Dear Harriet: I’m afraid my 30-year-old son is being left behind as an adult.
When I was 30, I owned a house and was paying all my bills on my own. My son doesn’t do any of that. Still living at home for God’s sake!
It works intermittently and does little to nothing. When I talk to him about building his life, he cries. He doesn’t do housework and basically stays in his room.
I know it’s not right to compare my son’s journey to mine, but I would have expected more from him at this age. How do I give him the boost he needs?
Don’t work, son
Dear Slacking Jr.: You empower your son by allowing him to live with you without working or contributing to the family.
What you can do is set house rules that include household chores and monthly financial contributions. If he doesn’t comply, fire him. Tough love may be the key to getting him to turn around.
You may want to get a psychological evaluation of him before he is fired to make sure he is not suffering from depression or another mental health crisis. If he is, ask him for the help he needs. Otherwise, help him by setting boundaries that require him to take action to own his life.
Don’t make comments about how different his life is from yours. Keep focusing on it. No comparisons.
Dear Harriet: I think I might stay with my girlfriend out of guilt. You have done so much for me and helped me through such difficult times in my life, but I feel like the magic is over.
I’m afraid she doesn’t feel the way I do and our breakup will be harder for her than I do. What should I do?
boyfriend is guilty
Dear Guilty Friend: You say the “magic” is gone. what do you mean by that? What is missing now? You described that your girlfriend helped you through difficult times. Now that your life is more stable, what do you feel you need and want?
Sometimes, when people survive a rough patch, they are ready to update their approach to life. This can mean doing it with the person who has been by your side for a long time, or going it alone. Understandably, you feel guilty for not being so sure about this relationship, especially since you say your girlfriend was pivotal in getting you to a better place. Before giving up, consider going to counseling.
First, talk to her and tell her how you feel. Thank her for everything she’s done for you, and admit that you’re not happy right now. Invite her to go to counseling with you to see if you can work things out. Give both of you a chance to see if you can spark some more “magic”. If not, you can choose to break up, and it won’t come as a shock to her because you two have been talking about your future together.
Harriet Cole is a lifestyle specialist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people reach and make their dreams come true. You may send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.