Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Son is Destroying My Relationship!”

I am 48 and live in a small town in a home that is presently rundown and in need of lots of repairs. This was the home I shared for about eighteen years with my ex-husband. I’ve been divorced nine years and am engaged to a 52-year-old man who has lived with me for two years. I have two children: a 25-year-old daughter, who moved last year with her boyfriend and is working on a second college degree, and my 22-year-old son, who was living in a dorm at college until he messed up some classes and is now basically starting over with online classes while living back at home. My relationship has been a mess since my son moved back in.

My fiancé and I were supposed to get married last fall but postponed because of issues with my son, who is lazy and whom my fiancé thinks is absolutely worthless. My son works part-time, keeps a messy, gross room, and doesn’t clean up after himself. My fiancé’s idea is to just kick him out, which I can’t do. I went to counseling through work, but it didn’t help me figure out a solution. I love my fiancé and want to be with him — we are hoping to be married this fall before we go on vacation — but I have a hard time with his attitude towards my son. Do you have any advice for me? — Protective of My Lazy Son

Sorry, I’m with your fiancé on this one. If your lazy 22-year-old son is destroying your relationship by living with you, you kick him out (or at least give him a deadline for when he needs to move out — say six weeks from now). Unless there’s something physically or mentally wrong with him, then, at 22, he really doesn’t need to still be living with his mother, especially if he’s disrupting her life like yours is. You’ve described a young man who flunked out of college, only works part-time, and doesn’t clean up after himself in the home he gets to live in for free (assuming you aren’t charging him rent). I don’t blame your fiancé for not being impressed by this behavior. And if I were he, I’d be frustrated by your enabling this.

It’s time to give your son some tough love — not just for your sake, but for his too. He needs to take responsibility for himself, and YOU need to make your life a priority and quit pushing it aside to enable to your able-bodied man-child to continue taking advantage of you. If you simply cannot fathom kicking your son out without some sort of safety net, offer to pay a security deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment for him. But beyond that, he needs to start making his own way. Flunking out of college shouldn’t be an invitation to move home and sponge off Mom indefinitely; it should be a wake-up call to get his shit together and start behaving like an adult.

56 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite April 10, 2015, 8:08 am

    Yeah, she needs to make him move out and set some boundaries. He *might* have some sort of mental health, chemical health, or learning problem that didn’t emerge until the demands of college, but he needs to figure that out himself. You can encourage him or if you think one of those things fit find a local resource for him, but that’s about it. Take your house and your life back and stop being a doormat for someone you yourself find to be lazy as well.

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    • avatar

      Sunshine Brite April 10, 2015, 8:08 am

      I say might because he probably doesn’t since he sounds like he’s always been fairly lazy.

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  • avatar

    Kate April 10, 2015, 8:24 am

    My brother has some significant learning disabilities, AND is the worst slob you can imagine. My parents got him through HS with the help of an amazing special needs teacher. They got him through a 2-year community college program about job and life skills. They paid for countless other classes and training. When he was in I think his late 20s he was living in their condo, making a disgusting pigsty out of their den. They finally bought a studio apartment and moved him into it. They still have to be really involved in his life because he has issues, but there is NO WAY he could have kept living with them. And he’s had a steady job now for years.

    My basic advice: no more coddling, expose him to the real world, maybe help him get an apt, check in on him, but make him live his own life. If he really has issues, like my brother, think about setting up some kind of trust for him like my parents did. But seriously, the coddling was not good for him. Living on his own is so much better, and he’s much happier.

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    • avatar

      Kate April 10, 2015, 9:58 am

      Fwiw, I was also a real slob and a bitch when I lived at home. I had piled of clothes everywhere, had to be harassed to clean my room and bathroom, and just worked enough hours to pay for fun stuff I wanted. I partied and disrespected my parents’ rules. I also got pretty poor grades in HS. But when I had my own apt in college I kept it spotless and I got straight A’s and graduated summa cum laude with a phi beta kappa key. I’m still a neat freak and I’m well groomed. I paid my parents back for some help they provided, and am a functioning adult with a career. But I remember telling them I didn’t want to go to college, I was freaking out and said I just wanted to live at home and work at the supermarket. I was crying and melting down in the back of their car and they just said no fucking way.

