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Junior son wants to live with girlfriend

DeniseBeeDeniseBee 12 replies1 threads New Member
I don't know who to bring this to, so who better than College Confidential? My son, a 20 year old junior, has recently begun a new relationship - just over 3 months, and is basically living full time with his sophomore girlfriend who attends a nearby college. He has a lovely single dorm room in a full apartment. My husband and I are paying over $10,000 a year for him to live there, and he is just not spending a single moment or evening there since meeting her. They only visit to do their laundry.

We tried to explain that having your own space is just as important as the time you spend together as a couple, but he is being stubborn and just won't see it. It's time to plan for next year's housing and we told him we don't intend to pay for him to live with his girlfriend full-time and he is very upset with us. Says that no matter what living situation we end up with he'll just be living with her anyway. He states that we don't know how things are now. He chooses not to listen to his parents or others who have more experience than he does.

I told him that as long as we support him - we pay all of his expenses including car, living, college (no loans taken), then he has to respect our wishes. He doesn't agree. He says we're just trying to get in the way of him doing what he wants to do and that we don't let him make his own decisions.

Do any other parents relate to this dilemma? Do ALL or most students in relationships live like this in college? He tells me that they do.

I said that he better start lining up a roommate and looking at places for next semester. After that he has his Masters semester. If, after he graduates, he gets a job and wants to live full-time with his girlfriend, then it's his prerogative. If he wants to do it before then, then he needs to figure out how to support himself and get a loan to finish up college.

Are we being unreasonable? I like his girlfriend very much, but I fully believe that everyone needs to have some personal space. I don't begrudge them many days/nights together, but I want them to both have places to be alone, with friends or to just veg.

Any opinions will be appreciated. I am one frustrated mother at the moment.
Thanks so much!
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Replies to: Junior son wants to live with girlfriend

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8752 replies83 threads Senior Member
    While you can't force your son to stay in his room, I think you are right that he needs to have his own place. What if they break up in the middle of term? Where would he live? As adults we know that these early relationships don't always last and you don't want to run into a scenario where there are no good housing options left.

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  • SouthernHopeSouthernHope 2090 replies211 threads Senior Member
    Here's what I would do....right now, it's paid up until June, yes? So that's another 5 months...meaning, 2 months longer than they've even known each other!

    On top of that, why should you spend money for something you don't support? Yes, if he wants to pay his own housing, by all means, go for it! I would say, "we're paying for a room at the college you attend right now...if you want a different living experience next year, we will support you in every way we can...but not financially." Then who cares if the room you're paying for is vacant 70% of the time...it's still his place and when this things ends (which it likely will because it's like opening a new restaurant...80% of them go under in the 1st year), he'll have a place to live.

    so, in a nutshell:
    1. pay for the room/place that you support
    2. don't say anything more about the girlfriend
    3. be supportive in every way
    4. but not financially
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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 104 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I agree with telling him you will pay for tuition but not his shared appt with the girlfriend. He can pay his own rent and utilities.
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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 314 replies5 threads Member
    SO, it's possible that he'll agree with what you say, get his own place that you'll pay for, but never stay there, right? In fact, I am pretty sure that's exactly what will happen.

    Do the two of them want to live alone together or with other people? Would they be open to maybe living right by each other but with roommates? Like maybe in the same apartment building. Would that work for you? Are you OK with paying for a place for him that he rarely uses?

    To be honest, that pretty much sums up my college experience. I dated my husband all through college and stayed at his place most of the time. But, I never would have told my parents this and so they paid for my apartments that I rarely used. However, I did occasionally stay at my own place and it was always nice to have a fall back when we'd argue!

    My concern is not the fact that they want to live together...though I would be sad if my child was forgoing relationships with friends and other people due to his/her relationship (not sure if that's the case there)...but more so what happens if they break up? Then what?

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  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 2989 replies161 threads Senior Member
    edited February 11
    I don’t know where you are or what the cost of different housing options would be in his location. Where I live $10k+/year would allow you to rent a decent 1 bedroom apartment in non-university housing. I might get him his own studio or 1 bd apartment and then tell him if he wants to let his gf move in after the lease is signed, that’s his business.
    edited February 11
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  • DeniseBeeDeniseBee 12 replies1 threads New Member
    I do see what you're saying PrdMomto1, and know that he will most likely not stay in the next apartment we pay for either. As it won't be a dorm it should cost less monthly (with a roommate - not his girlfriend). I think they'd be fine in the same blg with their own roommates, and I would be too, but she has a dog so that probably won't work out.

    This is his first year at a new college as a transfer. When he first arrived he and the guys would go back and forth to different dorms to watch movies, play video games, hang out. Now that he's 100% of the time at her place that doesn't happen. He also needs to establish to himself that he's his own good company, which is something he has a hard time with.

