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The Unkindness of Parenting Yields Lazy, Ungrateful, Greedy, Adult Brats… or “Don’t Marry Frankenstein’s Creator”

I’ve been dating a very nice guy, Tom (not his real name).  Tom is widowed, 48 years old, and has a good job as an actuary.  I’m single, never married, 36 years old, and have a good job as a corporate trainer.

We dated for about 8 months and things went very well.  The only hitch in the whole situation was his son, Nick (not his real name).  Nick is 26 years old and lives at home, rent free.  He has no job and asks his dad for $50 – $100 every 2-3 days so he can go out drinking with friends, buy something he wants, go to the movies, etc… Nick has a BA in Accounting but has failed the CPA exam twice.

So Tom pays for Nick’s car, Tom pays for Nick’s insurance (health & auto), Tom is paying off Nick’s credit cards that Nick maxed out after college when he couldn’t find a job, Tom pays all the household bills, Tom buys the food, etc…  Nick spends all day “Studying” to take the CPA exam again, which he has put off for over a year now.  I put the studying in quotation marks because in the 8 months I’ve known him Nick has never said anything about what he read or taking a practice test, or anything that made it sound like he was studying at all.  Tom is the one who keeps insisting that Nick is hard at work studying so he’ll ace the CPA exam next time.

Nick is so busy “Studying” that he can’t possibly wash the dishes, mow the lawn, cook a meal, vacuum a carpet, do a load of laundry, etc… Tom blames Nick’s aversion to housework on the fact that Nick’s mom died when Nick was 13. His mom never got the chance to teach Nick how to do those things. Tom was so busy working after her death that Tom hired a housekeeper while Nick was in Middle School and High School.

While his mom’s death is tragic, I don’t understand why that makes a 26 year old man incapable of learning how to pick up after himself now. If he was really lost over how to wash a dish or do a load of laundry, I’m pretty sure he could find a Youtube video to give him a tutorial.

Also, he survived 4 years away at college in another state. So his laundry got cleaned and he fed himself somehow in those 4 years.

Tom spent his entire life putting away money so he could retire at 50.  He’s 48 now and has run through a lot of his savings supporting his adult, college educated, son who refuses to get a job that isn’t “worthy” of him. At dinner one night Nick actually said, “If it’s not paying at least $50,000.00 a year, I don’t want it. I know what I’m worth.”  Nick blames his dad’s generation for ruining the economy, ruining the job market, and being the reason why Nick can’t find a decent paying job.

This whole thing is between Tom and Nick really isn’t any of my business.  Tom is welcome to spend his money as he sees fit.  Tom is welcome to cater to his adult son as he sees fit.  While we were dating, I kept my mouth shut about all of it.  When Tom would complain about how quickly his savings were disappearing, I’d tell him that he should talk to Nick.

Then the “incident” happened.  Tom and I were having a quiet night at his place.  It was after dinner, and we hanging out on the sofa watching stuff on Netflix.  Tom left the room to use the restroom and Nick came home from where ever he’d been.  Nick said, “Oh good, I wanted to talk to you alone. Dad’s birthday is in 2 weeks. And it doesn’t seem right to borrow money from him to buy him a gift. So could you give me $100?”

I was shocked. I think I sat in silence for about 5 or 10 seconds before I said, “I’m sorry. I can’t.”    Nick said, “That’s ok. I know how hard things can me. Believe me.” And laughed.   And then he said, “If you can only give me $50, that would be ok.”   Again, I said, “I’m sorry. I can’t.”    Nick got a little huffy and said, “Fine, whatever!” and stomped off to his room.   When Tom came back, I told him what happened.  And then Tom got mad.   He couldn’t believe I wouldn’t give Nick the $100.    Tom said, “I’ll give you the $100, and you go give it to Nick. I don’t want him to be embarrassed that he can’t buy me a birthday present.”   And I said something along the lines of, “That’s ridiculous. Why don’t you just give him the $100 in that case? I don’t want him to think I’m willing to lend money to him. He doesn’t have a job and has no way to pay me back. So basically I’d be giving Nick money and then you’d be paying me back. I don’t want to be in the middle like that.”

Tom got really angry accusing me of calling his son dishonest (because I said Nick wouldn’t pay me back) and lazy (because I mentioned that Nick doesn’t have a job). I told him that his relationship with his son was his business.  But my relationship was with him and not his son.

Tom broke up with me.   Because, of course, his son is the most important person in his life and if we got married then I’d be Nick’s step mom.  It boiled down to, if I was unwilling to have a relationship with Nick, then my relationship with Tom was over.

It’s been a month. Tom and I haven’t talked since that night.  I really like Tom. I miss him and I hate that we broke up over this.

Was I out of line?  Should I have just given Nick the $100 to buy Tom’s birthday present?  Should I have accepted being in the middle to save Nick’s pride?  Even if Nick is 26, should I have been trying to build some sort of maternal relationship with him?

I feel like I set the correct boundaries.   But maybe I’m just being heartless because I feel that Nick is taking advantage of the situation.   And that has colored my actions in regards to lending Nick money.

What do you say, e-Hell? Should I be roasting in the fires on this one? 0829-16

AAAARRGGH!   No!  No, no, no!   You do NOT belong skewered over an EHell bonfire!   You are the only normal, healthy, sensible person in this entire scenario.   You are questioning your principles and core convictions when you know, deep in your gut, that you are right.

Nick has a serious character flaw which has been nurtured and facilitated by his equally flawed father.   It is a PROFOUND unkindness to raise children who are this dysfunctional as adults.   Tom has seriously handicapped his son so that he is not able to be a healthy adult who is productive, independent, grateful, hard working and self sustaining.   Had you continued in this relationship playing this money game,  you would have been complicit in Tom’s miserable parenting and the continued “helplessness” of Nick.   Married couples fight about sex, money and the kids and I guarantee that you and Tom, had you married,  would have fought vigorously about the kid and how money has been spent. Once married, your finances will combine and you would have fought over how Tom is draining *your* financial reserves supporting an indigent, lazy, ungrateful, wretch of a son Tom helped create.

Run and don’t look back.   If Tom calls, do not answer the phone.   Wait for a good man to come into your life.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Cat September 5, 2016, 10:23 am

    I cannot imagine wanting a relationship with anyone who is dedicating his life and his fortune to supporting a twenty-six year old sponge without a job. However, it is your life and your choice if this is truly the man of your dreams.
    I would have said, “I neither give nor loan money to anyone for any reason. If you would like to earn one-hundred dollars, I need someone to do xxxxx. I will pay you for doing that work for me.”

    • mark September 5, 2016, 1:45 pm

      This might be a good idea if Nick were 13, but as 26 year old able bodied adult? Probably not.

      • Mags September 5, 2016, 2:00 pm

        Actually, as a 26 year old able bodied adult who has not yet made the connection that you work for money, I think it’s a fantastic idea.

        OP — you were awesome.

      • Cat September 5, 2016, 8:55 pm

        Call me silly, but I have generally found that a twenty-six year old man is a better worker than a thirteen year old boy. He is stronger, is less likely to hurt himself playing the fool, and can be trusted with power tools.

        • NostalgicGal September 5, 2016, 11:40 pm

          I beg to differ about being trustable with power tools…. some people can’t handle running a fork yet anything that takes a battery or plugs into an outlet.

          • Cat September 6, 2016, 6:30 pm

            That is really sad. Where I live everyone has a chain saw and can use it without inflicting bodily injury to anyone. I have used one for years to cut down trees and to make fire wood.

          • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 10:31 pm

            But unfortunately true. Sigh. I don’t mess with chainsaws but I do more damage with a reciprocating saw than I want to admit. Heh. I will split wood down, I was taught how to stand it on end, tie it together (very big bundle) then get over it and chop at it from above and split it. Record time. I need rather small chunks for my RMH (Rocket Mass Heater).

        • mark September 6, 2016, 8:19 am

          It’s more the situation. Using this to teach a 13 year a work ethic might work. But in this situation I could see it blowing up.

          • Cat September 6, 2016, 6:33 pm

            Why, Mark? Either the good-for-nothing will refuse to work for money or he will have to do the work. I would not let a 13 year old loose with a power washer for fear he’d decide to wash my chickens for me.
            My impression was that the fellow was lazy, not incompetent.

          • abby September 7, 2016, 10:02 am

            I think the logic here is that it’s a better lesson to learn at 13 that you have to work to earn money than at 26. A 13 year old is still malleable. A 26 year old, however, has gotten a lot of confirmation by that age that *someone* will take care of him.

