I am constantly stunned by the amount of letters I receive from people in their early 20s who are still living their lives by their parents’ rules. Is it a generational thing? A cultural thing? An economical thing? Are young people afraid of growing up these days? Are people afraid of making their own decisions and having no one else to blame if things go wrong? Are we, as a society, so disconnected from each other that we live in constant fear of upsetting the few people — like our parents — that we can count on to always be there for us? I don’t know. But one thing I do know, NALGA, is that at 22, you’re old enough to make decisions for yourself and deal with whatever consequences may stem from those decisions. And that includes the decision to disobey your parents.
But before you disobey them, you should probably move out of their home. After all, if you live under their roof — even if you are contributing to the rent and bills — they do have some right to set the rules. But if you live in your own place, YOU set your own rules. YOU decide whether and with whom to go on vacation. And you know what’s even better than that? Marriage will no longer serve as the ticket out of your parents’ house, which means that if and when you ever decide to get married, you’ll be more likely to do so for the right reasons and not just because you can no longer stand being stifled and controlled by mom and dad. Why, you might even get married because YOU’RE READY TO. What a novel concept.
And, look, I’m not so naive to think that your moving out of your parents home won’t cause a major rift with them. It probably will. But you’re their daughter and I’m sure they love you and if they want you in their lives, they’ll get over it. What is a worse fate: dealing with your parents’ hurt feelings, or living under their control and being indefinitely forbidden to live the adult life you deserve to live? If it’s the latter, you know what you need to do. And the sooner you move out, my dear, and show your parents you’re a grown woman with a mind of her own and the capability of making decisions for herself, the better. Nothing’s going to change until you decide it’s time.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.