House­mate an­gles for change at home

Times Standard (Eureka) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Amy Dick­in­son You can con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email: askamy@amy­dick­in­ and fol­low her on Twit­ter @ask­ingamy.

DEAR AMY » I am one of three friends liv­ing in a house to­gether for the past three years. We are all in our early-30s. My boyfriend owns the house, he and I share a bed­room, and our third room­mate, “Dusty,” is a friend who lived there with my boyfriend be­fore we started dat­ing.

In the time we’ve lived to­gether, I’ve made great strides. My boyfriend and I have got­ten se­ri­ous about our ca­reers, stopped par­ty­ing, and put a lot of time, ef­fort (and money) into clean­ing up, up­grad­ing, and im­prov­ing the house we share. We’ve never dis­cussed shar­ing house­hold tasks with Dusty; we do ev­ery­thing, and we pay for all the im­prove­ments.

Dusty pretty much just drinks beer, smokes, and plays video games all day long. He reeks of smoke and has poor hy­giene. He rarely cleans or con­trib­utes when we do home projects. He works as lit­tle as pos­si­ble.

I’ve come to re­ally re­sent his pres­ence, and when my friends come over, I’m em­bar­rassed by the way he lives. De­spite all my ef­forts to make our house a home, I’m more un­happy here than ever. I feel like I’m liv­ing with a teenager, con­stantly try­ing to erase the ev­i­dence of his slovenly life­style. I re­ally want him to move out, but I know he never would un­less we ex­plic­itly asked him to.

My boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind Dusty’s slop­pi­ness at all. They still have a great re­la­tion­ship. They en­joy spend­ing time to­gether.

We need a third house­mate to make the fi­nan­cial pic­ture work, and be­cause Dusty was there be­fore me, I feel guilty about want­ing to re­place him with some­one more ma­ture.

I know the next step is to dis­cuss my feel­ings with my boyfriend, but I don’t want to come off as con­trol­ling, or in­con­sid­er­ate of their friend­ship. How can I broach the sub­ject fairly? — Claus­tro­pho­bic

DEAR CLAUS­TRO­PHO­BIC » The way not to come off as con­trol­ling is to not be con­trol­ling. This means that you would un­der­stand and ac­cept that your boyfriend owns this home, that this do­mes­tic sit­u­a­tion ex­isted be­fore you ar­rived, and that two out of the three of you don’t seem to mind the con­di­tions in the home.

How­ever, per­haps you should just cop to car­ing and to want­ing more con­trol over the at­mos­phere where you live (you have that right).

Tell your boyfriend that you no longer want to live with “Dusty,” and ini­ti­ate a con­ver­sa­tion about pos­si­ble so­lu­tions, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that YOU might move out. Your boyfriend may then face a tough choice.

In short, I’m sug­gest­ing that you tap into your in­ner Yoko and risk break­ing up the band, ac­cept­ing the un­cer­tainty of the con­se­quences.

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