          • mark September 7, 2016, 11:50 pm


            I’m not saying it can’t work but what would you ask him to do? Mow your lawn? Clean your car? For a hundred dollars? For that amount I would want @ least 10 hours of unskilled work.

            I can’t imagine explaining (let alone managing) this with a petulant and entitled 13 year old, and trying this with 26 year old makes my brain explode just thinking about it.

  • flora September 5, 2016, 10:37 am

    I can understand the question though. When a person feels ganged up on or is (as tv tropes would call it) the only sane man in a situation. It’s normal to find yourself questioning your sanity or wondering if you are the one who is wrong. You were fine, more then fine, it’s about time someone stood up to Nick and Tom about their situation.
    If Nick needs a gift idea how about passing that exam and learning to wash a dish.

    • pennywit September 5, 2016, 7:05 pm

      You do realize that if you link to TV tropes, you’ll send us on a Wiki Walk, right?

  • NostalgicGal September 5, 2016, 10:44 am

    OP, run the other way and don’t look back.

    Nick has his father totally blind to the fact he will never get his arse off the couch and step off his gravy train. It will continue until Tom is flat broke or dies. Tom will never retire. Tom refuses to grow a spine. It’s not going to end well, so walk away from the station as this train wreck is going to happen.

    You did nothing at all wrong, OP. It is good this came up before you ended up committed. I’m sorry you spent so much time on this one, and it will hurt, but you will find another, and hopefully not another train wreck waiting to happen. YOU deserve Better.

    • lakey September 6, 2016, 12:43 am

      I know a couple of families where one sibling was the family “child” who always had to be helped out by mom and dad. Then mom and dad died and the sibling who never grew up was left hanging.

      • Mo September 6, 2016, 3:10 pm

        Yep, that’s my brother. We’ve all helped him out, and he’s had the lion’s share of my father’s savings. Once that’s gone he’s going to get a shock, as mu other brother and I have agreed “no more”.

        • DancerDiva September 6, 2016, 8:33 pm

          Mine too. My mother is the enabler, but thank goodness my father cut him off years ago. My brother doesn’t know that my parents have put me in charge of the funds and when they’re gone, I’m only supposed to keep him from being homeless and starving. I’m sure he’ll find a way to blame me for that too.

      • Vall September 8, 2016, 8:03 am

        I’m dealing with this now. My father’s wife had an adult daughter that decided to stop working. She isn’t disabled–she just didn’t want to work anymore. Her mom moved her in against my father’s protests. She lived for free off her mom and my dad (15? years) until last year when her mom passed away. My father hated her but he didn’t want to evict her right after losing her mother. My dad passed away last month. Now this woman expects me to pay for the house, insurances, lawn care, utilities, etc for her! When I told her that I sold the house (it was willed only to me) she said that she’d “try” to move out in a couple of months. I’ve got a mess on my hands. She will always be a burden on someone but it’s not going to be me.

        • NostalgicGal September 9, 2016, 8:13 am

          An attorney can provide you with a formal eviction notice for not much; make sure it’s served, then follow up with the sheriff’s department.

          I had a friend I let come to stay while she got back on her feet, I expected 2-3 months. At 29 months and almost costing me my marriage, involving her parents who were used to bailing her and were going to do intervention (she was in very unhealthy mental state) and having to serve a formal eviction to get her out; just go the simple route. Be careful she doesn’t go on a damage rampage. If the house has closed, she has to get out, that’s simple.

  • Startruck September 5, 2016, 10:54 am

    You did every single thing right !!!! In my opinion you dodged the biggest bullet of your life. I suspect tom will be single a long, long time.

  • AnaMaria September 5, 2016, 11:13 am

    I’m sure this was all a shock to you, OP, after eight months of happily dating, but I think once you’ve had a chance to recover you’ll be thankful. I loved with my parents for almost three years after college, but I was working either full time or multiple part-time jobs (mostly low-pay resume-builder jobs to get into grad school), I cleaned up after myself, my dad usually did the cooking but I could do it if needed, and I had a set move-out month. I eventually went to teach overseas a year and then got into grad school and now have a career and an apartment. Lots of young adults need to temporarily come back home, but there’s a difference between giving your kids a place to eat and sleep while they sort their lives out, and outright enabling them. And dating someone with an adult child does not, in any way, give you obligations toward that child. Marrying someone with a minor child would be a different story, but if Tom can’t see the difference, then he needs to figure it out on his own or get used to being single.

    • Amanda H. September 5, 2016, 5:18 pm

      Hear hear.

      I have a friend who went back to live with her parents after graduating college, but like you, she also got a job and helped around the house, rather than mooching rent-free, and she did eventually get an apartment when it felt right and her financial situation was stable enough.

      Nick sounds like someone banking on that free ride, and Tom is giving it to him. I wonder what Nick’s going to do once Tom can no longer support him (finances run out or Tom passes away/is no longer physically able to work), and how many years past his desired retirement age it’s going to be before Tom realizes Nick is a mooch.

    • PatGreen September 6, 2016, 7:39 pm

      Many adults have to live with their parents for various reasons. Sometimes they are taking care of elderly parents. Sometimes they are trying to find work after college and need a place to stay for a few months. Sometimes there is a divorce or other financial emergencies. Sometimes there is a medical emergency or condition.

      However living with a parent for years without making any effort to find a job that’s “beneath” you is not a good reason. Work at Walmart or McDonald’s or Starbucks or even around the neighborhood as a handyman.

  • Josiepug September 5, 2016, 11:17 am

    You did nothing wrong. Getting as far away from that mess was a good thing. You do not belong in Ehell for not being a doormat and standing up for yourself and your pocketbook. You said Tom was running out of retirement money. How long would it have been if you had married before he dipped into your savings?

    I am a CPA. Granted I’ve had my license for a while. The average takes to pass was 4 when I was taking it umpteen years ago. I don’t know what it is now. I took it 4 times before I passed while working full time and making a lot less than $50,000 a year.
    Having said that, I think if “Nick” ever does pass and gets a job he’s going to be in a world of hurt. I guess he’s forgetting that it takes (or took) 2 years of work experience on top of passing the exam to get the license. Also, no firm will hire someone that lazy. Tom and Nick are both setting Nick up for failure the rest of his life. Or he’ll get hired and I’ll make money by going behind him and cleaning up the mess when they fire him for incompetence.

    • Carrie September 6, 2016, 7:34 am

      It’s different for every state, where I’m at (Georgia) you need one year work experience, and that experience must be within a certain amount of time of passing the exam. I’m trying to pass now, and I made sure to get a job before I started really studying because there was no guarantee that I would be able to find a job once I passed. If you don’t, or can’t, get hired after you pass the exam you may have to retake it depending on how long it takes to find a job.

  • Miriam September 5, 2016, 11:28 am

    You dodged a bullet – be thankful that the situation was revealed to you before your & Tom’s finances were merged!

    • VA Lady September 5, 2016, 1:11 pm

      actually, the OP dodged a whole darn firing squad, not just one bullet!

      have you heard the saying “when people tell you who they are, believe them?”, OP? Tom and Nick told you, very clearly, exactly who they are, and who they will always be. believe them.

      • Miriam September 6, 2016, 6:38 am

        Better put VA Lady, they weren’t going to stop at just the one shot, were they?!

  • Dee September 5, 2016, 12:00 pm

    OP, you’ve known all along how rotten Tom is as a parent; the red flags were so big they must have been blinding you the whole time. How do you respect a man like that? And why did you think this wouldn’t affect your relationship, since Tom’s dysfunction affects every other aspect of his life – his money management, his management of his roommate (Nick), he lies for Nick to excuse his behaviour, etc. At what point did you think this would all sort itself out? Tom is a lazy, lousy parent for neither wanting Nick to be independent nor helping him to be so and for expecting everyone around him to agree with him. Why aren’t you dancing for joy that he is out of your life?

    • AnaMaria September 6, 2016, 6:26 pm

      Because break ups hurt. OP mentioned she is 36- this isn’t teenaged puppy-love. This comes across awfully harsh for a woman who just got dumped for standing up for herself.

      • Lady Phoenix September 7, 2016, 12:23 am

        I’m with AnaMaria. A lot of people try to make relationships works, warts and all. When a relationship is toxic, the lines between Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong becomes very blurry.

        OP, you didn’t just dodge a bullet, you avoided a flipping bomb. Not only would you have to deal with a-holes contantly putting you down, you would also have 2 a-holes digging around in your finances AND [very likely] forcing you to clean like if you were Cinderella.

        As for Dee, not cool. Not cool at all.

