DEAR ABBY: I’m 61 and have lived alone my entire life. I like it that way. The roommate thing turned out to be a nightmare for me when I was younger, so I decided that being alone was the way to go.
My mother is nearing 80. She has her mind and is still functional, but her landlord may raise her rent and she may not be able to afford to live there much longer.
She has her heart set on living with me. I love her with all my heart, but I know my life will be compromised if she does. I like solitude, taking my shirt and bra off and throwing them across the room if I feel like it. I am also a secret nudist. I usually wear no clothes when I’m home because I have some skin conditions and can’t wait after a hard day to just shed my clothes.
Living with my mother will make me feel like I’m a kid again because that’s how she’s always treated me. I’m so set in my ways I doubt it can work out.
Perhaps I can give her gift cards to buy food to help her out, maybe $200 a month. But she gives that much to the church and also helps out my brother. Please give me some advice. — ALONE BY CHOICE
DEAR ALONE: It’s time for an honest conversation with your mother, in which you explain everything you have written to me — that you love her, but you like your lifestyle, which doesn’t include having a roommate at this stage of your life. Then determine whether her landlord definitely plans to raise her rent and by how much. With help from you AND your brother, she may be able to remain independent or move in with him.
DEAR ABBY: This spring, my entire family will be traveling 15 hours away for a wedding. I was excited about it until my family started making plans.
I’m 21 and live alone, so I’m pretty independent from my parents. The thought of being around them 24/7 for a week straight drives me crazy.
They took it upon themselves to get a credit card in my name to rent me a hotel room on the same floor as everyone else, and even went so far as buying a camper so everyone could go together. Ideally, I’d like to travel there independently, spend time as a family during the wedding, then have some alone time and enjoy the trip.
I’m under so much pressure to please my family that I’m not even sure I still want to go. I know my family would be hurt if I don’t go, but I feel like if I do, they will be upset because I won’t be with them 24/7. Either I stay home and miss out, or go to the wedding and be annoyed. Advice? — WORRIED ABOUT THE WEDDING IN ILLINOIS
DEAR WORRIED: This isn’t a choice between going or not going to the wedding. This is your chance to create some boundaries between you and your family in the future now that you are an adult. This isn’t a power struggle. It is an important milestone in the lives of your relatives.
I hope you will attend the wedding and be present, accounted for and supportive. However, before you go, make plain to your parents that you will need some time to yourself so they won’t be surprised when you’re not with them 100 percent of the time. Then contact the hotel and arrange to pay for your accommodations with a credit card that YOU applied for, because you are canceling the one that was fraudulently opened in your name “for” you. And tell your parents to never “help” you out that way again.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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