My daughter wants to move out and in with her boyfriend, and I think it would be a giant mistake.
posted by primate moon to Human Relations (66 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
- I am not suffering from empty-nest sadness; she's gone much of the time anyway, and I am completely emotionally OK with her moving out.
- I have no moral or other problems with the idea of her living with her boyfriend.
My daughter recently completed her first semester of college (while living at home), did very badly, was very unhappy, and recently made the decision not to return to school, at least not for a while. I'm unhappy about this as I have learned first-hand how very difficult life is without at least a bachelors degree, and how hard it can be to return to school at an older age. But I know it's her decision to make, and I support her.
She now works close to full-time at a department store, a job she adores, and makes decent money (for her age and skill level--above minimum wage with a small commission). She spends a lot of time (perhaps 4 or 5 nights out of 7) staying with her slightly older boyfriend of a year and a half, who shares a small apartment with his student brother. The boyfriend is a nice guy who treats her respectfully.
My daughter has always itched to be a grown-up, living independently, even as a little kid. Now she's desperate to move in with her boyfriend. We have talked about it several times now, with me very strongly discouraging her, citing the financial realities of living on your own. We live in the Boston area, where rents are astronomical, and where she intends to stay. After every conversation she has conceded that I was right, and it seems to be a bad idea. Then a week or two later, she forgets all the arguments and becomes determined once again to move out.
Boyfriend recently lost his job as a cook and is looking for another. Also, his lease is ending soon and the rent has been increased, so he and his brother feel they can't stay in their current place. Brother is moving in with friends, so boyfriend needs to find a place by September 1st, and is currently unemployed. My daughter is feeling his pressure as her own pressure to get an apartment with him.
Again, I presented the financial facts to her: she makes only about $21,000 (with no job security, paid time off, or benefits), the cheapest place she could find for them will cost at least $1000, the 1/3 rule for housing costs, moving expenses (at the very least 2 months rent and stuff for the new apartment) and the other expenses of life. I am also trying to instill in her the important need to save money, especially if she does want to return to school down the road. Not to mention that the boyfriend may very well not have a job by September 1st, and even if he does, he may not even get his first paycheck by mid or end of August). She once again conceded that I'm right, but I know she's not truly convinced. Her emotions are pulling her away from the facts, and her emotions are very strong and becoming irresistable. She's treating the situation as one where I'm not "allowing" her to move out. She told me her friends are rallying round and telling her to "just move out!" I have tried to explain that that's not the case, that I'm trying to convince her of the reality of the situation, not impose some discipline on her. I have even told her that the boyfriend can move in with us, either temporarily until he finds a job and a new apartment, or on a more permanent or indefinite basis. Understandably, he's very reluctant to do this, and I don't blame him at all. But our apartment is set up in a way that would allow them a great deal of privacy, and even my daughter admits that I'm a very understanding and liberal parent who wouldn't interfere with them. They could share a bedroom away from the rest of the house and even have another room to socialize, also with lots of privacy.
While she is generally a very cheery girl, very intelligent, caring, compassionate, helpful, and sensible in so many ways, she has a history of and still has problems with regulating her emotions and impulse control. She can feel very, very happy and very, very sad, and can get overwhelmed by her feelings. When she feels a certain way, she often feels completely unable to resist those feelings and act on them. While she has done very well learning techniques to cope with this and learn regulating skills (DBT), she still struggles with this. And I see the current situation as another instance of her emotions (creating an ideal, perfect grown-up life as a couple) feeling irresistable.
What can I say to her to help her dial down the emotions and not just feel like her mean mommy isn't letting her do what she wants?