        • Dee September 7, 2016, 10:28 am

          So, I’m harsh for telling OP she should be very glad to have lost her short term boyfriend who was very obviously dysfunctional and willing to use OP to continue abetting and ruining his son, but it’s not harsh for you and everyone else to say that she dodged a hail of bullets, a flipping bomb, that Tom is an a-hole, etc.? Double standard much?

          • Lacey September 7, 2016, 3:13 pm

            They are talking about his flaws; you are berating her for having feelings for him. Big difference.

          • RooRoo September 7, 2016, 4:33 pm

            Dee, I don’t see a double standard here.

            One doesn’t see the “bombs” coming, in the first few dates, if the man has displays good qualities. At first, this man may have looked like a kind and good father, who was helping his adult son to find his feet. It would take a while for her to realize that the son was a leech, and even longer to see that Dad was ruining his financial health for the sake of this slug.

            But she *didn’t* know that Dad assumed that she would unconditionally support Little Leechy, too. It took that last episode – Dad getting *mad* at her that she didn’t automatically “loan” $100 to the brat – for her to see that staying with him was, er, fiscally dangerous. Up until that point, it was “live and let live.”

            So, she did the right thing. I assume the other two haven’t changed. No double standard there.

          • Lady Phoenix September 9, 2016, 11:05 am

            @Dee, what you are doing is what we call “vicim blaming”. It shames the person for things that are not their fault. It is not the OP’s fault that she fell in love with a man who only saw her as another change purse for his son and then got mad when she had the “spine” to say no. Instead, he tried to break her.

            What you are doing is the same thing, attacking her. You are attacking her for having feelings for a guy she thought was good to her after a few dates and trying to compromise in a relationship. It’s not her fault her partner turned out to be a major jerk that would not compromise as well.

            We understand that the OP got caught in bad date, and we don’t blame hr for it.

            So once again, Dee, not cool. What you are doing is not ok and you are just a toxic person.

  • kingsrings September 5, 2016, 12:00 pm

    It is going to be just Tom and Nick, the rest of their lives. Because Tom will try to date other women, but repeatedly will break up with them because of the problems they’ll have with his sponge of a son. Tom will just keep blaming the women for the problems. Therefore, it will just be Tom and Nick, for the rest of their lives.
    I’ve got a close, longtime friend like this. She’s in her mid-forties and still lives at home, fully supported by her parents. They chose to raise their children with no discipline or sense of personal responsibility, so that is the end result.

  • Miss Herring September 5, 2016, 12:09 pm

    Wow, poor OP. Tom is being a fool if he thinks Nick the 26-yo leech is ever going to stop draining him. Stay away from Tom until Nick and unless Nick has been cut off for a year by TOM’S choice and Tom has called you apologizing. Tom is supporting Nick in more handsome a fashion than Tom is experiencing, as I am guessing Tom isn’t out spending a few hundred dollars a week for fun times with friends. At least you found this out before marriage! Count your blessings!

    For some “fun” perspective on the CPA exam:
    The CPA exam is a four-part test. Each part is taken in a separate session with flexible timing, so you can take a part on Monday, a part on Wednesday, a part three months later, and another part three months after that. The most popular review guide divides up studying for each part into five to eleven segments. IF one is working full-time, one can comfortably get through a segment or two each week. If one is not working, or is working low-hour, low-brainpower part-time jobs, one can get through three to four segments each week (more than that is overwhelming, so you pace yourself by doing other activities {such as chores!} that don’t consume much brainpower). When I was looking for full-time accounting work and was working two low-brainpower part-time jobs, I started studying in month 1 and passed two parts of the exam over two weeks in month 2. The most time any non-working person should take to pass the exam would be around six to nine months, to account for scheduling peculiarities, but even then there is certainly time to do chores.

    If Nick is 26 and has his BA, he finished college at…22? 23? Does that mean he has been sitting around studying for THREE TO FOUR YEARS? I can’t think of any employer who would look at YEARS with no job and no passing of the exams and think he would be a good hire. Any employer will know that Nick is either lazy or an incompetent. Also, most employers will hire you before you pass the CPA exam, so that is no excuse.

    • Carrie September 6, 2016, 7:37 am

      Most major accounting firms will hire someone without a CPA if they know that your intention is to eventually (like within your first year working) obtain one, and will give you a hefty raise once you do. Not to mention the countless accounting jobs that do not require a CPA.

      • AnaMaria September 6, 2016, 6:32 pm

        I have a good friend who got an ASSOCIATES in accounting and found a decent job- she never got rich but she supported herself just fine. She even moved to a rural community to marry a farmer and was able to find another good job. There’s no reason for Nick to not be working, CPA or no CPA.

    • abby September 7, 2016, 10:14 am

      I graduated college in 2004 with a BS in accounting. I never went the CPA route, but I had a lot of friends who did. Most of them got job offers from major accounting firms prior to graduation. Salaries started in the low to mid 4os for most of the jobs. None of my friends had their CPAs yet but all were studying for it. I don’t know how long the firms give you, but it must be a least a year, maybe more.

      My guess is Nick never went on one job interview, took one internship, or even sent out resumes. (Or if he did, he likely uploaded it to Indeed or Monster or Simply Hired and just electronically submitted, sans cover letter). Perhaps he also listed a very high starting salary as a requirement and was immediately filtered out of the applicant pool.

      Nick is likely never going to find a job in accounting now. He has a 3-4 year hole in his resume, and jobs can pick up a more recent college grad for the same level of experience, but that have not shown the complete lack of initiative that Nick has shown. He is damaged goods in this field.

      Guarantee, his next move will be to try to go back to school to get into a different field, which Tom will likely not only foot the education bill, but also continue to support Nick while Nick is in school.

      OP, run away. Far far away.

    • SweetPea September 8, 2016, 12:30 pm

      I was waiting for this to come up. He’s behaving like he can’t possibly work without a CPA… But I have a BA in Accounting (but haven’t chosen to sit for the CPA yet) and had no trouble. That boy is making up excuses !!

  • Susan September 5, 2016, 12:24 pm

    OP- keep running. This was a powder keg waiting to explode, and at least you aren’t in the blast radius anymore.

    The sad thing is that at this rate Nick will never be able to have a normal relationship with anyone, and by extension, neither will Tom. If you think the co-dependency is bad now, imagine what it will be like in 20 years, when Tom still finds himself working past retirement age because he has to support his 46 year old sponge job.

  • Really?? September 5, 2016, 12:39 pm

    Be thankful that this experience happened now instead of after marriage. I think that, in the event of a marriage, both Tom and Nick would have expected your wallett and bank account to be as open to Nick as Tom’s is. What Tom is failing to realize at this point is that he is doing Nick no favors by allowing him to live this way. What is going to happen to Nick when Tom passes away? Nick is not going to know how to take care of himself. And if there is any type of inheritance, Nick will blow through it, and then what? Become homeless because he can’t take care of himself? Don’t feel bad, OP. You did the right thing in not contributing.

    • NostalgicGal September 5, 2016, 2:20 pm

      It looked like the relationship had gone long enough and serious enough that Nick decided the OP’s money was already his, and he could have access to it (by his speshul snowflake rights) and didn’t like the fact he was told no. Going any further, it would have gotten worse. It showed the true colors and the right thing was done. Getting out was the best choice.

  • Mojo September 5, 2016, 1:13 pm

    It’s heartbreaking when you’ve got so much in common with someone, but there are just one or two areas of HUGE incompatibility. There’s so much good stuff, you wonder if this problem’s really a deal breaker?

    This one is. You’re never going to agree with Tom on how he’s raising Nick. You’ve shown great wisdom, not getting embroiled in their relationship. Only they can sort it out. You’ve realised that getting involved will only cause more trouble for them, and pain for you.

    Mourn the love you had for Tom and accept it’s not going to work with him. This situation is too toxic, for them and any outsiders. All you can do is wish them both well in your heart, and move on.

    • Miriam September 6, 2016, 6:36 am

      Spot on, Mojo. The only exception I would take is that [absent mental/physical impairment] at 26, Tom should have *done* all the raising that Nick needs!

  • Dodger September 5, 2016, 1:24 pm

    As someone likely of Nick’s generation, “[dad]’s generation ruined the economy,” while not a statement I entirely disagree with (there’s a kernel of truth in there, but not much else), is also not an excuse for his lack of gumption and get-up-and-go.

    That he acted like a toddler having his toy taken from him after you refused to give him money is really telling. The real manchildren of my generation aren’t the ones who play video games or go to conventions, they’re the ones who act like that.

