only been six months, so I don't know if I have any right to say anything or pry into the highly volitile topic of money with him, but in the long run I don't want dependant, I want independant. I don't see myself having my first child (if any) being my significant other. True, we are FAR from that point, but if we ever get to that point, I don't want to have to take care of him like a mother would. So, should I cut my losses and run now or find a way to cut the metaphorical apron strings?
POLL: Should she drop this guy?
1259 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
posted Friday, January 01, 2010 - 03:39 AM (#50687)
Why does his mother think it's someone else's job to take care of him? Clearly, she missed the concept of parenting.
You don;t want this.
However, if he's agreeable to moving in with you and learning for a month, and actually does so, he might just be a late bloomer who's smarter than he seems.
I doubt it, though.
posted Friday, January 01, 2010 - 05:29 AM (#50689)
You don't want this.
But you should talk to him and tell him that you think his life is heading in a wrong direction. Explain to him that you want an adult as a partner. Tell him that if he'll take the opportunity to grow up, you'll stick with him ... otherwise the two of you are not compatible.
Give him a chance to learn and grow and change. If he doesn't take it, you know what to do.
posted Friday, January 01, 2010 - 06:08 AM (#50690)
Sounds like a regular Howard Wolowitz. (From The Big Bang Theory; the guy lives in his mom's basement, and when he did decide to get his own place, his mom guilt-tripped him into staying on moving day.)
This is a form of child abuse. A subtle one, disguised as, well, the opposite. But they should have been teaching him this stuff for years and they've obviously decided they're happier having him under their thumb as their perpetual 5-year-old.
There's probably a decent chance he can learn to do the stuff they've been doing for him, given motivation. If he's worth keeping, even if he's not motivated to do it for himself, he'll at least find you to be sufficient motivation.
His parents obviously aren't going to teach him. They insist on being the ones to get him up in the morning for work? Obviously they don't even want him to know how to set an alarm clock. Which means that if he's going to learn to take care of himself, either he's going to have to figure it out on your own, or you (and/or his other friends) will have to teach him...
Hopefully he'll catch on quickly. If he doesn't, or if he resists, then it's time to walk away... unless you want to become his Other Mother (which from your letter it seems clear you don't).
posted Friday, January 01, 2010 - 09:01 AM (#50693)
It boils down to this: If you like him, stay close and be his friend, and let some other sap go through the difficult, dirty (and thankless) job of turning him from a toddler into a human being. Then scoop him up after the eventual long-term resentment breaks up that relationship (but before he can slide back into his crib).
posted Friday, January 01, 2010 - 09:05 AM (#50694)
If you really think he won't be willing to pick up any of the pieces should he move out, feel free to run. I wouldn't do it on an off hand comment by the mother though. In all likelihood she was joking (though only you could say for sure based on tone) and it hit a bit too close to home to appreciate.
Everyone learns to handle those basic tasks eventually though and just because he's had an opportunity to put that off doesn't mean he won't as well as soon as it's required. If you're that concerned about the matter, that's what moving in together is for-- to make sure that you mesh and there aren't any unpleasant, insurmountable surprises before marriage or an otherwise more permanent arrangement. (The discussion about whether you want to move in together is probably the time to feel out these concerns as well. Not in quite the same terms, but as a mature discussion of splitting responsibilities.)
posted Friday, January 01, 2010 - 10:31 PM (#50697)
In Response to balthanon (#50694):
Much depends on the guy's attitude towards his parental captivity (because that is exactly what it is...captivity)
If he chafes under it, he might be open to declaring independence, even though that route will be harder than he will likely be able to imagne.
If he does not perceive the bars of his cage, it's time to back away...but give him a chance to rise to the occasion. You want an independent man and he isn't.
posted Saturday, January 02, 2010 - 12:59 AM (#50698)
One other snippet of advice: If you persuade him that he should move away from his parents for his own good, then you should let him be independent in his own place without moving in with him.
* He needs to learn to stand on his own, without using someone else as a crutch.
* You don't want to simply replace his mother as Surrogate Mom, doing the things for him that she used to do. Not good for him, not good for you.
* You don't want to have it look as though you're trying to replace his mother, or you'll never hear the end of it.