    I know I'm fooling myself that anything will change next year, but I'd love to at least have him agree that he sees where I'm coming from and offer to at least try! I made him promise to keep his gaming computer in his dorm room to hopefully at least tempt him back when he wants to game. Guess that strategy isn't really working.
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  • DeniseBeeDeniseBee 12 replies1 threads New Member
    We're in NY and I think prices are similar to you Roethlisburger. I was hoping he'd find a male roommate or two and share, saving us a bit of money. It's always less off campus. His girlfriend has a dog so she's more limited in mobility, which is a large part of why they are always at her place.

    I just feel some personal space is very important, at any age. My son needs to learn independence. He's comfortable and complacent right now which I don't think a guy should especially be in college at the age of 20.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 4353 replies56 threads Senior Member
    Tell him you are happy to save 10K a year on rent!
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  • itsgettingreal21itsgettingreal21 229 replies5 threads Junior Member
    This is very common. I’d pay for the dorm. If he spends most of his time at his girlfriend’s, so be it.
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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 104 replies3 threads Junior Member
    It isn't unusual for new, very in love couples to spend as much time together as possible. I would stop trying to sabotage his relationship which may be very much a part of his emotional growth process and maturing.
    Tell him you arent going to pay for an apartment he wont use. Let him and the girlfriend figure things out about where they live. You are right, they might break up and he would be screwed without a place to live. But Im sure he could find some place to land after the heartbreak.
    Be honest that you hope the girl works out but that its safe to have a plan B in case it doesnt. But also respect that he might not need as much alone time as you do right now. Let him spread his wings a bit.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 5453 replies25 threads Senior Member
    Young love is awesome...isnt it?
    Here's the options.... . Lots of seniors live in Apartments but some live in dorms. Tell him if he doesn't find a roommate you will only pay for the dorm. My son last year had a roommate that almost every weekend was at his girlfriends and lots during the week. It was like my son had the apartment to himself. You can't stop where he goes.

    Does this university have any co-op housing? Many colleges that do have students from the "surrounding colleges that can all live there. Mostly these rooms are singles. They could both live there. They would make dinners together with like 20 people or more. It is usually cheaper then an apartment. This way they could be together but if things don't work out then their good. Many co-ops take dogs with approval.......

    So that's one option.

    You are not going to really stop paying for college etc etc etc. Vent all you want but it's not going to happen. But tell him what you already said here, you were counting on him to get an apartment with roommates to help curb the costs. That is very open and honest. There is no comeback. So he will say she is the roommate. Tell him you can't support that since he just met her. That is open and honest. What if he got a roommate and she was the third roommate? Not ideal. If he does get roommates but is never there, sorry.. Nothing you can do. He will just lie to you that he is there BUT he then has a place to go when this young love blows up.

    You shouldn't have to support his living situation with someone that he just met. If this was a long time relationship I would feel differently. He also doesn't have much leverage here. But you don't want him to all of the sudden have to get a job to pay for his rent (if he hasn't worked already) and affect his grades or possibly his graduation... Right....?

    Right now he is speaking with his hormones and not his head. BUT you are making a typical and bad parenting mistake (I have made many.
    LOL), telling him what to do or threatening him as you have will only push him more to his decision and to her. It's only 3 months but you have met her and liked her. That is something..

    What you are not recognizing is that he is attempting to show independence. But he is not an adult yet (yes by age he is) he is still learning how to become an adult. An adult would have a sit down and come up with a reasonable solution with a parent that is giving him the "gift" and "privilege" of a higher education. He again is thinking with his hormones and not his head here.

    I personally wouldn't support them living together right now. If they end up getting married for 50 years. Well then, they were right. The odds of that happening are very slim....... Lol...

    Again, you can express that you really like the girlfriend but you won't support them living together, right now.

    Again, he had no leverage here. If he sulks it just shows his immaturity and supports your position..

    Ahhh.. Young love ❤️😘.
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  • CMB625CMB625 334 replies8 threads Member
    My daughter "lives" in a dorm at her school but stays at her boyfriends quite a bit. He graduated already and has a job so they don't spend every moment together, plus she has tons of things she is involved in. She still spends time with her friends and sleeps in her own room sometimes but I am not at all sure how often. We knew this would happen once he had his own apt and honestly we know we can't control that. They have been dating for a couple years. If his parents knew, they would have a fit. She has one more semester left and we will pay for her room because, as someone mentioned above, we want her to have a place to go back to just in case. I wouldn't stop paying his rent unless you really want to drive a wedge between you and your son. I do think you should tell him he needs to find a situation where he would have roommates and the rent would be much cheaper. Good luck!
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9351 replies352 threads Senior Member
    edited February 12
    My son, a 20 year old junior, has recently begun a new relationship - just over 3 months, and is basically living full time with his sophomore girlfriend who attends a nearby college.

    It's time to plan for next year's housing and we told him we don't intend to pay for him to live with his girlfriend full-time and he is very upset with us. Says that no matter what living situation we end up with he'll just be living with her anyway.

    If he's already living with her anyway, why does he care if you waste $10k/year on room and board? Is she in her college's housing or does she have an off campus apartment?

    If it were my kid I'd tell him his budget for rent, utilities, and food is $10k (or whatever his current room and board is) and let him look for off campus apartments where his half is within that budget. It would have to be 2 BR so that neither has to leave if they break up, and both families have to sign the lease.