    You got out not a moment too soon! I hope you find someone more level headed down the line.

    • The Other Elizabeth September 6, 2016, 12:55 pm

      Oui. I’m thirty next month, and as much as I feel like the cards are stacked against me by the erosion of good business practices (the company I’m with just laid off a high number of SALARIED employees, aka that ones who I assumed would have job security, and left us hourly people to do their jobs for less money and the knowledge that we can be dumped at any time), sitting on one’s hinter, spending money on frivolities, and blaming everyone else for one’s lack of success in life is pure delusion. Nick is a scumbag.

      • The Other Elizabeth September 6, 2016, 12:59 pm

        Scratch that, good business ETHICS is probably a better choice of word.

    • LizaJane September 6, 2016, 10:29 pm

      It wasn’t the entire generation. As per usual it wss tge few. The factory owners and shareholders who sold the jobs out of the country, the bankers who sold the idea that people could afford champagne homes on beer budgets… the list goes on.

    • Ant September 7, 2016, 4:15 am

      I really don’t think generational differences are what people say they are. Times change making it impossible to compare generations. I’ve read statements from various points in history of people saying that young people are irresponsible, lack drive, entitled etc etc. I think what really happens is a kind of social amnesia about being on the cusp of adulthood- some people jump into it or are forced to by circumstances, others are kept on the apron strings and others… well… need swift kick to get on with life. On a slight tangent: I’m glad I’m not at this stage now. In the UK at least you cannot win as a young person. If the exam grades go up, the exams are too easy. If the grades go down, the kids are getting dumber. If you post lots of adventures /misadventures online its documented and you’re criticised for excess. If you’re good and responsible people tell you you’re wasting you’re youth. etc etc modern media/ social media is a weird thing

  • NoviceGardener September 5, 2016, 1:44 pm

    Far from doing anything wrong, OP, I’d say you dodged a bullet. Or rather, two bullets, as it’s clear you won’t get bullet Tom without bullet Nick tagging along forever. It’s fine and understandable that you miss Tom, that’s normal when relationships end. I hope you’ll look back in a few months and realise that whatever the good bits of your relationship with Tom, they weren’t worth the price of having to deal with a couple of weak, overgrown man-children. Whether or not you find yourself in another relationship down the road, you’re certainly far better off without these two.

    (Side note for Admin as far as the title goes: “Frankenstein’s creator” would be Mary Shelley, the author of the novel. The creator of Frankenstein’s monster would indeed be Victor Frankenstein, who, admittedly, had a few issues.)

    • Samantha C September 5, 2016, 3:09 pm

      Re: side note, it’s still a fitting reference 😀 since arguably, the entire theme of Frankenstein is our responsibility to the lives we create (i.e. our children)

  • Princess Buttercup September 5, 2016, 2:10 pm

    I’m 32, so I fall in the early window of millennial generation, the same generation as the son here. I can attest that jobs, housing, a productive life is a lot harder to come by now days then it was for previous generations. (Since I’m on the very early edge of the generation I still remember seeing things not be so bad as they are now. I had an easier time finding a job at 16 years old than I did more recently as an adult with more verifiable experience.)
    My husband in recent years was working hard to study for a very hard to pass test. (So hard that while he was in the top couple positions of his college classes he still has been unable to pass the test after taking it more than a half dozen times.) And while studying he had to opt out of doing some fun stuff (can’t hang out with buddies all weekend, I need to study), he was still able to help around the house, do temp jobs as they were available, etc.
    And because of jobs in such short supply and housing prices being crazy, we are living in his parents basement and part of the money he earns is from his parents but he works for them (stuff that they would have to hire a much more expensive person for, not stuff they could just do on their own).

    Life is crazy tough out there, especially if you weren’t born into a wealthy family that could pull strings for you. However, something that is not helping by any means is the parents that enable their kids to be kids forever. Parents have lost sight of the goal of having kids, which is to create future productive members of society. In that regard your guy has failed as a parent (and honestly sounds like mom did to. At 13 she never had an opportunity to teach him basic self care?! At 13 I did my own laundry, helped with the laundry for the rest of the family, could cook meals for the family, often did dishes, helped in raising my younger brother, held an after school job, etc.)

    You may miss your guy, but that is something you need to get over. Don’t pine forever. He had a major character flaw that made him unworthy for a future relationship with you.

    • Anonymous September 5, 2016, 6:22 pm

      I agree with all of this. As for the issue at hand (Nick asking the OP, his father’s girlfriend, who he doesn’t really know, for $100 or even $50 to buy his father a birthday gift), I think Nick is missing that gifts don’t have to cost money. Nick could make his dad a birthday card, write him a poem, make him a birthday video or slideshow of pictures set to music on the computer (Windows Movie Maker is a free download), cook a special meal and/or a birthday cake (and clean up afterwards), or do any number of free or low-cost things that would ultimately be more meaningful than a material gift purchased with someone else’s money, because that way, Nick’s father would know that his birthday gift from Nick, was really from Nick.

      • Miriam September 6, 2016, 6:43 am

        Ah, but Tom has taught Nick that a) money is easy to come by [just put out your hand and ask the nearest *responsible* adult], and b) that Nick need make no effort.

      • Angela September 6, 2016, 6:44 am

        Those are nice ideas but cynic that I am, I doubt that much of the $100 was ever intended for the present. I can easily see Dad getting a coffee mug and some cookies and the rest of the money in the Nick Amusement Fund.

      • Amanda H. September 6, 2016, 9:10 am

        And here I must be very cynical, because my first thought at the amounts Nick wanted to borrow from OP was, “I’ll bet he’s going to use that to go out drinking or something instead of actually getting a gift.”

        As for Tom, I think he feels that any gift is actually from Nick, even if Tom himself paid for it, so long as Nick presents it to him. You know, given that Tom tried to give OP money to give to Nick.

    • Dee September 5, 2016, 8:07 pm

      We don’t know where Tom and Nick live, so we can’t assume that opportunities are hard to come by. Where I live it is much better for jobs than it was when I was starting out; rent is cheaper per paycheque, and cars are far, far cheaper and much better quality. Buying real estate is very difficult which is odd since rent is still quite affordable, depending on what you are seeking. College age kids can live independently while going to school and working a minimum wage job. Definitely better than it was when I was their age. It sounds as if Nick is not in a hardship situation as he is able to go to school without working if he chooses to, and there seems to be an understanding that he would, eventually, make maybe $50,000 in his field, if he works long enough. Sounds good to me.

      So that whole thing about my generation ruining it for the young folks? The proliferation of Starbucks and video games and expensive movie-going so popular with the young crowd, the big vacations to tropical locales, along with the loss of skills such as sewing and cooking at home, makes me just weep for these poor, poor kids. Sarcasm intended.

      • Kate September 6, 2016, 1:14 pm

        I find what you are saying very surprising. Do you mean to say that a person in your area can go to college full-time and support themselves completely (food, rent, electricity, etc.) on a part-time minimum wage job?

        • Dee September 6, 2016, 2:56 pm

          Kate – Working part-time during the school year – September to April, then full-time from April to September. Most of the kids take on this schedule whether or not they still live at home. It’s what’s expected and it means they graduate with little to no student loans. Very few parents pay for their kids’ expenses. They don’t have to.

          • NostalgicGal September 6, 2016, 6:50 pm

            Even if you work and go to school you can still pile up quite a debt in student aid. Just because you work doesn’t mean you don’t have loans!!!!! Been there and done that and I didn’t live at home.

          • CW September 7, 2016, 9:34 am

            I want to go back 12 years and live wherever you are. I worked full time year round and went to school and was pretty broke that entire time. And I still have student loans to pay off!

  • mark September 5, 2016, 2:15 pm

    I don’t know if the OP should have run, I would have thought twice about getting married or buying a house with Tom is until this situation was resolved. Obviously this is somewhat academic since they already broke up.

    I think the biggest mistake the OP made was keeping her mouth shut about it the whole time. If this was a serious relationship, surely the topic should of come up earlier. Nick obviously was the 800# gorilla in the corner of the room, and needed to be discussed. Then the relationship could have been ended or put on a more casual footing, or maybe Tom may have been gently nudged to deal with this situation to keep his relationship with the OP, depended on how the discussion went.

    • Miriam September 6, 2016, 6:46 am

      The OP didn’t run, she was pushed: “Tom broke up with me. “

  • PM September 5, 2016, 4:14 pm

    You dodged a bullet. This was not a good relationship. Tom was not a good partner.

