Gamer Boyfriend Scores Low Points While Visiting Mom

Dear Abby

Advice Columnist

DEAR ABBY: My daughter and her boyfriend have been together for four years. Despite being almost 30, he is very immature and constantly distracted by either his phone or his video games.

Abby, he travels with his PlayStation everywhere he goes. When he comes into our house, he sets up his console in the living room, puts on headphones and plays games all day and night. If the family asks to use the TV for a few hours, he will sit on the sofa and take a nap or pull out his phone and continue gaming.

I know nothing more about him than I did the first month I met him. He is rude, boorish, self-centered and has a criminal record (drugs). They live in another state, and for my daughter’s sake, I try to accommodate him. When I asked for them to “visit us, not our TV,” she became very defensive.

Is this the new norm? Must I provide a TV in their room for when they stay? When they went to visit his family who live near us, he took the system to their house for the three-hour visit.

How do I deal with this addiction? My daughter now wants to bring him along while we have our mother/ daughter lunch and manicures. It’s like he’s 3 and has to tag along. He has no friends. When she goes out for a night with her girlfriends, we are expected to “baby-sit.” I’ve never encountered anything like this. Please advise me. — DONE MOTHERING IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR DONE: I’ll try, but first you will have to admit your part in creating this problem. You have to learn to say no to your daughter and her “boy”friend. If you want to watch television for a few hours during their visit, remember it’s your home and you don’t have to apologize for it. If you want a mother/daughter lunch and manicures, and she wants to drag him along, say, “No, this is our mother/ daughter time. An hour or so alone with you is not too much to ask.”

The solution to your problem is to stop allowing your daughter — and her socially inadequate boyfriend — to dictate what’s happening under your roof and in your life. Until you put your foot down, nothing will change.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter has two children, a 7-year-old boy and a girl who is 4. They were at an event with some of her coworkers the other day. Everyone was talking to the younger child, telling her how cute she was and ignoring the older one. It was like he was invisible. He was so deflated.

I remember this happening with my girls when they were little. People always seem to gravitate to the little ones and pay no attention to the older ones. It has always bothered me. So, people, please be mindful of all the children. They are all precious. — BOTHERED GRANDMA

DEAR BOTHERED: You’re right, this happens all too often. In a case like this, all it would have taken would have been for someone to have complimented your daughter on her son’s behavior and said within earshot of the boy how lucky the little one was to have such a “good boy” for an older brother. I hope you spoke up. It takes only a moment to say something nice to someone of any age who needs the attention.

(Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.)