I have a working theory that you get permission to be an adult. Your parents decide when you stop getting help from outside places, like the first time they force you to make your own doctor’s appointment, for example. But even if you have to make the move to make it on your own, it’s comforting knowing that they’re still there to call for every stupid question you may have. My boyfriend, however, uses his for so much more than that.
He’s never even had a long-term job.
Look, I’m not one to judge because every situation is different, but my boyfriend is in his mid-20s and has only worked a few summer jobs that his parents got for him. It’s not like he doesn’t have ambition; in fact, I love how much he talks about the future and his dreams. I love that he takes classes for art, something he loves and wants to make a career of. However, he has no force pushing him into the realities of adulthood and working (literally) toward it.
They still pay his rent.
This is probably another reason he doesn’t feel the need to work for more than three months at a time. But we live together and split bills and food and just about everything, which makes it a little bit awkward if I’m going to be short on rent. It’s like I’m really asking his mother to spot the money, you know? Not to mention that the last thing I need is his parents knowing how much of a mess I really am.
He calls them every day.
I mean it, every. single. day. If he doesn’t call them, they call him, or at least his mother does. Which would be fine if the phone calls didn’t last for at least an hour. I can’t even talk to my parents about my job for five minutes without losing my mind. Maybe I just don’t understand it but it boggles my mind to the point of frustration.
They still let him sleep all day.
Yes, I said let him. You wouldn’t believe some of the things he still asks permission for. So, when he visits them on holiday every few months, the week of long-distance FaceTime calls tend to be characterized by him still laying in bed at 3 p.m. Not that I expect him to be out of bed early on a vacation, but there comes a time you have to leave behind your teenage sleep schedule.
They still have him use their credit card.
Sure, this doesn’t happen constantly, but it happens enough that I’m undoubtedly aware. In fact, he mostly uses it to cheat his way out of budgeting. Just last week he used their card to buy himself a new $60 video game he couldn’t afford that week.
He tells his parents everything.
It’s not just his parents who feed into this dynamic. On his nightly phone calls, he manages to tell his parents more information than they would ever need to know. Whether it be about that new video game or about our friend’s personal lives, it manages to come up. You can imagine how awkward it was when his mother tried to give me advice on my medical problems over the phone.
It makes me not want to meet them.
I’m scared. Not the normal ‘what if they don’t like me’ kind of fear because I already know they probably won’t. I’m more scared that I won’t be able to keep myself from saying something about how they treat my boyfriend. If he’s so wildly different on the phone with them, I couldn’t imagine spending time at their house. I don’t think I’d be able to ignore it if I suddenly learned his mom still cut the crust off his sandwich.
Maybe I’m a little bit jealous
. At most, I talk to my father once a month, maybe twice on special occasions. Honestly, I don’t really have a problem with that most of the time; that’s just the way our relationship is. But maybe I do wish I could get help with rent sometimes or not feel the need to cry when I think about making another student loan payment.
I’m not sure if I should bring it up.
I can complain all I want in my head but the chance of me actually saying something is slim to none. It’s not a deal breaker; I love my boyfriend. There is nothing truly wrong with his character and I don’t expect him to change his relationship with his parents for me, but he won’t ever be able to truly grow up unless his parents let him. Maybe I’ll just let it go for now and he’ll see it by himself. All I can do is hope for the best.
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