DEAR ABBY: I am having a struggle with my parents. I am 25 years old and still living at home.
I started seeing a man about a year ago. My parents objected to this for many reasons. He is 12 years older than I am, and they say his limited educational background could bring me down socially, which would lead to a thousand other problems. They seemed to be very concerned about how we would be perceived as a "couple." Neither of these things has been an issue for this man or for me.
Well, my father began placing restrictions on the amount of time I spent with this man. I had to be home by 12:30, and if I wasn't, my parents would track me down via cell phone. I could not go to this man's apartment because what would people say? I finally got fed up and reminded my parents that I'm an adult, capable of making my own decisions.
Abby, I have always been there for my family, always sacrificed my time for all of them. I went to college to uphold the family name and made something of myself so the family would be proud of me. Now I don't know what to do.
I love this man and want to see if we have a future. I see no harm in testing the water. But my parents are impossibly stubborn, and once they believe they are right, it would take an act of God to change their minds. I know it's hard for parents to let go, but I feel they won't even give me the benefit of the doubt. I would welcome any advice you can offer. -- HURTING IN ILLINOIS
DEAR HURTING: Since you still live with your parents, in their eyes you are still answerable to them. Of course, children (even adults) should respect their parents, but in your case, they are trying to run your life. At 25, you do not need your parents' permission to date a man, and you must establish your independence regardless of who you eventually choose to marry. It's time to consider moving out.