  • kgg September 5, 2016, 4:23 pm

    OP, Tom is raising a loser. There’s no kind word for it. Unless one or both of them has an epiphany, the situation will never change. Nick is most likely so used to living an easy lifestyle that buckling down and working for a living is beyond him right now. And the longer he waits before he gets it together, the larger the gap in his resume that is going to be very difficult to explain. He’s going to wait a very long time if he’s not looking and just expecting a $50,000+ job to fall into his lap.

    Tom is doing his son more harm than good. He’ll realize that eventually, probably when Nick hits 30 and Tom’s bank account has taken a bigger hit. There’s probably a finite amount of times Tom will be able to answer his friends’ questions of what Nick is up to with “Oh, studying for the CPA exam!” before reality hits him.

  • Pizzaguy September 5, 2016, 6:48 pm

    So if Tom was giving Nick $50-$100 every few days Nick could easily have saved some of that cash to buy a gift. He chose not to.

    That is not your problem. I predict I a few months when you look back on this you will be amazed that you lasted 8 months.

    • Mo September 6, 2016, 3:16 pm

      Good point.

    • Goldie September 7, 2016, 11:01 am

      Right? That could be anything from $500/month ($50 every three days) to $1500/month ($100 every other day). This is on top of the fact that Nick does not have to pay rent, or bills, or buy food or household items.

  • pennywit September 5, 2016, 7:05 pm

    Nick and Tom are seriously irritating.

    If life kicks your kid in the teeth, no matter what his age, it’s appropriate to help him, within reason. This might mean providing a roof over his head while he gets his life and finances back together. It might mean helping him study for a professional exam. (Seriously, these professional exams can be tough. You’d be doing your kid a HUGE favor at very little cost to you if you spend a few hours quizzing him on questions and concepts from the professional exam. I wish I had thought to ask my parents for this help.) This might mean staking him some money or otherwise helping him out as he starts a new business, provided he has a reasonable chance of succeeding at that new business. And if your kid’s in deep financial trouble, it might entail paying for a good lawyer to help him with the bankruptcy process.

    But all of these have something in common — they are about helping your kid move forward, rather than giving him an incentive to stay in place or, worse yet, regress to his teenage years. Tom’s not helping Nick move forward. Instead, he’s letting a 26-year-old be a manchild, giving him a crapton of money and a roof on his head in exchange for nothing … and with no signs of progress from Nick.

    And, seriously, what school of parenting did Tom attend? When your kid is twenty-six you owe him honesty, not blind support. That means that either Tom needs to supervise Nick’s CPA prep to ensure that he passes … or he needs to have a serious conversation with Nick about his career prospects, and inform him that he’s not cut out to be a CPA, so he needs to find something else to do.

    And Nick’s attitude is awful. If he is studying night and day for the CPA exam, complete with accounting-theme warm-ups (balancing ledgers on a barbell, maybe? Green eyeshade curls?), then he absolutely should not take a low-paying job that would distract him from his studies. Otherwise? No. If you have a $50k/year job, or you recently had a $50k/year job, or if you have serious, realistic prospects for a job that pays more than $50k/year, then, yes, you can turn your nose up at low-wage jobs. But if you are unemployed, then $25k/year is more than your current wage of -0-.

    If Nick feels like he shouldn’t take on a regular job while he gets himself together, then fine. The gig economy awaits. I can think of no fewer than five Websites (including TaskRabbit, Rover, Lyft, Uber, and Upwork) where Nick can earn money doing grunt work for other people. It would be hard work, and the pay would be poor unless Nick has some skills, but at least he’d be earning money while he finds himself.

    Finally … both Nick and Tom have a lot of nerve, and OP is lucky to escape from their dynamic.

  • Lanes September 5, 2016, 7:35 pm

    I’d like to ask Nick how he managed to buy his dad a present for previous birthdays, since he wasn’t working, and presumably Tom didn’t have a girlfriend every single year for Nick to mooch off.

    Nick is a full-grown-loser. Tom is enabling him, but Nick is an adult and knows full well that he should have a job by now. No doubt his drinking buddies aren’t asking their daddies for money.

  • T September 5, 2016, 8:58 pm

    Also, does anyone believe Nick would have spent anything near 100 dollars on his father’s gift had OP obliged him? I’m guessing a 20-dollar gift at best with the rest of the cash going to fund his own entertainment.

    • Amanda H. September 6, 2016, 9:17 am

      I was thinking basically the same thing.

  • stacey September 5, 2016, 10:49 pm

    Crazy story! Sounds like neither father nor son recovered after the mother’s death. The relational dynamic became (and remained) warped with dad as rescuer and son as helpless victim. Sad. But not a problem anyone else could fix but themselves.
    Meanwhile, you seem to have dodged a bullet!

  • Just Call Me J September 5, 2016, 11:08 pm

    Wow. Just wow.

    You dodged a bullet there. Once the sting of the breakup wears off, you’ll be glad of it.

  • Ashley September 6, 2016, 12:14 am

    I hate when stories start out with “He’s a nice guy….” because then it always turns into “except for this BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS CHARACTER FLAW that is bound to destroy our relationship one day!”

    You dodged a huge bullet.

    Do not look back.

  • lakey September 6, 2016, 12:36 am

    You dodged a bullet. If you had taken this relation a step further and either married Tom or moved in with him, you would have ended up funding Tom’s retirement because he has to subsidize his lazy son. Nick isn’t unable to earn a good income because Tom’s generation ruined the economy. He’s unable to earn a large salary because he failed the CPA exam.

    Tom broke up with you because you don’t want to hand out free money to his son who refuses to start at a salary where he belongs? Tom is a creep. One of the tv judges suggested to an unemployed man that he could do telemarketing. He said, ” I wouldn’t do telemarketing.” She said, “Why not? I did it.”

    Find a way to circulate. You can do better than this. You do not want to risk your own financial security on a mess like this.

    • TheLadyBugg September 6, 2016, 10:52 am

      Isn’t it funny how some people seem to think a high paying job just comes to you with no experience? About a year ago, a friend lamented to me that he couldn’t get a job outside of retail, despite earning his bachelor’s degree. He said I was lucky to have my professional office job, and mentioned that the only 9-5s within reach for him were in *gasp* call centers. I cracked up – he hadn’t realized that my first office job was in a call center! Some jobs are stepping stones!

      • NostalgicGal September 6, 2016, 6:55 pm

        I hold postgraduate degrees. I can spell, I can type, I can do high rates of data entry. I’ve answered phones, waited tables, dug ditches, built and installed store displays, etc. I like eating. That takes money. Sometimes it takes awhile to land a ‘dream job’ with a decent wage and sometimes you might not ever land one. Even with degrees and experience, you can’t always find or keep that job. Right out of college with a shiny minted degree just means you need a way to survive, and the jobs won’t be fighting over you, you have to find the job. And sometimes it means taking something and keeping up the search. Repeat several times.

  • Lenore September 6, 2016, 1:49 am

    Good grief, when I graduated high school and was studying, I had a part time job. My parents charged me (a very very low) rent and expected me to pay for my gas and phone bills. (They did keep the rent money I gave them and gave it back to me when I moved out 18 months later to buy furniture with, which was completely unexpected!).
    The worst thing I can say is I recently found out I’ve been putting the hooks on curtains wrong my whole life. Other than that, I do housework, balance my books, cook etc etc. I can’t imagine being 26 and just…being a lump on my parent’s dime.

    • Amanda H. September 6, 2016, 9:31 am

      How do you put hooks on curtains wrong?

      • NostalgicGal September 6, 2016, 6:56 pm

        You can. Trust me. Those prepleat prong wonders….

      • Lenore September 7, 2016, 12:06 am

        Put the hooks through the strings instead of the material…(hope that makes sense)

  • TakohamoOlsen2 September 6, 2016, 3:59 am

    You dodged a serious bullet there, OP!! If you married Tom, your bank account would’ve been drained by that sponge of a son.
    You’re very lucky to escape.
    Good luck to you for the future.

