Three’s a crowd

Joey Garcia

My roommate’s boyfriend hits on me, and I’m afraid to tell her. He doesn’t live with us, but he’s over all the time. If my roommate leaves for work while he’s still sleeping or if she goes to take a shower, he takes advantage of the situation to talk to me. He always tells me how nice I look or how good I smell and asks me to hang out. I am not attracted to him and have no idea what she sees in him. Our apartment is really chill when he’s not there. But really I feel like I can’t relax in my own place. How do I tell my roommate that I don’t want him around without telling her that he’s coming on to me? I’m afraid that he will turn it around and act like I’m the one after him.

You don’t trust this guy, and that’s understandable. Protect yourself. Do everything necessary to prepare to move out: Evaluate contractual agreements, get bills up-to-date, make a list of your belongings that might be comingled with your roommate’s stuff (in the linen closet or kitchen, for example). Check out other possible living situations, too (friends, roommate listings or family members).

Then, when you’re confident that you have a viable fallback plan, talk to your roommate about guidelines for guests. Let her know that you don’t want her guy there when she’s not in the apartment. Explain that you don’t want a third roommate, and he stays over so much it feels like a threesome. Keep the conversation simple and direct. Avoid explanations or justifications, because they usually incite arguments.

If your honesty creates too much conflict, offer to move out, and let your roommate’s boyfriend move in. But before moving in with anyone else, interview prospective roommates carefully. Be sure that you share values and lifestyle expectations. Establish an agreement in writing about guests and other issues. Living with others can be fun, or it can be a total freak show. Clarifying expectations beforehand makes a huge difference.

My girlfriend and I just finished at a two-year college and are attending different universities for the next two years. She says she loves me and ultimately wants us to be together but needs some space to experience life without being in a relationship. I trust her and know we are right for each other, but I am having a hard time. I have been really sad and don’t know if I should pull back now and not contact her or just wait until July when she leaves. She’s also my best friend, so I don’t have anyone to talk to, and I don’t know how to deal with this. Any ideas?

Continue to be the amazing partner that you are and that your girlfriend loves. Acknowledge your sadness at the upcoming split, but admit reality: The woman you love is still with you. Being broken up about breaking up when you haven’t yet broken up is twisted. Too much of your brain and heart are living in the future, and that ruins the present. Try inviting your heart and mind to exist primarily in the now. You will breathe easier and appreciate the next few weeks more completely. After all, is worrying a better use of your energy than enjoying the next few weeks with your girlfriend? No, of course not.

When your girlfriend does head off to university, give her the freedom she is yearning to experience. Focus on your own life: building friendships, honing new skills, engaging in service, finding joy in solitude and charting your future. Trust your ability to shape the life you have always imagined for yourself. I believe in you.

Meditation of the week
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,” said Frederick Douglass. What is your personal investment in education (character development, academics, relationship education) for children, youth and teens?

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