Shtick it to the man-child

Joey Garcia sweats in spin classes four times a week.

My boyfriend of six months wants me to move in with him, but if I do I’m afraid that it might be like living with him and his mother. He’s 26 years old and has his own place, but she still writes out the checks for his bills, makes his doctor’s appointments, does his laundry and cooks meals that she leaves in his fridge at least twice a week. I actually like her a lot and get along with her better than my own mom, but what is the probability of long-term success for a relationship with a guy who is almost 30 but still has apron strings attached?

If his mamasita handles his chores, appointments and checking account, she has stakes in the roles of spouse, personal assistant and business partner. So where do you fit in? If you imagine your future self in a long-term, committed relationship or even marriage, it’s best that you choose a partner who is competent to share the responsibilities of managing life and a household. Otherwise, you may be relegated to the role of playmate for a guy who may be more man-child than man.

Of course, a deeper problem exists between you and your man: a lack of honest conversation. The real meaning of the word communication is to become one with another person. In true communication, two people share their thoughts, feelings, ideas and experiences with each other at a level that invites mutual realization of profound connection. Distracting yourself with fears of how your man will respond to a conversation about his life-management skills allows you to complain and worry. That means you continue to avoid the hard decision: Suck it up and love him as he is or say “Hasta la vista, baby.” But don’t love him for who you think he will become. That’s buying into a self-induced fairy-tale trance that is certain to cause suffering in the end.

It’s important to realize that your boyfriend may believe that he has life dialed in. After all, he’s free from chores that most people bother with. The problem, of course, is this: If his mother backs off, who will step in to handle those small inconveniences? You? If you imagine that your man will, understand that your expectation is possible, but not probable. It’s more likely that he, and she, will expect you to pick up the slack. If that’s not the life you want for yourself, it’s time to dive back into the dating pool.

What should I do about a co-worker who is always trying to hug me? I am uncomfortable with affection in the workplace anyway, but her insistence on mothering me (we’re just a few years apart) is driving me crazy. What can I say that would help her get the point without hurting her feelings?

Hey, I am a fan of simple, direct comments, so try: “I prefer not to be hugged.” Of course, you should talk with her privately about this. There is no reason to give a reason, though, even if she asks for one. But before the chat, look yourself in the mirror and ask what signals you emit to set off this co-worker’s empathy genes. Please don’t insist that she is the sole problem here. Obviously, she has unconsciously targeted you for a reason. Somehow your belief that (pick one) “Life is too hard” or “Nobody likes me” or “Nothing good ever happens” bleeds through the stories you tell at work. So while some colleagues find humor in your dramatic interpretations of life, others ignore you, and at least one wants to make it all better. If you give up your shtick, she will, too.

Meditation of the Week

“Every morning our first thought should be a wish to devote the day to the good of all living beings,” wrote Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. What blessings do you offer the world between the alarm clock’s riot and your body rising from the bed?