  • Just4Kicks September 6, 2016, 4:10 am

    Our two oldest son’s are currently in college, working and live at home.
    They don’t have much in the way of a social life, due to early morning/late night baseball practices as well.
    I don’t have a job outside the home right now, as we also have two middle schoolers too, with very different schedules and my husband travels quite a bit with his job.
    That being said, I take care of all laundry, chores etc.
    My two little ones have daily chores consisting of feeding two cats dinner and emptying the dishwasher if it needs it.
    My husband and I have had MANY arguments over “you don’t work….the kids shouldn’t have to do ANYTHING around the house”!!!
    I quite disagree.
    I absolutely have time to feed the cats dinner and empty the dishwasher, but I feel a few daily chores are, for lack of better phrasing, character building.
    Our weekly garbage gets put out on Sunday nights, and this past week, I asked my oldest son to please put out the trash.
    He started to, and then my husband told him HE would do it, go back to watching tv with your girlfriend.
    I told my husband that our son didn’t work or have baseball practice this entire holiday weekend, he can do a ten minute chore.
    My husband finished the trash and my son merrily went back to watching tv.
    When my husband complains that the boys came to him for cash, and that we are not atm machines, and that they don’t help out around here I say it’s because you don’t back me up when I ask them to do a simple chore.

    • Miriam September 6, 2016, 7:03 am

      Just4Kicks, is your husband expecting your sons to marry a woman [or man] whose mother *did* make them learn how to do chores? Because how else are they going to manage to run a home when [if?] they leave yours?

      I used to tell my friend (about 35 years ago) that she should teach her son [he’s two years younger than I] how to do chores, as no young woman would want to live with a man who expected to be waited on hand & foot…

      I last saw her about 7-8 years ago when she told me she wishes she’d listened, as his wife kicked him out (because, surprise!, she didn’t want to be the only one doing anything around the home) and he is back living with her and her (equally non-finger-lifting) husband. Now she is in her 80s, and she finds it tiring to cook/clear up after three people and keep the home spotless. :'(

    • NostalgicGal September 6, 2016, 7:58 am

      This. DH should have your back, especially at this time in life.

    • utknat7 September 6, 2016, 8:13 am

      Wow, you stick to your guns girl. Its not abuse to ask kids to pitch in around the house. It teaches them so much about life and responsibility that I wold even say that it vital. I have seen so many of my generation that hit adulthood and lack basic adulting skills. Kids that get to sit around and do nothing, become the kind of adults that sit around and expect everyone else to take care of them. Here’s hoping that your hubby comes around to your way of thinking.

    • Dee September 6, 2016, 12:33 pm

      Just4Kicks – It sounds as if your husband is trying to undermine you. Not good. I know the feeling, though. But having no official job and working at home can be more than a full-time affair; it depends how much you take on. There is no limit and no end to the responsibilities so the job is never “done”. Your kids (and your husband!) should be made very clear on that, otherwise they are being very disrespectful of the huge part you play in their lives and in the lives of others.

      • Just4Kicks September 7, 2016, 3:25 am

        Thanks to all for all the nice comments and for backing me up. 🙂
        From my husband’s point of view I “don’t work”, so I should do everything around the house.
        I agree with major cleaning (scrubbing toilets, dusting etc) that is my job right now, but I think it’s beneficial for the kids to help out with some things.
        A stay home mom is a job in and of itself, I’m on duty 24/7, but ask the kids to pitch in I’m deemed lazy.

        • Archie September 7, 2016, 10:23 am

          Just4Kicks – the issue isn’t whether you work or not. The issue is what values your DH is giving your kids! They have to see everything you do for them and appreciate it. Just because you do it doens’t make it your job. They have to appreciate that it’s your choice to do that and as Dee says – anything else is disrespectful

          My DH grew up in a house where his mom worked part-time and in a time when most of us had some help around the house (cooking, cleaning etc) – he was responsible for keeping his bedroom clean and because he had an attached bath, he cleaned it. I came here to this country having never cleaned a bathroom – but it wasn’t exactly a culture shock to do it. You’re giving kids the right values

        • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 11:14 am

          DH and I have had turns at bringing home the loaf, sometimes we both worked at the same time. He learned to be housespouse or else, during the early years. And finally learned the concept of ‘an hour worked is an hour worked’ no matter if it was for salary or house chores. [the epiphany came during the ‘spark plug wire incident’ at a parts store, when he got a true idea of what my working temp was like to make ends meet…] These years we both do what needs doing, though we gravitate towards the stuff we hate least or do best, between the two it gets done. Just4Kicks, wish you could cluebyfour your other half…

        • Amanda H. September 7, 2016, 8:12 pm

          Part of the stay-at-home-mom’s job is making sure their kids learn good values and are prepared for the eventual day when they move out of the house. To put it bluntly, I think your husband is being a bit of an idiot here.

  • Green123 September 6, 2016, 4:17 am

    Oh, OP! Poor you! I’m so sorry you had to go through a break-up with someone you clearly cared for, but to echo other commenters, you SO dodged a bullet here. Take some time for yourself – and don’t look back.

  • Max September 6, 2016, 5:40 am

    OP, you don’t deserve to roast in E-Hell for this. You made the very right choice. Tom is an enabler, pure and simple; without any motivation, Nick won’t change.

    Side note as someone from the same generation as Nick: I very nearly ended up more or less the same way; I had the skills needed and could take care of myself, I was just incredibly lazy. I got shocked out of it though, and it was a good thing as a result. If Tom isn’t going to do the same (as is his responsibility as a parent and should have been years before), then he’s going to be like this for the rest of his life.

    You dodged a bullet. It sucks that Tom was nice and that you miss him; in the long run though this will be better for you. That could only have gotten worse as time goes on. All of Tom’s income is devoted to his sponge (I want to say parasite, but that term would probably be a bit too offensive), you shouldn’t be expected to give up your own hard-earned income as well.

    You deserve better than that OP. Don’t feel the need to vilify yourself, you did nothing wrong.

  • Cleosia September 6, 2016, 8:05 am

    You’re only worth $50,000 if you have a skill set that is sell-able. Since he hasn’t even passed his CPA test, I’m not sure what about him is worth $50,000. His mooching skills?

  • abby September 6, 2016, 9:39 am

    Oh boy. Tom is a serious enabler. You may care about him, but dating him would lead to a series of continuing frustrations that you would be unable to control. It may hurt to lose him, but you will get over this hurt in time.
    Do not sign on for years of frustration and powerlessness that resuming a relationship with this man will bring.

  • Daisy September 6, 2016, 9:40 am

    Run hard and fast and don’t look back. Beside all the grief you’d get while Tom is alive, you’d get an extra dose when he died. Nick would grapple with you for every last remaining nickle, and would toss you out of the house before the ink dried on the death certificate. (You don’t think Tom would have left the house to you, do you?)

  • Michelle September 6, 2016, 10:30 am

    Wait a minute- let me make sure I understand this correctly: You are wondering if you should be in E-hell because you refused the request for $100 from your boyfriend’s college educated, unemployed, adult son so he could buy his father a birthday present because he didn’t want to get money from his father to purchase the birthday present? No, I don’t think you belong in E-hell, I think you deserve a standing ovation. I think some people would have felt pressured to give him the money.

    The fact that your boyfriend then got upset with you and broke up with you over it is a huge, flashing, red flag. You were lucky to get out before you moved in and/or got married. That would have been a battle everyday.

    As long as Tom makes Nick and Nick’s wants & needs the #1 priority in his life and will break up with every woman who does not feel the same, Tom will have a hard time sustaining a meaningful relationship with a woman.

    I don’t see any issues helping adult children when they are having a particularly rough patch, but Nick seems stuck in adolescence with Dad opening his wallet whenever little Nick needs fun money. Is Tom prepared to support Nick and any possible wives/children Nick may have? To an outside, neutral observer, it sure seems like Nick is less interested in getting a CPA license and more interested in spending Tom’s money.

  • Archie September 6, 2016, 10:59 am

    I have a friend like Nick.

    Years ago, I first bounced onto a dependent visa as a student, later as a dependent visa for a contingent worker, on my hubby’s visa. Either meant I could live here while he was in a good status, but I could not work. These were almost literally the worst times of my life. I put on weight, didn’t have a license to drive (logistical issues with the DMV) and even if I could drive, where was I gonna go, the mall or shopping? I wasn’t savvy enough to look into volunteer activities back then and this was long enough ago that social media wasn’t exactly all-invasive.

    Meanwhile, we visited a couple times while I WAS working (the dependent status was intermittent and thankfully, temporary) with a friend of ours from college. I mean – this guy got every consideration handed to him. He had failed to provide completion paperwork from his bachelor’s degree – he got a 6 month extension from his faculty advisor to do so. He was allowed to finish off his dissertation long-distance (Florida to Michigan). While he was back home getting his completion paperwork (diff country) – he got married. His wife was on a special visa that allowed spouses to wait 3 months, then apply for a work permit that would literally let the work anywhere. I mean, this guy could go work at a Game Stop or Starbucks or bag groceries.

    He didn’t.

