For the past year I feel as though my family has been put into a corner. My cousin from Guatemala came to the United States (legally). He stayed with our aunt for a few months.
His mother, (my mom’s other sister) contacted my mother and asked if my cousin could come and stay with us for a while. My mom agreed, of course.
We picked him up from our aunt’s house, and he hasn’t left us since. He has never properly asked if he could live with us.
He doesn’t pay any rent, and he doesn’t help around the house. He does work full time. He works three days a week with 12-hour shifts.
I can understand that he is very tired on his days off, but all that he seems to do is sleep. Sometimes he sleeps for 13 hours straight!
My parents and I feel that one year is enough time for him to get established and get on his feet. We just don’t know how to tell him so.
We feel as though he has taken advantage of our kindness. However, we don’t know how to tell him, without offending him or his mom.
We need some serious advice. We don’t think that we are being selfish, but we aren’t really sure. After all, he is family.
Signed, Tired Cousin
Dear Tired Cousin,
Wow. No, you are not being selfish. It is time for a very overdue talk with both your cousin and your aunt. Since you never set any limits on the time he is to stay with you, they both apparently view this as a permanent arrangement.
It is time to set them straight.
Since he is working full time, and has been paying no rent to your folks, he hopefully has quite a nest egg saved. But, whether he has been saving or not, it’s time for him to move out on his own.
There is no approach that is easier on everyone than the truth. Have a family meeting, and let him know that it is time for him to start thinking about other living arrangements.
Give him a specific target date, such as a month. Volunteer to assist him in finding a place of his own.
Then, your mom needs to call her sister and let her know the same thing. If your cousin or aunt are upset, that is honestly their issue, not your family’s. You have been very supportive and loving for a year.
Now it’s time for him to be on his own.