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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter Living With Boyfriend Doesn't Get Mother's Support

DEAR ABBY: I am 25, and my boyfriend and I have been together since high school. We have now decided to take our relationship to the next level by living together.

When I brought up the idea to my mother a few months ago, she was against it. She said if I do this it will change my relationship with her. My boyfriend and I are college graduates, have good jobs and are self-supporting. If things work out between us, we will most likely be getting married next year.

I am an only child and I don't want to hurt my mother or have our relationship change, but I want to be able to live my own life. I would like her support, but don't know how to tell her what we have decided or if it would be worth breaking the special bond between my mother and me. -- ONLY CHILD IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR ONLY CHILD: Stop beating around the bush and tell your mother what your plans are. At 25, you are old enough -- and this relationship has gone on long enough -- that moving in together is a natural progression toward a permanent commitment. Her resistance is based on fear of what your independence from her will mean -- to her.

However, if you truly can't decide whether cutting the umbilical cord is worth it, then keep things as they are -- and remain her little girl forever.