• Troubleshooter

My Daughter Still Lives with Her Ex-boyfriend

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female part-timer in my 50s. I come to you for advice about my daughter, who is in her early 20s.

In June, she broke up with her boyfriend, who is around the same age and with whom she lived. However, the two continue to live together because they say their place is convenient for commuting.

My daughter works at a restaurant to pay rent and living expenses while he does not pay rent. Probably because she still likes him, she can’t seem to demand he contribute and asked me to help cover rent. I’ve been doing so for the past six months, believing that I’m all she has.

I know this isn’t good for my daughter, so I’ve told her to look for another place or to stay away from him. But she does not change, which annoys me.

If I stop lending a hand, I’m worried she might turn to shady work to make more money. Because of that, I help her even though I know I’m only enabling her. What should I do?

— L, Yamanashi Prefecture

Dear Ms. L:

You don’t have to do anything for your daughter because she’s already an adult. She might not be telling you the truth about her relationship either; it might not be so simple even if she says they “broke up.”

Neither of them take action because you pay their rent. They are depending on you.

It is best for you to step away. Even if she changes her job, it is her responsibility since she chose a home that she cannot afford by herself. Parents should not interfere when their children are at a crossroads.

Even though they may feel alone and isolated, this allows them to seriously think about their lives going forward. Only then can they grow as a person.

Your daughter will remain a child and not become a true adult if she continues to depend on you. Every time something inconvenient comes up, you will be reminded of the consequences of coddling her.

Children lead their own lives, even if it’s not always how parents want them to. I know it is hard for you to walk away from your daughter, but now is the time for you to do so.

Of course, you should do all you can do to provide support when she really needs it, but paying her rent, at the very least, is not what you should do. It is you who must change.

— Hazuki Saisho, writer