Los Angeles Times

She seeks independen­ce

- Email questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@ amydickins­on.com.

Dear Amy: I’m a 33-yearold woman. My daughter is 11. She and I live with my parents.

My parents own the house, and I pay them rent each month.

My parents are in their early 70s. My father works part-time. They don’t seem to need the extra money that my rent provides (they are always buying themselves new games and gadgets).

I want my own life. I want to move into my own apartment, with my daughter.

I searched for apartments, made a budget and even concluded that I would continue to pay my parents the rent I currently pay, so they wouldn’t be without that income.

When I told my parents of my plan to move out, they said how sad they’d be, and they feel like I’m abandoning them at their time of need.

I don’t supply anything but money. I don’t take them to doctor appointmen­ts or the grocery store.

I’m at work during the day. My mom home-schools my daughter, and I wasn’t planning to change that.

I just have a need for my own place.

How can I help my parents to be more comfortabl­e with this?


Dear Mother/Daughter: Your parents have a considerab­le attachment and emotional stake in you and your daughter. That’s how parents and grandparen­ts roll! It’s not just about the rent you pay them. They are attached to you. Their lifetime investment is in you.

Just as parents sometimes give their children a gentle nudge out of the nest (saying, “You can do it!”), you are going to go through a reverse of that process.

Offer your gratitude: “We could not have gotten this far without you.”

Affirm their feelings: “I know this will be an adjustment. I’ll miss you too.”

Offer reassuranc­e: “We’ll still see you almost every day, and I’ll always be there if you need me.”

And then make your plan, don’t let them manipulate you, and start the next chapter of your life.

Dear Amy: I have a longterm friend (45-plus years) who adopted a wonderful, sweet, adorable shelter dog at the start of the pandemic. Her laser focus on the dog has become a problem that borders on obsession!

Every conversati­on starts with a story about what the dog has done, how no one can take care of the dog to her standards (e.g., she tracks with a Wi-Fi collar the route a walker takes when walking the dog), etc.

If one is having a serious conversati­on with her and the dog does something ”interestin­g,” she will interrupt the conversati­on and derail it to talk about the dog.

I love this dog too, but her incessant focus on her pooch makes me not want to be around her or the dog.

How can I help her understand that her lack of selfawaren­ess is affecting not just our friendship but her friendship­s with others? Is there a way to bring this to light without hurt feelings?

Doggone Frustrated

Dear Frustrated: Repeat after me: “I care about you. I also care about your dog. But this relationsh­ip is dominating your life, and I feel dismissed and neglected. Your lack of self-awareness has become a problem that is affecting our friendship.”

Speak for yourself (not others), and understand that delivering this truth might hurt her feelings.

Very long friendship­s can survive the occasional truthful course correction.

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