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Shortcuts: “Why Does My Ex Keep Calling?”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I texted my ex to say, “I’m not ashamed to say I miss you.” He responded with, “I’ll call you.” When he called, he said he was at a loss for words, and then he asked how I was and talked about his plans for the day. He said he’d call back and he did. Then, we met up. It had been a month since we saw one another. He picked me up, we went to his house, and…yes, “it” happened. As he was bringing me home the next morning, he got two calls he wouldn’t answer. Within four hours after dropping me off, he called to ask about the next time I would come over. Since then, he calls three times a week — sometimes twice in one day — asking me what I’m doing. What is he really saying? — Not Ashamed

He’s saying he would like to continue having no-strings-attached sex with you.

I am 21 years old and I live at home with my grandparents, father and aunt who are old-fashioned and always in my business. They help me a lot and so I always feel like I owe them explanations for everything I’m doing and it irritates me when they try to tell me when and how to do things. Long story short, I want to go on vacation this summer with my boyfriend of almost four years, but I’m afraid of the comments and assumptions I’ll get from my family and it slightly turns me off on the vacation idea. But I realize that that’s silly and I can’t not do things because of them! Help! How do I tell them about the vacation?! — Afraid of Comments

If your family “helps” you a lot (i.e. pays your bills, lets you live with them rent-free, etc.), you probably DO owe them some explanations. If that is too irritating, move out and pay your own way. You’ll soon learn that is also irritating. If you’re not ready for the irritation of being financially independent, suck it up and ask for permission to go on vacation with your boyfriend. If, at 21, you think you’re too old to have to ask permission for something like that, then maybe you’re too old to be financially dependent. Cake, eating it too, etc.

I recently got back into the dating game after opting to not date for several years. I met this guy named Bill who is intelligent, thoughtful, nice and is very into me. I enjoy his company, but I am not physically attracted to him. How can I nicely let him know he is more of a friend than a boyfriend when he is obviously into me? We’ve been on three dates thus far and I don’t want to get in any deeper. — Not So Into It

I would shoot him a quick email — the sooner the better — and say that you’ve really enjoyed your time with him and getting to know each other, but you’ve realized now after three dates that you feel more of a friend vibe with him than a romantic spark and you don’t think any more dates will change that for you. He’ll probably feel a little rejected and hurt, but it’s not like after just three dates he won’t be able to move on pretty quickly. The key is to stay simple in your message and not gush or go on and on about what a great guy he is or you’ll just sound condescending.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar ktfran February 7, 2014, 9:26 am

Oh my gosh, LOVE Wendy’s responses to LW’s 1 and 2. Seriously. So funny.

I also agree with Wendy on number 3. LW 3, I usually send a simple text if I think a guy is nice, or even if I don’t, and just let him know I’m not interested. I think it’s sooooo much nicer than the fade. And it’s good karma.

Although, I’m pretty sure the kid pulled the fade on me. A hole. I guess I could have said something. But I didn’t. And now I won’t.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana February 7, 2014, 10:51 am

I was wondering how that panned out, he just stopped initiating conversation? Lame I think when people do this it just blows, regardless of the reasons.

avatar ktfran February 7, 2014, 11:08 am

I got a happy birthday text on my birthday a few weeks ago. But yeah, he stopped initiating. Granted, I did too, so we’re both kind of at fault.

I’m fairly certain when he comes back to visit – which he will because his family is here – he’ll get a hold of me. But I already decided I won’t be available.

So, I’m on the market again. Great.

kmtthat kmentothat February 7, 2014, 11:40 am

Uf, sorry that happened :(. At least you have saved yourself the hardship of a long distance relationship and can find someone who is here and available.

avatar ktfran February 7, 2014, 12:17 pm

Feel free to introduce me to anyone kmen!

Also, we should all get together again soon.

Diablo Diablo February 7, 2014, 9:38 am

LW1: Here’s a test. When the new “Endless Love” comes out, ask him if he’d like to see it with you. If he won’t sit through a vapid girl movie with you, then, yup, WWS. Not like there’s much doubt.

LW2: Yeah, my solution was to pay my own way and go on “vacations” whenever I wanted. You know, like my 30s and 40s.

LW3: Be considerate of the guy’s feelings. Just move on. He can’t be your friend right now, because he’s into you and thinks he’s dating you. He’ll just want to pretend to be your friend in case he can talk you around, then eventually give up in despair.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 9:51 am

I know you’re probably joking on LW1, but that’s kind of genius! You can also replace “girl movie” with other things guys generally don’t like to do.

Diablo Diablo February 7, 2014, 10:12 am

As always, lbh, I am in deadly earnest.

CatsMeow CatsMeow February 7, 2014, 10:20 am

Vapid girl movie? I HEREBY FLAME YOU.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 10:23 am

Could he BE more sexist? I’ve never seen a girl movie that’s vapid. Nobody puts baby in the corner, people!

CatsMeow CatsMeow February 7, 2014, 10:29 am

I carried the watermelon.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 10:35 am

That quote sums up my teen years.

CatsMeow CatsMeow February 7, 2014, 10:29 am

I carried the watermelon.

Nookie Nookie February 7, 2014, 10:33 am

Bah from what I remember from high school, guys will put up with a lot of crappy girl movies to touch a boob.

Cassie Cassie B February 7, 2014, 7:36 pm

Vapid girl movie?! I just can’t believe you would be so inflammatory and say something like that! I just can’t. Believe. It.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 9:45 am

Responses 1 & 2 are hysterical (and SO true) Wendy!! Just the amount of snark I needed today!
I got in a f-ing car accident last night and I’m SO beyond annoyed/pissed. It’s “technically” my fault which makes the whole thing 110% more annoying. Fucking pizza delivery guy. UGH. (everyone/everything is fine, just some car damage but UGH) So thanks for the laugh Wendy.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 9:45 am

Also, are we still playing the drinking game? Can I drink if I intentionally said my own thing? I need a drink.

avatar bethany February 7, 2014, 9:57 am

You can’t drink yet. Tonight, you and I can have a virtual Happy Hour if you want!

avatar lemongrass February 7, 2014, 10:00 am

You can absolutely drink when you post your own thing. It’s the main reason that I post pics of E on Facebook- so I can drink.

avatar bethany February 7, 2014, 9:52 am

Sorry 🙁 What happened? Is the car still driveable?

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 10:17 am

Yeah, my car (and the damn pizza boy’s) car are both fine but definitely need repairs. I was driving a girl home from Kohls (so she didn’t have to walk in the freezing rain- see what I get for being nice!) and needed to do a U-turn. I waited and waited and waited and triple checked (and she looked) to see that no cars where coming, and some how we missed him. She says she saw him right before impact and the headlight was out (and it was dark and raining), but I got the traffic citation. So I’m just f-ing pissed.
And the damn guy kept trying to make small talk while the cop was writing stuff up. “Are you guys students?” “Are you sisters?” “What insurance do you have, I like to go local.” SHUT UP DICK. I will be walking to the grocery store to buy copious amounts of wine tonight.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 9:53 am

boo! Sorry GG.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 10:19 am

Thanks. I’m like 14 times more pissed since I just got my car back a month ago from the repairs due to some asshat backing into it. I can’t wait to see how high my insurance rate skyrocket.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 10:27 am

Are the repairs necessary? Maybe don’t bother?

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 10:31 am

Well, I’m sure he’s going to file through my insurance. So since it’s the same claim (cause it’s the same incident right?) I might as well get mine fixed. It’s literally scratched from my front bumper to the back of the car, and the one door won’t open. And it makes a weird noise when I turn right. I’m honestly thinking of getting rid of it and being a one car household for a little.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 10:33 am

I’m sorry, what a pain in the ass! You come take my car GG.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 10:39 am

Haha thanks! I don’t think I want to drive like ever again. I also don’t get how the WHOLE side of my car is f-ed up. Blah blah. 10:30 is wine thirty right?

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 10:42 am


iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2014, 12:09 pm

It’s also yoga pant thirty.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 12:16 pm

damn it I’m wearing real pants! must change

othy othy February 7, 2014, 12:48 pm

Anytime I”m not at work is yoga pant thirty. It’s also yoga pant thirty when I work from home.

avatar MsMisery February 7, 2014, 12:58 pm

I am so sorry that happened to you, GG. I went through a period of about 3 years where people kept backing into me. Two of them backed out of their driveways into me (one instance I was not even in my car at the time AND he didn’t have insurance), another one was in a parking lot, and another was in a gas station. I felt like I was losing my mind.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 2:24 pm

Two car related incidents in 60 days…I feel like I’m loosing my mind!!
But on a “good” note, Geico is fixing everything. I have to pay my $500 deductible, but we have savings to cover that. I do have to pay my citation, but I won’t get points on my record. My insurance rate will go up, but I only pay $74 a month right now, so it won’t be THAT much. It’s the best outcome of a SHITTY situation.

Amanda Amanda February 7, 2014, 9:52 am

LW1: Oh, come on. You really didn’t think that texting him, getting in his car, and going back to his house would lead to “it” (which I’m assuming is sex, not a game of Parcheesi)? And then wonder what it is he wants? Please.

LW2: WWS. Pick one. You can’t have it both ways.

LW3: WWS, again. 3 dates in a kind, quick, email is good.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 9:54 am

Whoa, whoa, whoa, you think “it” means sex?!

Amanda Amand February 7, 2014, 9:59 am

You know, tough call. I really went out on a limb on that one. I suppose it could also be Yahtzee.

avatar iseeshiny February 7, 2014, 10:01 am

No way, “it” is when you get someone to come and fix your computer. Get your minds out of the gutter, seriously.

honeybeenicki honeybeenicki February 7, 2014, 10:05 am

Wait, I thought “it” was the Hokey Pokey?

Diablo Diablo February 7, 2014, 10:16 am

“It” IS the Hokey Pokey, particularly the pokey part. In fact it’s extra kinky. You put your left leg in, you pull your left leg out. That’s what it’s all about. You guys are seriously naive.

avatar lemongrass February 7, 2014, 10:27 am

DAMMIT the hokey pokey is E’s favourite song and you guys are ruining it.

avatar iseeshiny February 7, 2014, 10:30 am

Is it the part where you put it back in and shake it all about that did it?

