Hi, Carolyn: When my roommate and I agreed to live together, we decided that boyfriends were allowed to stay overnight, but that third-roommate type conditions would not be permitted. Now I want to know what the definition of a third-roommate is. Is this a thing that’s counted by hours during the days/nights that her new loser boyfriend is here? Pairs of shoes in the hallway? Portion of the fridge taken up with his beer? They never go to his place because, at 27, he still lives with his mom. This guy is driving me nuts. – M.
Third roommate (n): someone who drives you to ask questions for which you already have answers. You want his beer out of the fridge (except for a few; no need to get barbaric), shoes out of the hall, and sense of entitlement demoted to deference. Yes?
So: “I thought we agreed, no third roommates.”
Unless something (your mouth foam, say, or her punitive nature) tells you diplomacy is in order. In that case, frame it as a post-adolescent Mad-Lib: “Obviously, he’s welcome to _____, but I would rather he didn’t _____.”
If your answers are “breathe” and “use my oxygen,” try again until it sounds like “visit” and “take advantage.”
Be careful with the specifics, too. While a few may help, cite one too many and you’ll sound like you’ve spent your days/nights taking bitter little notes. That’s the hazard of waiting this long, and getting this angry, before you decide to speak up.
Dear Carolyn: I met my boyfriend of three years while we were in college. Since I graduated a year before him, I got a job in the next town over to be near him. I gave up many other job opportunities to do so. Still, I got lucky and found I love the place I work.
Now he’s graduated and wants to move back to his hometown. He doesn’t have a job lined up there; he just wants to be closer to his family. He has asked me to move there with him. I love him very much, but I have already sacrificed to be near him and don’t know if I can take the emotional strain of uprooting again. Would it be unreasonable for me to say, “No, you should live here instead”? – Moving Situation
Yes. Telling a grown man what he “should” do to make you happy always draws a flag.
You like where you are. You don’t want to move. You would like him to stay. You believe he owes you that much.
All are thoroughly reasonable things to say.
To which he can say, in the most loving way, “Tough.” The other part of being reasonable is knowing you can’t make him do anything. You can only make your point, and then choose how far you’ll go to stand by it.