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Living with Boyfriend/Girlfriend in College -your thoughts-would you decline to support?

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I don't know that the discomfort is limited to questions of morality. Maybe I think the guy is bad news or the girl has an untreated mental illness or maybe they've only been dating for a month or two.

 

Well in that case, I think my decision would be much easier!

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The way this thread has gone.

 

Sigh...

 

So the original intent was to ask what the parents on this board would do, not decide to judge each other's life choices or get snarky about other people's relatives, s/o's, and such.

 

Here is what I would do.

 

I have a 19.5 year old. While I don't think he's mature enough to be in a committed relationship yet albeit marriage or co-habitation outside of marriage, or even engaged, I also don't think that it is right for me to micromanage his adult life, and I wouldn't be looking to do something to irreparably harm our relationship by getting on my high horse about it either. Short of doing something unlawful or dangerous, both of which would be show stoppers because we have our own well being and that of his brothers to consider, I would not pull the support that I have already agreed to even if I don't like the co-habitation arrangement.

 

I would expect that handing over the reins of his life to him or to any of my children as they become adults means that I have to allow them to make their own decisions. I'd rather keep the lines of communication open and keep the relationship on good footing so if something does go wrong we are there to be a safety net.

 

My parents tried this crud with dh and I. He had an opportunity for a job in Japan for a year, so in our case we weren't looking to move in together, but to move the timeline of the marriage up so that my moving expenses - as his legal dependent - would be paid. They had a HUGE cow, HUGE. So bad that we didn't go because dh didn't want to be the reason they cut me off. I was okay with them cutting me off. If they wanted to treat a 20 year old like a two year old, I was more than happy to walk away from the tantrum and not look back. 

 

Pick your battles. There are A LOT worse things than this. A lot worse.

 

My church preaches against such living arrangements. It preaches against all kinds of things. Doesn't mean I get to dictate that to my adult child. But if my young adult has entered college under the agreement that if GPA X is maintained, X dollars flow from us in order to assist in getting the education that will ultimately lead to said young adult becoming self sufficient, then I am not going to renege on that because I don't like a lifestyle choice that is perfectly legal nor dangerous and especially if I didn't make it known up front that this was part of the parent/adult child financial contract.

 

 I also consider it unethical to attempt to manipulate another person's moral code with the giving or the withholding of money. That's just my personal code of ethics. Obviously a number of factors comes to play in the development of that.

 

 

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 "Heck no - we don't pay for you to get l**d" and everywhere in between.  

 

This is what I suspect is the number one thing on the minds of those who strongly object.  The reasoning is a little dumb considering they certainly do not need to live together to get "l**d".

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This is what I suspect is the number one thing on the minds of those who strongly object.  The reasoning is a little dumb considering they certainly do not need to live together to get "l**d".

 

yes, plus the assumption that the 'casual friends/acquaintances/roommates' aren't sometimes friends with benefits....

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Not sure how old he is, but you are saying he is an adult even if you fully financially support him and you would have no input on his living situation? 

 

 

 

Yes, he is an adult, nearly 19.  He can do whatever he wants.  He can go get a job and support himself.  We wish him to go to college, and he wishes to go to college, so we offered to pay what we can.  He got a scholarship and a small academic job, and we are choosing to pay room and board for four years if he stays in college. Beyond that, he can live his life as he sees fit.  (We don't have a GPA requirement, but if he loses his scholarship, we'll be hard-pressed to make up the difference.)  If he quits school and gets a job, he can likely pay his own expenses.

 

We do have a close relationship, so if I feel like he is making a huge mistake, I feel like I can tell him.  He would listen to my opinion, but he is definitely the type to make his own decisions.  Short of he or his roommates doing something like dealing drugs or running a meth lab, I don't see going back on my deal to help pay for college expenses.

 

Every family is different, just sharing our views.

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I know like four people who DIDN'T ever lived with their boyfriend or girlfriend before getting engaged, almost all in college. Graduate school, for sure. Crossing all religious/non lines.

 

Oh except for the people I know that got married right after high school I guess.

 

Anyway, I'm in favor. I can't imagine marrying someone without living with them. And I don't think being in college has much, if anything, to do with it. The "I'm subsidizing my kids life" stuff strikes me as weird.

 

If you want money to come between your relationships with your adult kids, it for sure will.

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I just have to shake my head at any folks who actually think that not living together = no sex. If the couple is at the point of considering living together, the parents are almost certainly *already* "paying for her to get laid" in terms of providing a living space, wherever she is.

 

I think the objection sometimes is more "I don't want people to *know* you are having sex because it will reflect badly on me in my social circle." That was my father's objection to my living with my husband before marriage, though I was 30, and had long been self-supporting, so it was a different situation. In his case, he tried threatening public shaming and to withhold any financial, physical, or emotional support toward our wedding unless I moved out immediately. Didn't work and we're at 22 years in.

 

I've been thinking this since I started reading.  No matter what the actually legal/lease living arrangements are, doesn't mean they aren't spending a lot of nights at each others places anyway.

