DEAR ABBY: I've been dating this really great guy, "Josh," for about two months. I really like him, but I don't like his mother. Josh and I are both 20 and live with our parents.
Josh's mother is super-controlling. Whenever we go out, she has to know where we are going and what time he will be home. And she calls MY cell phone during the date to check up on him. She's always calling me to try to find out where he is.
I really like Josh, but I'm tired of dating his mother, too. How should I handle this without hurting anyone? -- TIRED OF DOUBLE-DATING
DEAR TIRED: Turn off your cell phone, or leave it at home when you go out with Josh. His mother is having trouble accepting the fact that her son is no longer a child –- but that shouldn't be your problem. Josh is overdue for a talk with his mother about boundaries.
If her behavior bothers Josh as well, perhaps it's time that he became financially independent and moved into his own place. As long as he lives under his parents' roof, he is still their "child" and will be treated accordingly.
DEAR ABBY: I have been living with "Neal" for three years. Neal works from home for only a few hours a day. He pays all the bills, so I don't have a problem with his choice of work. What bothers me is I have no time to myself because he's always there.
Neal demands so much attention from me that I can't even read a recipe without him interrupting. I am not a wimp, but Neal has the more dominant personality and controls what we do with our time. At least it feels that way to me. But according to Neal, I don't give him ENOUGH time.
Since I moved in, I have not achieved any personal goals or even given as much love and attention to others as I used to. I rarely pursue interests of my own and almost never spend time doing things I want to do. I feel like I'm losing my individuality.
I love Neal, and I'm not even sure he is the problem. I think I need to be more assertive about where my life is going.
Is there a book or support group for someone like me? Am I just depressed? Obviously I don't have the drive to pursue my own interests. I will appreciate any advice you can give. -- LOST IN HIS WORLD
DEAR LOST: You ask if you are depressed because you don't have enough drive to pursue your own interests. I think it may be the other way around -- you don't pursue your own interests because you're depressed.
You say you "don't mind" Neal being home all the time because he pays the bills. Why is it that you aren't working? It would give you a degree of independence and self-determination that seems to be lacking. Assertiveness classes could help you, and books on co-dependency could also give you some insight.
Since you are not married to Neal, you might also consider moving out until you can establish where he ends and you begin before he smothers you completely.
DEAR ABBY: How do you tell your daughter and son-in-law not to call or come over? I have been ripped off by them more times than I can count. I have been cussed out and yelled at on the phone. They make my life a living hell.
My daughter calls other people to see if they got a dollar more than she did for a gift. When her name shows up on the caller ID, I won't answer because I know what is ahead of me. I can't take much more of this. Please tell me what to do. -- A NERVOUS WRECK
DEAR NERVOUS: There comes a time when a person has done enough, and you appear to have reached that point. Do not shell out one penny more, and if your daughter shows up at your door -– don't answer.
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