Where Should I Move, and How Do I Tell My Parents I’m Leaving?

“My culture expects me to live with my parents after college, but I need to pursue my own life.”

Our Elder says: “Being a mature adult includes having the courage to be honest with your parents. Enjoying where you live depends more on you than the place.”


Dear EWC,

I am a sophomore in college. I think I want to move to another state after graduation, but I don’t know where to move to or how to tell my parents. 

I’m currently in school a five-hour drive away. I won’t be able to afford rent in my college town or my hometown after graduation, so really, if I don’t move to another state, my only affordable option is to move back in with my parents.

My parents are not very good; they are narcissistic and emotionally abusive. I am worried that they will be upset if I tell them, but if I don’t tell them, they will never forgive me. Our culture expects me to live with them for a long time, and they always expected me to come back, but I just don’t think I can do that. Clearly, I can’t tell them that I don’t want to move back because they don’t treat me well—that’s going to upset them—so I don’t know what I should say. I can’t just stop talking to them and lose contact with my entire family. Should I tell them now that I want to move? Tell them my senior year? Just move away and cut them out? 

I am also stressing heavily as to where to move within the United States. I just hope I can find an affordable place and don’t regret leaving my hometown/college town. I’d like to live in a major city that is safe, affordable, and walkable (no-car life). If you have any suggestions for where to go, let me know!


Sageworthy Response


Your questions are important ones. I am so glad you wrote to us for some guidance. 

This is an exciting time in your life. The opportunity to receive an education and then forge forward into the world with new skills, dreams, and ambitions is a wonderful thing. It is completely natural that you would want to branch out on your own and not return to your hometown. Yes, some people do move home, and that’s okay if that’s what they want. However, many people do not go back to live with—or even near—their parents. NONE of my four children returned home. (As a matter of fact, I didn’t either, many years ago.) 

Bea, I know this is weighing heavily on your mind right now, but I don’t think you need to do anything about it just yet. You are only a sophomore; by the end of your junior year, you may come to understand better what kind of job you will look for and where those jobs can be found. Of course, you can start researching places casually to get a head start, but try not to stress over it too much.

As far as your parents are concerned? They sound difficult, so there may be no easy way to tell them. As an adult, you have every right to pursue your own goals. I know you said that in your culture children are expected to return home after school, but this is a different time and place; it’s America, and sometimes things are done differently than parents want. I know from experience… my parents were immigrants too. 

Part of becoming a mature adult is gaining the courage to explain your plans to your parents. Waiting until you know what job you will have and where you will live will probably help. I would tell them in a plain, matter-of-fact manner. Be direct, confident, and unapologetic. Do not engage in any drama. No need to bring up their faults. No need to over explain. If they are upset, that is their issue to deal with, not yours. It is a parent’s job to let their children go. I was sad when my children moved away, but they didn’t know it. I was excited for them too, and gave them encouragement to pursue their dreams. 

Bea, I don’t think it’s necessary to cut your parents off completely…unless, of course, that is what you want. You may need to distance yourself and set boundaries that protect your emotional wellbeing. Yes, the process can be painful, but it can also be necessary when parents are overbearing. 

As far as where to live. There are so many fine choices, you can’t really go wrong. After all, it’s not really the place—it’s what you make of it. It’s not unusual for young adults to move around during their twenties and thirties, so nothing has to be permanent. All cities have safe neighborhoods. Some are expensive, and you may have to find a roommate. I am wondering if there is a friend who also shares your vision. Perhaps you could embark on the adventure of post college life together.

You might narrow it down by not only looking at how expensive a city is, but deciding what kind of climate you prefer. From what I understand, cities in the South or Southwest United States are more affordable than the Northeast. Please know that there are no mistakes; only opportunities to learn, grow, and make choices as your life unfolds. 

I am so excited for you! Research some cities, get a job, and GO FOR IT. I will be rooting for you.

I hope I have been able to shed some light on your situation. Feel free to write us again, and to share our website with others. 

Best Regards,


P.S. I have lived in Baltimore, Boston, and New York City. All were awesome, yet all had their own problems. No place is perfect—it’s YOU who will make the experience wonderful. GOOD LUCK!

Article #: 503070
Category: Other

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