Est. Reading Time: 2 Minutes
“Dating is probably the most important aspect of a single person’s life.”~ Linda Sunshine
For many young adults, the mere idea of dating while still living at home is cringe-worthy. But, it happens – a lot – especially with Millennials and Generation Z’ers. With young adults struggling to enter the workforce in their fields and make a decent salary, it’s no wonder many are stuck living at home. It just costs too much to move out.
What does this mean? It means it is becoming more and more normal for young adults, under the age of 35, to live at home with their parents. But, does that have to affect your dating life? Only if you let it. Yes, living with your parents and trying to date can be challenging. However, it’s not impossible. It is also not impossible to do it well.
How to handle dating while still living with your parents
Truth-be-told, living on your own definitely comes with some pretty amazing benefits, from the freedom to make your own rules to the ability to do what you want when you want to do it. When you live on your own you can come home whenever you feel like – if you come home at all. You can invite your date over without having to deal with meddling parents and siblings.
With a little effort and a lot of communication, you, your date, and your parents can peacefully co-exist. It may not be the easiest thing you do, but it will be worth the effort.
All of these things are super important when you’re a young adult who is looking for companionship, love, and/or simply a good time. The truth is, setting boundaries with your parents and siblings can be challenging. It can also be tricky to set boundaries with your dates when it comes to your family, especially your parents’ involvement and rules.
Even though this predicament can feel awkward and confusing at times, there are ways you can navigate the situation so everyone feels comfortable and respected. The key is communication and an open mind.
Keep your home and dating lives separate
You’re not in high school anymore which means you don’t have to awkwardly introduce your date to your whole family. Even if you live at home, you’re still an adult so you’re not required to run every “prospect” by Mom and Dad for a “seal of approval” before dating someone.
So, wait to introduce your date or partner to your parents, siblings, and/or extended family until you’ve gotten to know each other better and things have gotten serious. You both need to be comfortable taking this next step.
The remedy? Scheduling dates away from your home.
Or…invite your date over to meet your parents
If you and your date feel comfortable meeting your parents, then invite him or her over for lunch or dinner. For some young adults, combining both aspects of their lives is more preferable to keeping their home and dating lives separate.
If you decide to invite your date over to meet your parent, “school” him or her on your parents in advance – i.e. habits, lifestyle, pet peeves, quirks, house rules, etc. You want everyone to feel comfortable during the meeting so it’s important to share some tidbits about your date with your parents and some tidbits about your family with your date – before the BIG day!
Spend time at your date’s home or go out somewhere
If you can’t or don’t want to spend time at your house – the one you share with your mom, dad, and siblings, ask if you can hang out at your date’s house instead. If that is also a no-go, try to find a semi-private place (i.e. local coffee house, library, park, beach, etc.) to spend quality time together.
Perhaps you want to spend a few days, not just one, together. Why not take a mini-vacay together and stay in a cozy hotel or Airbnb? If you are looking for a livelier place to hang-out, you can always double-date with friends, go to an Escape Room, attend a concert or play, or go bowling or putt-putting. Want something more “traditional?” You can’t go wrong with a fun or romantic restaurant and delicious food, right?
Create healthy boundaries
You’ll also want to create healthy boundaries with your date and your parents. Talk to your parents about your expectations when it comes to dating and living in their home. And, listen to theirs because they will have some. This is especially important if you aren’t sure if you and your date are ready for “parental interference.”
Communicating with your parents is the best thing you can do for your dating life if you live at home. Explain to your family that you will tell them all about it once you determine how serious it is between you and your date – and when you feel comfortable. Ask them not to bombard you with questions about your date – you’ll tell them when you’re ready. Healthy boundaries can ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Remember, your parents will always see you as their little girl or boy – even if you are in your 20s. So, be upfront, honest, and open with them because they care about you. And, if you decide to invite your date over to your house (the one you share with your parents), let your parents know you have someone coming over so you can have some privacy. The last thing you want is your mother barging into your room during a make-out session with your new fling.
Read more on this topic
You can learn more about dating while living at home by reading the following articles: If You’re Dating While Living At Home With Your Parents, You Need These 4 Commands, The Challenges of Dating While Living at Home With Your Parents, and 5 Dating Tips for People Living at Home.
About the Author
Dr. R. Y. Langham
Ph.D. in Family Psychology
Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | All Articles | LinkedIn