 

My oldest just graduated college.  We are theoretically within driving distance (although it's a crappy, dangerous drive at all times of day.) she was able to live on campus as long as she paid for it herself.  She was allowed to use her Stafford Loans to pay toward it, then we paid it and she paid us back over the course of the year.  She picked her living arrangements (based on the schools rules) each year.  She was in dorms two years, in on-campus apartments two years.  Her campus does have co-ed apartments for upper classman so living with a boyfriend was theoretically possible.  The rules would have stayed the same - we pay room and board, she pays (back) for her housing. 

 

I think her father would have wanted to cut her off if she lived with a boyfriend but since it was by court order that he was paying toward her tuition, not much he could have done about it.

Now that she has graduated, she wants to move in with the same friends she lived with her senior year.  She has 3 rent-free living arrangements to chose from so we will no longer front the money for housing.  When she starts graduate school (hopefully in a year) we may offer her some help depending on the circumstances.

 

 

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What does attending grad school have to do with getting married? Plenty of married folks attend grad school.

 

You are correct that she could be the one dragging her feet on marrying, but it's been my observation that >90% of the time it is the girlfriend who very much wants to marry and the boyfriend who wants to keep his options open.

 

For my friends in this situation, they wanted to finish school and get their careers established before their parents started harassing them about grandchildren. Which is what usually happens when you get married. People start asking when you are going to start having kids.

 

And for other friends, they had no desire for the legal paperwork, ever. Including the women. I was one of them. Until DS was three and having the same last name made life simpler. But it was not a religious decision, and we were committed regardless.

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So you make assertions and won't support them yourself. Ok, I will do the work.

 

 

I cant link pdfs on this device but the articles from the state gov are written in easy language and pop right up in a search. Doesnt cost you more than 30 seconds of work to follow the leads given. If I am doing the digging, and providing a professional summary rather than leads in a casual conversation, there is a fee.

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I know like four people who DIDN'T ever lived with their boyfriend or girlfriend before getting engaged, almost all in college. Graduate school, for sure. Crossing all religious/non lines.

 

Oh except for the people I know that got married right after high school I guess.

 

Anyway, I'm in favor. I can't imagine marrying someone without living with them. And I don't think being in college has much, if anything, to do with it. The "I'm subsidizing my kids life" stuff strikes me as weird.

 

If you want money to come between your relationships with your adult kids, it for sure will.

 

I didn't live with my DH before marrying him, but I don't consider that ideal.  I really was nervous about not knowing what it was like to live with him.  Circumstances just made that pretty much impossible so I took my chances.  At least it worked out!

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I think it is a very rare 20 year old who is ready for that kind of thing, don't you?

 

But you are right that some 35 year olds aren't even ready.

Oh I just bet you're going to start a thread on this forum now saying that twenty year olds are VERY RARELY prepared to get married.

 

Nope. You won't because you know like a fifth if the board married young. Iirc there was a thread about it

Or maybe I'm thinking of the "ppl said I shouldn't bug I did and it was great" thread. It wasn't called that...shoot I forget.

 

Anyway, I digress.

 

The point is you're not going to do that. But you're saying this. Which is essentially the same thing (except that marriage us presumably even more serious?)

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I didn't live with my DH before marrying him, but I don't consider that ideal. I really was nervous about not knowing what it was like to live with him. Circumstances just made that pretty much impossible so I took my chances. At least it worked out!

Ohhhh it's five now :-D

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I revised the post to reflect this point, and struck the word "Christian" and added "anti-cohabitation view", because, as you rightly say, those views can be held for a variety of reasons.

 

Your second point is a good one. 

Few people seem to change their minds, once they have decided something, and I would say that is more true for teens and young twenties, you know, the years when you know everything and are invincible. 

 

 

Here's where I disagree with you. I don't think these years are years "when you know everything and are invincible." I think these are the years when maturity and experience inspires the kind of courage and natural autonomy to exert increasing degrees of independence. It's natural, and I would submit it's a good thing. Not agreeing with a parent, even over "big" issues like sexual behavior, shouldn't be interpreted as a power play, control, rebellion, stubbornness or anything else, IMO. That perspective implies the adult is right and the young adult is wrong. But why? Why is the older person right by default? Why can't the older person be expected to change their mind if that's more in compliance with reality? Why is it not acceptable for two individuals to come to an agreement that while they maintain the same general moral value, their behavior may differ and that doesn't betray this value.

 

TM, I grew up in a family like your friend's. There was one message told our entire lives (unconditional love, blah blah blah), and another one we learned through action (conditional affection). You may think there's a difference between love and affection, but I can tell you from my and my siblings' point of view, there is no functional difference. Feeling love for someone but withholding affection feels identical to having love withheld. 

 

What I would do: After freaking out (not about cohabitation, I'm another one who thinks it's valuable, but about watching my kid embrace a behavior I find antithetical to my own moral code), I'd start a long-term, mini-sectioned conversation. We'd talk about morals, mine, theirs, what our cores really are, why they are important. I've done this with a very rebellious child, and over the months and years have come to conclude that while we go about our lives in very different ways, the fact is we do share the same deeply held moral beliefs. We just express them differently. This has led to a mutual respect that not only fosters a strong relationship, but it helps when surprises come up. 