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  • othy

    othy April 10, 2015, 8:44 am

    Don’t be like my aunt and uncle who let their unemployed adult son move back in when he was 22. They never set any boundaries with him, never gave him expectations to work or a deadline to move out. He now ‘works’ as a substitute teacher, taking days only when he feels like it, and is 33 and still living at home. His sister tells me her parents are super-pushovers and definitely enable the behavior. They, too, say they can’t ‘just kick him out’, when in reality, he’s a perfectly capable adult (with a college degree and everything!) and by not making him move they’ve basically ensured their son will live with them permanently.

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    • othy

      othy April 10, 2015, 8:48 am

      You could do what my in-laws did with my sister-in-law (and her husband) when they moved back home so he could afford to finish school. They charged them a minimal amount of rent each month (a fraction of what they had been paying for their apartment). When he graduated a couple of years later and they moved out, my in-laws gifted the rent back to them to help with the down-payment of their house. But I think what really helped was it was a surprise for my SIL, she didn’t know that they had been holding onto that money to give back to them.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover April 10, 2015, 9:28 am

      My 35-year-old brother is living with my parents. They won’t kick him out either, even though my mom wants to sell the house and move to something smaller, like an apartment. He was finishing his online degree (and he dragged it out as long as possible), and now he’s just sitting around, not working and not paying back his loan. I don’t know what he thinks is going to happen. He’s got really low self esteem, and I think he feels like if he takes a fast food job or whatever that it’ll show that he’s a failure. He’s also incredibly shy, he has no friends and no real life. My mom doesn’t know what to do. He’s talked about just killing himself before and she’s afraid that if she kicks him out, he’ll do it. Maybe I’ll mention the rent thing to her, it’s a good idea. I don’t know if she’ll be able to do it though. She’s definitely an enabler.

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      • avatar

        ktfran April 10, 2015, 9:38 am

        Yikes! These stories are scary. I can’t even fathom being out of school and not making some kind of living.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover April 10, 2015, 9:48 am

        Yep, definitely scary. At least I hope I can use her experience to avoid this with my own son. But I don’t know what the hell she’s supposed to do with my brother. It’s so messed up. 🙁

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      • avatar

        Cleopatra Jones April 10, 2015, 10:45 am

        I can’t imagine not working while going to school. My family was never well off enough so that I didn’t have to work
        .
        I worked 2 part time jobs during the week & went to reserve duty 1 weekend a month. All while being a single parent & living on my own without any financial help from anyone. Granted, my kid and I lived in a 1 bedroom apartment until I finished school but it was our apartment.
        .
        Even though, my daughter receives 100% tuition remission through my job, she still works a full time job. We don’t expect her to do it (actually I would love for her to cut back on her hours so she can focus on school), she just does. So either I did something right while raising her or I just got really lucky. 🙂

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      • Lyra

        Lyra April 10, 2015, 11:12 am

        Holy cow! I’m amazed at that, Cleopatra. Good for you for rising above all the challenges you faced!!

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover April 10, 2015, 1:31 pm

        That’s the thing… we DID all work while going to school. Even this brother, the first time around, when he was in his early 20s. My parents were pretty broke when we were growing up, and all 5 of us kids had jobs and had to put ourselves through school.
        .
        Problem is, I think my mom felt really guilty that she couldn’t help us more, and so once they got back on their financial feet they started helping the younger ones out a bit. I was already off on my own so I got no help, but the younger ones definitely did, and they all started slacking (in my opinion). And my mom kept doing it. I think that was the beginning of the spiral. My sister and my other younger brother are so entitled now, maybe because they felt it was unfair that they had to grow up broke, I don’t know. The brother living with my parents now isn’t entitled, but I think he’s just kind of a wreck and doesn’t know what to do with his life. And my mom feels like it’s her fault, so she can’t kick him out. Suuuuuuch a mess.