    You may have to help him figure out a reasonable food budget so he doesn't under estimate. The same for utilities if they're not included. This puts the ball in his court and involves the other family. Now it's 2 sets of parents they have to convince that this is a good idea. But his deadline for finding a suitable place -- and getting a lease signed -- would have to be before the deadline for putting a housing deposit on his dorm. If he argues, just remind him how much time is left before the deadline and suggest he not waste it by arguing.
    edited February 12
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29934 replies59 threads Senior Member
    One of mine had a quad room at the dorms that was unused until a crisis occurred and he needed the room. It was a perfect solution for us. We paid for him to have a place in the dorms that was as inexpensive as they cane. It offered him sanctuary of sorts He didn’t stay in it until he needed it. It was a possibility he’d never use it

    The old saying that one can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink doesn’t say not to offer the water or not to make water available. Your son doesn’t have to use the room you provide. You can’t make him use it. There may come a day or circumstance that he needs it. I wouldn’t pay for sumptuous dwellings under the circumstances.

    There are other choices for you too. Parents have issued conditions and ultimatums. If that’s how you feel, you can too. Or parents decide at some point in time to just give their college students the equivalent of the school stated room and board and it’s up to their students to use it as they please. That’s what we did with most of ours once they moved off campus.
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2226 replies104 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    edited February 12
    Your long term relationship with your son is more important than making a point now.

    Your goal is for him to be an adult who makes his own decisions. So let him do so.

    You can raise questions or concerns for him to consider, making it clear that you are doing so out of love and to help him make his own decision. It is not about asserting your power as a parent. It is about being there for him always, whether you agree with any of his decisions or not.

    You also can apologize for having been so adamant originally. Acknowledge that parents sometimes overstep in our desire to smooth the way for our kids whom we love so dearly.

    Ultimately, make it clear that you will support whatever decision he makes. Do not sabotage his college education (by refusing to pay for it and requiring him to get loans) or your relationship. That would be so destructive, both of his future and of your relationship.
    edited February 12
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 1046 replies98 threads Senior Member
    edited February 12
    It really shouldn’t matter if she is his roommate or someone else. As long as you are not paying more than what you would be if he was staying where he is.

    If he is happy, keeping up in college and not in trouble or not spending more, it’s all fine. No point in forcing him to rent separately, paying for it, him not using it and hating you for not understanding.

    It serves no one to try to knock sense into him by making him unhappy, spending on unused housing, and messing up your relationship with him. He is young and in love(or in love with the idea of a relationship), nothing you say would make sense to him.
    edited February 12
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5487 replies261 threads Senior Member
    edited February 12
    In my day, we just didn’t talk about living arrangements with our parents. ;)

    I met DH my first week of freshman year. He was a junior. We were rarely apart but our parents didn’t need to know that.

    Seems to me, the issue here is that the OP “knows.” Why not just pretend you don’t because, if he hadn’t shared this information, you wouldn’t have these concerns.
    edited February 12
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23836 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Just make sure he knows you are paying for ONE housing arrangement. If he signs a lease with the girlfriend and they break up, he may still be responsible for 1/2 the rent and if you have to pay that, he will be couch surfing until that lease expires.

    If he doesn't live in a dorm, he won't need a meal plan.

    I think you are within your rights not to pay, but I think I'd make a deal to pay half.

    My daughter met her boyfriend as a freshman. She lived in the dorm as a sophomore while he lived in an apt. She lived with teammates for jr/sr years and he lived in a house for her jr year but then he graduated and moved home for a year. They spent time together, but not all the time. My daughter needs a lot of space and time to herself. Her roommates had boyfriends who practically lived at their house but d's boyfriend did not. D had a meal plan paid for by her athletic scholarship, and she did share a lot of that with boyfriend (they could order groceries or she could use a 'swipe' for him).

    They are still together, 5+ years later, supporting themselves.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 5453 replies25 threads Senior Member
    @ChoatieMom yes to post #18.

    We didn't either. But the OP and son evidently have a good relationship. My daughter did talk to us about hers but that was because her significant other was coming home with her (she lives in our area also) and spending a holiday with us for dinner etc. We got to know her and she was lovely but not someone we could see long term with. We didn't say anything but we supported my daughter when they broke up after a year. Both wanted different things out of their future. All we could do was support our child. At school they together a lot and I couldn't care where my daughter (and son in college) sleep. As long as their happy and healthy and have a place to go back to. College is about spreading your wings and trying new things. Failing can lead to success. My only concern actually is his studies. If she is encouraging and in school also and they both have goals and motivate each other, then that's not have bad. I needed that out of my girlfriend now wife.

    But if she is not that and planning on dropping out and motivating your son to abandon his dreams and goals then to me that is a problem.

    You raised a good kid. . Sometimes we got to trust Them. Again, explain to him what your budget is. See what he can do with that
    Maybe check out some pricing online so your realistic.

    BTW - this is all in the parenting rule book somewhere 😉📖.
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