His parents do everything for him

Asking for updates from former letter writers for the holidays. If you wrote a letter, please email an update to meredith.goldstein@globe.com with "update" in the subject line. Tell us what happened and whether our advice was helpful.

Dear Meredith,

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for four months, though he has been a friend of mine for more than a decade. He is intelligent, well-read, funny and very sweet. So what's my problem? I feel like he is a bit of a man-child, for lack of better words. First off, he still lives with his parents. He is 31. This is because he's in school, and his parents want him to "graduate without student debt." They have never charged him rent. They are paying for his education in full as well.

They make him meals, check up on him to see if he has packed a lunch for work, make his bed, and clean his room. Don't get me wrong – his parents are the most wonderful people. But he's 31 and will be in school another two years. That means he will be living rent-free with his parents until school is done. He does work, but only has to pay for his car and phone.

He also seems emotionally immature. Everything is always my fault. He hates conflict, so whenever anything comes up that is important, he shuts down. I feel I am always the one to initiate apologies, conflict solutions, and conversation in general. I feel like I am the one carrying the emotional workload, and constantly having to explain the "real world" to him because he is so sheltered. I need him to step up emotionally, and for him to learn how to continue growing as an adult while under his parents' roof. I don't know how to bring this up without upsetting his parents (he tells them everything I say) and hurting his very sensitive feelings.

-Frustrated


Sounds like it might be time to break up.

You want to be with a man who manages his own life and loves his independence. Your boyfriend isn't that person, and has no plans to be. There's no need to punish him for that, by the way. You might not like his lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean he's doing anything wrong. (He is working and going to school. Let's give him credit for that.)

The biggest red flag here is that there's been so much negotiation and conflict in just four months. Sure, you've known him for more than a decade, but why does this new romantic relationship require so much emotional labor? Why would you stay with someone you don't respect?

You can't expect this man to become a different person simply because you started dating him. Instead of asking him to be someone else, let him go so you can find a better match.

– Meredith

Readers? Any reason to stay together?