 

I would not tether a gift like college tuition to compliance to my comfort zone, which is how this feels to me. It's how my parent's relationship feels to me and my siblings, and it's deeply hurtful. It's manipulative, selfish, and messes with one's self esteem. No doubt my parents would be appalled to hear this as this was never their intent. Nevertheless, a lifetime of experiencing a certain message makes that message stand out loud and clear, even if they didn't know that was the message they were conveying. Even if it wasn't the message they wanted us to take away from our relationship. But the message can't be retracted and our relationship is not nearly as strong as I'm sure they'd like. They mind, I don't. I've learned to emotionally divorce myself from them to some extent and it's much better this way. They can't hurt me, and if your friend doesn't want her children to emotionally distance themselves from her, she might want to consider rethinking her approach. 

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Marriage offers legal protections that cohabitation doesn't. That was the reason that gay and lesbian couples fought so hard to gain civil recognition of their unions.

 

My sister is 45 years old, has raised a disabled child to adulthood as a single mother, and has been working as a doctor for decades. So I figure she is a functional adult, and I'm pretty sure she has thought about those things.

Edited by regentrude
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"None of my business" is such a weird phrase. I wouldn't consider it none of my business because my kids' lives will always be my business in some ways, even when they're totally independent and any influence I have is up to them. I have zero moral issues with my kids having s*x at that age. Or choosing to co-habitate.

 

Dh and I lived together before marriage. I briefly lived with another partner before dh. Virtually every adult, married, single, remarried, etc. I know has lived with a partner at some point in a situation where they were not married.

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I lived with my now-ex partner for three out of four years of university. My parents were giving me some money at the time. They had no problem, they liked the guy and often visited us. Honestly, the reason for them not to give me money was that I wasn't working hard, not my living situation.

 

I now live in sin with my partner of 20 years while in my third year of a graduate degree :) My parents still give me money sometimes, but not on a regular basis :)

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I think I would treat this much like I would other roomate questions.

 

The fact is that even if they don't live together it is up to the student to make decisions about sexual activity, and people do not need to live together to have sex.  So in and of itself, I can't see policing that.

 

However - I do think that living with a boyfriend/girlfriend without it being a fairly serious stable relationship is unwise, to the point that ifsomeone is sure enough about it to make it a good idea they could concievably get married without it being a bad decision.  With university students, my worry would be that such a decision, taken apart from a long-term commitment, would cause trouble with school if things went poorly, and also might be entered into more as a way to save money than anything else - an "easy" roommate solution.

 

Whether I would withhold funds for a decision I didn't particularly approve of on this, or on another roommate decision,  would probably depend on how very bad the decision was.  It's possible but probably not likely.

 

ETA - my observation has been that when a roommate situation that is also romantic goes bad, it tends to degrade a lot more than other types of roommate problems do.  Especially if they have to carry on living together.

Edited by Bluegoat
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Of course people date. I would not encourage my college student to move in with a guy she just met. In that case, the short duration of the relationship would concern me, not the fact that she is moving in with somebody.

But after a certain time of dating, the couple may want to move in together.

 

Yes, this. 

 

Moving in together when you've only been dating a few months is moving way too fast. Which is all the more reason to pay the bills and make sure your child has an education to fall back on if this turns out to have been a grooming technique.

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Ok. Well then, some parents of any persuasion are against cohabiting. These seem to be largely Christian, but I'm sure there are exceptions. So let's examine that.

 

What if you disapprove of a college student living with someone while still so very young (say teens, early 20's, and still fully financially dependent), leaving the Christian label out of it?

 

What do you do?

I think it can be very risky to attempt to use money to control the lives of adult children. If you're willing to pay for a college student to live as an adult in an apartment, then stopping payment because they now want to live with a significant other seems very controlling. Either you think they can handle living in an apartment or you don't. Now if the SO was abusive or controlling, etc, my answer would be very different. If it's a heterosexual relationship, I'd also be talking to them about using multiple forms of very effective birth control. Although of course they don't have to be living together for that talk to be needed.

 

I mean if they're living with friends, how do you know they aren't randomly hooking up with someone different every weekend? Or if they have a SO, having that person over to spend the night several times per week? Are you randomly checking up on them to assure they aren't going against your values?

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That must be regional?  Because in many places, common law marriages have the same protections (and once same sex marriages were recognized, they too can be common law) 

 

It does vary, and you have to be careful to know just how.  People end up surprised, in a bad way, by assuming too much or too little.

 

While in Canada common law relationships have legal protections and responsibilities attached, they aren't always the same as those attached to marriage.  Commonly property held before marriage doesn't become joint, for example, in a common law relationship, and property in the name of one partner that is acquired after may not either.

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Ok, that sounds pretty judgmental and dismissive.

But it sounds as if at the core, you will agree to cover college costs (class costs?) regardless of decisions your child makes, no matter how good or bad, damaging or productive. I actually agree with that.

Maybe. I can imagine exceptions, such as substance abuse, physical abuse, and maybe a few others.

 

But I also feel that no relationship is to be all benefit to the recipient without corresponding obligation. I mean, think about it. Your spouse, your boss, your customers, your parents, your contractors - I can't think of anyone who does not have a corresponding obligation to you in exchange for your obligation. It isn't merely to complete the thing contracted, no matter what other damage you do. The person still has to use good judgment, not damage or intentionally hurt you, your reputation, your home, your property, your finances.