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      • othy

        othy April 10, 2015, 1:57 pm

        I didn’t work while I was working on my undergraduate, because I was very fortunate to have grandparents who were willing and able to foot the bill. But, I took full advantage of that, I worked my ass off to get my scholarship to keep their cost down, I was involved in a lot of extracurricular to broaden my horizon, and I graduated in three years to save even more.

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  • avatar

    Sketchee April 10, 2015, 9:00 am

    The LW’s son is not ruining her relationship. She is ruining her relationship. This is a story about three adults living together. If the mother isn’t going to take responsibility for her own relationship, then of course the son probably isn’t going to either. Her fiancee isn’t impressed with a person who hasn’t made her relationship or her wedding a priority. If he was the one writing in, we’d definitely be questioning whether he should MOA. That’s something the LW really has to think about. Is it worth losing her relationship so that she can enable her son?

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    • avatar

      Anonymous April 10, 2015, 1:59 pm

      What’s an LW?

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      • avatar

        Sunshine Brite April 10, 2015, 2:08 pm

        Letter Writer

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  • avatar

    tbrucemom April 10, 2015, 9:03 am

    Even though I totally agree with other commenters and think the fiance is not being out of line, unless you’re the mother in this situation it’s easier said than done for a mother to essentially choose a man over her child.

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    • avatar

      Kate April 10, 2015, 9:12 am

      Yeah, my mom totally had blinders on for a long time, but it’s GOOD for the kid to be out on his own.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki April 10, 2015, 9:15 am

        Yeah, you don’t really do your kids any favors by coddling and sheltering them.

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    • avatar

      Essie April 10, 2015, 9:21 am

      But that’s just it – if she’s framing this as ‘choosing a man over her child’, she’s wrong. She’s shying away from a difficult, but necessary part of parenting. The presence of the boyfriend is kind of irrelevant. Getting her son out and independent would be necessary whether or not she was in a relationship.
      .
      As you all said, she’s not doing her son any favors at all by allowing this situation to continue. As a parent, she needs to be actively pushing him to stand on his own two feet.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover April 10, 2015, 9:32 am

        I agree, and also, she’s choosing herself over her child. Not a man. We’ve been told that our kids have to always come first, but that’s not true. Baby birds get pushed out of the nest for their own good. Parents are allowed to have lives too. Honestly she has to do it sometime, because otherwise she’ll end up in my mom’s situation (see my comment up above). Does she want him still there in 10 years? 20? And have her relationship ruined in the meantime?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy April 10, 2015, 9:46 am

      He’s not really a child if he’s 22. And telling him to take responsibility of his own life, starting with supporting himself, isn’t exactly not “choosing” him. If anything, it’s loving him enough to do what is best for him, even if it doesn’t feel good and isn’t easy.

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      • avatar

        tbrucemom April 10, 2015, 12:14 pm

        It’s not that I don’t agree with you and others, I’m just saying it’s easier said than done. Unlike probably most of the readers here I have two grown children and I know I couldn’t just kick them out. I would require they do certain things, but it sounds like this guy’s problem is he’s messy and considering how she describes her house doesn’t seem like it should be a huge issue. He’s working part-time and taking classes online. It’s not like he’s 32, he’s 22. A lot of kids at 22 are still in college and living at home while they are. I guarantee if the BF wasn’t in the picture she would probably be ok with her son living at home and having the company. Her son will always be her son, the fiance maybe not.

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      • avatar

        Jane63 April 10, 2015, 1:21 pm

        Agree! My “children” are 23 and 28. Easier said than done. Besides, every time I kick them out they sneak back in. Aren’t they supposed to be sneaking out?;0)

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      • avatar

        Ange April 11, 2015, 11:04 pm

        Thing is if you raise them right you shouldn’t have to kick them out, they should want to go and have the tools to do so. I couldn’t wait to get out in the world when I was 18 and my brothers left at the same age. This guy is only working part time and taking classes online, he is lazy and being a messy burden to his mother and even she acknowledges that. Yes she’d let him stay if fiancé wasn’t around but it would still be at great personal cost to her and she needs to realise it’s ok to put herself first in this instance because it’s actually better for everyone.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra April 12, 2015, 10:03 am

        How do you define “raising right”? There are definitely parents who have done things “right”, but sometimes early 20’s “kids” end up mooching off of the parents, taking advantage of them, and staying at home without any accountability. Sometimes tough love is the only way to go. I agree with you that in this case the choice to hold him accountable is best for everyone, even if the fiance wasn’t in the picture.

