I signed a lease with four other college girls before realizing one has issues. She has one-night stands with people in our friend circle. She also talks about sex openly, even in front of parents and acquaintances. She had a boyfriend and was in denial of his lack of respect for her. They broke up. She slept around. I told her getting to know a guy first is generally a better route to go. She chilled out temporarily, but returned to old habits. I think she has a sex addiction. Her ex-boyfriend agreed to get back with her if the three of us slept together. Instead of being upset, she had the audacity to ask me. He also contacted me. I cut down social media contact with her and blocked him. My other roommates and I agree living together will be uncomfortable but they like her. So I’m stuck. I’ve set clear boundaries without being a bitch. But how do I live with someone who has no boundaries?
Break your lease. The expense is tuition in the School of Life. A small fee compared to the emotional and mental cost of living in a tripwire household. Yes, I know you like the other roomies. But they are friends with the girl you need to unfriend, right? You are adamant she lacks the boundaries required for a healthy relationship. So why live with her?
Oh, I know—exiting would mean she wins. She gets to live with your friends. She gets to hang out and party with them. The other girls might want to invite you over but would worry about the vibe. Too much drama!
In your situation, here’s what adulting looks like: not expecting people to be capable of skills, insights or behaviors you believe they should have figured out by now. In her blog Adulting (adultingblog.com), Kelly Williams Brown cautions against engaging with “people whose behavior is far outside the bounds of reasonable human behavior. [It] will never-ever provide the desired effect for you. … There is but one direction sanity will flow, and it is away from you as madness spreads.” She also suggests that people visualize themselves as Teflon, while silently telling themselves not to engage. In other words, be kind but protect yourself.
You should also stop trying to analyze your roommate. Yes, she may be desperate for attention and affection. She may have low self-worth as a result of a past trauma. But acting out sexually can also be a symptom of an undiagnosed mental health problem. You can suggest that she speak to a campus counselor. You can let a campus counselor know you are concerned. But be certain that your action stems from true compassion, and not an attempt to oust her from the lease.
If you do honor the lease, find a way to love her as she is, even if you don’t like her very much. Begin by forgiving yourself for believing you should have waited until you knew her better before signing a lease. Forgive yourself for not realizing sooner what a mess she is. Forgive her for hitting you up for a threesome. Accept that she is the way she is because that’s how she is. As you turn your thoughts upside-down, you will discover how to take care of yourself in the presence of someone who yearns to be cared for. That’s a valuable life lesson that you won’t learn in most college classrooms.