Amanda Amanda February 7, 2014, 10:36 am

Okay. I’m NEVER going to be able to hear that song without laughing now.

Diablo Diablo February 7, 2014, 11:42 am

On next week’s episode, Diablo will explain Puff the Magic Dragon. Spoiler alert: it’s a real puff but not a real dragon.

honeybeenicki honeybeenicki February 7, 2014, 11:46 am

Haha I got in so much trouble in school in an English class where I wrote a persuasive essay about why I didn’t think Puff the Magic Dragon was about a dragon at all and about what I thought it was really about.

avatar AKchic February 7, 2014, 1:53 pm

My stepdad had a dirty version of Puff the Magic Dragon. My sister didn’t know the real words and sang it in school.

Puff the Magic Dragon,
Lived on a shelf
When nobody played with Puff,
Guess What? Puff played with himself!

*sigh* My stepdad got bitched at for that. The music teacher thought it was hilarious.

Amanda Amanda February 7, 2014, 10:07 am

You know, I could’ve been wrong. It’s been known to happen. She could be referring to that creepy ass Stephen King clown. Which would lend an entirely, albeit far more interesting, different tone to the letter.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 10:14 am

Hold your horses Amanda! I don’t know what you think this is, but DW is a clean place where we don’t use dirty words or reference scary clowns. (haha, hold your horses)

avatar Amanda February 7, 2014, 10:27 am

Sorry, sorry. Thought that might be taking it too far. If anyone needs me, I’ll be at work. Trying not to think of scary clowns. Playing Parcheesi. Or doing whatever version of the Hokey Pokey Diablo was referencing.

Amanda Amanda February 7, 2014, 10:35 am

Sorry, sorry. Should’ve known the clown was taking a bit too far. If anyone needs me, I’ll be at work. Trying not to think of scary clowns playing Parcheesi.

TaraMonster TaraMonster February 7, 2014, 12:15 pm

My father let me watch that movie when I was like 7 (parenting gold star right there, dad!). Somehow I came away from it more frightened of rain gutters than clowns.

avatar MsMisery February 7, 2014, 1:03 pm

That fear is totally legit. When I went to visit my friend in VA, the gutter openings in her subdivision were big and gaping like they are in “IT.” A supernatural clown could EASILY hide in there and drag people into the depths. I gave those things a wide berth when we went on our walk. There’s nothing like that in my area- they’re all caged in, to keep out sticks and small children.

avatar lemongrass February 7, 2014, 9:56 am

Ooooh “it”! Okay, back to reading.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 9:59 am

Lemon, this is gonna sound crazy, but Amanda thinks it means sex!

avatar lemongrass February 7, 2014, 10:03 am

That’s ridiculous. Clearly “it” means baking cookies.

It took me way too long to think of something that couldn’t be used as a euphemism. And I failed if you say it in the right voice.

Amanda Amanda February 7, 2014, 10:29 am

You know, after working with almost all men for the past 6 years, I’ve discovered pretty much anything can be a euphemism if said in the right voice.

avatar iseeshiny February 7, 2014, 10:33 am

Grandma’s chicken salad.

Diablo Diablo February 7, 2014, 12:59 pm

Uncle Jonathan’s Corn Cob Pipe!

avatar rieux February 7, 2014, 6:51 pm

I GET IT I GET IT! Joey Tribbiani!

avatar Tax Geek February 7, 2014, 10:07 am

I thought “It” meant they played scrabble.

othy othy February 7, 2014, 10:03 am

“Cake, eating it too, etc.” Brilliant!

avatar lemongrass February 7, 2014, 10:05 am

Move out, 20 somethings! Seriously, your freedom is out there for the taking! Yes, you may starve (I’ve never been as skinny as I was at 19) but those memories and knowing that you can do it are worth so much more than the crappy casserole someone else made for you.

Kate B. Kate B. February 7, 2014, 10:13 am

I like Parcheesi. Other than that, I really have nothing to add.

Miel Miel February 7, 2014, 10:27 am

LW2: you say you are afraid of the “comments and assumptions” if you go on vacation with your boyfriend. Is that it ? If you ask your family “can I go on vacation with my boyfriend” and they say yes, then that’s it ! if they say no, then you also have to accept that. But if they say yes and your problem is about “what will they say behind my back ?” then stop making a huge deal out of it. Your family can have its opinion about those “vacations” but you’re also old enough to have your own opinion about your actions.

Part of me feels like you don’t want to go on vacation with your boyfriend because your family will think you’re having sex with him. And I’m thinking “really ? You’re 21 years old and you won’t go on a vacation because your folks might *think* you’re having sex with a guy ?” Let them think what they want. If they allow you to go, then just go.

ApresMoi ApresMoi February 7, 2014, 7:51 pm

Gaaaawwd I wish I had this site when I was in my early 20s living with my parents (I couldn’t actually move out for reasons outside of my control, but that’s a whole diff story.) I can totally relate to this letter, unfortunately. And looking back, I wish I would have just gone for it a lot more instead of just not asking to go out/on trips because I was “afraid” of what my parents’ reaction would be. Just go for it LW! The worst they can do is say no. Some parents just don’t deal well with their kids transitioning into adulthood and it can be awkward for all, but sometimes you gotta force the change. and if you can move out, I would highly recommend it!

avatar WAPS February 7, 2014, 11:03 am

Aw LW2, I feel for you. You are in a transition stage, and it’s hard to learn how to relate to your family as you become an adult. Contrary to everyone’s advice here, I don’t think that the fact that you live with your family and they help you out gives them the right to dictate the terms of your life. This is where you learn to be an adult and own your decisions, so just tell them what you’d like to do this summer and listen to their concerns. If it comes down to “if you go on that vacation then you’re out of the house,” then you will have a hard decision to make, but otherwise, really listen to why they don’t want you to go. There are so many things my parents knew better than I, and I was just too stubborn to see past the WAY they said it into WHY they said it.

I’ll give you a personal example. My parents were *gasp* supporting me when I first started medical school so that I wouldn’t have to pay an exorbitant interest rate on a loan, and I wanted to move in with my then-boyfriend (now husband). In my culture, that is NOT done, my dad was VERY against it, and he was the one giving me rent money. I listened to his concerns, shared my reasons for doing it, and in the end we still didn’t agree. I went ahead and moved in with my boyfriend, and the sky didn’t fall. They still helped me pay my rent, because my parents don’t believe in using money punitively. The point is, I hate when my dad is disappointed in me, but you have to learn when your decisions are worth facing that disappointment. If it’s not worth it, then maybe that tells you how important this is in the grand scheme of things. FWIW, I probably wouldn’t have thought a vacation during the summer was worth it.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 11:06 am

Eh, I think if you are old enough to move in with your boyfriend, than its on you to not only “play adult” but actually “be adult” and pay for it yourself. Your dad is really nice.
If I were paying someone’s bills and they used their money to go on a vacation, I’d be ticked.

avatar WAPS February 7, 2014, 11:19 am

I think the idea of being an adult is far too focused on financial independence and not on making the best decisions with what you have available. Having money does not make you an adult. I know plenty of trust fund kids who act like babies, but they’re financially independent! I also don’t think that money should ever be used to control somebody else – it’s just a shitty thing to do. Of course I’d be less than happy if my kids did something I didn’t like (smoking, for instance), but I’d never pull my financial support from my children because of it. It’s not like just because they moved in with their SO or smoked, I want them to STARVE. And this is what my dad told me years later when I said I was surprised he had continued to pay. He said if he pulled his financial support as a means of controlling me and I moved anyway, then I’d have too much pride to come to him when I needed it. Which is true. His primary goal has always been to make sure that I’m safe and healthy.

On a side note, what my parents did, essentially giving me an interest free loan for medical school and expenses, is how many Asians families keep their wealth within their families. From a long run standpoint, we kept the money within our family instead of giving the bank a 6-13% interest rate that I’d be paying on forever. Why give the bank that interest when we only get 1% back?

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 11:25 am

Well, trust fund kids aren’t really financially independent at all. They are wholly dependent upon their trusts provided by mom and dad, no?
I guess look at it like this – your dad wouldn’t have been controlling you, he’d be offering you an option. You can stay with him, rent free while he pays your bills, or you can choose to move out on your own and pay your own bills.
I don’t equate money with adulthood, but I do equate independence with adulthood, so when you are completely dependent on your parents still, I can’t say you are experiencing adulthood. (of course, there are a ton of “adults” age-wise who are supported by their parents still, so i guess i see a difference between adults and adulthood?)

Amanda Amanda February 7, 2014, 11:27 am

Eh, I don’t know. To me, they kind of go hand in hand. I feel like financial independence is money you’ve made on your own and are responsible for. And I think not doing that, for the most part, stunts people. That being said – I see nothing wrong with parents helping their children out. As long as it’s temporary (while in school, down on their luck, etc.)

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 11:28 am

This is a very interesting topic to me.
“His primary goal has always been to make sure that I’m safe and healthy.” That’s great, and I’d agree its my primary goal as a parent too, but its also teaching independence, so I can’t see myself supporting my kid for too long (unless it was a true emergency, or still in school situation [like your’s] maybe) because I feel like I’d be enabling her not growing up and becoming independent.

avatar lemongrass February 7, 2014, 11:29 am

Trust fund kids are not financially independent. It’s not simply having the money that makes you grow up- it’s earning it, spending it responsibly, managing your bills, learning that life comes before fun and learning to rely on yourself that makes you grow up.

avatar WAPS February 7, 2014, 11:47 am

You and I just fundamentally disagree on this. I don’t think it’s necessary to earn enough money to support yourself in order to be an adult. What about all the people who don’t have jobs that pay living wage and need assistance, whether it be from family or the government? Are they not adults because they can’t earn enough money to be independent? I do agree that learning to manage bills and spending what you have responsibly are marks of being an adult, but the LW here is 21 and is obviously sheltered. She is doing the best she can, I don’t detect an extreme amount of entitlement, and this is really a classic struggle to have at her age in her circumstances.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 11:57 am

“I do agree that learning to manage bills and spending what you have responsibly are marks of being an adult”
Ok, so how can you say its wise to go on a vacation when your parents are paying all your bills? That’s about as irresponsible as it can get.

