Dear Wendy: “If I Kick Out My Roommate, I Might Lose Friends”

I bought a house last summer and decided to ask a friend, whom I’d lived with before, to be my roommate once again. While it wasn’t ideal the first time around, as she is quite lazy and doesn’t have the best hygiene, I needed help on the financial front and felt I knew what to expect. The trouble is, she is now even lazier, doesn’t respect my things (almost everything in the house is mine), has ruined expensive items without offering to replace them, and the hygiene front is getting terribly worse. I’m what people would call a b****; I usually say what’s on my mind and I don’t think before I speak, but this past year has been difficult as I’m afraid my normal “honesty” would send my antidepressant pill-popping roommate rocking in the fetal position in a corner. By the time I think of a nice way to tell her what needs to change, the problem feels out of date and inappropriate to talk about. I can very well kick her out now, as the finances are somewhat better, but the problem is we have the same circle of friends, and if I get rid of her, I risk losing quite a few of them. I feel like many of my problems with my roommate should have been voiced much earlier, but I avoided them hoping they would resolve on their own. Plus, I needed the monthly rent. — Fed Up

OK, so let me get this straight: while you’ve always found your roommate lazy and dirty — even before you asked her to live with you a second time — you were willing to overlook these “problems” when it benefited you but now that you’re more financially stable, you want to “get rid” of your roommate and your only concern is losing some mutual friends in the deal? Really? You’re not, like, at all concerned that your friend — the one who’s prone to depression — might get her feelings hurt or that, I don’t know, she’ll suddenly be homeless? I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that you’re only thinking of yourself. After all, that’s the tone you’ve always set, isn’t it? Even the issues with your roommate are all focused on how she inconveniences you. Have you considered that you might not be such a doll to live with either? And have you stopped to think that maybe those mutual friends you’re so afraid of losing might ditch you not so much because you were cruel to someone they care about, but because you’re, as you describe, “a b****.”

Now that you have your finances in order, Fed Up, I’d turn your focus to your much-deprived interpersonal skills. You can start by having a heart-to-heart with you roommate and apologize for being such a bully and thank her for helping you out when you were in a financial crunch. Explain to her that since you’re feeling more financially stable now you think you can afford living alone, but you’re happy to have her stay with you as long as it takes her to find a suitable place to move. You’ll even help her look.

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about two months now and things were perfect up until about a week ago. He has always told me how he isn’t good at letting people in and it takes him awhile and I’m fine with that, since I myself just got out of a 2.5 year relationship about two months before we met. When we first started dating, he would text me and surprise me at work; we’d go out for dinner or hang out at his place. But recently he’s started to become distant. He doesn’t text me right away anymore, I normally don’t hear from him until late afternoon, and we haven’t really been hanging out too much either. He said its because work is getting busier and he’s frustrated with it. But because he’s been so distant I’ve been feeling like he is over the relationship. We’ve been fighting the last week because I’m cautious and keep questioning him about us. He assures me he wants to be with me and that I need to stop with the nagging — that just because he can’t talk to me every second of the day and wants time alone after work, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about us. Do you think it’s just the pressure of work that’s getting to him or is he really just not that into me? — Anxious

Girl, you need to chill! Your boyfriend may very well be under more stress than usual at work, but I’m willing to bet it’s your neediness and clingy-ness that’s pushing him away. It’s normal for relationships to be hot and heavy in the beginning and then relax into something that allows you to focus on other aspects of your life — like work and friendships and personal hobbies. If we stayed at the same intensity that exists in the first few weeks/months of a blooming relationship forever, no one would ever get anything done. Not hearing from your boyfriend every second of the day doesn’t mean he’s losing interest in you, but you freaking out about it could be a sign that you aren’t quite ready for the reality of a healthy adult relationship just yet — especially considering how recent your last breakup was.

Two months isn’t very long to process the breakup of a 2.5 year relationship. While it’s certainly possible to seamlessly move from one relationship to the next with little — or no — time between them, many people benefit from a period of self-reflection, time alone, and casual dating before jumping into the next serious thing. I wonder if the anxiety you’re feeling in your new relationship stems from unresolved emotions carried over from your last relationship. I also wonder if you’re clingy-ness comes from a fear of being alone. Maybe you’re desperate to hang on to your current guy not so much because you’re really into him, but because as long as you’re with someone — anyone — you don’t have to deal with your own issues. The thing is, your issues won’t go away. And as long as you avoid them, they’re going to keep popping up, creating problems in any relationship you’re in. So, maybe back off a little with your current boyfriend. Slow things down and spend some time getting to know yourself again. If you can find comfort in being alone, you’ll have a lot less anxiety and insecurity in your romantic relationships.

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”}.