 

In the case of a child, you have a greater obligation that you do not have in the other cases (except maybe spouse, upon occasion I can imagine) to try to protect him against poor judgments. The brain isn't fully formed until the mid-twenties, and you still have responsibilities.

But many people get married before their mid-twenties and even have children. Personally, I think getting married young so that you can have church and parent sanctioned sex is far more risky than living together. Especially if you start bringing children into the mix.

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This is true but isn't often on the minds of twenty-somethings. I think that's why you'll see more and more committed couples delaying marriage until it seems beneficial enough to go through the inconvenience of the ritual. They just aren't seeing that it's worth it yet. I'll bet the vast maturity end up marrying in their 30s or 40s as their mortality begins to stalk them.

 

Yeah - I know quite a few people that have followed that pattern.  Often it seemed based in practical factors - kids or pensions or aquiring significant assets - although I think in a lot of cases they also came to see those things as having a kind of substance in the relationship that made it more than just a legal decision.

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OP, you seem to start a lot of threads about how or whether to control adult children. That's one way to approach our kids' transition to adulthood, but for this particular issue I have an easier way:

 

My children may live at home, with free room and board, while they are in college or apprenticeships. That's all I can afford to offer them; we have no college money, or funds for living expenses away from home. (We can't afford to support significant others or roommates, either, in our little finished garage apartment. This offer is only extended to actual children of ours.)

 

So if they need or want to move away for school or careers, or if they would like to live with someone other than their parents and siblings, it'll have to be on their own dime because we have no dimes!

 

And if they are adults and it's their dime, they'll do what they want. They know my beliefs and opinions; due to homeschooling I had plenty of time to rub off on them as much as I possibly could. There comes a point where I need to trust them to be the good people that I worked so hard to raise. And if I don't agree with everything they are doing, I need to understand that I am no longer in control and I need to stop trying to parent adults. I'll have to appeal to them on a different level, hopefully with mutual respect.

 

Honestly, sometimes it really bothers me how much my children are going to have to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps in an economy that doesn't seem suited for that. OTOH, sometimes I'm very grateful that I don't even have the option of being tempted to control them with apron strings or purse strings. They are expected to grow up and make their own way, as full-fledged adults, as soon as they are able to support themselves.

Well, perhaps I start them because I'm in a mom group for those who have kids of that age. Interesting scenarios come up there.  You are free to move to another thread if you find it tiresome.  I get that it isn't for everyone at this time, but I often read things that aren't of any particular validity to me at the moment, so I thought some others might too. 

 

I do understand the way you have chosen to handle this, and I think it might actually be best, honestly.  

I agree with you about the economy.  It was sure a lot better to enter it in the 80's than it is today.  I hope the job situation improves soon. 

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Well, perhaps I start them because I'm in a mom group for those who have kids of that age. Interesting scenarios come up there.  You are free to move to another thread if you find it tiresome.  I get that it isn't for everyone at this time, but I often read things that aren't of any particular validity to me at the moment, so I thought some others might too. 

 

I do understand the way you have chosen to handle this, and I think it might actually be best, honestly.  

I agree with you about the economy.  It was sure a lot better to enter it in the 80's than it is today.  I hope the job situation improves soon. 

 

I didn't say the thread was tiresome. If it was, I would have moved on. We all are interested in these topics here on the college board because we are all in a group (this group) of those who have kids this age, right?

 

My point was not that your thread was boring but that there's a way to approach the relationship with young adults that is less adversarial and punitive, and in my opinion the other way leads to more peace and happiness for both parties. It doesn't have to always be framed as "how can I make him do what I want in this scenario even though he's no longer a kid?" We can start from a different assumption.

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I guess my question is the objection to cohabitation or sex? Because there is a lot of sex going on out there without cohabitation. (Says the mom who slips condoms in her son's luggage every time he goes back to college.)

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The only reason I didn't live with hubby before we got married was because I lived in a different country.  My parents would have far preferred for us to just live together than get married.  We have been married for 27 years now and have been together for 32.

 

Our oldest son lives with his girlfriend in another country and we pay what we would pay if he lived alone.  He is 21, the age at which I married and she is 20, old enough to lead their own life.  There are other reasons why we prefer to pay for his college.

 

They have been together for 3 years, have been living together for 1 and it works out well.  We love her, she is great.

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I haven't read all the answers.

 

I would not support such a living arrangement financially because of the risk that it would ultimately cost me more money when they (likely) break up and there has to be a move for one or the other. If she is paying for it herself and can deal with the financial fallout, then it's less my concern (though I would also counsel against such a living situation because I'd prefer my girls to live as independently as possible for as long as possible.)

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A few thoughts.

 

1. Young people in college are having less sex and fewer partners than the two previous generations. (This article is amazingly negative about this trend, which just goes to show you can't win. If it isn't OMG HOOKUP CULTURE ruining young adults, it's abstinence.)

