Failure to Launch syndrome

posted 2 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
9604 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

Typically failure to launch is enabled by someone who keeps life nice and cushy. No consequences. No bills. Here its grandma, and its further complicated by the fact that he is her caretaker. You can have a frank conversation with him. He wont take it well, but you can try. Past that… what can you do? Nothing. I bet he is expecting to inherit from grandma and will just never work. 

Post # 3
4060 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

He’s a grown man. He’s got to figure it out for himself. That may seem heartless, but have you considered the alternative? If you continue to enable him, what happens when you aren’t around? Eventually he’s got to figure it out.

Post # 4
5409 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

It sounds like he is a full time carer for your grandmother?

Post # 5
9615 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

My Brother-In-Law is similar. He does have a job but it’s a low level, entry position he took right out of college. He doesn’t make very much and gets no benefits. He still lives with his parents, has never had a girlfriend, doesn’t cook (he has the worst diet I’ve ever seen), and his helplessness is just enabled by my in-laws. He’s 29 and just doesn’t seem to have the motivation to get his life together and be an independent adult. 

I get so frustrated by how much his parents enable this. They act like he is so incapable of doing anything for himself but he’s not! Ugh…but it’s not my problem. My husband and I figure that if it comes down to him needing to get it together (when people stop enabling him) he will figure it out because he has to, he doesn’t now because he doesn’t have to.

Post # 6
1152 posts
Bumble bee

He will figure it out when the Grandma is no longer around. I think employers will be sympathetic to him taking care of an elderly relative. Perhaps a nursing home or assisted living place would count those years of caretaking as Work experience. 

Post # 7
489 posts
Helper bee

I agree with zzar45, it sounds like he is taking care of your Grandparents. When I think of F2L syndrome I think of someone in a basement playing video games all day and being catered to by an enabler. It doesn’t really sound like that is going on here, unless I missed something. It sounds like both he and your Grandparents are getting something out of the deal. 

I also wouldn’t knock him for not having a girlfriend. Some people don’t date around, some people don’t date at all. That doesn’t mean they aren’t adults. 

Post # 8
5120 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

Yeah I tend to think of F2L as someone who does nothing but mooch off their parents and be waited on and is generally just a burden. It sounds like in this case, he’s actually keeping up the household and caring for an elderly grandparent and there is something to be said for that. It may not be your idea of success, but it doesn’t sound like he’s actually shirked adult responsibilities, he just manages them for someone else. When grandma dies, he’ll have to move on, there are women who never worked because they were housewives or SAHMs and have to find work later in life, it’s harder, but not impossible. Plus, he does have skills as a caretaker, which could translate into a career.


Post # 9
6535 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

mrspebble :  ultimately it’s his problem, not yours. My husband has a brother who hasn’t achieved much of anything. I made it clear to my husband that even if his brother had to live under a bridge he would not be staying with us ever unless he contributed fully to the household. It won’t be an issue.

in this case, it sounds like he might do well in an area that focuses on geriatric care. Either being a personal caretaker or working out end of life finances. Just because he’s someone college didn’t really work for doesn’t mean he can’t find a meaningful job when it becomes necessary.

as to not having a girlfriend, I wouldn’t worry about that either. Maybe he doesn’t want one, maybe he’s not appealing at the moment, maybe he has no problem there at all and just isn’t sharing yet. Still nothing to bother yourself over.

Post # 10
667 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

It sounds like your brother has made an excellent caretaker so, as other PPs have said, it’s not quite F2L syndrome. He seems to function perfectly fine as an adult, even though it’s someone else’s adulthood he’s managing. Being a caretaker for an elderly person is a tough job, and many aren’t cut out for it; I know people who have quit their jobs to take care of elderly relatives just so they wouldn’t have to place them in a nursing home – it takes immense dedication. I wouldn’t say he’s achieved nothing, it’s actually pretty damn admirable of him.

But it does sound like he never really got a good grasp on what he wanted to do with his life, or had the support and extra push he needed in that area. It sounds like grandma wasn’t too demanding and his life has always been pretty cushy.

One day grandma will be gone though and he’ll have to figure something out. I would say he could make a nice career out of being a caretaker, and many places would accept his experience with your grandma on his resume, but I get the feeling that he’ll probably decide to live off of what is left to him, if anything. I know he’s your brother and it’s natural for you to worry about him, but you can’t. He needs to do things on his own, and that includes failing. And, who knows, maybe that will be his true wake up call.

Post # 11
4481 posts
Honey bee

There is no one right path in life.

It sounds like he is in a mutually beneficial living arrangement right now and he is making some contribution to the household.  If and when he wants to change, he’ll figure it out.  Same as when grandma passes – he’ll figure it out.  Will it be harder?  Sure.  But if he also doesn’t have aspirations of a big house and 401K, then there are plenty of entry-level places that will hire him – retail, warehouses and shipping, food service, etc.  This isn’t your problem to solve.  Unless he’s at your door begging for handouts or taking advantage of a vulnerable adult, this is probably the sort of thing you wait out and advise when asked.

Post # 12
6097 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

It sounds like your brother is taking excellent care of your grandmother. If your talks with him have the same tone as your post, it makes sense that he would get defensive and shut down. I get your perspective- it’s concerning that he doesn’t seem to have a plan for what’s going to happen beyond caring for your grandmother. But his being available to care for her also allows you to not worry about that for the time being. Maybe you might want to have some discussions where you just check in with him to see how he’s doing and what he’s thinking of for his future. It sounds like your grandmother is the first place you had some consistency and stability and now he’s able to provide that for her in return which is great.

Post # 13
5894 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

mrspebble : From the way you’ve descrived it it sounds more like he’s your grandma’s caretaker rather than just a mootch expecting a poor old lady to take care of him, right?  If this is the case, I don’t think that this is hopeless at all.  While the role he’s taking isn’t one that paid, it’s hard work that takes a caring, compassionate person.  

I wonder if your brother would do well in a paid care giver type role?  There are really solid career options for this – caring for elderly people, nannying, etc.  Has he ever considered it as a career path?  Or if he could get the dating thing figured out it sounds like he’d be a great stay at home dad.

Post # 15
1800 posts
Buzzing bee

When grandma dies, who gets the house? If he’s the one caring for her then he deserves it. So don’t worry about him moving in with you.

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