My roommate of four years and I met in University when we occasionally hung out with the same group. We weren’t close. Now, we’re both 29, both working full-time, and though we’re a male and female sharing common space, we’re good friends.
We learned on Facebook that each was looking for a shared rental in the same neighbourhood, and thought, “Why not?”
I had a girlfriend then, but wasn’t ready to move in with her. My roommate’s had two short-term dating relationships since sharing this place with me.
I didn’t like the second guy, though never said so, since the cardinal rule of shared accommodation is, MYOB.
However, I came home a week ago and heard her crying in her room. I felt it was okay to knock and asked if she wanted to talk. She did.
Her boyfriend had argued with her, then left in a huff calling her “stubborn” when she’d simply been expressing her view.
When she asked my thoughts, I said that she was repeatedly choosing the wrong guys. She’s attractive, smart, talented in the arts, doing great in her job, but insecure about telling a boyfriend what she thinks and feels.
I said that, from what she’d told me about her controlling father – which caused her mother to back off in any serious discussions - she was following an old pattern she should throw away.
We ended up toasting her resolve to speak up for herself with men she dates. Later, we woke up together in her bed.
We avoided each other in the kitchen for two days, then made love and slept together again the next day.
I believe that I love her. But I’m not sure how she feels…. maybe I’m just a fallback friend to help her find her self-confidence and move on.
I’m afraid to ask because if that’s the case, how do we continue as roommates when we’ve already been intimate?
Even if it feels awkward right now, you’re still close friends. You’ve both had previous relationships, so you know how to move on when it’s necessary.
What you do NOT know yet: Is it necessary, or is this the beginning of a relationship started between friends who already trust and care for each other? Are you the man who actually “gets” her, and with whom she can be herself?
You’re adults who can decide together how to handle this situation with more discussion and no sex together, for a while…
Until you both decide whether you want to stay as roomies or grow together as lovers.
FEEDBACK Regarding children of narcissistic parents (Jan 22):
“Both my parents “suffered” from this personality disorder – they were very unhappy people driven by unconscious needs which controlled their lives.
“We children were impacted greatly. I’m 66, and after many years of self-searching and different therapies I still struggle to find happiness and self-acceptance.
“Relationships are the hardest. Social anxieties keep me isolated. Yet, I know my parents loved me though there were many opportunities to doubt it.
“Life could’ve been different if I'd had at least one parent giving me the support I needed to develop a healthy psyche.
“To the letter-writer: Equip yourself with the knowledge of what that support might be for your daughter. Invest in professional help. Learn and practice. Demonstrate your love without judgement or criticism.
“Help her with strategies to manage the most difficult of relationships, life with a narcissist.”
My fiancée loves every chance to give me a gift and usually makes it herself. Then she watches to check that I use, wear or eat whatever she created for me.
Last week, for Valentine’s Day, it was socks that she knit herself.
However, I’m a recently-hired junior executive in a bank where everyone dresses conservatively.
She’d knit dark green socks with pink hearts that stand out on them. I admired them, saying they were terrific. But when I added that, unfortunately, they might not be considered appropriate at my work, she cried.
What should I do?
Gift From the Heart
Choices: 1) Wear the socks out the door and change to plain ones wherever you can (But if she finds out, she’ll feel you weren’t honest with her).
2) Wear them when out as a couple with friends, and make a fuss about them (and about her). 3) Wear them to bed. She’ll understand the message.
Tip of the day:
A good roommate relationship is valuable. Make sure any other emotions are discussed and mutually agreed.