by D Smith -
SGN Contributing Writer
I have been dating my current boyfriend for eight months. He is 28, and I am 26. He and I have basically lived together for the past few months, and we've decided to get our own apartment this summer. There is one catch. My dad lives in the area, and he is a widower - my mom passed away almost 10 years ago. Dad is a great guy. He's like my best friend and gets along well with my boyfriend. Anyway, my dad suggested that my boyfriend and I move in with him instead of getting our own place, so we could save some money. I know this was a huge step for him. This might sound like a strange idea, but my dad works a lot, so he really isn't home that much, his house is very big, and he isn't overprotective.
At first, I said 'no way.' We don't absolutely need to save money. But I've been thinking about it more lately, and I'm starting to believe that my dad wants us to move in because he is lonely. So I now really feel like I should move in with him - not because I feel obligated, but because he has always been great to me and I really don't want him living all by himself.
I explained this to my boyfriend and was a little surprised by how against this idea he was, especially since he is always so easygoing about everything. The reason he gave me was that it 'would look weird' for him to be living with my dad.
I don't want to hurt my boyfriend, but at this point I feel like the most important thing is for me to be there for my dad. I am not thinking about ending things with my boyfriend, but I need to figure out a way to do what I feel like I need to do (be there for my dad) while continuing to have my boyfriend in my life. I don't believe that living in our own apartment and seeing my dad on the weekends is enough. I know that even if I did live with my dad we wouldn't see each other much during the week, but it would still be significantly more than otherwise, especially since I work most weekends. I also think that it would just make my dad feel better to know that someone else is living in the house. What would you suggest? - Good Son, Bad Boyfriend
Dear Good Son,
I'm with your boyfriend. I don't think you should move in with Dad. Not because it would 'look weird' but because it wouldn't be healthy for anyone involved. You can't live with your dad forever, so you'd essentially be creating another temporary situation for him. It would be better for all three of you if you lived close to your dad, made lots of plans with him, encouraged him to do some social things outside the house, and then went home to your boyfriend to live the normal life of a young couple. You can't be a fake surrogate for your dad, and he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who wants to be baby-sat. He works a lot, he's a capable guy, and he needs to learn how to be independent. He might want to date. He might want to make friends his own age. He can't do that if his kid is filling all of his emotional voids.
This thing you're feeling with your dad might have to do with some of your needs and insecurities, by the way. Maybe you feel overwhelmed because you've met the guy you might marry. Maybe you miss your mom and fear that coupling off will pull you from your roots. And that's why you have to move in with your boyfriend - alone. Commit to spending a lot of time with Dad and being a good son but balance that by living the life of a 26-year-old in a good relationship. That's all you can or should do. Let everybody (including yourself) evolve.
Hope this helps. Remember, encourage yourself, and love those loving you! - D
I am your typical 20-something post-college grad living in the city. I have had my share of hilarious-to-horrible dating stories and am currently seeing a really great guy who is very different from a lot of men my age I have met. Specifically, he is well-educated and career-driven, and he knows how to be chivalrous and treat me with respect.
So why am I writing? I want to hear your input on a disturbing trend that has recently been in the news. Over the past several months I have read countless articles on the 'male crisis' that is happening to 20-something guys. Men today are less likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and pursue employment after graduation. They are more likely to be living at home and are less interested in reaching 'traditional' adult landmarks such as settling down, getting married, and having children.
As a result, there are more women successfully educated and employed than ever before. Although this is a great achievement in gender equality, it is creating a major disadvantage for single women looking to pursue monogamous heterosexual relationships. With successful, well-rounded, educated men becoming an increasingly rare commodity, they now hold the power in the dating world. This leads many women to compromise their standards a great deal just to secure a male partner who will most likely not measure up to them intellectually, professionally, or emotionally.
I have been through this cycle personally and watched many of my friends continue to be let down or treated poorly, all by young men thinking they can do better without having to try hard. What is your advice for women of our generation who wish to find someone to date but do not wish to buy into the male sexual power plays that dominate the dating world? - Single Lady in the City
Dear Single Lady,
Even if these studies and stories accurately represent what's going on in the world, I'm not convinced that women are at any more of a disadvantage than they used to be. Keep in mind that before this trend of female empowerment, single women had to partner up to ensure that they were supported financially - or because they believed they had to find a spouse before they lost their market value at age 30.
I'm not sure I can make a generalization about dating that applies to an entire 20-something gender without paying attention to other factors like race, geography, income, and education. But I will say this: Women have always had a tough time finding good men. That's why there are countless sitcoms and punch lines about it.
While I do know many smart, attractive, mature women in their 20s who tell me they can't find a guy worthy of their attention, I also know (in my immediate circle) of a 36-year-old woman happily dating a 26-year-old man who's sometimes more mature than she is, two 30-somethings who have been together for almost a decade, and a 32-year-old woman who started dating someone nice after buying her own condo and installing sweet kitchen tile herself. Then there's thousands of people, many of whom are ridiculously smart, cute, and witty men in their 20s, who are dying to find the One.
We're all supposed to be looking for partners who respect us and share some of our life goals. I'm not sure that's any more or less difficult for women than it used to be. Finding a good match is a challenge for anyone - male or female, Gay or straight, 20s or 30s, independent or codependent, emasculated or ... masculated (you know what I mean). We're all in the same boat.
Hope this helps. Remember, stay encouraged and love yourself. - D
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