My 39-year-old brother-in-law is dependent on his parents. What can we do?

Recognise that it is his problem, not yours, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon Smith. He will only change if he thinks he should

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My 39-year-old brother-in-law still lives with his parents, taking pocket money from them and allowing them to pay for everything for him (including business-class flights). He has never not lived with them; even when he was studying abroad at university, he lived in the family apartment that his parents paid for.

He is a nice and easygoing person and has a good job, but doesn’t appear to have any friends and has never had a serious girlfriend. I want to be compassionate towards him, and want him to have a better and fuller life, for his own sake. I have spent over 10 years discussing with him (and, separately, with his mother) how he plans to move out and live his own life, even helping him look at apartments, but it never actually happens. He has few life skills, and can’t seem to do anything for himself when his mother is not there.

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