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How Can I Stop Living With My Mother?


I'm 26 years old & moved to Los Angeles from New York for college & have remained here since. A little less than 2 years ago, my mom decided to leave her job in NY to live with me in LA. Since her move, I feel like I've dedicated my life to serving and helping her get adjusted. I drive her to work and pick her up so she doesn't have to take the bus. I always eat dinner with her since she doesn't know anyone else, and I always feel like I need to check in with her before I go anywhere. I feel like I'm in high school all over again!

My mom does pay the rent for our apartment and I take care of the utilities and the rest of the bills. This financial help has of course been great because I've been able to lessen my amount of financial debt. The thing is though, I feel like I constantly fight with my mother. I feel like nothing I ever do for her is good enough & I really feel at my wits end.

I am very frustrated because I've gotten to the point where I have no social life. I know it's hard to get used to living with your parents once you haven't lived with them for a while (for me almost 7 years), but I can't deal with this anymore. I wish I could move out but I really can't afford it, and neither can she. She is a single parent, and I have no brothers or sisters, so no one else can help her, and I feel like I'm the only one she has. I love my mom, but I can't do this anymore. What should I do?

--Momma's Girl Margaret

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Momma's Girl Margaret--

I would be upset too if I were you. A 26 year old woman should NOT be living with her mother! You are at the point in your life where you need to be exploring the world freely and on your own, and you can't do that when you share your apartment with your mom. It's great that she is helping you financially, but you two living together is wreaking havoc on your relationship.

I suggest that you have a talk with her and explain how you're feeling. Tell her that you appreciate her help, and love her very much, but don't think it's a good idea for you to live together anymore. Make it clear that you are craving your independence and your freedom, and you'll never be able to get it if you continue to cohabitate. At 26, you should be having a full and exciting social life, so I agree, something needs to change.

Make a suggestion that both of you get different apartments close to each other, and help brainstorm ideas on how she can meet people and make new friends her age. Since you say you are unhappy and always fighting, I'm sure she'll agree with you and realize that this separation needs to happen in order to save your relationship. It will be tough at first, but much better in the long run. Good luck Margaret!