 

2. You really cannot prevent your child from having sex once they're living away from home. That is actually impossible. You cannot prevent your child from getting laid anywhere and everywhere, be it at the club, at a friend's house, at home, on a train, on a boat, in the rain... wherever 2+ people can reasonably fit into one space, basically. You can't even guarantee that you'll know about these things.

 

3. Most people in college understand the concept of lying. They're not living with their boyfriend, they're sharing with a roommate. And the more you pry, the more clever the lies can become.

 

3a. It's even simpler to lie about same-sex relationships, naturally - and more likely if you happen to live at the Venn intersection of "no gays" and "no premarital sex". It's amazing how commonly those two views are associated.

 

With that in mind, if the hill you want to die on is living together, which at least implies two people taking the relationship seriously, then do what you like. Frankly, I think it's a waste of effort. And really, at a certain point, you just have to trust your adult children to make their own moral choices.

Edited by Tanaqui
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A few thoughts.

 

1. Young people in college are having less sex and fewer partners than the two previous generations. (This article is amazingly negative about this trend, which just goes to show you can't win. If it isn't OMG HOOKUP CULTURE ruining young adults, it's abstinence.)

 

3. Most people in college understand the concept of lying.

 

 

1. I saw that too, and I thought it was so freaking funny. Bump more uglies like we did back in my day! Does Millennial's laziness know no bounds?!

 

2. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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I don't have time to read the responses as others I am with just woke up and I ought to go be social for a while.  ;)

 

However, since you asked...

 

I'm a Christian, my kids are Christians.  What they choose to do, esp in their adult lives, is 100% up to them.  I don't ask them about their intimate lives and see no need to do so.

 

There is essentially nothing my kids can do that would make me want to control their lives in their adult years.  There is nothing that would make me want to push them away.  Even if they were to opt to drop their faith (since I'm not a "once saved, always saved" believer), they're still welcome with open arms and we'll pay the same for them as with any of their brothers.

 

Hubby and I were Christians and started living together 3 months prior to our marriage.  We traveled together (staying in the same motel rooms) before that - before getting engaged too.   What we did (or didn't do) was really no one's business.

 

It bugs the bejeebers out of me when so many people feel they need to control what other adults do using whatever method they can (money or whatever).

 

No one needs to live up to anything to be part of my family.  I also accept that my friends can make different decisions than I do and it's ok.

 

We are responsible for ourselves and training our kids when they are young.  That's it.  Then we're responsible for "as much as it depends upon us, living at peace with everyone."

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I don't have time to read the responses as others I am with just woke up and I ought to go be social for a while.   ;)

 

However, since you asked...

 

I'm a Christian, my kids are Christians.  What they choose to do, esp in their adult lives, is 100% up to them.  I don't ask them about their intimate lives and see no need to do so.

 

There is essentially nothing my kids can do that would make me want to control their lives in their adult years.  There is nothing that would make me want to push them away.  Even if they were to opt to drop their faith (since I'm not a "once saved, always saved" believer), they're still welcome with open arms and we'll pay the same for them as with any of their brothers.

 

Hubby and I were Christians and started living together 3 months prior to our marriage.  We traveled together (staying in the same motel rooms) before that - before getting engaged too.   What we did (or didn't do) was really no one's business.

 

It bugs the bejeebers out of me when so many people feel they need to control what other adults do using whatever method they can (money or whatever).

 

No one needs to live up to anything to be part of my family.  I also accept that my friends can make different decisions than I do and it's ok.

 

We are responsible for ourselves and training our kids when they are young.  That's it.  Then we're responsible for "as much as it depends upon us, living at peace with everyone."

Creekland, I sometimes seriously think we were twins separated at birth because we think and parent so much alike.

 

But then I remember that I have a chocolate problem and you don't, and the theory goes out the window.  :D

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I'm a Christian, my kids are Christians.  What they choose to do, esp in their adult lives, is 100% up to them.  I don't ask them about their intimate lives and see no need to do so.

 

There is essentially nothing my kids can do that would make me want to control their lives in their adult years.  There is nothing that would make me want to push them away.  Even if they were to opt to drop their faith (since I'm not a "once saved, always saved" believer), they're still welcome with open arms and we'll pay the same for them as with any of their brothers.

 

Hubby and I were Christians and started living together 3 months prior to our marriage.  We traveled together (staying in the same motel rooms) before that - before getting engaged too.   What we did (or didn't do) was really no one's business.

 

It bugs the bejeebers out of me when so many people feel they need to control what other adults do using whatever method they can (money or whatever).

 

No one needs to live up to anything to be part of my family.  I also accept that my friends can make different decisions than I do and it's ok.

 

We are responsible for ourselves and training our kids when they are young.  That's it.  Then we're responsible for "as much as it depends upon us, living at peace with everyone."

 

I read this thread last night and thought about it some. I agree. I'm not sure DH feels the same way, but it wouldn't be a long-term issue for me. Of course I'd give some warnings, especially if it was a newer relationship. For example, I knew several cohabiting couples in college who got pregnant. You may think that's just a loose arrangement, but a lot can happen in between.

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For example, I knew several cohabiting couples in college who got pregnant. You may think that's just a loose arrangement, but a lot can happen in between.

 

The couple don't have to live together to get pregnant. This is an issue as soon as the young people become sexually active and not restricted to cohabitation.

