Daily Press (Sunday)

Wrong not to want friend as a roomie?


Adapted from online discussion­s.

A friend of my spouse must commute to our state for work three days every week because he’s not approved to work remotely. He asked my spouse about apartments or rooms he could rent. My spouse suggested he live with us.

I was angry and told my spouse I don’t want a roommate or to be a landlord. My spouse was upset and felt I wasn’t being nice.

We have a 6-month-old child and finally a house of our own after renting and sharing with roommates for 13-plus years; I want my space and privacy. There are other ways we can show his friend kindness.

The friend is a nice guy and has been helpful to my spouse in finding employment. I told my spouse we could offer a room as a stopgap until he finds something more permanent. Am I really a bad person for not saying yes to this? — Not a Roommate

Dear Carolyn:

Dear Not a Roommate:

Nope. Your offer is a generous compromise under the forehead-slappingly bad conditions your spouse created by not talking to you before he offered his friend a room. Two equals who share a home forfeit the right to offer it out unilateral­ly, except in a short-term emergency or unless there’s some sort of shared cultural understand­ing or protocol you both live by.

Since you have enormous incentive to fix this with your spouse, even though you’re 100% right, maybe acknowledg­e his big heart and his indebtedne­ss and say you’re fine with doing x, y or z in lieu, but you’re not fine with the indefinite roommate or with being pressured to change your mind.

Are you sure the friend even wants to be there? He asked for rental prospects and might have meant it.

My father is upset because my fiancé and I already made plans to spend an upcoming holiday with my fiancé’s family. My father asked why I hadn’t considered spending it with him. I truly didn’t mean any harm or even think about it, since my fiancé’s family asked us months ago.

I feel like I’m constantly disappoint­ing my parents, who are divorced, because I’m now stuck in the middle of my parents and my fiancé’s family as well. I feel like I can’t make anyone happy. — Stuck in the Middle

Dear Carolyn:

Dear Stuck in the Middle:

You can make you happy. You can be thoughtful.

And prepared, and transparen­t.

When someone invites you and you want to say yes, then that’s fine — but if you let that be your only guide, then the pre-planners will get all your time. That’s not fair to other people, or to yourself.

Decide generally who you want to see, how often, and how often you want to do your own thing as a couple. Then block out a rough schedule as a couple so you know, when you’re invited to something, whether you can feel good about saying yes. Preparatio­n also allows you to say, “I know you’re disappoint­ed, Dad, but I’m doing my best to be fair.”

It really is your time, your call, and they can all lump it.

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