Join The Conversation
andaman andaman 10 years
To be very honest I just don't get a sense that many people have taken the fact that she has said "I AM THE ONLY CHILD" into account. It makes a massive difference
andaman andaman 10 years
I also believe as a daughter/son it is your responsiblity to do everything that you can to ensure that your parents are happy mentally and physically. If what you have to do makes you unhappy then talk to them about it like a mature adult :)
andaman andaman 10 years
Nicachica and Jaxon I am with you on this one 110 %. Sorry Dearsugar I think you should have talked about the cultural factor also and pointed out how SHOULD NOT depends on different situations (like you normally do!). My friends are happy people and they live with their parents, one of friend's dad is very sick and she's there for him all the time. She does go out with people and her dad encourages her to go out when he is well. She is an only child and she feels enormous amount of responsibility. I have several friends who are the only child (from different races) and they all feel the same way. They feel guilty especially when the parents get old. They don't want to put their parents in a home and they are doing their very best to be there for their parents and sometimes it means they have to move back with them. It can work out for both parties. Like I said the bottom line is all parents want their children to be happy. It isn't in their interests to see their own kids suffer while he/she is living under their roofs.
nicachica nicachica 10 years
i have to say Dear, it wasn't so much the fact that the relationship was causing a rift, it was your generalized comment that "A 26 year old woman should NOT be living with her mother!" It just made it seem like if any adult female stayed home for whatever reason, then she was emotionally stunted or something was wrong with her. Maybe i just took it too personally because i'm going through something similar but it did feel a bit condescending. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one...
DearSugar DearSugar 10 years
Thanks for weighing in here everyone! You are all right, every family has a different situation, but the fact of the matter here is this living situation isn't working for Momma's Girl Margaret, in fact it is creating a rift in their relationship, so it is pretty clear that if they can afford to live in their own apartments, the best thing to do is part ways. I happen to feel that when you are a grown women, it is important to experience life on your own, bluejeanie said it perfectly, it time for her to grow her big girl wings and fly. Now that isn't to say that she can't rely on her mother for emotional support, but an overbearing mother who is too dependent upon her daughter is bound to create an unhealthy relationship for both mother and daughter.
shoes4jax shoes4jax 10 years
I am 21 years old and I have a kind of similar problem. I still live at home with both my parents and I am a full time college student. I will be graduating in Decemeber. Once I graduate shortly after I plan on getting married and moving out. Every time I mention leaving my parents make me feel terrible like I am totally abandoning them. They still think of me as a 5 years old (sometimes treat me like one too) and they always say "that's crazy" or "you're crazy you can't move out". I am an only child as well, so it is like I am all they have. I know my situation isn't exactly the same but I totally feel that guilt that she does. It is so hard to get around. I have not even began to move out and my parents make me feel like I am the worst person ever for leaving them. They think I should always want to live with or next door to them my whole life. Does everyone go through this?
jaxon jaxon 10 years
I disagree with the SHOULD NOT aspect of Dear's advice. Things are different for different families. If the situation works I don't think it is a big deal for a 26 y.o. to live with their parents and I think that statement could make someone feel badly. Living WITH your parents and living OFF are two separate things. There are plenty of people who may not live with the 'rents but still depend on them $$$$. In this case it's not working moving out doesn't mean you have to totally abandon her. At some point you were living without her and making it okay. Talk to her about how you feel, moving out may not be feasible but I def agree with the changing of the financial split. I figure your mom may not have a license because of living in NY to teach her to drive or help her find an inexpensive vehicle so she depends on you less. Just be honest!
SwtAsSgar SwtAsSgar 10 years
I think you and your mom need to plan some "alone" nights. Maybe 3 nights a weeks you guys could just take a break from dinner together and leave eachother alone. If neither of you can afford to live on your own, then you at least need to have separate lives. Try to find your mom a singles club or a book club to get into. It will help her meet friends and hopefully be a little less dependent on you for companionship. That will leave you some time to work on your own social life. No matter what though, the first thing you need to do is talk to her about this. It will never get better without that.
bluejeanie bluejeanie 10 years
i actually agree with dear. at 26, it's time to grow your big girl wings and fly. you can still love your mom and be your own person. look on craigslist for people searching for roommates and tell your mom that it's time for you to move out. as for that only child crap, just move out. it's not healthy to depend on one person emotionally like that. your mother can make friends and you need to be an adult. co-dependency is unhealthy for everyone, i have no idea why anyone would defend it. your mother is not growing and neither are you. it also doesn't sound like either of you is happy so save up some money, bite the bullet and move out. the first year or two might not be glamourous but being independent is worth it.
andaman andaman 10 years
I think it's fine to be living with your parents if the reason is you care about them a lot and you are the only child. If you're living with them because it is rent free then move the hell out and grow up. Someone has mentioned the cultural factor, i think that is important also.
andaman andaman 10 years
ladylibertine are you an only child? Do you know they carry so much on their shoulders and the experience can be very lonely. They feel so much guilt, though they are entitled to their own lives, I think they also feel responsible for their parents. It is a good thing to be caring about your parents, they have raised you, paid for your education, been there for you when you feel like shit and bail you out when don't have money. It is your responsibility to be nice to them I would say.
LadyLibertine LadyLibertine 10 years