Needing a little help is very different than being wholly dependent on your parents to pay for everything. If you still need your parents to pay for everything, just admit that you are completely dependent on them and therefore not experiencing real adulthood. I don’t get why that’s hard to do. Its just being honest.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2014, 12:06 pm

And it’s okay to not be a financially independent adult. I certainly wasn’t. But then you don’t get to be a spoiled brat and spend your money on vacations, when if you have extra money MAYBE you should be spending that on supporting yourself.

Miel Miel February 7, 2014, 12:08 pm

From the little tiny bit we know about LW2, I’m not ready to assume she’s just going upfront to her parents and go all “yo dad, I want five grand to go to Bora Bora with my boyfriend. Bring me the check ASAP !” It is possible to go on vacation while still being supported by your parents ! Hey, most of my life, I was living rent free with my parents. I also started getting pocket money at age 6 and saved it all up until I was 20. I also got summer jobs starting at 16. My parents are living comfortably with their own money and they are happy to support me. When I go on vacation, I use the pocket money that I saved over 15 years, and the money I made while working.
You say that it’s not wise to go on vacation when your parents support you ? What was I supposed to do, give them back my pocket money ? I’m not saying the LW is like myself, but assuming there’s no way she’s affording this vacation by herself is a bit judgmental.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:14 pm

If your parents choose to support you financially and don’t expect you to contribute your money to the bills they are paying for you, then I guess more power to you? They must be very generous.
I really don’t think my comment about her affording the vacation is judgemental.

Miel Miel February 7, 2014, 12:17 pm

I just wanted to say “you assumed a lot of the LW”. I didn’t mean “judgmental” meaning your values are in wrong place, because they definitely aren’t !

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:21 pm

I am assuming that they are paying for everything and that there’s no payback deal, etc., so totally fair point. But I’m not assuming that they are supporting her financially to some degree, because they are, and that’s where my comments are coming from.
To be honest though, I’ve supported family when I probably should’ve just let them support themselves more, so I get it. If this were Lil, I’d probably say go on the vacation, but its still not a good lesson to teach I think.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:16 pm

Basically, that’s a great deal you have going with your parents. But the only reason you have “your” money is because they paid for everything else for you, so its just different to me.

avatar WAPS February 7, 2014, 2:47 pm

“Being honest” doesn’t require me to “admit” anything. “Real adulthood” is a definition that you’re making up so that you’re sure it includes you. I didn’t say going on vacation was “wise” either. In fact, if you read my original comment, I said I probably wouldn’t. But you have no idea what her arrangement with her parents is. My arrangement with my parents was that I study and make good grades in medical school, which I did. There was nothing that stated I had to live by their morals, and luckily they aren’t so manipulative that they’d cut me off in order to force me into their way of living.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 3:28 pm

Its not to include myself, I just think that adulthood = financial independence. You totally did say its wasn’t wise, so I take that back.

avatar lemongrass February 7, 2014, 12:15 pm

I’m not saying that people who require assistance or who don’t make a wage (I don’t!) aren’t adults. I’m saying that to get to adulthood you need to be independent at some point or another in what is an appropriate means for you. If you are unable to work then obviously financial independence isn’t the bar of adulthood for you. But this young lady is an able person, relying on her parents to support her and wondering whether she should spend her money on a vacation. Not the same thing. It’s okay to not be an adult yet, adult doesn’t equal good person or whatever but you do have to face the facts that if you aren’t independent then you can’t make independent choices. For most people, obviously your dad was an exception.

Amanda Amanda February 7, 2014, 12:54 pm

This. I was going to say something very similar but work got in the way. To me being a financially independent adult is learning to support yourself within your means. If that means needing government assistance to buy groceries, fine. If that means leaning on family a little because of an unforseen circumstance (i.e. medical, losing your job, etc), fine. To me, it does NOT mean having every single expense taken care of and then complaining that you can’t go on vacation (or whatever “extra” expense) because people might say things. Or, if it does, develop a thicker skin and ignore the comments. I don’t what the LW situation is (or anybody else’s) but regardless – this does NOT make anyone a bad person or a “less than” person. It just makes them a person with their own, unique, financial situation.

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 5:24 pm

WAPS, thank you for being so empathetic to my situation. I was really glad to see your comments. This vacation is not just because I feel like blowing money & getting away from home, it’s more because I feel like I deserve it. I’m working and finishing up my last year of college, and I actually have saved up a decent amount of money that would allow for me and my boyfriend to go on our first trip together. It is something we both have been wanting to do for a long time & now is the time that it is finally possible. My only hesitation is that my family is extremely nosy about every detail of my life & it can be quite smothering for me at times. I walk in the door and my grandparents are at my ass. I get babied at home and it actually depresses me. The world sees and treats me as an adult but at home its as if i’m three years old. I’ve been with my boyfriend for four years now and we talk about marriage and babies all the time(he’s 25). I love him very much and it would just be something new and special for us to experience together. The reason I was asking for Wendy’s opinion was because I don’t know how to approach the subject with my family. I don’t know if they’ll be upset or disappointed or make comments to make me feel incapable of making my own decisions (which they normally do). Or if they’ll say that we shouldn’t go away together unless we are married since my family is catholic. I really have no idea what they’ll say, in the end i should be able to go if i want to since i’d be paying for it. But I just wish it didn’t have to be so stressful

avatar WAPS February 7, 2014, 7:17 pm

Thanks so much for the update! It was super hard to start the conversation with my dad/mom, but I found that it was really helpful to concisely state what I wanted to do calmly and tell them why I thought it was a good idea. Don’t ask for permission, but give them an opportunity to tell you what they think. Don’t bring up the fact that you’re using “your” money, because that will drive just as large a wedge as if they were to tell you you couldn’t because you live in their house. And do listen to their concerns, think on them, and come back to discuss them. If you want this to be a decision that both you and they are, well, resigned to if not happy about, then it will probably take several conversations to address why you think you’re being reasonable. That being said, my family is particularly easy to discuss with (we are all engineers and doctors, so we tend to think in the same way!), and I don’t have very much advice if they are so emotional that they won’t listen, except to consider whether this is your hill to die on, so to speak.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 7:25 pm

I think this is great advice.

avatar lemongrass February 8, 2014, 11:15 am

I’m glad you wrote in to clarify. So you’re not worried about them kicking you out or any consequences beyond them disapproving? Well, I’d say toughen up. Sure it’s not fun to go against the grain and do what you feel is right for your life, it causes friction. But that’s all part of being an autonomous adult who makes their own choices, you deal with the consequences. There is no easy way out, although your consequences are fairly easy to deal with. If they are going to make your life living hell then my advice stays the same, move out.

avatar LW2 February 9, 2014, 11:38 pm

Great advice..I agree. Thanks Lemongrass

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 12:07 pm

Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for yourself, and a large chunk of that is financial responsibility. I moved home, rent free, from 22 to 25. Was I financially independent, or acting financially like an adult during those years? Hell no. Living rent free at my parents meant I lived by their rules. I elected to live in their house, so I followed their rules. It’s just like if you elect to live in graduate housing (subsidize by the university) you have to follow university rules. If you want the benefit, you’ve got to follow the rules attached to the benefit!
I actually think what you did was pretty disrespectful. As a parent, I would have stopped funding you. Just as I would stop giving $10 to a kid if I knew they where spending it on cigarettes.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:10 pm

I’m so glad you and Iwanna piped in on this. No shame in being dependent, just admit when you are and take the “consequences” of having to live by certain rules.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2014, 12:14 pm

Right? I mean you don’t support habits you don’t agree with. I would quit giving my kids money as teenagers if I knew they were spending it on booze. Luckily for me my parents were not that smart. I was being drunkarexic before it was vogue. I would get $20 every week for lunch and it was spent on vodka. So I never ate lunch and I drank a bottle of vodka every week. I miss high school.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 12:14 pm

Yup. One of my “consequences” was cooking and cleaning the kitchen for the whole family. I didn’t love it, but I did it. I was also expected to help drive my siblings around (on my own dime). It was what it was…I reaped a huge benefit but had to do what I had to do to get the benefit. (Aside- thankfully my parents had no problem with me going on vacay with GGuy nor did they care if we shared the same room when he visited, but that’s neither here nor there.)
edit- I had a curfew till I was 25! Just remembered that.

othy othy February 7, 2014, 12:55 pm

My dad told me I couldn’t start dating until I was 25. I moved out at 17, paid for most of college with scholarships (my parents helped with the rest), and was fully financially independent by 20. And married at 21. When I turned 25, my dad called me and asked me where Othello was taking me on our first date, since I was finally old enough to.

avatar rieux February 7, 2014, 12:41 pm

Whoa… personally, I think WAPS sounds like she handled the whole thing with the perfect amount of respect, since she was honest and straightforward with her father while making choices that fit with her own values and integrity. In fact I think it would have been disrespectful for her father to attach a lot of “rules” to his financial help. It would basically be like, “I love you enough to pay for medical school” (a GIANT chunk of change), “but if you do XYZ that goes against my values I will stop loving you enough to help you.” That’s not the kind of parent I’d want to be. And that’s not the kind of parent Mr. WAPS Senior wanted to be either, lucky for her…

Living with your parents is slightly different, like following their rules in their own house, because it’s inconsiderate not to. Or “consequences” like doing chores for the family, that’s basically like earning your rent instead of paying it in cash. But I just don’t get the idea that you should give up your autonomy just because someone gave you some money. Like, what if your parents had said to you, “OK, you have to go to church every Sunday if we let you live here”? I mean, that’s not OK (I wouldn’t judge someone for accepting those consequences if they really needed help but I’d sure as hell judge the person making those conditions). I think romantic decisions and religion are among the things that are 100% private and should never have anything to do with who’s giving you money.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:44 pm

The fact of the matter is that most money comes with strings. For example, you have a job at McD’s and you’re required to wear their red shirt. You hate red and refuse to wear it. Guess what? You won’t get a paycheck.

avatar rieux February 7, 2014, 12:53 pm

Yeah, I mean, employees have to earn their paychecks. And GG had to earn her room and board by doing chores. But giving financial help to a family member is entirely different from the exchange of labor for salary in the capitalist marketplace. You can’t employ your family members to live by your values. (Well, you can, but you shouldn’t.)

