I'm 25 and have lived with my mom alone for almost 20 years (my older brother brother moved out 8 years ago.) My mom always pampered me, didn't make me work summers, etc. At the local university, I didn't really do well with the freedom (though I lived at home, I didn't get all good grades.) I didn't tell her about the bad grades because I was afraid to. I have a hard time talking to my mom when she might disapprove.

Now I have a girlfriend who will soon be moving to another city and I would like to follow her. I've wanted to move out from home seriously now for about 2 years, but I'm pretty sure my mother won't take it well. Two weeks ago we quarreled when I went away on a 2 day trip with my girlfriend and didn't call her every day. She also expressed that she hopes I'm not intending to move away with my girlfriend. I just gave her an evasive answer.

We have a good relationship overall, but I want to live my own life.

I don't know how to tell this to my mother. I know that she loves me, but I also know that she doesn't want to be alone (my brother lives in this town, so "alone" means in the house). I also am afraid that she will blame my girlfriend.

I should speak with her, but I really don't know how.

Does anyone have any good approaches to share when dealing with a parent who is afraid to be alone?

  • 1
    How is this question "closed as primarily opinion-based"? Isn't every single question on this forum primarily opinion-based?
    – gillonba
    Aug 4, 2015 at 21:43
  • @rotard No; there is a range of subjectivity and the users listed above felt that the question was too opinion-based. If you feel the closure was not appropriate, you can vote to reopen once you have enough reputation (or open a discussion on meta at any time).
    – Acire
    Aug 5, 2015 at 2:20

1 Answer 1


Negotiating boundaries in families can be very tricky. The first time you stand up for something you believe in against a parent who you know won't be happy about is difficult. Be comforted knowing that pretty much every adult you know got through it, and so will you.

You are an adult, and it is time for you to make this step. Choose your words ahead of time, practice them, and stick with them like a broken record that repeats and repeats. The "trick" is to stay calm, to not get drawn into arguments, and to keep repeating.

Start with a thank you, like: "Mom, you have done a great job raising me, you saw me through university and I know that was tough. You have prepared me to be an adult, and I love you for it."

Then state your case: "Now that I am an adult, I need to start taking charge of my life. Amy has taken a job in X City, and I have decided to go there with her for work."

Your mother will likely have much to say on the subject, asking you how you are going to do this and do that, and you should calmly stick to your statement, that you are an adult, and it is time for you to take charge of your own life, you will figure it out, but you appreciate how much she cares. Repeat repeat repeat.

There is a classic book on the subject of creating new boundaries in relationships called The Dance of Anger. It was written back in the 80s and it is still consistently checked out at the library where I work. The author, Harriet Lerner, takes you through example after example of how this works, so that by the end of the book, you feel ready to try it.

Good luck!

  • Thank you for your comment and for your answer! I know it's mostly for parents, but I found some questions what were from "children" like me, so I made a try. "Stay calm" - Yes, that's the most important thing I think. Also repeating sounds logical too. I don't know when will I talk with her (if I have a chance then before than after).
    – matthew3r
    Jun 10, 2014 at 13:53
  • @matthew3r Just remember that you can't do anything to make her not shout about this, if that's what she really wants to do. You can't make her happy with this if she's unhappy with it, but you also can't let her unhappiness change your mind.
    – Septagon
    Jun 10, 2014 at 19:13
  • That's right, and I don't want it to happen. I already decided that I want - and I need - to move out and I will.
    – matthew3r
    Jun 11, 2014 at 5:29

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