DEAR CAROLYN: My girlfriend, "Margo," and I have been dating for four months now. She's wonderful and we have a great time together, but I'm a little concerned that I may be falling for a bona fide "Daddy's girl." Margo lives with and works at the same company as her father. He even drives her into work a couple of days a week.
She says it's convenient, as he has the space (it is a very large and luxurious townhouse) and has a cleaning service, lawn service, etc. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around a nearly 30-year-old professional woman living "at home," especially one who makes as much money as Margo does.
Her father is single and they both date, so it seems even more awkward to me -- I've met him over the breakfast table several times -- but he's nice to me and doesn't seem fazed at Margo having overnight guests.
Maybe they're trying to make up for lost time, as Margo's parents divorced when she was 3, he worked abroad most of his career, and he didn't move back to the States until after her mother died 8 years ago.
I still find this situation odd and wonder if this is a red flag. My sister even pointed out to me that if it was a 30-year-old, well-off man living with his mother who did everything for him, then everyone would tell his girlfriend to run.
Am I right to be concerned about this or am I worrying for nothing?
-- Falling for a Daddy's Girl
DEAR READER: What you learn about her from dating her will tell you more than I ever could from here.
So, good news for the short-attention-span set, you can quit reading now because that's where this is going.
There is an interesting possibility in here, though, that's worth thinking about if you really like Margo so far:
She could be willing and able to live this way because she's not stunted or enmeshed with her dad.
Maybe she could easily afford and maintain a nice home of her own.
Maybe she could get paid well to do a different, satisfying job somewhere else.
Maybe she would maintain a nice, healthy, close-but-not-intrusive relationship with her father from a few blocks or cities or time zones away.
Maybe the only reason she doesn't do these things is that she's healthy enough not to have to. Maybe, for her, there are no emotional deterrents or costs to her accepting the job she likes near the dad she gets along with in the home where she doesn't have to do chores just to prove to you and your sister she can.
As for the gender-flip, your sister does have a point that a male Margo would be judged harshly. But is the best answer to stereotypes really to saddle both sexes with the same snap judgments based on surface facts and group associations?
Or is it to reserve judgment long enough to give people the chance to show you who they really are? Since they inevitably do. For your sake, not just Margo's, I recommend you choose Door No. 2. See what's there, not what you think you should see.
Chat online with Carolyn at 11 a.m. each Friday at washingtonpost.com. Write to Tell Me About It in care of The Washington Post, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071; or email
Weekend on 03/14/2019
Print Headline: Give girlfriend who lives at home benefit of the doubt