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My Adult Son Is a Disrespectful Roommate

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I fell on hard times about five years ago when my Marine divorced me. I now live with my son, who is also a Marine, because I can't afford to live on my own right now.

I know that my son is a single Marine, but he is always in a dating frenzy. Every weekend, he brings home a different girl he met at a bar.

I know we are roommates, but I am still his mother and I tell him that he should respect me. He says it's just as much as his apartment as it is mine, and because he pays half of everything, he should be able to bring home who he wants instead of paying for a hotel room.

I don't think it's respectful because I shouldn't have to wake up at 3 a.m. to moaning and groaning. I shouldn't wake up in the morning to make a cup of coffee and find a half-dressed woman in the kitchen crouched down in my refrigerator, pilfering for food.

Living with my son is a big help until I can find a full-time job, but he thinks I should forget that I'm his mother and look at him as a friend and roommate. But I can't do that.

Is it wrong for me to expect him to respect my wishes and not bring his many dates home to spend the night with him in his room? I was disrespected by my husband and now I'm facing the same treatment with my own son.

Sincerely,
Disrespected

Dear Disrespected,

Your son is looking at you as a roommate. Roommates do their own thing -- you go your way and I go my way, and at the beginning of the month bills are split in half for both of you to pay.

I am also a mother of adult sons. I understand you can't turn off a switch and not be a mother. There is nothing wrong with your expectation of wanting him to respect your request about bringing random women to the apartment for sleepovers, but he is not willing to abide by your requests.

It's only a matter of time before this permanently ruins your relationship with your son. Yes, you love your son dearly, but I think there comes a time when a parent can't live in the same house with their child, specifically an adult child.

Your son wants to live his life one way as an adult, and you expect him to keep his personal and social life away from the apartment that you share with him. That's not going to happen.

Find full-time employment.

First, I think you should continue to look for full-time employment. Don't leave any stones unturned. Consider openings on base, with temporary agencies that could lead to full-time employment and any place in the community that is hiring. It may not be what you want right now, but it will help you make ends meet until you get more education and training.

You probably CAN stand on your own two feet.

Secondly, look for a studio or efficiency apartment. It's small and probably won't have a lot of amenities, but it will be yours and a place where you can make your own rules.

You may not realize that you may be able to afford one on your current income. A divorce can leave a person feeling depressed and can make you feel like you are incapable of making it on your own.

Join a divorce support group.

Lastly, consider attending a divorce recovery support group. It will be very beneficial because it will help you see that you are one of many people in the world dealing with divorce. There are other people out there who will gladly help you through this difficult time.

Tell your son your new plans.

Until then, I think you should let your son know that his support has been great, but you will actively seek other living arrangements. You should also solicit his help with finding you another place to live.

In the meantime, try to set some agreements with your son regarding his overnight guests. For example, perhaps he can have an overnight guest no more than two nights a month, agree to keep the noise down and also agree that his guests should not have open access to the refrigerator. I hope this helps.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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