The (very few) unintended pregnancies in my circle happened to people who were not living together.

Edited by regentrude
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Here's where I disagree with you. I don't think these years are years "when you know everything and are invincible." I think these are the years when maturity and experience inspires the kind of courage and natural autonomy to exert increasing degrees of independence. It's natural, and I would submit it's a good thing. Not agreeing with a parent, even over "big" issues like sexual behavior, shouldn't be interpreted as a power play, control, rebellion, stubbornness or anything else, IMO. That perspective implies the adult is right and the young adult is wrong. But why? Why is the older person right by default? Why can't the older person be expected to change their mind if that's more in compliance with reality? Why is it not acceptable for two individuals to come to an agreement that while they maintain the same general moral value, their behavior may differ and that doesn't betray this value.

 

TM, I grew up in a family like your friend's. There was one message told our entire lives (unconditional love, blah blah blah), and another one we learned through action (conditional affection). You may think there's a difference between love and affection, but I can tell you from my and my siblings' point of view, there is no functional difference. Feeling love for someone but withholding affection feels identical to having love withheld.

 

What I would do: After freaking out (not about cohabitation, I'm another one who thinks it's valuable, but about watching my kid embrace a behavior I find antithetical to my own moral code), I'd start a long-term, mini-sectioned conversation. We'd talk about morals, mine, theirs, what our cores really are, why they are important. I've done this with a very rebellious child, and over the months and years have come to conclude that while we go about our lives in very different ways, the fact is we do share the same deeply held moral beliefs. We just express them differently. This has led to a mutual respect that not only fosters a strong relationship, but it helps when surprises come up.

 

I would not tether a gift like college tuition to compliance to my comfort zone, which is how this feels to me. It's how my parent's relationship feels to me and my siblings, and it's deeply hurtful. It's manipulative, selfish, and messes with one's self esteem. No doubt my parents would be appalled to hear this as this was never their intent. Nevertheless, a lifetime of experiencing a certain message makes that message stand out loud and clear, even if they didn't know that was the message they were conveying. Even if it wasn't the message they wanted us to take away from our relationship. But the message can't be retracted and our relationship is not nearly as strong as I'm sure they'd like. They mind, I don't. I've learned to emotionally divorce myself from them to some extent and it's much better this way. They can't hurt me, and if your friend doesn't want her children to emotionally distance themselves from her, she might want to consider rethinking her approach.

Well, hello, Albeto! I've missed seeing you around.

 

You are spot on. My relationship with my parents is similar, although it wasn't tied to money much (my parents were/are too poor to use that), but it was approval. If you do this, we won't approve. The withdrawal of approval is exactly the same as conditional love. How can one know they are loved except to be treated lovingly?

 

All it did was push me to become independant as soon as possible so that it would be none of their business what I did and with whom I did it.

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I guess my question is the objection to cohabitation or sex? Because there is a lot of sex going on out there without cohabitation. (Says the mom who slips condoms in her son's luggage every time he goes back to college.)

HAHAHAHA! Enabler.

 

Yet another care package idea, it turns out. :D

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If I were against the situation, I would tell my child that I would continue to pay for tuition and books, but that he would have to pay for his room and board.

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I haven't read all the answers.

 

I would not support such a living arrangement financially because of the risk that it would ultimately cost me more money when they (likely) break up and there has to be a move for one or the other. If she is paying for it herself and can deal with the financial fallout, then it's less my concern (though I would also counsel against such a living situation because I'd prefer my girls to live as independently as possible for as long as possible.)

I agree with this completely.

 

Just a bad idea all around. 

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Well, hello, Albeto! I've missed seeing you around.

 

You are spot on. My relationship with my parents is similar, although it wasn't tied to money much (my parents were/are too poor to use that), but it was approval. If you do this, we won't approve. The withdrawal of approval is exactly the same as conditional love. How can one know they are loved except to be treated lovingly?

 

All it did was push me to become independant as soon as possible so that it would be none of their business what I did and with whom I did it.

 

I don't agree with the bolded.  Haven't your kids every done anything of which you completely did not approve, but you still loved them?  And they knew it?

 

If not, must be great to be you. 

 

Yes, one can completely disagree with what another DOES and still love that person.

 

Kind of hard to grow up in a family at all without that. 

 

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I don't have time to read the responses as others I am with just woke up and I ought to go be social for a while.   ;)

 

However, since you asked...

 

I'm a Christian, my kids are Christians.  What they choose to do, esp in their adult lives, is 100% up to them.  I don't ask them about their intimate lives and see no need to do so.

 

There is essentially nothing my kids can do that would make me want to control their lives in their adult years.  There is nothing that would make me want to push them away.  Even if they were to opt to drop their faith (since I'm not a "once saved, always saved" believer), they're still welcome with open arms and we'll pay the same for them as with any of their brothers.

 

Hubby and I were Christians and started living together 3 months prior to our marriage.  We traveled together (staying in the same motel rooms) before that - before getting engaged too.   What we did (or didn't do) was really no one's business.

 

It bugs the bejeebers out of me when so many people feel they need to control what other adults do using whatever method they can (money or whatever).