" A 26 year old woman should NOT be living with her mother!" completely disagree, I think alot wasnt said about the mom and the reason more of why she moved out etc. Such a blantant statment like that is very wrong. More and more young adults are living at home or with parents for many reasons. We as a society are quick to break up families , where others remember what those before us can bring. Look at families with parents and grand parents all under the same roof. yes communication IS a must to keep it going well, but to make one feel ashamed like placing such a statement of they Should NOT , doesnt help. The money she is saving and with better communication of me time for her to take etc, dinners not always together etc. She could save up and be a step closer to her own home or something otherwise wouldnt be available to her. It helps their relationship and atleast you know your parent wont be a crazy room-mate.
gossipqueen gossipqueen 10 years doesn't work for MOST people, lol ;) You need to suck it least for now...if your mom pays the rent...CHANGE THAT! make it half and that you set the grounds for a roomate sort of relationship instead of a MOM, CAN I GO OUT? one... if your mom is helping you financially she might feel entitled to have you at her beck and call...most people who put the most $$ into living arragements think that way... if you can't make it on your own...CHANGE THAT!..get a better job or a part time job to meet your needs...when you move...if you move...the guilt is gonna be there...but usually whether your mom lives 1 mile away or 3000 miles away the guilt of "leaving" a parent that's alone is ALWAYS there...just learn to live with it and adjust.
andaman andaman 10 years
The bottom line is she is your mum and she wants you to be happy. Trust me all mums want their kids to be happy!
andaman andaman 10 years
I have friends who are "the only child" and they live with their parents. They have their own lives, they date, they go shopping with their girls, they go to the movies with their boyfriends or sometimes with their cousins, and they take their parents out for nice meals on sunday. Of course they don't tell their parents everything! They have it sorted. I understand why some people might think living with parents is a bit scary but I think it can provide very healthy mental comfort for them and for you. What your mum needs is friends. She needs to get out and do things with other people. I think you should have this talk with her. I don't think it helps that you feel this way but you haven't told her. It's so much better to be honest (and sensitive in the same time!) about this. When she has her gang of friends you can then think about moving out. But for now you are doing what a good son/daughter is doing and you should be very very proud of yourself honey :)
missnomi missnomi 10 years
listen, anyone who WANTS to live with her mother should, by all means, 26 years or older. But this writer does not, and wonders if that is wrong: no it is not wrong to want a life of your own. How to do that practivally is another matter, but it is completely natural to want to be independent.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
you say you can't afford to move out and neither can she, but what if something happened to one of you? the other one would HAVE to do something then. if you are unhappy with this arrangement at 26, think about it in another 4 years. your mother will be upset, you have to live with that and so does she. this is your life and you get to decide where you live. maybe you should move to a more affordable area. here's something to think about; there is a woman on my daughters' swim team who is in her 40's. she was married for less that a year and has a son. the boy's father is not involved in any way in the boy's life. this woman's mother is STILL pulling the strings in her life because she needs the help (i.e., pick him up from school when he is sick because mom has to work). since i have known her (3 years) she has moved 3 times and her mother keeps moving right along with her :) her mother is never more than a block away and always has a windo facing her apartment. cut the strings now and get some support of your own in the friends department. enough is enough.
Midnightkiss4u09 Midnightkiss4u09 10 years
Move Out.
jennifer76 jennifer76 10 years
Well, whether or not it's culturally acceptable or financially necessary for some people, it clearly sounds like it's not working for this family. I agree with Dear - talk to your mom. It may be hard and she may be sad at first, but it doesn't really sound like either of you will branch out to the rest of the world as long as you have eachother as your main focus.
brokenbracelet brokenbracelet 10 years
I take offense to that whole "A 26 yr old should not be living with their mother". I'm 25yr old single woman, a recent college grad,who's working hard to pay my college loans off, struggling to get a good full time job, and I live with my mother. I am THANKFUL to be able to do that or else, I'd be poor, and on the streets. Theres no shame in living at home trying to get yourself financially stable. 25, 26, or otherwise!
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
A 26 year old woman should NOT be living with her mother! Well, just to give you some perspective, DearSugar, living in LA is VERY expensive. At 26 only 2-4 years in the work force, she may be able to afford a 600 sq. foot studio apt in a semi-decent neighborhood that's $1000/month! What she needs is financial plan. Bite the bullet for now. Go apartment hunting. Figure out how much you will need every month to live on your own. Save up at least 3-6 months of those expenses. Then make your move. Consider getting a roommate close to your age. As for your mother needing you: if she's not chronically ill or physically/mentally disabled then you should harbor no guilt about moving out. Be honest with her. Tell her she's cramping your style. Suggest clubs and organizations she can get involved in. Does she have a favorite cause? Maybe she can volunteer? She needs to get her own life and you may need to help her do so.
PrissyLilBadAss PrissyLilBadAss 10 years
As for her meeting people... get her a dog! I'm totally serious. Its amazing how quickly you meet people when you're walking your dog, or even better, going to a dog park! And as for the living situation, I've been in a similar one. I just kept reassuring my parents that not living with them was something I needed to do for me. If they wanted me to be successful, I needed to be on my own. Good luck!
cubadog cubadog 10 years
It is time for both of you to become more independent and start having your own lives. Since you didn't mention a cultural thing I am not even going to go there. Start making plans to do things on your own and start meeting people. How you are living is not healthy. The guilt trip thing definitely gets old and your Mom needs to start getting out there too!
andaman andaman 10 years
Yes dear, i think its quite okay for a 25 yearold to live with her mum if she is an only child.
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