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      • avatar

        Ange April 12, 2015, 8:26 pm

        “sometimes early 20’s “kids” end up mooching off of the parents, taking advantage of them, and staying at home without any accountability. ”

        That isn’t raising them right then. I don’t know of many circumstances where parents who raise their kids with a good work ethic and sense of personal responsibility would suddenly forget all that and let a 20 something kid move back home with no rules.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray April 10, 2015, 10:09 am

    I definitely agree boundaries are in order and that she needs to stop enabling her son. Does she not have basic chores and rules for him like cleaning? It doesn’t sound like there is enough structure for him to succeed in that house anyways. He needs to be on his own; he will have to quickly figure out how to grow up and support himself. The only thing I was a little taken aback at was the fiancé calling the son “absolutely worthless.” Even if it’s true, I would not be okay with someone saying that about my child. The fiancé is understandably frustrated though. And I think it’s important that you set boundaries and restrictions with your son by having him move out because you think it’s best for him and his future, not solely because your fiancé wants you to. You’re not helping him by enabling him to do whatever he wants. It’s only stunting his growth as an adult.

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  • avatar

    pebblesntrix April 10, 2015, 10:14 am

    Agree with all the commenters thus far.
    At my count, there are 5 adults living in your home. You did not indicate what responsibilities your children have, if any, for contributing to the home in which they are residing. I understand that it is their childhood home but they are adults now and need to learn responsibility. At the very least, your son should be helping with the numerous repairs you say the house needs. Also, if you’re in a small town it can be hard to find full-time work, especially if he is also taking classes and being serious about his studies, but that’s no excuse for him not to step up and have drive to make a life for himself. You are enabling his behavior. He is allowed to be “lazy” and “gross” without serious consequence so why would he do anything different? He doesn’t care enough that it bothers you or hurts your relationship, to change his behavior, so he needs to get some other motivation: an ultimatum to either get it together and start respecting and contributing to the shared living space or pay his way to live somewhere else where he can make his own rules and live how he wants. I know it hurts as a parent but you need to facilitate his growth as a adult. And yes, he may struggle for a while but sometimes that struggle is the only thing that gives a person the wake up call they need to do what they need to do to stand on their own two feet because the world has no safety nets for them. I like the idea of giving him some assistance/support or something like that to communicate that you’re not abandoning him but trying to help him. He is 22 and already “messed up” (whatever that means) his college situation, is lazy, gross, and self-centered enough not to care how his behavior affects those around him; in short, he is on the fast-track to being a bum/loser. It’s tough to hear but it’s true. He’s young enough to turn it around without much consequence but only if you become proactive and institute some changes that will force him to begin taking some responsibility for his life. I think the fact that your fiancé is not this boy’s parent is allowing him to be more objective about the best way to move forward.

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    • avatar

      ktfran April 10, 2015, 10:28 am

      I think the daughter has moved with her boyfriend, so there are only three people living in the house. But everything else you mention is spot on.

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    • avatar

      pebblesntrix April 10, 2015, 10:30 am

      Sorry to add to my novel but I think your inability to come to a resolution about this despite having talked to a therapist shows there is a lot of emotional stuff in play. Are you worried about how you would look in the eyes of your son, neighbors, or other’s, as a mother, if you took such action? Do you fear some harm will come to him if you kick him out? Do you feel somehow guilty or partially responsible for the situation?
      You need to figure out what’s the core emotion(s) causing this crisis/dilemma and based on those figure out how much power to give to them, that is, are they telling you something you need to listen to or are they keeping you from doing something you need to do. If it’s about guilt, then you’re making this about you and not him which isn’t in his long-term best interest. If it’s about how people will perceive you, same thing. If it’s about fear for his safety, think about why you don’t think he’s prepared at this point to start facing life. How have you specifically facilitated that and in what ways are your current actions similar to or different from those? And how can you help manage the risk so that you begin to prepare him for adult responsibility without putting him in a spot where he’s in way over his head too soon?
      Good luck, LW.