 

No one needs to live up to anything to be part of my family.  I also accept that my friends can make different decisions than I do and it's ok.

 

We are responsible for ourselves and training our kids when they are young.  That's it.  Then we're responsible for "as much as it depends upon us, living at peace with everyone."

Where is the line between "controlling them" and simply not supporting what they choose to do on your own dime?  They can still do it, assuming it (whatever it is) is legal.  But they can't require you to pay for them to do it.  That's your decision, as a parent. 

So where is that line?

 

I think that is the question that I see. 

Edited by TranquilMind

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1. I saw that too, and I thought it was so freaking funny. Bump more uglies like we did back in my day! Does Millennial's laziness know no bounds?!

 

2. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

 

HAHAHAHA

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I don't agree with the bolded.  Haven't your kids every done anything of which you completely did not approve, but you still loved them?  And they knew it?

 

If not, must be great to be you. 

 

Yes, one can completely disagree with what another DOES and still love that person.

 

Kind of hard to grow up in a family at all without that. 

 

 

I think albeto's point was that, to the offspring, it doesn't really matter whether the parent still "loves" him or her, but only that the withdrawal of outward affection based on disapproval feels like a withdrawal of the parent's love.

 

It's kind of a parallel to what I've told my kids from the other side: Telling me you're sorry becomes less meaningful when you don't change your behavior as a result of our discussion. In a practical sense, it doesn't help me to be told how you feel; I need to see/feel the results of your emotions.

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A few thoughts.

 

1. Young people in college are having less sex and fewer partners than the two previous generations. (This article is amazingly negative about this trend, which just goes to show you can't win. If it isn't OMG HOOKUP CULTURE ruining young adults, it's abstinence.)

 

2. You really cannot prevent your child from having sex once they're living away from home. That is actually impossible. You cannot prevent your child from getting laid anywhere and everywhere, be it at the club, at a friend's house, at home, on a train, on a boat, in the rain... wherever 2+ people can reasonably fit into one space, basically. You can't even guarantee that you'll know about these things.

 

3. Most people in college understand the concept of lying. They're not living with their boyfriend, they're sharing with a roommate. And the more you pry, the more clever the lies can become.

 

3a. It's even simpler to lie about same-sex relationships, naturally - and more likely if you happen to live at the Venn intersection of "no gays" and "no premarital sex". It's amazing how commonly those two views are associated.

 

With that in mind, if the hill you want to die on is living together, which at least implies two people taking the relationship seriously, then do what you like. Frankly, I think it's a waste of effort. And really, at a certain point, you just have to trust your adult children to make their own moral choices.

You can't even stop them when they are teenagers, if they are determined to do it. 

And of course the bolded are associated, as both are sexual sins, scripturally.

 

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I think albeto's point was that, to the offspring, it doesn't really matter whether the parent still "loves" him or her, but only that the withdrawal of outward affection based on disapproval feels like a withdrawal of the parent's love.

 

It's kind of a parallel to what I've told my kids from the other side: Telling me you're sorry becomes less meaningful when you don't change your behavior as a result of our discussion. In a practical sense, it doesn't help me to be told how you feel; I need to see/feel the results of your emotions.

 

Well maybe the parent does not withdraw affection?  Did you withdraw affection when your kid did something rotten (unless you have perfect kids- I don't!)?  I certainly did not.  I would tell the kid,"Hey, that was a rotten thing to do and here is why...."  And give the kid a hug and say that I love him/her.

 

 

I don't think they grew up feeling rejected, if how they clung to me before leaving for school is any representation. 

 

 

Yes, I frequently say, "Don't tell me you are sorry.  Show me." also.  You can't keep slapping someone and then saying you are sorry, yet slapping him again, and that is what it is like. 

 

 

Slowly sinking in, I hope! 

 

I've received multiple texts a day telling me how much they love me.  I guess they aren't feeling parental withdrawal from the many times I told them to just stop doing something and why, and all the awful consequences. 

 

Edited by TranquilMind

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I think it can be very risky to attempt to use money to control the lives of adult children. If you're willing to pay for a college student to live as an adult in an apartment, then stopping payment because they now want to live with a significant other seems very controlling. Either you think they can handle living in an apartment or you don't. Now if the SO was abusive or controlling, etc, my answer would be very different. If it's a heterosexual relationship, I'd also be talking to them about using multiple forms of very effective birth control. Although of course they don't have to be living together for that talk to be needed.

 

I mean if they're living with friends, how do you know they aren't randomly hooking up with someone different every weekend? Or if they have a SO, having that person over to spend the night several times per week? Are you randomly checking up on them to assure they aren't going against your values?

 

I understand your point, and obviously, you don't know what they are doing every second.

 

But if they grow up in a house where certain values are sacrosanct, and then they flagrantly violate them and want you to pay for them to live that way, that seems legitimate to me as well.

It isn't as if they didn't know it was wrong and that you would not support it, especially if you set some parameters up front, as most parents do. 

 

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Well in that case, I think my decision would be much easier!

 

But it would make absolutely no difference to the kid.  The kid would INSIST that he/she knows that person better than anyone, and everyone else just doesn't get how amazingly talented and wonderful said disturbed individual is.  Only this kid understands him/her of all the people in the world and he/she only uses drugs or drinks or is violent because nobody understands him/her...blah blah blah

 

Don't you remember being a teen?  You can justify anything and adults know nothing (until you are about 30). 