Obviously I agree with accepting the reality that some families will try to use money to control their children and those children must then make decisions about whether their independence matters more to them than the money. That’s a tough choice and I feel for people who have to make it. But I disagree that people give up their autonomy when they accept a loan from family.

avatar jlyfsh February 7, 2014, 12:56 pm

It might not be ‘ok’ to some for the family to do that. But, at the end of the day the reality is that most money/free or reduced living space/etc comes with strings and expectations. If you’re not a fan of those strings and expectations then you’re only options are to voice that displeasure and hope to have those strings readjusted or to move.

avatar rieux February 7, 2014, 12:59 pm

Well, yeah. Like I said, I agree with accepting that reality. Just not celebrating it. 🙂

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:57 pm

At some point, though, you have to consider whether its good parenting to enable your adult children by paying for them while they take vacations with the money.

Also, just generally, this is why when I loan money, I never expect it back and never expect them to do X with it. Loans = Gifts to me. You pay me back? Great surprise. Its just easier that way.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 12:45 pm

Well, we can agree to disagree. Money has strings in my world, and I would absolutely stop funding something I disagreed with, and would feel disrespected. It’s cool if you function otherwise.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 2:35 pm

yea, i mean, its almost like they were two adults with differing opinions that had an honest and respectful conversation. weird.

avatar WAPS February 7, 2014, 2:53 pm

Well, look at it this way. My parents wanted the best for me, they didn’t want to control the minutiae of my life. They also weren’t obsessed with the idea that if I had different ideas of how I should live my life, that I was “disrespecting” them (and really? if someone has a different outlook in life, they’re disrespecting you?) If I knew that I had to be financially independent in order to live life the way I wanted, I would have gotten a chemical engineering job out of college, where I would have made about $80k/year with a bachelor’s. Instead, my parents offered me the opportunity to go to medical school and literally quadruple my potential earnings. They weren’t going to pull the rug out from under me in some sort of bizarre power play to show that they can overturn my life if I don’t toe their line.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:09 pm

I didn’t say that having a different opinion was disrespectful. You say your father was “very against” living together, but then you used his money to fund exactly what he was against. That is what I think is disrespectful. Using money to do something the giver is clearly against. (I personally have no issue with living together.)

katie katie February 7, 2014, 3:16 pm

thats not what happened though. thats a weird way of thinking about father/daughter or parent/child relationships. kids are not dolls you program to do what you want and then you can get your money back if they dont.
“you used his money to fund what he was against”- the only, most important thing in parenting, is to support your kids becoming independent autonomous people- thats literally the only job. so no, he did not “fund what he was against” – he very explicitly DID fund his daughter in making her own choices about her own life, after an honest and open conversation about those choices, which ultimately will lead to her being an independent autonomous person. thats HUGE.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:21 pm

WAPS- I’m not trying to personally attack you, just wanted to say that on record. This conversation is moving out of you personally, IMO.
So, Katie. Someone gives you $50 and says “I don’t believe in alcohol”, you don’t think it’s disrespectful to use said $50 to buy alcohol?

avatar jlyfsh February 7, 2014, 3:29 pm

i think that following house rules is not quite the same as using monetary gifts how you please. if someone gifts you $50 for say your birthday and they think alcohol is evil but you choose to spend it on going out and buying a fancy bottle of wine, that’ s a risk they took when giving you a monetary gift.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:35 pm

I was more envisioning giving someone $50 for groceries because they can not afford them. Not a birthday present.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:35 pm

I was more envisioning giving someone $50 for groceries because they can not afford them. Not a birthday present.

avatar jlyfsh February 7, 2014, 3:40 pm

yeah even then, once you give a monetary gift you can’t really be mad if they didn’t spend it how you saw fit. you can choose to not give them help again or only give the monetary gift in the form of say a gift card to a store that doesn’t sell alcohol, etc. but, people not spending money you gift how you see fit is just a risk you take.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:43 pm

jlyfsh I agree, there’s no point in being mad, but it is well with in a persons rights to not give money again.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 3:29 pm

no. why would i? why do i owe someone not doing something they dont like with their money? especially and a huge no if i had talked with them about the fact that i would be buying alcohol with that money.
kids arent going to do everything parents want. thats a fact. and as a parent, i think it is your job to keep your “personal” beliefs and wants and desires for your kids in your own head. you job is to support them in making their own decisions and growing into their own person- even if you want them to act, believe and do other things. even if they end up being wrong decisions. obviously im not talking about supporting drug habits or bad behavior or whatever, but no one ive ever known who had parents who pulled support because they didnt “believe” in something their kids did (again, when it was just differing beliefs- not actual bad stuff) have relationships that they could have had if they had supportive parents. they all had borderline shitty relationships because they knew in the back of their heads that their parents disagreed. NOT that their parents disagreed but still encouraged them to live their own life- just flat out disagreed and didnt like the person they were because of the choice.
what WAPS parents/dad did is amazing. my dad did similar things. i wish it happened more often.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:34 pm

Because if you’re parents are doing you a huge favor…you owe them a little respect. Some parents do think living together is “bad stuff”. I mean “bad stuff” is so subjective!

katie katie February 7, 2014, 3:38 pm

there is never, ever, anything disrespectful about living your life on your own terms.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:39 pm

If you’re financing it.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 3:43 pm

nope, i dont think the world needs that caveat.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:47 pm

Cool…that’s not how I function. Agree to disagree. Your way isn’t the only right way.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 3:47 pm

So I don’t disagree with your second paragraph at all and its very much how I’m trying to raise Lil, BUT I do think its also your choice how to spend your money. I think all parents should be careful about spoiling, not raising an entitled child, etc. If a parent believes that once a kid hits 18, they are on their own financially barring an emergency (which could be anything from needing $ for college to needing a home to live in), I think that’s ok. I think its ok for a parent to charge rent at some point and if you are paying an agreed upon rent, then you should be free to do whatever you choose with your remaining money. If you think you adult-kid is doing their best, like waps’ dad thought, then absolutely go ahead and treat them to nice things if you wish. Now, if waps was a deadbeat/mooch type who wasn’t even trying to further her life, I would think it’d be wrong to pay her way.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 3:54 pm

oh i very much agree lets. and im going at this from the angle of people NOT being assholes- not being entitled and/or enablers.
and gg, im sorry you feel that way, and i am forever grateful to my parents for doing the exact opposite. lets hope that your kids will do everything exactly how you want them to, i guess.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:59 pm

Jesus. I never said the kids have to be robots! Just that it’s well with in a parents rights to stop funding an adult child who isn’t willing to accept the strings attached to the money. FFS. You sure do twist words.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 4:04 pm

Can I just point out here that this letter isn’t even about her parents letting her live with them anymore or not? She is literally saying “I want to go on this vacation, but I live with my parents, and they wouldn’t like it.”

I do think it’s shitty for a parent to try to make their adult children live life the exact way they think is right. That’s a dangerous rabbit-hole. And I think it’s strange to say that a young adult should do everything their parents want to keep them happy when they’re receiving help, without also saying that the parents should make any expectations clear and realize that they don’t get to control what their child does outside of those financial issues. It goes both ways. There are some strings attached when you receive help, but you also are taking a risk of not getting your way when you give help. If I give $5 to a homeless person, I don’t get to decide what they buy with it. If I give a sub sandwich to a homeless person, I still don’t get to decide what they would have done with the $5 they didn’t have to spend on that sandwich. I just guaranteed that my $5 was spent on a sandwich.

avatar WAPS February 7, 2014, 6:23 pm

Yeah, I literally just called my dad to thank him for being so wonderful to me, and how lucky I am that he’s my dad.

kare kare February 7, 2014, 10:40 pm

If you’re going to give someone money, you have to accept that they will do whatever they want with it. People have freedom of choice, and you can accept that or just not give them money in the first place. I’m sure I’ve used some sort of money from my parents at some point on alcohol. I don’t think it’s disrespecting them. Honestly, someone would give you non-monetary gifts if they wanted control over your decision. For example, I give my brother gift cards to his favorite stores (although not sporting good stores) because I know if I give him cash, it’s going to alcohol or drugs. I don’t think it would be disrespectful if he blows his money on alcohol (clearly, since I drink), but I don’t want to be an enabler.

avatar WAPS February 7, 2014, 3:21 pm

He knew about it. I talked to him about it before my husband and I ever signed a lease together, and we had several conversations about the pros and cons. I didn’t lie to him, I didn’t take the money behind his back. He could have chosen to stop giving me money if he wanted, but he’s not a controlling or manipulative person.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:28 pm

Well, I do think it’s great that you guys worked through your different opinions. But I also don’t think it would be controlling or manipulative if he had decided to stop giving you money because of the living situation. It now sounds like you guys came to a compromise, more so than it did in the initial post. So, now with all of your added posts, “disrespectful” is a little harsh. I can admit that.

avatar bethany February 7, 2014, 3:07 pm

My mind is blown that this has thumbs down!!

avatar WAPS February 7, 2014, 3:23 pm

Well, it could be the part where she called me disrespectful for having an open, honest conversation with my father about a major life decision. We ended up (amicably!) on opposite sides, we both made our decisions with eyes wide open, but apparently I was still being disrespectful not cowing to my dad.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 12:29 pm

I don’t know where to put this, so I’m just replying to the catalyst of the discussion.
I think my overall point is- if you agree to take a benefit (like rent free living) you need to understand that there can/will be stings attached. They can be any crazy range of things that the person giving the benefits deems. You take them or you don’t take the benefit. The benefit/the strings can be renegotiated, and either of you can decide to walk. If you chose to ignore “the strings”, well you might get in trouble. You might not. (all general you’s) I personally chose not to ignore them, because I didn’t want to risk loosing my benefit.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 12:22 pm

I agree with you, WAPS. My parents supported me financially through college, and I still did whatever I wanted. Granted, those things were mostly inexpensive things, but I did things they didn’t approve of ALL THE TIME. If it had bothered them enough that they wanted to pull their support away, they would have said so, and for many of those things, I would have given in. I don’t see the point in a young adult cowering from their parents. It makes more sense to do what you want to do and then stop if your parents are actually threatening to stop supporting you. If I had lived in fear of what my parents didn’t want me to do, I never would have been out past 9:30, or driven at night, or gone to a single party, or had a sip of alcohol, or taken a Psychology class, or visited my now-husband.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 2:26 pm

im with you too, WAPS. but, my family isnt a bunch of assholes who would just take money and do stupid things with it and/or give money with strings. were all adults in my family, now, which means this weird thing where we can make our own decisions.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:28 pm

If your parents were supporting you financially 100%, would you go on a vacation with “your’ money even though they were presumably supporting you because you actually needed their money?

