Are Adults Who Move Back in with Their Parents Just Giant Losers?

I saw my ex yesterday and he looked terrible

The worst I’ve ever seen him.

He’s 32 and has been living at home with his parents for the last two years – the time we have been apart. It’s something I just cannot understand. I absolutely love my parents, but as an adult – there is no way I would elect to live with them unless it was a dire emergency.

Daughter I am in my mother’s home but mistress in my own.” It’s a great quote and I don’t know who originally said it – but the sentiments are correct – when I pay my own bills and manage my own house, it gives me a great sense of self – of achievement, satisfaction and adulthood. I moved out at age 18 and have never looked back.

When my ex told me (two years ago) that he was moving back in with Ma and Pa, I wasn’t so concerned. He’d just lost his job and was struggling financially, about to turn 30. I thought his decision was understandable, but as his girlfriend at the time I felt concerned about how his decision to co-habit with the woman who gave birth to him would affect our sex life.

He’s definitely not the only one who is doing this: According to a recent study conducted in the UK, a record number of 20 to 34-year-olds are still living with their parents, which is a 20% increase on the figure recorded in the late 90s. It’s the same story in my home country of Australia, with one in four 20 to 34 year olds in the two largest cities still choosing to return to the family home.

So, there are economic reasons for doing this, sure.

But is he just a giant loser?

I don’t want to be cruel, but I feel that his living at home is seriously affecting his motivation. In fact, for the last two years he has only worked sporadically. He job hunted for nearly a year, not even getting half a dozen interviews (I feel sympathy because I know it’s tough) then he was called for jury duty and whiled away another three months of his life, accepting the minimum wage the government gave him (pausing his job seeking for the court period). Then he decided to study to be a personal trainer, which I thought was a waste of time, as the industry is highly competitive and only lucrative if you’re at the very top of your game and passionate about health and fitness, which I don’t think he was.

His latest venture was aiming to get into the armed forces, but due to a prior (minor) conviction he was told he was exempt. Now he has no idea what to do. And I don’t see him even trying. Why would he, when he has no motivation to pay bills?

The writer Annabel Ross wrote an article about living at home when she was 28. She says that she’s confident that when she finally gets some money together, she’ll have the adult life skills to go out on her own, “it’s not like I don’t know how to do it,” she huffs.

But is her parents’ kindness holding her back?

She writes, “More than once my poor father has sat, cigar in mouth on our front porch and told me that he hopes he hasn’t been doing me a disservice. He worries that when I do finally leave, I won’t know how to be financially independent.”

And that’s the problem with my ex. I feel that by staying at home he’s lost the motivation to be an adult and to progress in life; pay his own bills, buy his own groceries and wash his own damn undies.

So – I have to admit that my ex still living at home is a major turn-off. I suspect that most girls would agree with me. I need a man, not a giant, over-grown boy.

Moving back home is a trap for the productive adult. In my humble opinion, it simply stops you from trying very hard. I know I am sounding holier-than-thou here, but my independence is so important to me, I would rather scrub pots and pans for minimum wage than go home with my tail between my legs, admitting that I simply couldn’t cope with life as an adult.

I can’t think of anything worse than having to sneak around like a teenager in my parents’ house; smoking in the back alley and having sex very quietly in the dark… if at all. There are so many great things about being a grown-up and doing what you want in a home that you run, manage and pay for is one of the benefits. I know that if I want to drink chocolate syrup at midnight while sitting naked on my coffee table – I can do that.

It only happens once or twice a week… I swear.

  1. February 8, 2013

    I completely understand what you’re saying, and yes – I think there are instances when living with parents can be unproductive, but motivation issues don’t just go away based on venue or living residence. Just because someone is unmotivated at home doesn’t necessarily mean they will be motivated living on their own. But I’m biased… We’re a multigenerational family – me and my hubs, my father, my grandma – and I know that my now-hubs and I could not have been nearly as productive out on our own. And, frankly, knowing there are parents around motivates us more: we want them to see we are responsible, that we can handle our own business. We have grown-up jobs. We pay our share of the mortgage. We do not have sex quietly.

    If I were on the dating market, I must confess, at first glance I would be suspicious of a guy who lives at home. However, I think that I’d feel obligated to at least ask why. And if that “why” included some sort of a plan (I’m staying at home for a year so I can save up for a house, so I can pay down some debt, so I can finish school, whatever), then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

    1. February 9, 2013

      You are correct. I think I am a little jaded as I had a partner who at age 32 (a different guy to the one in the post) who has still never moved out of home (he’s Greek). Home with a plan is fine – my two guys have no plan. And I think that being at home is stopping them from making one. No motivation to plan!
      Thanks for your comment. I think the multi-generational thing is great.

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