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But it would make absolutely no difference to the kid.  The kid would INSIST that he/she knows that person better than anyone, and everyone else just doesn't get how amazingly talented and wonderful said disturbed individual is.  Only this kid understands him/her of all the people in the world and he/she only uses drugs or drinks or is violent because nobody understands him/her...blah blah blah

 

Don't you remember being a teen?  You can justify anything and adults know nothing (until you are about 30). 

 

I see what you're saying.  And my stepping in at a certain point would not be to control them or change their beliefs about something, but to help them get out of a situation that I felt was unsafe or dangerous.  So, I'm not sure the best way to do that without understanding the situation well and giving it a lot of thought.  But of course it would need to be out of love first and foremost, and that's what I would want my child to feel from me, first and foremost.

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I don't have time to read the responses as others I am with just woke up and I ought to go be social for a while.   ;)

 

However, since you asked...

 

I'm a Christian, my kids are Christians.  What they choose to do, esp in their adult lives, is 100% up to them.  I don't ask them about their intimate lives and see no need to do so.

 

There is essentially nothing my kids can do that would make me want to control their lives in their adult years.  There is nothing that would make me want to push them away.  Even if they were to opt to drop their faith (since I'm not a "once saved, always saved" believer), they're still welcome with open arms and we'll pay the same for them as with any of their brothers.

 

Hubby and I were Christians and started living together 3 months prior to our marriage.  We traveled together (staying in the same motel rooms) before that - before getting engaged too.   What we did (or didn't do) was really no one's business.

 

It bugs the bejeebers out of me when so many people feel they need to control what other adults do using whatever method they can (money or whatever).

 

No one needs to live up to anything to be part of my family.  I also accept that my friends can make different decisions than I do and it's ok.

 

We are responsible for ourselves and training our kids when they are young.  That's it.  Then we're responsible for "as much as it depends upon us, living at peace with everyone."

 

Beautifully said!

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I see what you're saying.  And my stepping in at a certain point would not be to control them or change their beliefs about something, but to help them get out of a situation that I felt was unsafe or dangerous.  So, I'm not sure the best way to do that without understanding the situation well and giving it a lot of thought.  But of course it would need to be out of love first and foremost, and that's what I would want my child to feel from me, first and foremost.

 

But you can't do that either!  The kid insists he/she knows better and you are just controlling if you say anything!  

 

  Much like many of the adults here about this topic. 

It's a no-win situation, it appears.  At least at the moment.  In the long run, we know the kid will eventually understand that mom and/or dad really had their best interests at heart, but they never understand that as a teen, just as in the scenario here.  They just think you want to tell them what to do for the fun of it.

 

Teen reasoning is really an amazing thing. 

 

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Where is the line between "controlling them" and simply not supporting what they choose to do on your own dime?  They can still do it, assuming it (whatever it is) is legal.  But they can't require you to pay for them to do it.  That's your decision, as a parent. 

So where is that line?

 

I think that is the question that I see. 

 

But I guess I don't see that as an especially difficult question.

 

I'm a pacifist sort. My son went through a phase during which he was really into building various kinds of boffer-style weaponry and sparring with friends. It bugged me. I didn't like even the "play" violence. He was hurt that I didn't share his enthusiasm or want to hear about his successes. I was hurt that he not only didn't share my values/beliefs but apparently didn't respect my right not to have to hear about his exploits.

 

After some discussion, we reached a compromise in which I didn't interfere with his hobby or try to talk him out of it or even say anything negative about it, and he didn't attempt to involve me in it. So, he was welcome to build stuff in the garage or in his bedroom and to spar with friends in the backyard; however, I would not buy him supplies or consult with him on design or supervise his mock combat. (Dad was happy to do all three of those things for him.)

 

He was younger at the time, of course, but those negotiations, I believe, helped us lay the groundwork for healthy disagreement over values.

 

Since I don't have a problem with my adult offspring having sex or living with a romantic partner, I'm having to think of other things he might choose to do that would really bother me. So far, the best I've come up with is if he decided to abandon vegetarianism. (Keep in mind that, for me, this is not a dietary choice based on simple health but one founded on my moral/spiritual beliefs.) So, let's say that he is still a college student and we, his parents, are still buying his food. If he chose to switch to a caveman diet and started putting slabs of beef on our shopping list, I would feel free to tell him I wasn't going to financially support that choice. I would continue to buy the other items on his list that did not conflict with my values, but if he wanted to buy meat, he'd have to spend his own money to do so. I would also have no problem asking him not to bring meat into my home or cook it in my kitchen, but if he chose to move into his own apartment, he would be welcome to shop for, prepare and eat whatever meals he wanted. And I would be free to decline to pay the bills for that "lifestyle."

 

We wouldn't need to have intense, conflicted conversations about this. Because we've laid the groundwork over the years, he would know perfectly well that I didn't "approve" of his decision and wouldn't expect me to contribute financially towards supporting it, but I don't think he would for one moment consider that I loved his less because of it.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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