DEAR AMY: I am a 22-year-old student in my last year of classes for pharmacy school. For the next year, I will be out on rotation (working in different pharmacy settings on an unpaid basis to gain experience out in the field).
I have been with my boyfriend, a fellow graduate student, for the past three years. We have a committed relationship and have discussed our future. We have agreed we would like to live together.
I recently tried gauging my mother and was shot down with, "I'm not interested in that." There was no discussion or explanation. I know my parents are not happy with my relationship. They never ask about John when I'm home, and they get visibly uncomfortable if I mention his name.
I have consistently maintained high grades, held a good job and participated in extracurricular activities throughout my school career; having a boyfriend has not detracted from any of these things.
I feel I am an adult who is making smart choices. I know I am lucky to have my parents' financial support for my housing. They pay for my rent. I understand he who holds the purse makes the call (I would not be able to afford living on my own paycheck).
I know if I wanted to live with a female friend they would have no qualms. It is certainly their right to withhold payment if they don't like my living situation. Am I behaving like an entitled and whiny teenager? Or do I have a valid argument that is worth bringing up? — Broke Student
DEAR BROKE: You don't sound particularly whiny, but you definitely feel entitled.
It is obvious that you understand with accuracy the simple math here — as long as your folks pay for your rent, they can try to control you. As long as you accept this financial support, you will have to make some compromises, just as you are making choices and compromises with your career.
My main concern is not whether you and your boyfriend should get to live together, but why your folks won't acknowledge this person and welcome him into your family's life in even a tangential way. That is an issue worth pursuing.
DEAR AMY: My 32-year-old daughter has an 8-year-old son and has been divorced for six years. Due to severe financial problems, she and her son are living with us, and she owes us a large amount of money.
Earlier this month she began dating a recently divorced father of two young children. Sunday she told us she was going to marry this man. We have not yet met him, and neither one of them has met each other's children. Her father and I want her to be happy, but we think this is wholly ill-advised, especially considering there are three young children involved.
Her ex is unfit to take custody of her son. I don't believe she would agree to allowing us to continue to raise her child in our home, but I fear greatly for his emotional and physical safety. To be honest, grandpa and I take more responsibility for his health and education than she does.
Any advice would be appreciated. — Midwest Grandma
DEAR GRANDMA: I agree that your daughter shows very poor judgment. Your grandson might do best staying in your stable and loving household, but you should know that your daughter's custodial rights as his mother outweigh yours. Run this past a lawyer.
Continue to be a champion for this child and do your best to influence your daughter, but understand that ultimately you cannot simply keep this child without his mother's permission — even if you are convinced it is best for him.
DEAR AMY: I enjoy your column and, in general, agree with your level-headed approach to problem-solving.
The lady who signed her letter "Torn and Confused" was troubled by an indecisive boyfriend. I think you should have asked her whether she loves him. The answer to that question should be pivotal to the advice going forward. — Doug
DEAR DOUG: The Tina Turner song asks: "What's love got to do with it?"
Sometimes, the answer is, "not too much."
(Send questions via e-mail to askamytribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.)