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:30 pm

For me, and obviously this sways from the facts of the letter, if I paid my sister’s rent because she told me she couldn’t afford it, but then she went on a vacation with her money, I’d be pissed, since obviously she could’ve used her vacation money to pay her rent that I was paying. That’s my argument here.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 2:33 pm

eh, i dont think so. because that is like the old school society they used to have in england where the servants had to pay off debts to the landowners…
if you had an agreement with your sister that she would pay you anything extra she had as rent, then i could see how that would be shitty, because a vacation is extra. but if you let someone live with you rent free…. well, they dont owe you any money. right? and again im coming at this from the angle of people not acting like assholes about it.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:36 pm

Its a scummy thing to do to take someone’s money to pay your bills and use your own to pay for your vacations. That’s just what it comes down to for me.

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 5:36 pm

If we are still talking about me and my initial question to Wendy, let me get one thing straight. THIS VACATION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PARENTS GIVING ME MONEY. I work part time. This is money I have worked for and chosen to save for. I live with my grandparents because I am still in school (WHICH I PAID FOR) and they WANT TO help me. They want me to live with them, and they want me to live with them. I come from an italian background, and in my culture you normally live at home until you get married regardless. So please people, stop assuming and judging me based on a brief cry for help that I put out there. I just dont know how to approach this situation because I am the type of person who gets stressed out easily and is always trying to make everyone else happy. But im also smart enough to know that I cant keep putting other peoples needs and wants before my own, otherwise whose life am I living?

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 2:37 pm

Well, if you’re letting them live with you rent free because of the understanding that they can not afford rent…and then they can afford a vacation…I mean that doesn’t add up.
I’m doing you a favor (rent free living) to help with your financial situation (no money for rent) but you have money for vacation…??

katie katie February 7, 2014, 2:46 pm

ok to both of you- i feel sorry for your kids who will apparently never be able to do anything fun and/or “extra” until the point they are 100% financially independent and also able to afford vacations.
where is iwanna? her dad is paying for her vacation to ireland. is she not an adult?
you guys are just looking at this in such a weird way… the LW is automatically a mooch, a lazy young person who feels entitled to her family’s money and is going to pull a completely asshole move by just taking a vacation that we have *no idea of the cost* of- did you guys never vacation when you werent 100% financially independent? have your parents never paid for your vacations? geez. i feel like you guys are wayyyyy over on some weird extreme where kids are only lazy assholes who try to weasel their way into the easiest life possible.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 2:51 pm

True. And I still want to scream out that we don’t even know that the LW is paying for the vacation! Her boyfriend could be paying for all of it! Or it could be a cheap four day camping trip. Or it could be the cost of gas and food to stay in his grandparents’ vacation home for free. We have no idea!

You’re right, katie – money was never even part of the LW’s letter. If you remove that aspect and assume that everything is squared away on money, you just have parents who want to tell their adult daughter that she can’t go away with her boyfriend because they’re old-fashioned.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:53 pm

I said if the bf is paying for it, go for it.

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 5:39 pm

FINALLY! Someone who understands! Thank you Lord!
My bf and I would split it since we are both saving up and working.
We dont know any of the details yet in regards to price, but im not planning to blow all my money! I still intend to keep saving and working so that the vacation doesnt affect my money situation too much

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:51 pm

If Lil was say, 25, out of college and needed me to pay for all her stuff STILL, yea, I would not want her going on a vacation because I don’t like enabling or spoiling. To me, that’s just good parenting. At minimum, I’d expect her to come to me and say hey, I have this $3k and would love to go on this vacation, what do you think since you are already paying for all of my things?

Iwanna’s dad paying for a trip he has chosen to gift to her, while she remains paying for her own life’s expenses, is totally different to me. If Iwanna’s dad still paid all her bills and chose to give her a gift of a vacation, also different than what I’m saying.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 2:58 pm

bottom line is that living at home, or even having someone else pay for stuff, is not a life sentence of servitude and/or no life in general.
if you are enabling, stop. if you are a mooch, stop. if you give money with strings without telling people, stop, and if you think its cool to control people you happened to donate genetic material to, stop that too.
both the enabler and the mooch need to be there for there to be a problem, though. just because something looks like it *could* be an enabler/mooch situation doesnt always mean it is. my dad has given his money to my sister and i freely for our whole lives, and we are not mooches and he is not an enabler. its just not a cut and dry thing.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 3:02 pm

You are arguing against points I’m not making.
My bottom line comment was “Its a scummy thing to do to take someone’s money to pay your bills and use your own to pay for your vacations. That’s just what it comes down to for me.” For me, personally, that’s how it is. I don’t think having that mindset makes me a shitty person trying to control someone’s life. Don’t tell me you need my money if you don’t. That’s all.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:59 pm

Also, katie, you know me enough to comment on my parenting somewhat fairly I’d think and I hope think I’m a reasonable parent just trying to do the best for my kid.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 3:06 pm

yes, which is why i think its so odd you automatically think this LW is some entitled asshole. i would think you would understand how a parent would be ok with a child who wanted to take a vacation even if they still lived at home.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 3:13 pm

I just scrolled to see what my first comment was, because i know I spiral and lose track and make assumptions as the day goes on here.
“Eh, I think if you are old enough to move in with your boyfriend, than its on you to not only “play adult” but actually “be adult” and pay for it yourself. Your dad is really nice.
If I were paying someone’s bills and they used their money to go on a vacation, I’d be ticked.”
I still feel that way. I don’t say she’s an entitled asshole who deserves nothing but indentured servitude. I just think you, at the very least, owe it to your parents, as an adult (not college-adult) who they are paying for entirely, to run it by them and accept it if they say no vacation if we are paying your bills because you left us under the impression you couldn’t afford them. I’m not trying to get extreme.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:13 pm

I actually never said the LW was a “mooch” or a “lazy young person who feels entitled”. My only opinion on this whole matter is that if you accept a benefit (ie free rent) based on an assumption (no money for rent) than you need to live by the string attached to such benefit, which may mean you can’t take a vacay with you bf because a- the benefit giver disapproves and/or b- they money could/should be used towards rent/expenses (if that’s part of the agreement).
If the parents (like mine) had no problem with her taking the vacation then by all means take it! But clearly LW thinks her parents will take issue with it, either from a moral/ethical or financial stance.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2014, 3:21 pm

Haha woah don’t take Ireland from me. In my (maybe hypocritical) mind that’s different because if he told me to go to Ireland I had to do X, I would either do X, or suffer the consequences by not going. That’s the thing with money. My parents never attach strings, but if parents want too that’s within their right – it’s their money!

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 2:39 pm

I think if you had the agreement that you were only paying her rent until she could afford to do it herself, or that she would be some other thing with her money while you were paying her rent, then you would have all the right in the world to be mad about it. But if you just said “Hey sis, I’ll pay your rent for you” without clarifying that stuff, I don’t think there would be room for you to be angry about it.

Perhaps most parents intend for their kids to be living at home only until they can afford to pay their own way, but not always. My parents really wanted me to move back home after college just for fun, to spend more time together, rent free. If I had taken them up on that, there would have been no basis for them to be angry if I went on a vacation in that scenario. If I had moved in with them “until I could afford my own place,” and I took a vacation, that would have been a different scenario.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:41 pm

If she told me she couldn’t afford it, that would be the only obvious reason I’d be paying it for her though. Your last line – yea, that’s what I’m saying.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 2:48 pm

Well yeah, sure. I’m just not assuming that that’s why she’s living with her family. Some cultures (and she said they were old-fashioned) don’t allow moving out until marriage. One of my friends has a mother from Guatemala, and even though she’s 26, her mom insists that she has to live at home until she gets married. She could obviously thwart that and move out anyway, but it would severely damage her relationship with her mom. And like I said, my parents wanted me to live at home rent free just because they thought it would be fun. It’s just a big assumption to make that she’s living at home because she can’t afford not to, and that her parents are expecting her to move out as soon as she can afford to.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 3:03 pm

Right, I’m speaking to the norm for our culture though. I assumed that was obvious.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 3:07 pm

Well, she said her family is old-fashioned, so I don’t know that they’re part of the cultural norm though.

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 5:42 pm

Thank you! And yes, Im italian and it is the same assumption. My grandparents are from Italy and think the same way. Its just upsetting me that so many people turned my question into a debater about money & financial independence. Nowhere in my question did I say that I am using my family’s money to take a vacation. I just dont know how to approach them since they are “old fashioned.” Damn.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 2:30 pm

first, we have no *idea* the level of support this LW’s family is giving her. no clue.
yes, i might- depending on a lot of things, but i wouldnt say that is just a blanket bad thing to do. i have, actually, i totally did that in college. and my dad was like “im so glad you are out there living your life and happy and gaining all these experiences”.

avatar bethany February 7, 2014, 3:21 pm

When I was in college my parents paid my rent. I went to Cancun for Spring Break one year, and I used my own money that I had worked for to pay for the trip. My parents didn’t have a problem with it. I think the reason it was ok was that I wasn’t doing stuff like this all the time, or asking them for more money or doing things they obviously didn’t approve of (that they knew about, at least).
If I would have wanted to move in with a boyfriend and use their money to pay rent, they 100% would not have agreed to it, and wouldn’t have continued to give me money.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 3:22 pm

Great example. That’s how I’d be I think (like your parents).

katie katie February 7, 2014, 2:29 pm

also, ill just put this here as a comment to the “to be an adult you have to earn your own money” thing- bullshit.
lets, remember when we talked about how to teach lil about money? and everyone was like “make her do chores!” “no, thats mean, give her an allowance!” “no, she will become entitled, make her get a job!” bla bla bla…. and then i was like, actually it doesnt matter where the money comes from, it matters how she treats it? this is that, again. it doesnt matter where someone gets their money- whether their husband makes all the money, whether their parents make all their money, whether the lottery made all their money- what matters is how you treat money.
but this letter isnt even about money at all anywayyyyy!!!