* If the relationship goes sour -- and it might, especially if his parents are trying to sabotage it -- then you'll be able to separate much more cleanly if you aren't living together.
posted Saturday, January 02, 2010 - 11:31 AM (#50704)
Everyone here has apparently assumed that this guy is not capable of taking care of himself. As a student who still lives at home I feel that I am capable of this. It was something that I wanted to learn/do myself (granted I do look after my own schedule and finances) But this guy just might have found it easier to let other people worry about those things. Just because he has not does not mean that he cannot it might just mean he does not want to.
posted Sunday, January 03, 2010 - 03:28 AM (#50706)
In Response to Wbird (#50704):
We're making this assumption because the Original Poster has indicated it. Apparently, her boyfriend's mother has explicitly made such a claim.
posted Sunday, January 03, 2010 - 10:20 AM (#50708)
In Response to DanialArin (#50706):
"They baby him so much, I don't think he'd ever really leave, given the choice"
" they both do little odds and ends things that, I feel, leave him completely clueless to how things are going to work once he's out of that set up and in the bigger world."
The original poster has only indicated her doubts that he is capable of of being independent. She has not seen him try and fail. She has only indicated her beliefs/what she feels. His mothers comment was "in passing" (not explicitly) so likely a mother not wanting her child to not need her anymore.
posted Sunday, January 03, 2010 - 12:38 PM (#50710)
If you love him, talk to him. (Sounds like a broken record, hu?)
It's very comfortable living at home and having other people do all your tasks, so why should he change it? You have to give him a good reason for it. Like, "I want to spend the rest of my life with you, but you have to learn to be more independent, otherwise I'll always feel as if I have to carry you around." Or something.
He also should live on his own for a while before you move in together (first place away from the parents always ends in disaster, and you don't want this to be your place).
But as long as he hasn't shown that he expects you to be his MumII, there is no reason to drop him.
posted Sunday, January 03, 2010 - 06:06 PM (#50712)
Everyone here has apparently assumed that this guy is not capable of taking care of himself. As a student who still lives at home I feel that I am capable of this. It was something that I wanted to learn/do myself (granted I do look after my own schedule and finances)
When I was an undergraduate I lived at home due to economic necessity. I had no idea what I'd been missing, in terms of personal development and independence, until I lived on my own in grad school. I suspect you will feel the same way, once you've experienced both modes of living.
Although this fellow is paying off a debt, he seems to be making good money and apparently he soon will be making even more. I strongly suspect he can afford to move out and pay off the debt a bit more slowly. Trust me, it's worth it.
But this guy just might have found it easier to let other people worry about those things. Just because he has not does not mean that he cannot it might just mean he does not want to.
Yes. We call people like this "lazy parasites." It's a very endearing character trait, and it's guaranteed to make women fall in love.
posted Monday, January 04, 2010 - 04:08 PM (#50715)
In Response to Murgatroyd (#50712):
I don't necessarily agree with the label of "lazy parasite" in the terms of this guy. I'm more partial to "ignorant parasite" in this case.
The way the original poster describes the parents in this case seems to me to be a classic Mediterranean family. The boys are taken care of by the parents until their wives are ready to take over. Girls are groomed to do all of the work and to service the family.
My wife and aunt were raised in this environment, and it's very common amongst Italian-American families. It's old-world values in practice. While my wife chose to follow a more progressive path, my aunt was quite happy to carry on the old family traditions.
I've also known a number of my peers who lived the same way. Some were people who were raised that way, while others just expected that kind of life from their parents. This guy is definitely the first type.
The original poster can talk to him. But, I believe that he is more inclined to expect the life-style for which he has been groomed. At his age, learning new habits is only just going to get harder. If he does express a desire to live more progressively for the original poster, I'd advise her to postpone moving in or getting engaged until she sees real progress unfold.
posted Tuesday, January 05, 2010 - 05:01 AM (#50728)
In Response to TheOriginalJes (#50715):
As a former "mommas boy" i can relate with the OP.... when i meet my wife i was still living with my parents and had a very confortable lifestyle...
My wife, however, pointed to me that, while my partents love me, they were stifling my personal grownt and that i should try to become more independant...
On her advice i had a frank talk with my parents and went to live alone in an apartment to learn how to cope for myself in the day-to-day...
I lived for around a year alone in an apartment before marrying and today i can tell it was one of the better things i could have done. I not only learned how to become more independant, but got a good sense of accomplishment in myself...
So, answering to the OP, talk to your boyfriend about your thoughts and see if he himself is not already feeling the need of some independence, my wife advice when we are dating was one of the better advice and support i had in my life... and today iÂ´m a much more independent person and still have a loving relationship with my parents...
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