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I am a twenty-four old man and I live with my mother. I have never been in any romantic relationship with anyone all my life. I wanted to take up a job and move out as soon as I graduated but my parents were so aghast at the idea that I had to give it up.

Since my childhood, I was in the habit of sharing various life experiences with my mother but she feels things have changed over the past year or so. I had heard my friends mention things such as condoms which had often aroused my curiosity. Recently, I went to a supermarket and purchased a pack of condoms to learn more about them. I placed the packet in my university bag and forgot all about it. Unfortunately, my mother discovered it in my bag and reacted emotionally. She has been behaving strangely with me since then and has often accused me of not being transparent. How can I convey to her that I am not keeping any secrets from her?

More information:

I promised to keep the door of my room ajar whenever I had female friends visiting me. That did not help much. My mother wanted me to keep a safe distance from women but never stated the limit explicitly. I have overheard animated conversations between my parents regarding my burgeoning sexuality.I belong to a conservative Hindu family but I could never really concur with my family philosophy before the present crisis. Nowadays, I find it easier to acquiesce to their views.

  • Hi Josef! This looks like a great edit, but besides the 'things' like keeping your door open, can you add some information on the actual "Interpersonal Skills" you've tried to convince your mother that you're not hiding anything? So, how did the talks you've had so far go, what did you say, how did you say it, how did your mom react? (We don't need an exact transcript, but it would be nice to know the rough outlines) – Tinkeringbell Jun 17 at 16:51
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    Important for context: Are you looking for advice based on Hindu/Indian tradition or Anglo/European tradition? – Johns-305 Jun 17 at 21:14
  • I am looking for cosmopolitan advice. – user24598 Jun 18 at 9:40
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In any culture (I suppose) the life of an adult should be mainly his own problem.

What you describe is a typical behavior of parents, especially mothers, who need to be in control of their children for too long.

On one hand, you need to be understanding with her and her emotional needs. Until recently, you were the most part of her life. If you go away (even emotionally, let alone physically), there will be a huge void in her life. To minimize this impact, you need to reassure her that you will not forget her, you will always love her etc.

On the other hand, you must learn to be (and to build yourself as) an individual. You must have a discussion (probably quite many) with your mother to tell her that your needs now are more different than some years ago, when you were still a child. It is normal for a man of 24 to need the presence of another girl / woman in his life.

I wanted to take up a job and move out as soon as I graduated but my parents were so aghast at the idea that I had to give it up.

I understand that you finished your studies, do not have a job, and your parents keep you more or less as a hostage. I guess that even in the Indian culture, that is questionable. In "western" cultures, that is almost an abomination. While it can happen for various reasons (mainly financial) that people share an apartment with their parents, total restriction of getting a job, moving out or having a visiting friend are not common.


Bottom line - you are in a difficult situation because of:

  • "mother" reasons;
  • Indian culture reasons.

However, with good communication and with a lot of calm and good arguments, you may find a way out.


As a coincidence, I had a discussion with a friend not longer then two evenings ago. Both our complaints were about the same thing: mothers not willing / not able to let go of their children. Actually, the mother of my friend is already a grandmother, taking care of he child of her daughter (my friend), but still, my friend is still "the baby" of her mother.


Also, I had to move, for job reasons, to another country. It was much easier to make make my mother accept the fact after moving. Getting her acceptance before leaving was impossible.


Effectively communicating that I am not withholding information

Actually, you do not need to be only defensive, protecting yourself from the accusations of your parents. You need to be pro-active, and take your life into your own hands.

One way to do that is exactly what you already planned doing: get a job, move to another apartment, continue with your life. Invite your parents to visit you after you move. Even ask them for advice on how to choose an apartment, or help you pack / move. Your mother could still prepare some food for you, if you have a busy schedule - you just go and take it with you to your new apartment. In that way, she will not feel out of the loop, and she will be able to let go with more ease.

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