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:34 pm

Right, and I completely disagree with how she would be “treating” the money if she used it for a vacation when she told me she needed me to pay all her bills. A kid in college? Maybe a different story. But an adult out of college, yea, paying for their vacations (or them paying for their own vacations) while mom and dad are also paying all their bills is called enabling.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 2:40 pm

how do you know the LW is not in college and therefore now apparently ok to take vacations?

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:43 pm

generally speaking at this point, like it always ends up being on here.
But sure, if LW chimes in saying her parents asked her to live at home, she’s in college and they just love paying all her bills for fun and told her never to contribute anything for that, she should go on the trip, however, I doubt that to be the case.

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 5:46 pm

Actually, that is exactly my case. Im 21, in my last year of college, paying for the vacay with my own money that ive been saving and my family would NEVER ask me to move out. My dads lived at home til he was 40 because he and my mother got married young and divorced when i was a year old, and because i am italian, my grandparents had absolutely NO problem with him staying at home until he decided to leave. So just because im 21 means nothing to them. They would think it was crazy for me to say Hey im gonna move out and struggle on my own and live by myself in an apartment. In my culture, thats pretty rare.

avatar WAPS February 7, 2014, 6:16 pm

Haha yes, it went really far afield. My whole point in telling that story was that Wendy made it sound like money was the issue, when it really seemed like dealing with her family’s disapproval was the problem. I am surprised that many people don’t have any sympathy for being 21 and being just at that age where you are learning to assert yourself when you have always looked for parental approval. I sympathize with the feeling of how much I owe to my parents, but also wanting to live my life, and the way to begin adapt to growing up is to just talk. She should tell them what she’s thinking and be prepared to really listen to what they’re saying, because it might not be about money at all. It was the first time in my life I’d wanted to do something my parents didn’t approve of, and it was hard for me to have that conversation, but it was so worth it in the end because they brought up a lot of points that I hadn’t thought about. It also gave us the chance to start establishing a different kind of relationship where it was okay for me not to be a total reflection of their values, that sometimes my life was going to differ from what they wanted, but we could still respect each other. In fact, if my dad had brought up money at all, I would have lost a little bit of respect for him because it would have been a spiteful threat, not really about how my decisions affect my life.

ApresMoi ApresMoi February 7, 2014, 8:04 pm

Yes, this 1000X times! My parents were super strict growing up and well into my 20s. Its not really about the money, but just that internal struggle where you don’t wanna disappoint your parents, yet you feel ready to start asserting your independence in some parts of your life.

meadowphoenix meadowphoenix February 7, 2014, 11:08 am

LW 1: Yeah, “What are you doing?” texts are learned in Booty Call 101.

LW 2: I disagree with how Wendy’s characterized the problem. I’m financially independent and my mother still manages to be both nosy and judgmental, because, she’s still living with me. So I agree with the solution. Whether or not you are living with your family, they will make comments and judgments about what you’re doing. So if you don’t want to hear them, or at least control when that is, you need to not live with your family.

OR you could be really mature and tell them you’re going on vacation alone, not with your boyfriend of course, who is completely coincidentally going to the same exact place and hotel (maybe there was a great deal!), and due to some completely unforeseen hotel error, you two ended up in the same room, which couldn’t be fixed for the duration of your stay.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 11:09 am

what your text said: “I”m not ashamed to say I miss you.”
what he read: “I’m not ashamed to say I miss the dick.”

avatar rieux February 7, 2014, 11:23 am

LW2: Most kids whose families can afford to support them do stay financially dependent through ages 21 or 22, if they go to college. I don’t think there’s any shame in it. Nor is there any reason you SHOULD owe them input into every little decision you make at the age of 21 — you’re an adult whether you’re supporting yourself or not. If they’re helping you financially, they should be able to voice objections if you want to go on a lavish vacation instead of paying them back for stuff, but other than that… no. But of course, they’re not the ones asking for advice… you are! And you have to deal with the parents you got.

If they make “comments and assumptions” of the form of guilting you for having a boyfriend/having sex/”appearing” to have sex (yeah, I have a friend whose parents pitched a shitfit when she went on a vacation with her boyfriend because they weren’t married and it would “look” bad…crazypants)… well, that’s creepy and they shouldn’t do that. But it seems like a good opportunity to practice that independence they don’t want to give you. Fuck the comments and assumptions — who cares? If you’re doing what you think is the right thing, go ahead and do it and try not to let their disapproval bother you as much as it apparently has in the past. (Again, unless they are asking you to pay them back/support yourself and you’re spending the money on a vacation instead — that would be a fair thing for them to ask.)

Basically in my opinion, parents/relatives shouldn’t let their financial support be a tool to have power over their kids, BUT as the recipient of a gift, you shouldn’t take it if it makes you afraid to live your own life, because then you are signing away your own autonomy. If you can’t accept their help without feeling obligated to live your life according to their values, then maybe you *should* move out.

(Of course, if they’re helping you, hopefully you’re helping out around the house–paying rent if you can, doing chores, etc. But you sound like the kind of person who already knows & does that.)

avatar Ele4phant February 7, 2014, 11:26 am

Eh, I disagree LW2 needs to ask permission to go on vacation, if she’s paying for it herself. Does she need to ask permission about things that would happen under aunt and uncle’s roof? Yep. Would she need to ask permission if she was going to ask them to pay for it? Yep. But she’s a grownup, and if she isn’t asking them to chip in, they really have no right to control her behavior outside their home.

Is it the wisest thing to go on vacation when she can’t afford to move out yet. Eh, maybe not, but it’s her money (or her boyfriends money) to spend.

LW, I say go on that vacation and deal with whatever assumptions or comments come your way. Part of being grownup is making your own choices. If you’re worried about more serious consequences, like them kicking you out, save your money instead so you can move out as soon as possible. To control the behavior of an adult outside of your home is super inappropriate IMO, and you need to get the heck out of there. It’s one thing to say, no premarital sex under my roof, and another to say no premarital sex anywhere. You’re a grownup, they don’t get to dictate what you do everywhere.


avatar jlyfsh February 7, 2014, 11:29 am

I do get what you’re saying. But, it’s also within their rights as the home owner and provider to say you can’t live here if you do x, y, or z. That’s part of relying on other adults to provide for you. It might be over bearing on their part, but she’s choosing to live there…

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 11:41 am

How is it her money? They are bankrolling her life. This logic is so strange to me.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 12:10 pm

Yes! She has the money because they are footing her expenses. Otherwise, if she was footing her expenses, I assume the vacay money wouldn’t be there!

katie katie February 7, 2014, 2:24 pm

you guys have no idea the degree they are “bankrolling her life” that is a huge, huge jump from “They help me a lot”

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:26 pm

FINE. I’m the LW. Ok? They are bankrolling my life and I’m banging my boyfriend in their bed.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 2:41 pm

You are correct, we are working on different assumptions of what “they help me a lot” means. I’m going off of what my experience was when my family helped me out, and that was free rent/utilities, free food, and free insurance in exchange for basic household chores/living by their rules. So yeah, her situation could be different. BUT with out knowing anything more, I stand by everything I’ve said.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2014, 2:41 pm

Well what is “they help me a lot” if it’s not free rent. I’m guess if she was paying rent she would rather just move out, because duh. Who would choose to live with their parents if they were paying either way. So at the minimum she’s living for free. Which is huge. So I consider that bankrolling her life, and they could be helping her out sooooo much more than that (which I assume, you can assume differently and then everyone is making an ass out of both of us, but whatever).

katie katie February 7, 2014, 3:04 pm

for GG and sampson- she never even mentions money. “they help me a lot” might not even mean anything to do with money.. maybe they adopted her and that was the huge help. maybe they are a family who feels that the kids have to “pay back” from being cared for as a baby/child and thats how they “helped”. maybe they help her on her spiritual journey with christ, i dunno, i mean im assuming it does too, but she never mentions money ever.

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 7:26 pm

Glad you caught on that I never mentioned money once. Thanks 🙂

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 7:48 pm

They help me with rides because I dont curently have my full G2 liscence. I work part-time and go to school but I am graduating in 2 months. I pay my phone bill, I pay for my own clothing and whatever food or extras I want/need. They have a 4 bedroom house and love having me live with them. Let me say this again, I am italian which in this case means; moving out only happens when you get married.
Personally, I would like to move out within the next couple of years; once i get my career situation settled.. regardless if im married or engaged or not

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 7:43 pm

They help me out a lot means, I live with them without having to pay rent but thats because they do not WANT me to. I live with my italian grandparents, and that is not typical of my culture to make family pay to stay with you. I could stay here til im 55 without paying and it would be completely okay. It is a belief that family helps family no matter what. My grandparents baby me because of this and that’s what I dislike. I have a part-time job and I am in my last year of college. I will be looking for a full-time job soon and hopefully things will be a bit better in that regard. Also, my grandfather and aunt give me rides occasionally and HATE taking favours because I feel like I owe people. My goal is to get my G2 and have a car within the next year. BUT i dont think that means that I cant spend some of my savings on a vacation with my bf this summer.

