Dear Annie: I am involved with a wonderful man who has three grown children. The youngest, age 25, is still in college. He seems to have made college his career. Dad has put himself into debt putting his children through school.
This young man was failing his classes, so he decided to take a break and moved back into his father’s home six months ago. He does not have a job, nor is he putting any effort into getting one. He recently mentioned that he is planning to go back to school, and it seems that Dad is again going to pay for it.
I think it is time to cut the cord. What advice do you have for the 25-year-old who is not ready to become a productive citizen? What about the father who feels it is his responsibility to keep paying for his child’s education? And what about me? I want us to spend the rest of our lives together, but I have no desire to be financially and emotionally drained by a child who doesn’t want to grow up.
— Stuck Between
Dear Stuck: Obviously, a 25-year-old should get a job and help support himself. If Dad is willing to help pay for tuition, that’s fine, but Dad should not encourage dependency by being overly accommodating, allowing him to live rent-free while he sits around all day. His son needs to be held accountable.
But they aren’t asking for our advice. So this is for you: This is not your child, and you need to be careful about making demands. Your basic choice is to stay or to go. Are you willing to wait it out, hoping the young man will eventually get it together? Talk gently to your boyfriend about your concerns, helping him understand that the best gift he could give his son is to teach him to be independent. But don’t issue any ultimatums unless you are willing to follow through.
Dear Annie: For the past 20 years, my wife and I have hosted an annual summer weekend for a small group of friends. Several years ago, one of our guests brought along her 10-year-old cousin. She didn’t ask. The second time she did this, I asked her not to. She apologized, and I thought that was the end of it.
This year, however, she called the night before and announced that she and a friend would be there in the morning. I was seething. Had she asked, we would have said yes, but I resent the disregard for our efforts in cooking and preparing.
To my astonishment, all of the other guests thought I was overreacting and the woman hadn’t done anything wrong. Where has common courtesy gone? To me, her failure to ask for our OK was blatantly rude. My friends say I should apologize.
— Why Ask When You Can Just Take
Dear Why: Your friends are incorrect. No one should bring uninvited guests. It is considerate to ask beforehand whether it is convenient. You can explain this more thoroughly to your guests, saying they cannot bring anyone without asking you first. Or you can choose to consider it a compliment that your friends treat your home as their own, whether you like it or not.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Outcast Sister,” whose sisters resent that she is being paid to care for her mother. Please tell her that the best thing her family can do is see an eldercare lawyer or specialist.
When my mother passed away last year, I left my home and career to move in with my elderly father and help him continue his quality of life. My sisters and I consulted an eldercare lawyer, and we are glad we did. The laws are very complicated, and small mistakes now can be very costly later. Please tell your readers who are in similar situations to seek professional guidance.
— Prepared in Pennsylvania
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