I have a job and car and informed them that I was looking into an apartment this coming summer (which I would pay for entirely). My boyfriend and I discussed the idea and decided it was best for our relationship and finances for us to move in together. They absolutely rejected the thought of me “wasting money on an apartment” and then developed an idea to buy a house as an investment and I could live rent-free with a roommate! I have a few problems with that: 1) I am sick of roommates because, truth be told, I am a clean freak and have had my share of dirty, disrespectful ones; 2) It is so obvious my parents are doing this to partially control me 1,000 miles away; 3) I want to live with my boyfriend, whom I practically already room with in his apartment (although I am still technically in a dorm).
I tried to bring up the idea of my boyfriend being my house “roommate” and he would pay rent (which we agreed to split), but all my father could say to the idea was that he would “try to remain neutral” and my mother literally changed the subject on the phone and IGNORED what I said. To top it off, my mother and brother have decided they are allergic to my beloved high school dog and want to send her to live with me once they have bought me a house! While I love and miss my dog and would actually want to take her, this is incredibly manipulative to me — it is probably the one thing they could have said to sway me after I tried to talk my way out of the house.
I wouldn’t mind it so much if they were less pushy with me and would listen to my concerns: I’m not sure I want to do yard work or remodeling (they want a “fixer-upper”); I DON’T WANT A FEMALE ROOMMATE; I want to live with my boyfriend! The more I try to get them to see the practical side of it or consider what I want, the more rushed and pushy they are about me finding a house for them to buy! I’m only 19 — I’m barely ready for a lease, let alone a house with a roommate and responsibilities I may not want! Help! — House Arrest
Absolutely, your parents are trying to control you and as long as they are paying for any part of your lifestyle, that’s a power that they have. They can threaten to stop paying your tuition and anything else they’re covering if you don’t do as they want. Are you prepared for that? If not, you should continue living in a dorm where your parents won’t force the responsibility of home maintenance and dog-care on you.
If you are prepared to take on the financial responsibility of your lifestyle — tuition, books, rent — then tell your parents exactly that. Be firm and let them know that while you can’t stop them from buying a house, you have no intention of moving into it. Whether they like it or not, you are moving into an apartment with your boyfriend this summer that you will pay for yourself. If they want to buy a house as an “investment,” you won’t stop them but they’ll need to find another renter for it since you have no desire to take on the responsibility they’re asking of you. Explain to them how grateful you are that they’re paying your tuition, but be prepared that they may “cut you off” if you “disobey” their wishes by moving into an apartment of your own this summer … with your boyfriend.
My gut feeling is that your parents like to “cry wolf” by saying they won’t pay for this or that but then cave when push comes to shove. That may be the case here — they may threaten to stop paying for your college if you move in with your boyfriend, but the threat could be an empty one. HOWEVER, you cannot depend on that. You have to accept that that’s a very real threat. Before you tell them that you’re prepared to take on the cost of college yourself, you need to make sure you actually are prepared for that, and you need to do some soul-searching to figure out if that risk is worth the freedom it would grant you.
While it may not always seem like it, having parents pay your bills allows for a different kind of freedom — freedom from anxiety over finances and loan debt, for one thing (something you may not even appreciate until you’re out in the “real world”). But every freedom comes with a cost and you need to decide if this particular freedom is worth the freedom of deciding where and with whom to live.
Finally, remember: In about three years, you’re going to be a college graduate with a lot more freedom and a lot more responsibilities than you have now. If you’re “barely ready for a lease” now, why push it? Enjoy dorm life — for better or worse — for another year, and keep spending as much time as you’d like at your boyfriend’s place without the pressure of “living together.” Sounds like a win-win to me.
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