    We were close enough friends that we could ask the uncomfortable questions. Why wasn’t he working? He was waiting for the “right” job. He literally thought he could, as a total noob, grab the middle rung of the ladder for a job. In the meantime, we suggested so many options for him to stay close to his passion and still work and bring home a paycheck. He actually suggested that he had a friend who did that once and ended up committing suicide, he hated his job so much! Hubby and I quietly picked up our jaws of the floor and moved on.

    His wife even said once to us, in front of him, that she was working practically non-stop for a decade and wished she didn’t have to be, so she could take a break, re-evaluate her life and even just take a sabbatical. Glazed look from our friend, her hubby.

    Cut to 2016 – we are now all of us 40 and this guy, except for odd campus jobs and some initial stints before he went in for higher education, has not worked a day in his life. EVER.

    This is Nick. This is his future. Probably, almost certain.

  • magicdomino September 6, 2016, 11:03 am

    My sympathies, OP. Clearly, you cared for Tom, perhaps even loved him. It will take time for the wound to heal.

    But I have to echo the other commenters. Better the wound now than the “death of a thousand cuts” if you had married or move in with Tom. Nick would have regarded you as a second ATM, and Tom would have expected you to support the family while he hands money over to Nick. Tom did you a favor when he dumped you for refusing his son only once.

    Living with a parent doesn’t have to be co-dependent. I lived with my mother for quite a few years. I also had a full time job, paid my share of the house expenses and my own personal ones, worked on the house and yard, and stashed money in a savings account. There’s a big difference between being a helpful roommate and a drag on the household economy.

  • Anonymous September 6, 2016, 11:10 am

    I agree with the others – you SO dodged a bullet.

    Here is the tale of my near relation. His mother took care of him for his entire life, did all the chores, packed his lunches (!) and he lived with her until she passed away. He has always been irresponsible and has worked a number of minimum wage jobs, and kept getting fired for being late/no call no show. The entire family was telling his mother for years that she was not doing him any favors and that he needed to be a self sufficient, fully functional adult. She labored under the misconception that he was “special” and couldn’t handle adulting on his own. He never stood up and became independent because why should he? All his food, housing, laundry, etc. was being taken care of for him.

    When she passed away, he started asking everyone he knew for “loans”, including my immediate family. We helped him find a job with good pay and tenure, which he quit because “he needed to take a test for a trade and they wouldn’t give him the time off to take the test.” He failed the test. So now he has no job again. We refuse to give him money and no way is he moving in with us.

    BIL is a 50 plus year old. He just had a baby with his girlfriend and has moved in with her, still not working. Laughs that girlfriend and her mother call him a “mooch”.

    If Tom wants to keep his son dependent, he is heading down the same road as my relative. And you don’t want to be supporting a grown man. Period

  • Calli Arcale September 6, 2016, 11:46 am

    It is true that if you intended to marry Tom, you would have to forge a relationship with Nick. But that includes setting boundaries, and it is entirely reasonable to set a boundary when it comes to money. You did precisely that, firmly and reasonably. That Tom was aghast by it is a very good sign that your relationship cannot last. There’s the mere practical aspect that you’d have to agree on how to handle Nick, and you obviously do not, but there’s also the fact that he clearly is not willing to defend you in any way. Parents need to remain loyal to their children even while pursuing a new relationship, but not to the exclusion of all else. I don’t know what Tom thinks the relationship is supposed to be, if he’s willing to let his son parasitize his girlfriend’s bank account. And what’s with the $100? Seriously, why does his son need to give him a gift costing $50-100? That’s absurd, and suggests that in addition to never teaching the boy any sense of fiscal responsibility, he’s taught the kid to have expensive tastes. I know people who are like that, who think that if a gift isn’t expensive, it isn’t worth giving. That you have to spend a lot of money for the gift to be meaningful. That’s a terrible lesson to teach your child. I know someone who learned that lesson from her parents, and it’s plagued her ever since, because she seriously overspends on every holiday, giving gifts that nobody really wants, because she is convinced nobody will appreciate the gift if it isn’t expensive.

    I have a relative who, without fail, gave everyone $5 for Christmas. She was on a fixed income, and always accompanied it with a heartfelt note hand-written in a card. I remember those gifts more than almost every other gift I ever got. It isn’t the money or the effort. It’s just them remembering you that’s important, and that doesn’t cost much. That Nick thinks he needs to spend $100 on his dad’s present makes me very sad.

    • Queen of Putrescence September 7, 2016, 12:24 pm

      My husband’s grandma has always given a $2 bill to every grandchild for Christmas. As the years passed, she included every spouse of her grandchildren and all of her great grandchildren. At this point that comes to about $100 for someone on a very limited income. It’s a very sweet gesture. In face my 44 year old husband has kept every $2 bill that his Grandma has given him. Of course, our daughters and I spend ours!

    • Library Diva September 8, 2016, 10:35 am

      Off topic, but I wanted to make a comment about my grandma-in-law. As the mother of 15 kids (not a typo), most of whom have gone on to have children of their own, she is the undisputed master of the inexpensive, meaningful Christmas gift. It turns out that there are many thoughtful, practical items that cost under $5. One year, we all got dish towels and a note. Another, we all got silicone baking cups and inexpensive cupcake mix. Her signature item is The Master Calendar. All year long, she collects the freebie calendars that charitable organizations send out in the US and gives them at Christmas, with birthdays and anniversaries for the entire family noted on each. She is truly a remarkable woman.

  • Archie September 6, 2016, 12:30 pm

    Sorry – hit submit before I clarified. The reason for my background versus his diff status – was that I would have killed to be able to have that dependent status where I could work! I would have worked at a restaurant as a busboy or cleaning dishes – literally anything. I’d have done housekeeping. It wasn’t even about the money, my hubby was so good about making sure we were ok there, worked his tail off. But just to literally “have the luxury of being able to work”.

  • PJ September 6, 2016, 1:03 pm

    I’m around the same age as Tom, and in the same career.

    I’d love to know if he lived off of his parents while he did nothing but study for actuarial exams for several years after college, or if he (like the rest of us) worked full time and studied in our free time, having almost no other life outside of that routine. Why expect anything different of his son?

    I’d also like to know if Tom doesn’t realize that (like in his own actuarial career) his son will need some lower-level experience to make him hirable if/when he finishes his CPA. He’s enabling Nick’s road to failure.

    If Tom didn’t work until he completed his own credentials and then found a job making good money as an actuary, I’d honestly have to wonder how desperate his employer had to be, given the qualifications of other candidates. I’d wonder the same of an accounting employer who found Nick at the top of their list.

    OP, you did nothing wrong. You lived your boundaries and found that they were incompatible with Ton’s boundaries. That really stinks, but in the end I believe you have saved yourself much heartache in the future.

    • magicdomino September 6, 2016, 7:22 pm

      My guess would be that Tom did indeed have to work, part-time jobs when he was in school, full time when he wasn’t, maybe a second part time job. If he had a miserable time doing so, he wouldn’t want his only child to be as miserable as he was. Unfortunately, Tom has leaned too far in the other direction.

      • Amanda H. September 6, 2016, 10:38 pm

        Far too many parents do seem to hate one aspect of their childhood, and thus go to the extreme trying to “save” their children from it. A lot of inadequate parenting these days seems to stem from that. Whether it’s not giving their children any responsibilities at all because the parents had too many, or overspending and not teaching budget limits because the parents grew up in a money-strapped household, or even binging on sweets and other junk food because the parents’ grew up in a super-strict health-conscious household where sugar was verboten. I have seen people in all three situations, too.

  • Kirsten September 6, 2016, 3:46 pm

    The only thing I think the OP could have done differently was not telling Tom about Nick asking her for money. She had said no to Nick, made the refusal clear – why tell Tom? For me, treating Nick as an adult doesn’t involve telling tales to his dad.

    • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 2:31 am

      I think she did so because she wasn’t sure that Tom knew Nick had done something like that. And, before the other side of the story got told to Tom (aka highly warped and showing Nick in the good light)… and Tom broke it off because she wouldn’t give Nick money or take the money Tom tried to give her to give to Nick. Which would have made it seem like Nick could then turn to her for his ATM and Nick might have just started asking both, separately but at the same time, for money to go do what he felt like (doubling his moochable income), while not feeling a shred of remorse…

      • Kirsten September 7, 2016, 1:50 pm

        But wanting to be sure Tom knew Nick had done it just seems to be to be telling tales. I can’t think of any way in which “I asked your girlfriend to give me money to buy you a birthday present but she said no” could be spun to put Nick in a good light, other than that Tom already thinks his behaviour is ok.

        • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 10:44 pm

          Maybe the OP was getting a drift of how this was going, and she did it to see what sort of reaction she got. She got a reaction alright. She also learned something that she really needed to know before the relationship got much more serious. In the end, I don’t fault her for doing it. I would have had I been her… AND had I hung in there that long.

  • Sarah B. September 6, 2016, 4:41 pm

    Sounds to me like Tom and his wife never taught Nick any responsibility *before* she died, so the fact she died when Nick was young isn’t really relevant. He would’ve grown up to be a spoiled mooch anyway, most likely, only with two parents indulging his every whim, not just one. Parents who don’t teach age appropriate responsibility and manners from the time their child is a toddler (e.g., a two year old can put their toys back in the toy box, or at least put their toys *beside* the toy box to make it easier for Mom or Dad to put them *in* the box and learn how to say ‘please’ to get Mom or Dad to get out a particular toy) are one of my major pet peeves. They’re setting themselves and the child(ren) up for a lifetime of misery, along with every other living creature that has to deal with any of them for the rest of the child’s life. Tom brought his circumstances upon himself since Nick was born. Neither of them are likely to ever change. Nick has zero reason to even try; Tom doesn’t have the spine to ever try, even if he ends up dead broke and completely unable to work or even take care of himself. You can bet that if, universe forbid, Tom ever ends up paralyzed after a car accident or desperately ill from cancer that leaves him bedridden, Nick most likely won’t lift a finger to help and will complain endlessly that Tom’s care is eating into all the money that should be “his.” OP dodged a major bullet getting out when the getting was good. Tom will never be a good boyfriend, let alone spouse, regardless of how many other wonderful qualities he has. He has no spine and a man-child dictator. That’s no way to live.

  • LizaJane September 6, 2016, 10:34 pm

    Sorry these people are like this, but just go back and read your own post.
    You really don’t have a question anymore, do you?

  • Wilbur September 6, 2016, 11:40 pm

    I can stomach a multitude of faults, but an adult man child that don’t want to pull his weight sends me super nova. This “man” WILL always be a source of stress and grief for you if you stay with this Disney Dad. A visit to steptalk .com will open your eyes.

  • Emmy September 7, 2016, 7:50 am

    I’d say you dodged a bullet. It’s hard and you miss Tom, but would you be willing to put of with Nick? If you and Tom got married, this would be a huge problem because he would expect things to stay the same (plus an extra person to serve and give Nick money). It would cause a lot of resentment if the resources you and Tom have earned are going into Nick – Tom doesn’t seem to mind putting his retirement, vacations, and wishes on hold to support Nick’s whims. If you were his wife, you would be a distant second. It seems like Nick expects to be catered to hand and foot and nobody has told him any different. While Tom himself may have been great, unfortunately he is a package deal – a deal that you don’t want to take.

    I’m teaching my 5 and 3 year old some responsibility now to avoid having a “Tom” situation later down the road.

  • Lindsay September 7, 2016, 10:09 am

    First, you dodged a bullet. Nick and Tom’s relationship is dysfunctional and you don’t need any of that.

    Now, a little deeper. I feel like I get why their relationship is so dysfunctional. I’m not saying it’s right (It’s not), so bear with me.

    When Nick’s mom died, I’m sure Tom went out of his way to try to make life as easy as possible for Nick. His mom died, so he tried to use money to make him feel better. He tried to calm the stress of that loss by removing responsibility from Nick’s little shoulders.

    This absolutely should have stopped when Nick graduated from college.

    Alas, Tom knows his son is messed up. He doesn’t sound stupid. He does sound like he feels guilty. He does sound like he will never cut Nick off.

    This all said, when I was in high school, my father had THREE different girlfriends who told him to cut me off. He left them, paid for my college (Which I was in while maintaining a full time job), then he offered me a starting position at his comany. Over the years, I have done the job and then some, moved up, bought a house, and now run said company. But each of those women, when they brought me up, that was that. He choose me. He believed in me.

    Tom belives in his son, which sounds like a distorted reality. Until his son takes on responsibility and stops taking advantage of Tom’s guilt, it’s going to keep happening. I get it. It’s not right. But I get it.

    Tom is doing Nick no favors. But his guilt may cloud that judgement.

    • Goldie September 7, 2016, 4:19 pm

      This is a good point.

      Re your story, goodness gracious, who cuts a high-schooler off? Who tells their BOYFRIEND to cut HIS high-schooler off?

      I’ve been adamant about not cutting my kids off while they’re in school/college, AND unless and until they have a legitimate way of supporting themselves, because in my honest opinion? I believe that, if you put your kid into a financially desperate situation, not because you can’t afford to help them support themselves, but just on idiotic principle, the kid WILL find a way to support themselves. I know I would’ve. And it will NOT be the way the parent will like. At a bare minimum, the kid will drop out of college to work. At worst, think stuff that gets you in trouble with the law. Nope. I’m not going down that route.

      • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 10:49 pm

        The archives are full of where usually the mom remarries and the fellow decides after a while that he just doesn’t want to deal with her teen child and literally throws them out of the house (at 14-15 years old, even girls). And the choice is the teen or him and the mom is so desperate for keeping him she lets it happen. (there are usually two or three more siblings and the couple may have had another one between them by then). Happens more than you think.

  • Goldie September 7, 2016, 11:21 am

    I’m Tom’s age, have two sons aged 21 and 23 who are currently living with me after each has lived on his own for a couple of years, and have been divorced for six years. I’ve had two 2-year relationships with men around my age, who had kids about my kids’ ages. I am a white-collar professional, my exes were an academic and a small business owner, not super wealthy, but all of us were doing all right for ourselves. So I can very clearly imagine this situation. And frankly it makes me want to find Tom and Nick, and smack them both upside the head. What on earth?!?!?! My 23 yo has been supporting himself since graduating college at 21. My 21yo is still in school, working hard to hold on to his scholarship, and has been working minimum wage jobs consistently since last year. Both take care of themselves, cook, clean, do laundry, buy groceries. The 23yo helps with projects around the house. Both complain to me that I’m spoiling them and that they don’t do enough around the house. And they are not even perfect kids in that regard, which they both admit!! My last ex had all three of his children living on their own and financially independent of him when he and I met. They were 20 and 21. I have never seen a 26yo living off his parents, REFUSING to get a job that’s below him because the pay is below 50K (omg what??!?! living off your parent isn’t below you, but a 49K salary somehow is?!?!), and doing nothing to change this situation. I honestly would not be able to afford being Nick’s parent, that guy is way too expensive!!! And I’ve never met a parent who would be okay with a setup like that. I’ve read on the Internet that they exist, I’ve just never seen one up close!

    Tom had a reality check in the form of OP refusing to give Nick the money. He chose to ignore it, and remove OP from his life. His loss. OP, you do not need either of these two in *your* life. I know it sucks to be broken up with, but you will do so much better.

    One last thing. I once dated a 50-year-old Nick. When I met him, he was living rent-free with his old friends. Mind you, his dating profile listed, not one, but two occupations. The fact that he lived off his friends and was content to keep doing so came out gradually during my meetings with him. As soon as I got all the details, I stopped seeing this man. Ran into him a few months ago, and lo and behold, he now has a girlfriend of two years that he lives off of. I asked him about his old friends and he said he hadn’t seen or talked to them in two years! My guess is, the friends finally kicked him out and he quickly found someone to date. I predict that this will be Nick at 50. Bouncing from one home to another, living off one person and then another. He’ll never hold a job. If he waits a few more years, he might find that the employers are not exactly tripping over themselves to hire a grown man who has spent a good number of years doing nothing.

  • Allie September 7, 2016, 7:13 pm

    My sister is a CPA and even with a master’s degree from a top program and getting hired into a very prestigious firm, she was still teaching exercise classes on the weekends to cover expenses until she passed her CPA exams and got a sizeable salary bump.

    Nick is either delusional or he deliberately sets his required salary so high to self sabotage. I’d lean toward guessing the second. His holding out and refusing to take any employment means he has a large and growing larger gap in his resume. That’s not going to help him get a job.

    Maybe I’m cynical, but I’d venture most, if not all of that $100 he asked for would have gone to weed, not a gift for his father (my guess is based on the negotiating and amount of money). And the fact that his father enables him like this means he’s either gullible or just doesn’t care about reality.

    Either way, stay away, LW. Your boyfriend might beg to get you back, but you really should stay away. His son is never going to change, and he won’t either. If you tie yourself to him, you’ll be taking on Nick as a millstone as well. LW, you can do way better than this guy.