Recently, a writer presented Wanda and Wayne with his awkward situation: a millennial couple, both adults with jobs but buried in debt, are living with their respective parents to save money … and having a really tough time finding a place to fool around (“For these debt-stricken millennials, living with parents is a lifeline — and a dating conundrum,” Oct. 5). The parental units just aren’t having it in their homes, leaving the couple stuck in libido limbo.
Wanda and Wayne both recommended respecting the rules of the houses while slowly, methodically having one another over for dinners, TV time and general hangout sessions with the parents, getting them more comfortable being around the couple. Until that translates into actual sleepovers, though, Wayne said, get creative, get a tent and go camping.
Readers had their own feedback, and lots of it — more than 130 Facebook comments, more than a dozen comments on ADN.com and even a few emails. Some folks actually focused on the topic: adults trying, wanting, needing to get busy but can’t in Mom and Dad’s house. Others dove into deep debates on millennials: are they entitled, overspending, excuse-making, avocado toast-eating slackers? Or an unfortunate generation stuck with a crippling student loans, a landscape of low-paying jobs and an expensive housing market they can’t break into?
A few outright recognized the sexual struggle that comes with multigenerational cohabitation. Angelina R. wrote, “It is SUPER awkward & totally not comfortable no matter what the time frame is. The fact is: it’s a totally different realm being a grown ADULT living with family than it is being a teenager under their thumb. It doesn’t matter what way you spin this one. Having sex with any parental in the same vicinity is awkward. Either get comfortable with getting creative or save up like your private & respectable future depends on it.” Alina W. added, “Angelina, I was MARRIED and living with my parents. It is extremely uncomfortable and (awkward).”
Then there were those who didn’t understand at all. Carrie D. wrote, “They are living rent free, and are still this broke? Wth?! Really? Go get a beater with a heater and low gas mileage, quit spending tons of money on the latest phone, don't have internet and cable, quit eating out all the time, and grow up. How rough it must be to live at home for free and you can't screw your bf/gf all the time. Smdh.” To which Johnathan R. shook his darn head right back with, “Yeah because it's so easy to get a job when you have no phone or internet. When was the last time you applied for a job. The 80’s.”
Most comment strings went a little something like this one, with Dawn C. opening with, “Responsible adults learn how to live within their means and save for long-term investments such as a home to call their own," and then someone like Andrea S. replying, “Said like a boomer who, unlike most millennials, wasn't told to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans at 18 for a college education the world said would be worth it but isn't.” Lisa piled it on: “Said like someone who’s shelter costs aren’t more than 30% of your income. If housing options exist.”
Then Sam B., alluding to youth’s pull toward higher education, reminded Andrea, “You weren’t forced into anything. The fact you blindly followed what ‘society’ told you to do, without an actual plan, is YOUR fault. I bet you feel entitled to have someone else pay back your stupid loans too, right?” That gave Dawn opportunity for the final word: “Sam, couldn’t agree more. I know people who worked two jobs while holding a full load with a 3.5 GPA. This generation needs to pay their dues, work as hard as possible and expect nothing given just like we did.”
Betsy R. cut straight to: “Get a job and your own place,” but Sue B. replied, “Betsy they have jobs, and are saving for their own place! Wages suck and if you have student loan debt it's not that easy.”
Sarah E. dropped some Econ 101 on ‘em, writing, “If you're only making $27K a year and you need $20K for a down payment and cost of living in Alaska for an adult is $36,000 per adult, tell me how do you make up the difference? How do you come up with a down payment? You don't. You're in debt $9000 a year if you try and do it on your own. But keep saying it's an excuse. Lord. Y'all can't do math.”
A few readers, as usual, totally agreed with Wayne. Michael R. wrote, “Camping trip? This is not rocket surgery.” Gregory B. added, “Get a tent and go camping,” while Alina K. added an upgraded curveball: “Save $20 bucks here and there will get you a nice hotel room. Camping trips is always a plus.” Nathan M. went into the rarefied air of, “Take them hiking have sex on mountains.” And then there’s Lillian J., who asked, “wait. is car sex not a thing anymore?” No, Lillian; it definitely still is.
There were the voices of reason. Sort of.
Samuel S. and Michael G. were among the most empathetic of the situation, though not exactly aligned on how to move forward. Samuel wrote, “Talk to us parents about a code like hanging a sock on the bedroom doorknob. We will go out to dinner and a movie. We are cool like that. Its not like we dont know ya'll aint out there banging anyways.” Um, thanks Dad?
Michael G. wrote, “As a parent, we always wish for nothing but the best for our Children. We let our kids know that we will always be there for them in case they need to ‘reboot’ adult. 2 out of 3 did in fact do that. Anywhere from 1 to 2 years. now, they are productive adults, with their own homes, and good career choices. We will never turn our back to our kids. Yes, this generation it seems is taking longer to get to that phase, but they will. Give them that chance, but don’t let them freeload. And no. With our kids we didn’t allow ‘visitors’ for overnight stays. :)”
Finally, what would a relationship advice comments section be without a throwback “Friends” reference and a corresponding GIF? Michele O. took it there, sagely advising, “Um, move out and get roommates. There's a whole show about it...lol!”
Having dating dramas or dilemmas? Single and ready to mingle but can’t find anyone? Happily married but there’s just one thing … Let Wanda and Wayne help at firstname.lastname@example.org.