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  • bittergaymark

    bitttergaymark April 10, 2015, 10:42 am

    Eh, I’d never marry somebody who viewed my child as “worthless.” I just wouldn’t — period. But then, I am obviously NOT some desperate or pathetic person who can’t be alone either. Sorry, but your fiancé is being a real asshole here. Making you choose is a classic dick move. “Worthless.” That NOBODY else here seems to see it, well, speaks volumes about how getting a man is the end all be all for far too many of you… I’ve said it before, but the children of divorce truly often do come in second place. Conclusion, hey if you wanna fuck up your relationship with your troubled son, for some man you’ll probably (check the stats on second marriages) later divorce anyway — go for it. Just be ready to look back on it in a few years with real regret.

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    • avatar

      ktfran April 10, 2015, 10:53 am

      Take the man/boyfriend/fiance out of the picture, and I would still feel the same. A 22 year old should be given some responsibility while living at home. Whether it be helping out around the house, paying minimal rent, working, etc. I don’t condone laziness, barring an illness or disability.
      .
      I also don’t think children of divorce should use that as an excuse to not grow the eff up and take some responsibility for their lives.

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      • bittergaymark

        bitttergaymark April 10, 2015, 10:59 am

        Then GIVE him some responsibility and see how it goes BEFORE you kick him out. Has she even tried that? Somehow, I doubt it. Instead there is just this PS — the reason so many kids today are such slobs is too many parents probably never taught him to be next and tidy anyway. Listen to what the LW says — They live in a dump anyway… Hah. Somehow, I bet the apple falls not far from the tree here.

        PS — When people fall apart in the 20s, often there are SERIOUS psychological issues at play. But by all means, why worry about that when you and your stud of the moment can run off into the sunset?

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    • avatar

      Cleopatra Jones April 10, 2015, 11:00 am

      I gotta disagree, BGM.
      I think if her kid wasn’t an adult, then yeah, she shouldn’t choose her man & the fiance would be pulling a dick move by making her choose BUT her son is 22. That’s by all accounts, a grown.ass.man who should be living on his own or at the very least pulling his weight at her house.
      .
      He can buy liquor, tobacco, vote, be held financially liable, and join the military. So I’m a little less inclined to go all…’don’t-choose-your-man-over-your-kid’ in this case. I get where the fiance is coming from though. If he’s working all day, paying half the bills, and trying to maintain the house then he shouldn’t have to come home to a lazy ass kid who can’t even be bothered to pick up his own dirty dishes. That’s just enabling him to keep making shitty life choices.
      .
      I don’t think she has to kick him out but he does need to start fixing/ cleaning the house, if he’s home all day. Also, he needs to find ~40 hours a week work somewhere, even if it’s at the local burger joint or 2 part time jobs.

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      • bittergaymark

        bitttergaymark April 10, 2015, 11:05 am

        Can NOBODY on here fucking read? He is working part time AND taking online classes. Having actually gone to college, I don’t see how anybody can work full time, take classes, and keep a tidy room )(in a house that is apparently a shithole anyway. )

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      • avatar

        Cleopatra Jones April 10, 2015, 11:19 am

        aah, sarcasm. 🙂

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    • avatar

      MsMisery April 10, 2015, 11:34 am

      I don’t agree with your framing as this as “the woman is always wrong” scenario, as you are wont to do, but I actually agree with you otherwise. I bristled at the “worthless” comment. My step-mom has a very low opinion of me, based in what seems to be the fact that she didn’t give birth to me. I can’t do or say anything to change that, even though I am none of the things she says (and one of her kids is an actual criminal/drug addict, but hey, mom’s only son, amirite?).
      .
      I highly doubt this LW’s fiancé would have a better opinion of the son if she kicked him out, now than he’s had a taste of him. He’ll probably always think he’s a worthless slob, or at the very least “beneath him.’ Can you suffer that, LW??

