Dear Papa Bear,
I've just finished high school and will start university in September in another country. I am very excited, as I find the country I have been living in (and will continue to live in until September) is not very compatible with me (extremely hot throughout the year, very ill-mannered and selfish people etc.). The only downside is that my boyfriend of two years will remain here for some time before he can join me. We intend to continue the relationship regardless of my move.
Lately, I've been giving strong consideration to staying with my boyfriend and his mother when I return here for holidays or breaks, rather than my family's house. This is due to a variety of reasons, the main one being that I've always disliked how hectic living in a house with a ton of people can be (my family is quite large, even without some of my siblings living with my parents anymore). It is this, and the fact that whenever my older brother visits from abroad, he demands to be given rides to places and generally is a burden on my parents, and the fact that I do NOT wish to be a burden on my parents after I leave for university, that make me want to spend as little time as possible staying at my parents’ place. Perhaps I should spend a day or two there and then go stay with my boyfriend and arrange to meet my family for things like dinner every few nights or so? What do you think?
* * *
I think you already know the answer to your question, don't you? You want to stay with your boyfriend and then just visit your parents, who, apparently, are close by. Why not? You're 18 and old enough to decide such things. Are you asking because you think your parents might disapprove? Or are you just afraid your parents might be a little hurt if you don't stay with them?
* * *
I think because of both of those things. Also, my boyfriend isn't very close by. Thanks for getting back to me.
* * *
Well, my previous advice still stands, then. Although your concerns about your parents’ feelings are admirable, you are not going to be happy living in that home. If you can manage to live with your bf and still visit your parents, then that might actually even work better for them, too, because they won’t have the added stress of your being in their already overcrowded home. Put your feelings of guilt aside and remember that your feelings and needs are important, too. But do make an effort to visit your parents at least a couple times before you leave the country.
You’re at the age of adulthood now, Kitty, and have the right to start living your own life. This is not selfish of you; it’s something you need to do to grow up as a human being. As long as you are not selfish to the point of being totally inconsiderate of other’s, you’re fine.
Good luck with your move. I hope things work out for you!
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.