Six months ago, I signed a lease on an apartment in Brooklyn with a friend from college whom I thought I knew well enough to live with. We both have jobs in the city, but neither of us grew up in New York. I have a pretty busy social life, but my roommate does not, something I realized early on when she never seemed to have plans and expected to tag along with me wherever I went. In the beginning this was ok, but my friends weren’t always happy with her company (she can be negative and whiny) and I started getting annoyed with her, too. I became furtive about going out to dinner or the movies or a party because I didn’t want to always have to include her. Then I’d feel sorry for her. I’d come home and sense her resentment toward me. The truth is I don’t see why I should be responsible for her social life, but it’s really hard to live with someone who’s lonely and expects you to kind of take care of them all the time. Can you help me? I don’t even know how to frame a conversation with her around this. She’d be ok to live with if she developed her own life instead of depending on mine.
Thanks in advance,
Need an Independent Roommate
You are right: there’s no reason why you should be responsible for your roommate’s social life. What you do with your time is your own business and no one else’s and, of course, the same goes for her. I would suggest sitting her down in your apartment and being very frank about it. “I like you very much, you’re a wonderful roommate, but I’m a very free and independent person and enjoy going out on my own or being alone with friends.” Even though drugs or alcohol may not be involved, Al-Anon meetings are a great place to learn about how to handle problems like yours, and I’d advise you to go to a few meetings. If you frequently feel responsible for people and how your behavior might impact them, psychotherapy might be a good idea for you, too. This is not a pattern you want to live with the rest of your life. Hope that helps.
REACTIONS TO MISLED HUSBAND
My question to you is what kind of idiot would marry after only three months knowing so little about the habits of your partner? Sounds like a roller coaster and I guess you should enjoy the ride while you’re on it, but I wouldn’t trust the relationship to last very long. And if it doesn’t, kind of serves you right.
Elaine N., Dallas
I love the way you guys met! That will make a great story for your children and grandchildren. The only real problem I see is that your wife doesn’t like sports. That would be a deal breaker for me!
Jordan K., Houston, TX
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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.