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      • bittergaymark

        bitttergaymark April 10, 2015, 11:38 am

        I didn’t. I framed it as PARENTS are always wrong. Check out the pronouns at the top. And the use of “person.” I later do talk about how women seemingly put having a man ABOVE everything else, but that was only because — so far, not one man has even commented here and I was talking specifically about the commenters…

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    • avatar

      tbrucemom April 10, 2015, 12:18 pm

      Totally agree with you (as usual) BGM. It’s also very interesting to me that as a man you can see this while the other commenters are as you noted in another comment all women and they can’t (except for me, lol).

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark April 10, 2015, 5:52 pm

        You and me, stand alone, together on this one…

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom April 10, 2015, 9:54 pm

        I agree too. As long as he is both working and taking classes he isn’t a worthless bum. He is working to better his life. I know lots of young me and women in that age group and lots of them live at home because they are finishing school or they finished school and can’t afford to live on their own straight out of school because their starting salary is low and they have student loans to pay. I doubt the average American 22-year-old is living an entirely independent life. If he is flunking his classes and working only a few hours per week then maybe he needs more change. As is, he probably needs some specific chores around the house that he knows are his to do. I assume he is behaving at home as he always has and suddenly mom is expecting something different of him because her boyfriend doesn’t approve.

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    • Classic

      Classic April 10, 2015, 7:53 pm

      I agree.

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    • avatar

      Prof. Stella April 10, 2015, 8:55 pm

      Amen to that!

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    • avatar

      simonthegrey April 15, 2015, 2:35 pm

      I agree. I might understand why they would be frustrated – emotions aren’t rational – but I can’t imagine letting someone call my child worthless and staying with that person. As long as the son isn’t just sitting at home in his underwear torrenting porn all day, why is this your fiance’s business? The reality is, many post-college kids moved home in this economy not because no one “raised them right” but because there were no jobs. My sister moved back in with my parents and has been going between multiple part time, low paying retail jobs. Our area of the country is still very economically depressed. Do my parents enable some of that? Maybe. Is it my sister’s fault that even with a degree that means something (unlike mine) and being a female in a fairly male-dominated field, there still aren’t positions that don’t want the unicorn – 5 years experience, all these specialties, oh but you must only want a base salary that’s appropriate for someone just out of college.

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  • avatar

    pamplemousse April 10, 2015, 10:56 am

    Why does the LW mention that her house is in need of repairs? How is that relevant?

    But, since she did mention it – why is she planning a big vacation if that’s the case? Maybe she should save the money and repair her house. It sounds like the LW has priority issues all around.

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    • avatar

      Sunshine Brite April 10, 2015, 11:00 am

      Definitely wondering about that too…

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      • bittergaymark

        bitttergaymark April 10, 2015, 11:06 am

        To me that speaks volumes… The house? Is CLEARLY a wreck anyway. How the hell his messy room REALLY factors into this is something one really has to wonder…

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  • Lyra

    Lyra April 10, 2015, 11:09 am

    Your son need to accept some responsibility around the house. Whether that means he starts paying rent, or part of the utility bills, or get another job in addition to his part time job, or make dinner once or twice a week… The possibilities are endless. He is at a point where you *need* to enforce this. Your house, your rules. If he doesn’t like your rules, he can move out. If he can’t afford to move out, it is up to him to get another job, either full time or another part time job. You don’t necessarily need to kick him out, but if you let him stay with you things simply can’t be as they are right now. You are enforcing that behavior by not making him pick up after himself, by not expecting that he pay rent (I assume he’s not paying now?), and by not establishing some rules. Don’t be afraid to parent…even though he is technically an adult he definitely isn’t acting like one. Here’s an idea: tell him he has a choice, either he can get an additional job or he can go back to school and finish the degree that he dropped out of. If he doesn’t do either, he has 2 months to get his stuff together and move out.
    .
    I know you love your son, but it’s time to help him realize that his choices have consequences. He can’t just slide by with creating a mess in YOUR house. He can’t slide by with not contributing to the household financially. He can’t slide by with dropping out of school. It’s one thing if he was mentally ill or not capable of taking care of himself, but you don’t mention that here so it doesn’t sound like he is facing that kind of challenge. Your house, your rules. If he doesn’t like the rules that you put into place, tough. He either has to live with them or he can move out. That may sound harsh to you, but I guarantee you this will only get worse if you don’t do anything about it now. If you want to maintain your relationship with your fiance, you really don’t have a choice in this.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna April 10, 2015, 11:22 am

    There are really two issues here: Whether you are willing to continue living with your son and how much financial support you want to give him. You could ask you son to contribute to rent and to do chores. However, I feel like this won’t be enough for your fiancé.

