Our problem is our roommate, “Fred.” My fiancé and Fred have known each other since college and are very good friends. Fred moved in with my fiancé in 2011. He has a lot of furniture and loves living in the house and showing it off to friends. Before I moved in, the house was definitely a bachelor pad.
For the first three months that I lived here, things were fine. I was actually really excited to have Fred live in the house with the baby as he is also in his mid-40s, never married, has no kids, and seemed really excited to get to play “uncle.” He’s been a great sounding board for me to vent to about things I feel I can’t tell my fiancé, and overall he’s been a wonderful friend! But over the last month or two (or three) he’s been really unpleasant to be around. He gripes about how my fiancé and I leave dishes in the sink, that we are too spread out (a lot of it is baby stuff) and we don’t take care of the house. If he comes home early from work, he’ll complain to me about how little my fiancé does to help me out around the house and how I won’t be able to rely on my fiancé for any help when it comes to the baby. It makes me very uncomfortable to hear him speak so negatively about my fiancé. It also bothers me because no one is perfect and Fred doesn’t clean up after himself either.
The house is a small two-bedroom house located near the beach in a nice neighborhood. We all love this house. However, with three adults and a baby on the way, it’s become very cramped! We desperately need a nursery for the baby, and the roommate hasn’t moved out yet and it’s really starting to cause A LOT of friction among the three of us and has started to affect our friendship with the roommate. We hate coming home if he’s there and all of us are very short with each other.
We haven’t been sure what our housing situation is going to be. This house is owned by my fiancé’s mother. As of right now, we all pay a third of the mortgage. The roommate pays a third, my fiancé and I pay a third, and his mother pays a third. If the roommate moved out we would not be able to cover the costs of 2/3s rent so initially we were planning on moving out. If the roommate stays in this house and we move out, he would have to pay full rent. My future mother-in-law, though, decided she doesn’t want strangers to live in the house or to deal with renters. She had the house refinanced and it’s looking like we might end up staying in this house after all. Upon finding this out, the roommate has made no attempt to find a new place to live.
Wendy, this is so frustrating. We have no nursery for our baby and he’ll be here in three weeks! We’ve put all the baby stuff in the family room, but obviously that is no place for a baby to sleep. He’ll be in the co-sleeper for a few weeks, but after that we have no place for him. I also don’t want to feel like I need to tiptoe around a volatile roommate, especially once the baby arrives. I don’t want to feel like I have to go hide away in my room to feed the baby or hide him if he’s crying. It’s our house too. I’m also worried that the roommate will still bring over guests and my fiancé and I both don’t want that at all.
Help….what should we do about him? We don’t want to hurt the friendship at all, but we need him to move out. Am I not seeing things from his perspective? — Three’s a Crowd
No, clearly you aren’t seeing things from his perspective. First of all, you aren’t all paying 1/3 of the rent. Fred is paying a third of the rent, your fiancé’s mother is paying a third of the rent, and you and your fiancé are each paying 1/6 of the rent. Fred is literally paying double what you and your fiancé each pay for roughly the same living space — living space that is now mostly filled with your baby crap. On top of that, he’s dealing with dirty dishes in the sink and a pregnant roommate who vents to him about all the stuff she, for some reason, doesn’t think she can talk to her fiancé about (which, by the way, is not cool). No wonder tensions are high and tempers are short!
Frankly, I am stunned that your baby is due in three weeks and you still haven’t figured out your living situation. You’ve had MONTHS to work out where you’re going to live. If you knew you couldn’t afford to live in your current home without Fred’s financial contribution, you should have found a place you and your fiancé can afford on your own and given Fred plenty of time to either find new roommates or a new place to live. And it’s nice of your future mother-in-law to help with rent, but you are two grownups who are about to be parents. If the two of you together can only afford 1/3 of the rent, you probably need to find a new place to live. What if, after the house is re-financed, you still can’t afford to pay a much bigger percentage than you currently are? What if something happens to your future MIL and she’s unable to continue supporting/helping you? It’s time to start being responsible and live within your means. You have a child to think about now.
If I were you, I would immediately look for a new apartment — a two-bedroom, preferably (this may require moving to a less ideal location, away from the beach; suck it up). Let Fred know and put him in touch with your MIL to work out whether she wants him to stay or not. And then move. If you can move in the three weeks before your baby comes, great. If you can’t, you’ll just have to move afterward. Fortunately, a newborn baby doesn’t require much space and can sleep with you in your co-sleeper until you find a more suitable living arrangement. A nursery is sweet and definitely convenient, but generally not a necessity in the early weeks.
If you do decide to stay in your current home, even though you can’t afford it without your fiancé’s mother paying for 2/3 of the rent (or whatever it will be once the house is refinanced), tell Fred you’d like him to find a new place to live, within a month, and that he will be reimbursed whatever deposit he put down. Apologize for waiting so many months to figure out that having a third, unrelated adult living with you while raising a newborn didn’t make much sense, especially since doing so meant encroaching on shared living space as much as you already have.
Honestly, I’m still shaking my head that your baby is due in three weeks — which means he could come tomorrow and still be considered full-term — and you three adults still haven’t discussed what the plan is for living arrangements once he’s born. As guilty as you are for not broaching the topic with Fred, he’s just as clueless. Who lives with a couple expecting a baby and doesn’t say, “Hey, where were you thinking the baby is going to sleep when it’s born? Um, should I start looking for a new place?”
Also, if you don’t want Fred talking negatively to you about your fiancé, quit confiding in him like HE’s your partner, and start communicating better with the man you’re about to have a child with.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.