amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)
[personal profile] amadi
Dear Amy: My wife's daughter (age 26) has lived with us for the past five years. She pays rent of $400, including everything. Her boyfriend of three years also lives with his parents, but he pays them no rent. They party every weekend, and then she stays the weekend at her boyfriend's parents house.

I added tougher rules at our house in hopes they would get a place of their own. It hasn't happened. We don't allow him to spend the night here and we insist that when we go to bed, he must go home. He bought her a "promise ring," I believe to keep her from nagging about their next step.

I love my stepdaughter, but as a parent I feel we need to give her a bigger push to move out and become self-sufficient. She talks about staying here until her school loan is paid off, but at the rate she's paying, it would be a decade before that happens.

I seriously believe her boyfriend has no intention of ever moving from his parents' house. It seems so strange to me that they don't seem to want a place of their own. I try and encourage our daughter to save money so that they could buy a house, but each time I bring it up, she gets defensive.

Any suggestions?

— Frustrated in Portland, OR

Dear Frustrated: The last thing you should do is encourage your stepdaughter to cohabit with her boyfriend. Nor should you point her/them toward buying a house. Her boyfriend sounds completely dependent on his parents, and you can assume that he will remain so.

These two are not candidates for cohabitation or homeownership.

The way to put the squeeze on your renter is to gradually increase her rent until she is paying roughly market value. Then it will be obvious that she can afford to live elsewhere. You can discuss this with her as a family, helping her to set goals and a timeline, and then you should start the clock running. Depending on where you live, she might be able to afford to rent a room in a group house. This would be a good option for her; it would get her further out in the world and might provide an incentive to work more, party less and get on with her (own) life. I assume she would prefer this to you and her mother controlling her romantic choices in your home.
cereta: Nixie from Mako's Mermaids (Nixie)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: My brother got married a year ago after dating for less than a year. His wife started calling my parents Mom and Dad from the get-go. I didn't realize how much it would bother me, but it does and, frankly, I resent her for it.

I'm very close to my parents, and I view our bond as sacred. To me, Mom and Dad aren't names you use lightly, to be cute or as a term of endearment. The relationship is earned and unique.

I would never think of calling my husband's parents Mom and Dad, and I don't feel that I'm offending them by not doing so. Is there a proper way to discuss this with my brother and sister-in-law without hurting feelings or creating tension? -- ANNOYED SISTER-IN-LAW

DEAR ANNOYED: Calm down and curb the attitude, because if you say anything you will appear to be jealous and petty. What your sister-in-law is doing is very common. Regardless of what she calls your parents, you are still their daughter and she is not. If they didn't like her calling them Mom and Dad, I'm sure they would let her know they preferred she choose something else.
cereta: Cinderella from Jim C. Hines' princess series (Cinderella)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I'm on the verge of 30, and my fiance has a huge issue with the fact that I still cuddle with my mom. From what he says, his family isn't wild about it, either.

Mom has suffered a great deal of loss in her life. She has lost all of her immediate family (aside from her kids) to cancer. We were all caretakers for these family members, doing in-home hospice, and we have formed a unique bond.

My fiance has never even been to a funeral, so it's hard for me to explain this to him. Mom was born in a country in Europe where hugging and lots of affection are natural.

I live out of state, but when I'm home I will put my head on Mom's shoulder and cuddle with her while watching a movie. Sometimes in the morning I'll bring her a hot cup of coffee, put it next to her bed, and jump in with her and her dog. We joke, laugh, cuddle until we have to get up. Is this something I need professional help for, as certain people have had the nerve to tell me? -- AFFECTIONATE IN ALBANY, N.Y.

DEAR AFFECTIONATE: It should be clear to you by now that you are engaged to a man who comes from a family that isn't comfortable with physical demonstrations of affection, and is quick to judge others. Treasure the closeness you have with your mother while you have it because, after she's no longer with you, that special kind of affection will be permanently over.

For your fiance or his family to suggest there's something wrong with cuddling with your mother, or that you need "professional help" because you do it, is both sad and wrong. Many people would find the relationship you share with her to be enviable, and I am one of them.

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