kare kare February 7, 2014, 11:09 pm

I really feel that people are overlooking the cultural aspect. I would say that for Americans in their early 20s, it’s assumed that you move out on your own if you can afford it unless you are a)lazy or b)entitled. (That is a blanket statement, I don’t necessarily feel this way). It’s not common where I’m from for people to live with their parents until they are married. I don’t think the fact that you live with them rent free is matters at all when determining the vacation because it would be weird for your family to hold it over your head when it’s a cultural norm. Your situation where I live might read as “we are helping you out by letting you live here, so you should do x,y,z” not “oh you’re family, of course you’ll live here”. I would just bring up that you are thinking of taking a vacation with your boyfriend to one of your family members (whoever is the easiest to talk to) and see what they say. My parents were very strict and at 18 were against the idea of me going on vacation with a boyfriend. At 21, they were more open to the idea since I had proved I was responsible since I finished school, helped out around the house, paid a lot of my own bills, etc.

avatar LW2 February 9, 2014, 11:47 pm

Yeah, the cultural aspect has a lot to do with it.. and i actually tried texting my dad about it and all he said was “yep” and then ignored it. That’s the kind of awkwardness im dealing with -_-

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 6:57 pm

Thank you Ele4phant for your understanding.
I highly doubt my family would “kick me out” or anything of that nature. I guess i’m just scared of the awkwardness it could cause at home if they disapprove. My family likes to be really involved in my life which is sometimes nice and sometimes overbearing. I would be splitting the vacation with my boyfriend and it’s money that i’ve been saving since last summer. I see no reason to not do something that I want to do just because of the opinions of other people who I feel also try to control me sometimes with their “comments.”

avatar Ele4phant February 7, 2014, 11:43 am

I disagree that it’s okay to every monitor the behavior of an adult outside the walls of your home, but I recognize that realistically, if her aunt and uncle feel that they do have that right, the LW can’t just up and say “Nope not accepting these rules”
And expect to contiune to live there. Her aunt and uncle can ask her to leave, whatever the reason.

However, if her living there is contingent upon them being allowed to dictate her behavior outside the home, that’s a bad deal and not worth the financial help, and she needs to move out. It’s just not okay.

avatar Ele4phant February 7, 2014, 11:53 am

@lbh. We don’t know the extent of their financial support, whether or not she’s currently working to save up, how expensive this trip is (maybe it’s just a weekend camping trip?) or if the bf wants to pay her way, or the terms of her setup with the family. Is she supposed to pay them back? Do they just give her somewhere to live at a reduced rent?

If she is working and bring in an income, I don’t think it’s fair to say, well you made x dollars, but we paid y dollars for you to live here, so unless we get that back all of your money is ours (unless they previously established at the outset that this was the case). If she has any sort of income, or savings, and there isn’t a repayment plan in place, it’s not cool for them to claim that as their money as a play to control her fiscal decisions (and general behavior).

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:07 pm

I guess if the bf is paying for the trip, go for it, BUT if her parents say they’ll pull the $ if she goes, then that’s the risk she’s taking (a dumb one, imo).

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 12:27 pm

I agree, Ele4phant. If they say that it’s okay for her to live there paying X dollars (whether that’s 0 or a few hundred), then that is her rent. They can’t all of a sudden complain that she’s using her money elsewhere if she’s paying them what they asked her to pay them. Now, if the conditions of living there for X amount includes that she has to follow certain rules, and she then breaks those rules, it would be fair to pull their support, and she shouldn’t go on the vacation. I just don’t think we should assume that that is the condition, and I don’t think she should assume it unless she already knows for sure.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:34 pm

If they have an agreed upon rent that she is paying her parents, then obviously its a different story. I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with that.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 12:36 pm

Even if the rent is agreed upon $0? I think that’s what everyone is disputing.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:41 pm

Nothing can’t be something, so I can’t consider an amount of zero to constitute a rent payment. A real amount of money agreed upon as rent, or services agreed upon as rent, fine.
But no, I think its irresponsible and un-adultlike (new word?) to mooch off your parents but use “your” money to go on vacation because you wouldn’t have “your” money if they didn’t pay your bills. If your parents are cool with that, lucky you.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 12:56 pm

Yeah, my parents don’t support me, so no.

I just think it’s shitty for a parent to be completely fine with $0 or $10 or $500 rent and then all of a sudden be resentful of it just because something came up and they realized that they don’t get to control their kid’s life anymore. I agree with you completely if the arrangement is $0 rent until the kid can pay their own way, and the expectation that kid is saving all her money toward that goal. In that case, the parents would have the complete right to protest that. There are probably expectations in most cases, but unless it’s laid out as such, I don’t think it should be assumed that the landlord can kick you out because you have sex with your boyfriend or something.

I think of it like adult roommates. If you own your house and rent out your basement to another adult for $500 a month, and that adult goes on vacation, you don’t then have a right to be angry because that adult could be paying more in rent to you. They’re meeting their agreed upon expectations to you. Young adults living with their parents, unless there are agreed upon expectations that say otherwise, are the same thing to me.

Again, most parents probably have those expectations, but an adult child shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells trying to figure out what the expectations are. They either need to communicate them to begin with, or it’s unfair to hold them to an invisible standard.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 1:00 pm

I think you’re not getting my comments. If you have an agreed upon rent that actually includes some form of actual money or services, then of course you are within your rights to do whatever you want with money left over.

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 7:01 pm

My question for Wendy had nothing to do with money! My issue is mainly being hesitant on how to approach telling my family because I’m not sure what their reactions will be. I live with both grandparents and my aunt, and my father as well. My grandparents are old fashioned italiand and my aunt is in the process of becoming a nun! So just imagine what im dealing with here. And my father is awkward when it comes to talking about anything of this nature.. so I need all the advice i can get on that. NOT on money. Thanks!

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 1:01 pm

You was a general you. I know your parents don’t support you.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 2:15 pm

Btw, I didn’t give you the thumbs down.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 3:21 pm

Thanks! I knew once I used the word mooch I was asking for it. 🙁

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 12:52 pm

So, I don’t think they can “complain” about her using the money (unless there is an agreement about where her money will go since it’s not going to rent- like she is supposed to be paying loans down or something), but I do think they can voice displeasure in the activity and revoke her benefit (rent free living) because she is doing something that they don’t approve of.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 1:01 pm

So it’s totally okay to just pull the rug out from under someone’s feet every time they do something you don’t approve of? I don’t think it’s okay to manipulate someone with the basic things they need for survival. Either you’re being nice and trying to give your kid a break, or you don’t want to do that. I just think there needs to be an agreement before hand of what the living arrangement looks like, because that sort of power could get out of hand so fast.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 1:03 pm

There is an arrangement though. I pay your bills, you live by the house rules. Don’t like em, pay your own bills.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2014, 1:09 pm

Do you “need” your parents money for survival at 21? I would argue no, you do not. Plus if you’re in survival mode I doubt you’re taking a lot of vacations.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 2:14 pm

I agree with you completely. But in the here and now, to have your living quarters ripped out from under you with no time to plan for it is a crisis. Or to have someone threatening to kick you out at any moment when they feel like it.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 2:47 pm

I didn’t think anyone was saying they should put her on the streets for breaking an unknown rule. I certainly wasn’t.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:03 pm

Yeah…that very clearly isn’t what I was saying either.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 3:31 pm

Bring on the thumbs down. I actually kind of like that they are back.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 2:22 pm

Well, I didn’t quite say that…I believe that if you’re going to accept a benefit from someone (anything; free rent, rides in their car, job advice…anything) you HAVE to accept the rules and consequences that come along with that benefit (like no over nights with BF, no smoking in the car, cookies baked…what ever). It’s that simple. IF there are rules laid out, and you break them…well that’s not “pulling the rug out from under their feet” it’s consequences. And they are a part of life.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 2:27 pm

RIght, that’s exactly what I’m saying too. But unless they had an agreement that she was to save the majority of her money as a condition for this arrangement, then they don’t have a basis for kicking her out because she takes the vacation. If they make up this new rule when she brings this up, and they want to kick her out because of it, that’s shitty. That’s pulling the rug out from under someone.

Basically I don’t think people should accept help from their parents without explicit agreements, and both sides have the right to bargain, not just the money-giver.

Edited to add: If she’s not spending her money on the vacation, and it’s her boyfriend paying for it, they really have no right to tell her she can’t go, again, unless they agreed that she can’t go places with her boyfriend as a condition of the arrangement.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 2:33 pm

I wish this LW would come update on all these hypotheses we have. Because that would make our debating a lot easier.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 2:41 pm

Yeah, that would be illuminating. I would love to hear more details.

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 7:10 pm

To make your debating a little easier & a little more helpful for my situation, I will tell you this; I am 21, living with both of my italian (old fashioned) grandparents, my aunt who is very religious and in the process of becoming a nun and my father who just bought his own place but is coming back and forth between houses. I will eventually be moving in with him but until i finish college (in 2 months) I will still be living in my grandparents house since it is closer to my school and part-time job. My father is very awkward when it comes to talking about serious topics. I tried telling him in a text message that me and my bf were thinking of doing a vacation this summer and he texted back, “Yep.” Seriously.
My initial question to Wendy had nothing to do with money, so im sorry if it came off that way. That is not what my problem is, my problem is trying to figure out how to approach my family in a way that will allow me to feel comfortable enjoying my vacation with my man without creating too much awkwardness at home. I don’t want to be turned off of doing something I really want to do just because they have their own opinions. Its not like its a random guy either, i’ve been with my boyfriend for 4 years and we talk about our future all the time. Its just that im afraid of what they’re all going to say! Ugh.

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 7:23 pm

LW2, I’m sure you know DW conversations can take crazy tangents. So, nothing personal to you! I wouldn’t make a big deal out of this. You told your dad about the trip, he seems to be fine with it. So plan it. If someone else says anything, dads already cleared it. I hope you have a great time!

avatar jlyfsh February 7, 2014, 2:45 pm

The person accepting the free rent/etc is always going to be at the disadvantage in a way though, because the giving of free rent/etc is at the free will of the giver. And sure it might be crappy that they have certain rules or that they spring up new rules or whatever. But, that’s the disadvantage of living with another adult? I mean it would suck to have new rules thrown at you and to be told what to do, but there isn’t much you can do beyond talking to the person you’re living with and trying to renegotiate. And yeah both sides have the right to bargain but at the end of the day I still think the person doing the giving has the greater say. Their house, their rules. At least that’s how I grew up to look at things. It might be shitty, but that’s kind of the way it is.

avatar Ele4phant February 7, 2014, 12:26 pm

I do agree that whether or not I agree with their reasoning, it’s their home, and if this vacation could result in her getting kicked out and she literally can’t support herself yet, tough luck kid. And if this vacation isn’t cheap, well that’s kind of dumb to spend that money when it could be used to become independent, that’s a foolish use of that money.