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  • avatar

    booknerd April 10, 2015, 2:45 pm

    I’m chiming in to say I do NOT like that your fiancé calls your son WORTHLESS. My stepdad was very much like that to my brother. He shamed him all the time, every attempt at being a “man” was met with shit comments like that. Is it any surprise he struggles with confidence, life, pretty much everything now? I have never forgiven or gotten over it.

    I do think you need to start setting some rules about housework, or cleaning. Obviously! But if you are living in a run down dump that needs many repairs…. Maybe you all need to be pulling your weight and working on the house.

    But anyone who calls someone else WORTHLESS. What the fuck? Why are you with this guy? Your son is pretty much still a child, (yes, I know he’s a legal adult!) everybody fucks up. He’s lucky you are letting him live with you. Done kick him out just yet. Set some ground rules about cleanliness up and give him solid expectations. Hold him to it. Going to school and working is hard. He doesn’t sound like a worthless lump to me. Move on from the fiancé, put your vacation money into your house, and teach your son how to be a responsible adult.

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    • Stonegypsy

      Stonegypsy April 10, 2015, 2:57 pm

      Agree with all of this. My step dad spent a lot of time when I was in my teens berating me for not doing anything right, and honestly all it did was make me believe it so that it didn’t even feel worth it to try. Then he’d berate me about that.
      Of course, all of that made me want to move out as soon as possible, so I left as soon as I turned 18. There were a couple of times that I had the choice between being homeless and going back to live with my mom and step-dad, and I opted for the former.
      So yeah, the son sounds like he needs to be pushed and taught that when you are living in someone else’s house, you need to respect that space, but the fiance sounds like an asshole. How can you want to marry someone who hates your son?

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    • avatar

      Anonymous April 10, 2015, 5:41 pm

      Agree about “worthless;” personally is prefer to date a gentleman who could think of a much softer way to make his point. It’s fair that he has an opinion on your son’s role in your life and how you raise him (obviously you are still in the prices of raising him) but the way he communicates it is terrible

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  • avatar

    booknerd April 10, 2015, 2:46 pm

    *Don’t

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  • avatar

    Anonymous April 10, 2015, 4:22 pm

    I see the son and the BF as two separate issues.
    .
    The LW refers to her son as “lazy”. If she feels her son is not taking responsibility for his own life, she should push him to do so. Maybe that requires kicking him out. Or she could sell the house and move out (since the house is rundown and she doesn’t seem to want to stay there anyway).
    .
    I am concerned about the BF’s derogatory attitude towards the son. He is the one framing the situation as a choice between the BF or the son. That kind of manipulative behavior would be sufficient reason for me to dump the BF.

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  • Classic

    Classic April 10, 2015, 8:50 pm

    First of all, any man who ever expressed any sentiment even hinting at the possibility that, in their ignorant opinion, my own son could ever be considered “worthless” would be out the door with any/all measures needed for the removal. At that point, he is dismissed.

    I have observed that people mature at different rates, and it is not under their direct control. I personally moved out on my own at age 16, but my own son lived with me until he was 23. My own son has a heart of gold and is a person of infinite value.

    I would never, ever have kicked my own son out (WTF?) and I don’t think you should do that.

    I do think that you still have a little more work to do on raising your wonderful son. First of all– he needs to keep his room clean! I would work on that, to start. Cleaning is fun, really. At this point, I would show him what to do, exactly, and text him to tell him to do it. Same with the other things– give him suggestions for work and college. It just seems like he needs a little more direction and time. He is your son, and he is a good person.

    If you are planning to stay with the dickhead who insulted your own son, I hope you will at least put an end to the insults. I hope you can stand up for your son and make it clear that no one is allowed to make derogatory comments about your son.

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