My cousin and I bought a suburban house together two years ago. She’s 48, and I’m 42. I’ve had a serious boyfriend for 18 months.
I can no longer stand sharing with my cousin, but my boyfriend and I can’t find a way to live together.
My cousin collects stuff she never uses. It’s all over the house.
I’d like to move in with my boyfriend, also 42, but his place is much smaller than my half-house. Also, my cousin says she can’t afford to live alone there.
But he says we can’t afford a bigger place in that area which he prefers, though we both have good jobs, and I’d get my money out of the house.
Do I owe my cousin the ability to stay in that house? Is my boyfriend just stalling a formal move together?
Decide what you want, in order of what’s really motivating you.
It seems this is more about your boyfriend than your cousin.
His “can’t afford the area” excuse IS a stall for some reason. Either the current arrangement is just too easy, or he isn’t prepared yet to make a future commitment.
He can avoid discussing any plans, and not put his own money into a shared home. In fact, there’s minimal difference from dating as two independent singles.
Consider what changes you feel are necessary to stay together. I suggest: A face-to-face conversation about your relationship, with honest answers.
Do you love each other exclusively? Do you both want a shared life?
Or, is this a convenient arrangement that could change if someone else came along?
Once you have some answers – from yourself as well as him – you can deal with the house issue with your cousin.
You don’t owe her a lifetime plan that prevents any moves. Talk to a lawyer/your bank about how best to handle this.
Living together, you do owe each other accommodations. Her “unused stuff” should be contained within her space.
You two definitely need an acceptable way to air out mutual complaints as housemates.
A female friend is bright, witty, adventuresome, and fun. But it’s difficult to go out with her socially because she’s rude to waiters and waitresses.
She can also be demanding and impatient to sales staff in stores.
Getting together in restaurants makes me uncomfortable. I’m waiting for the picky issues she’s going to raise, loudly and in a haughty way.
It’s hard to balance her two sides – she’s respected in her job, well travelled, and exposed to other cultures, happy in her marriage and lifestyle.
I don’t get why she’s so ready to be critical and difficult with people who have a lot less than her.
Annoying but Good Friend
Some people are raised with, or develop a sense of, entitlement. Others are just rude and attention seeking.
Then there are the perfectionists, who do everything the “correct way” and don’t think anyone else should get away with doing less.
Unfortunately, when they’re being demanding in your company, it’s embarrassing. You feel associated with rude behaviour that isn’t your way.
Some solutions: Socialize at each other’s homes but not in restaurants. If out shopping together, make your own purchases and stay clear of her interactions with salespeople.
If any such scene becomes uncomfortable for you, walk away.
She should get the message. If not, be honest. Simply say that her complaints embarrass you.
Then be consistent about avoiding those kinds of situations when with her.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man concerned with whether his father’s alcoholism makes him genetically likely to become an alcoholic (Oct 12):
Reader – “I’m an alcoholic (34 years sober now). This man’s concern about his alcohol consumption tells me that he already knows he may have a problem.
“Alcoholics’ Anonymous has many OPEN meetings to which anyone can attend, as opposed to a closed meeting which is only open if you’re an admitted alcoholic.
“For him to attend just sitting and listening, who knows what can happen?”
Ellie – As I responded, some genes increase a person’s risk; others play a part in decreasing that risk.
Research has also shown that more than one–half of all children of alcoholics do not become alcoholic.
Yet this man acknowledges he’s drinking daily, both socially and at home.
Your suggestion is wise. He’d hear what alcoholics say about their drinking, how it affects their families, etc. It’s a good reality check.
Tip of the day:
Confront a turning point in your relationship head on, instead of confusing it with other issues.