But I do want to note, there’s a wide gulf between being on your own totally financially and totally living off family. She could be paying some amount of rent, she could be chipping on for bills/groceries, she could be contributing in non monetary ways like taking on a big chunk of house work or cooking.

So just because someone requires some amount of help doesn’t mean that they are signing away the or autunomy, or that money they are able to bring isn’t theirs.

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:28 pm

Yea, there could be some other deal going on which would make this different.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2014, 12:30 pm

Lets just all agree that this LW is acting like a total 90’s baby and move on.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2014, 12:39 pm

Who downvotes that? I’m hilarious!

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 12:42 pm


othy othy February 7, 2014, 12:56 pm

People who don’t read sarcasm. We really do need a sarcasm punctuation mark.

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 7:25 pm

I don’t appreciate this comment at all. I asked Wendy for help..so that makes me a 90’s baby? Lmao. You know absolutely nothing about me or my actual living situation so who are you to really judge? The point of me posting on this blog was to actually get some thoughts and advice on my situation from people who maybe have been through this type of thing before. Your comments are not helpful at all so you can ‘move on’ Thanks!

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 7:28 pm

It was a joke…lighten up!

avatar LW2 February 9, 2014, 11:53 pm

Lol jokes are funny & in my opinion iwannatalktosampson’s ‘joke’ wasnt funny & it also wasnt helpful to my situation, thats all im saying! 🙂

Miss MJ Miss MJ February 7, 2014, 8:47 pm

I think we found a down vote.

katie katie February 7, 2014, 2:22 pm

re: LW2- guys, she never even *mentioned* money. never. this isnt about money. this is about her family who is always up in her business.
LW2, if you want to take the vacation, take it. tell you family why and be happy and excited and hopefully they will be too. if they are assholes and pull any crap that there is to pull, file that away in your memory bank, i wouldnt take the vacation, and instead use all that righteous anger to save up and move out. but regardless of this whole vacation issue, i am very sorry you have a family who is so up your ass about your life. i actually hope that makes you angry just by itself, and you will move out sooner rather then later and be rid of them that way.

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 2:27 pm

For real.

avatar iseeshiny February 7, 2014, 3:42 pm


I read old fashioned, I think judgmental and shame-y. You can still have a good, close relationship with your family when you live twenty miles away. If you are still in school, maybe look into becoming an RA at the dorms? Or some other options that will get you out from under their thumb without having to burn bridges?

avatar jlyfsh February 7, 2014, 3:52 pm

And oftentimes those relationships are better when you DON”T live with them. They don’t get to know all things you’re doing they wished they could judge you for. And you don’t have to stress about it. I love my Mom and Grandmother to death, but I couldn’t handle them needing to know where and when I was going all the time. So I moved out! Our relationship improved vastly when I left!

avatar iseeshiny February 7, 2014, 4:02 pm

An excellent point!

kare kare February 7, 2014, 11:16 pm

jlyfish, I could not agree more! I used to resent how overprotective and nosy my Mom was. Now we get along great and do lunch once a week.

avatar LW2 February 7, 2014, 7:15 pm

Thank you for noticing that my post had NOTHING to do with money, and that a lot of these people debating about money and rent and making bizarre judgments are wasting their breath and time! Thanks for your comment though, I will definitely keep that in my memory bank!

avatar lets_be_honest February 7, 2014, 7:19 pm

I’m sorry lw2. Its all my fault. Maybe you think its charming I add imaginary details?

Fabelle Fabelle February 7, 2014, 5:47 pm

Oh god damnit, I was in a meeting all day (what is my life??) & I missed this whole sort-of relevant to me debate about going on vacation while living with your parents!! I’m going away for a weekend with Fabello Valentine’s weekend, & I actually debated with MYSELF whether or not that was a financially sound idea? (I’m paying for the hotel stay, he’ll probably pay for whatever dinners we eat out, because we’re going to literally the exact same place as we did a couple years ago, & he fronted the cost of that entire trip, so I’m sort of making it more even now by paying. BUT ANYWAY)

My parents “allow” me to live rent-free at their house… but I pay my own (personal) bills? I could afford to move out, I suppose, SOMEWHERE, but right now that’s not in the cards because I’ve chosen to wait until the end of the (school) year to see whether my boyfriend gets tenured at his job? (In which case, we’ll know he’ll be in x area for a long time, & we can decide to move somewhere without fear he’ll be fired) So… what do you guys think? (no, I’m really asking)

Fabelle Fabelle February 7, 2014, 5:52 pm

I put in a bunch of extraneous info, but basically (after reading through the conversation above): do you guys think I’m a bum?? (also my parents totally don’t give a fuck if I go on vacation, so the “strings” thing doesn’t apply) It’s basically like, I’m an adult living with other adults, with the understanding that I won’t pay rent until I actually move out? (& Fabello is in the same situation, which is pretty common for the area in which I live) I mean, I DO have that “I’m not a real adult :(” feeling sometimes, but I think the stances taken above were kinda out of proportion

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 5:56 pm

I don’t think you’re a bum, Fabelle! If what you’re doing works for you and for your parents, I don’t think it’s a problem. I would think it was weird and bum-ish if you were planning on doing that for the rest of your life (*ahem, my brother), or if you weren’t contributing to the household at all, but it doesn’t sound like either of those things are true.

Honestly, I think people should treat these situations are roommate type situations.

Fabelle Fabelle February 7, 2014, 6:03 pm

Yeah, that’s how I think of it, but I also FEEL like a bum regardless, for now? But it’s just interesting, everyone saying she should pay rent or move out, as if those are the only two choices, & that scraping by independently is the better choice (rather than relying on your parents in your adulthood). Obviously, moving out is the ~goal~ but like, my parents would not make me pay rent? I don’t know anyone whose parents makes them pay rent.

Also, speaking of brothers, my own brother didn’t move out until age 32 (& I was always like, “Eww, I’m never doing that!” but at the same time, it was sort of a model— he wasn’t bummish, he always worked full-time, & my parents stayed out of his business. So it’s like, okay, that happens, I guess.)

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 6:09 pm

I can see a lot of problems from living with your parents, like just feeling crappy about it, but if everyone agrees that it’s an okay thing for this point in your life, there’s really no reason to feel ashamed about it. You’re being smart, and they’re being really nice.

My brother quit his job at the grocery store at age 28 or so because he was being investigated at work for sexual harassment, and now at 34 (?) he never went back to work. He’s never once lived on his own. He lived with my parents (our mom and my dad) until he was 26 or so. Now he just lives with his dad at the house his dad inherited from his parents, because he’s never lived on his own either. They both just live off of his dad’s disability, and anytime one of us tells my brother that someone is hiring, he never applies or does anything. THAT is being a bum. You are in the clear, Fabelle. haha

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2014, 6:00 pm

Yeah you’re not a bum. Now if you complained about it, or didn’t want to listen to your parents rules (assuming they had rules for you, and they were dumb rules) then I would think you were a brat. But if I still lived with my parents (which I wish I could forever and ever) I would be in the same situation as you. It would just be like roommates. I know they wouldn’t put any restrictions on me.

avatar AliceInDairyland February 7, 2014, 7:45 pm

OMG I feel like a life fail after this discussion too…. :/

My parents are helping pay with my tuition for my professional school, and I’m responsible for my living expenses. I work as much as one possibly can while taking 25 credits. I live with my boyfriend (and his mom!) for free right now although I chip in for food and other expenses and I help out a lot around the house. And BF and I went on a 2 day vacation over winter break, which I have never done before in my life. And I know that my mom hates my boyfriend because she has her own issues…

What am I supposed to do? Go into debt that will take me over 30 years to pay off? We’re trying to be *smart* and *responsible* to save up enough money to move out on our own. I dunno, I just feel kind of like I’m apparently a horrible mooch because I let my parents help me out financially knowing full well that my crazy, emotionally abusive mom hates my boyfriend life choices.


Amanda Amanda February 7, 2014, 9:21 pm

Aww, Alice. You’re not a life fail. I’ve already said my point of view but I’ll boil it down to this: are you making an effort to be financially responsible*withing your means*? Seems like it to me. So, voila, not a life fail!

GatorGirl GatorGirl February 7, 2014, 7:17 pm

I don’t think you’re a bum. You’re living with in the means of your agreement with your parents, and they have no beef with you going on the trip, right? And i know they have no ah, objection? to yall cohabitating. So you’re not doing anything wrong, IMO. If they had an objection, or y’all had an agreement that you’d throw extra money towards household expenses, that would be another story. (But think you pay for groceries etc too so.) yeah, you’re totes fine to me.

avatar jlyfsh February 7, 2014, 7:41 pm

I think as long as you and your parents are happy and there isn’t any tension, issues, whatever it’s more than fine. I think the issue comes in more when people are unhappy in that living situation specifically with rules that are in place. My sister lives at home and is ‘ok’ living with my Mom but occasionally tries to complain about the unfairness of living with her rules. And I want to be like you don’t pay rent! You can’t complain you knew what the rules were. But, yeah you don’t seem like that. It seems like you and your family are happy so why change it if it’s not for a good reason?

theattack theattack February 7, 2014, 10:01 pm

Okay LW2, because your situation was taken the wrong way, let’s start over. My advice on communicating is to just tell your dad where you’re going and when you’ll be gone. Give him your itinerary so he knows you’re safe. Don’t ask permission, because you don’t need it. It sounds like he didn’t protest when you mentioned a vacation over text anyway, so just be as matter off fact as possible about your plans. Your dad can tell your grandparents, or you can mention it to them offhandedly too, whichever makes more sense to your family structure.

What Wendy Said for LW1 and LW3.

avatar LW2 February 10, 2014, 12:00 am

Thank you, this advice was much more helpful for me. I will try and find out more details about my actual vacation before I try and bring it up to the rest of my family. Thanks! 🙂