DEAR ABBY: Thank you for printing the letter from "Confused in California," whose daughter, "Victoria," and her boyfriend, "Albert," expect her to pay for the daughter's rent and expenses while she lives with him.
I had a delightful morning imagining what would happen if one of my daughters suggested I should pay her boyfriend for her room and board –- two years retroactive, no less! I fell on the floor laughing and hooting! -- NO CONFUSION HERE IN CANADA
DEAR NO CONFUSION: You're not the only person who was appalled at the suggestion. The chorus was unanimous. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Surely two years of sexual favors should be worth at least $8,000 on the open market -– to say nothing of the going rates for two years of cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc. "Confused in California" should be submitting an even larger bill to "Albert" for everything he has received from "Victoria" during the past two years. -- REALISTIC IN EUGENE, ORE.
DEAR REALISTIC: What a clever idea. It hadn't occurred to me to advise the mother to reverse the charges.
DEAR ABBY: I suspect that "Albert" is getting ready to dump "Victoria." When he was in love with her, he provided for her. Now he wants to be paid for the past "burden" because he's not in love with her anymore. I'd put money on odds that he's looking for a wife outside that relationship. -- ANNIE IN PASCO, WASH.
DEAR ANNIE: You could be right. Or perhaps the two lovers consider her mother to be an easy touch.
DEAR ABBY: My mother and I had an agreement when I turned 18. Even though I was legally an adult, as long as I lived on her dime, I would abide by her rules.
From the time I was 18 to the time I was 20, I paid my parents rent -- even though I was a full-time student. When I moved into my own apartment, I paid the bills. I was made aware that if you believe you're adult enough to make decisions your parents don't agree with, you had better be adult enough to pay your own way. Being a parent means that you love your child unconditionally. It does not mean that you have to open your checkbook unconditionally, too.
As a now 30-year-old woman, I am thankful my mother taught me that if you want to live life your own way, you can't do it from someone else's pocket. She and I have a relationship that most of my friends envy. She treats me as an adult and respects my decisions, even when she doesn't necessarily agree, because I don't ask her to pay for them. She tells me often that she's proud of me for being adult enough to take responsibility for my own life, and for my decisions. I'm proud of her for teaching me to do that.
I'm glad you told "Confused" to stick with her convictions. The sooner her daughter and her daughter's "fiance" understand that it is not Mom's job to support a lifestyle she doesn't approve of, the sooner both of them may grow up and start behaving like the adults they purport themselves to be. -- GRATEFUL DAUGHTER IN INDIANA
DEAR GRATEFUL DAUGHTER: I agree with you that "Victoria" and "Albert" have a lot of growing up to do. And it's not her mother's job to pay their tuition in the school of experience.