I went to Europe with Rick for spring break, and before we left, he changed his plane ticket to come back a couple days early to be with Lucy. Since then, Lucy essentially lives in my house – she sleeps over every night, has a toothbrush in the holder etc, despite not paying rent and having an apartment of her own a 5 minute walk away.
I know that its bad to get involved with anyone else’s relationship, but I am worried about both Rick and Lucy, and my other roommates, his friends, and even her friends have all expressed the same sentiment. In April, a friend and I attempted to talk to Lucy without Rick present, and he almost banged down the door trying to get in so that we would not be alone with her. They frequently outright ignore other people, even if directly addressed, and only talk to each other. They have recently been fighting and arguing, but even through this they have not separated at all. As far as I know, they have not been separate for even an hour outside of work or classes. When classes were in session, one would walk the other to their class (if they didn’t have class at the same time), wait nearby and do homework until the other was done with their class, and then they would walk home together.
Recently, after coming home from work I knocked on Rick’s door to go talk to the two of them, and found him sitting on his computer, with Lucy perched on the end of the bed doing nothing. I mentioned I was about to watch a TV show, and Lucy said she wanted to watch it as well, but my roommate didn’t want to. She asked if it was “OK” for her to go watch the show, and he mumbled something that did not exactly deny her from going to watch, but expressed that he didn’t really want her to go, so she stayed in his room with him instead of coming to our living room to watch this show. I have more stories than this one about their co-dependence as well.
I’m worried about this relationship, and I don’t think its healthy for either of them to be in the sort of relationship they are currently in. I feel like there needs to be an intervention, or even some professional help. Should I do something, or just leave them alone? — Worried Sick
Is it the season? Is it the warm weather and the promise of long, lazy summer days ahead of us that’s making people “worry” so much about their friends and family’s relatively harmless relationships? Are people lonely? What’s going on? I don’t mean to pick on you specifically, WS; yours is just one example of the kinds of letters jamming my virtual in-box lately, and I’m simply wondering what these “concerns” so many of you are having are a symptom of. Because frankly, the relationships people are writing to me about do not warrant a response in an advice column, let alone an “intervention” or professional help.
Instead, the intervention that needs to happen is with the with the writers of all these letters I’ve been receiving. So, to you, WS, and everyone else who has written me similar messages of concern in recent weeks, I say exactly what I told “Tired of Being Lied To” earlier this month: get a life. I mean that in the most compassionate, non-condescending way possible (as much as a statement like that can be non-condescending). You’ve spent months fretting over a relationship that, while co-dependent, to be sure, is not unusual or of great concern. You’re talking about a college couple who has been together for four months and spends all their time together. That’s it! From your description, there’s no abuse, no infidelity, no shared addiction, no grave illness or anything else that would warrant the kind of worry you’ve expressed here. But your own accounts, this couple seems “happy,” so what’s the problem? I mean, what you’ve described is, like, 90% of every college couple out there, WS. New couples — especially young ones — spend their initial months together lost in a “couple bubble,” neglecting their other friendships and retreating to their rooms for hours and hours on end. That’s what they do. I assure you, this is not something that requires an intervention or professional help. The only thing a situation like this needs is the luxury of time, some patience and understanding from newly-neglected friends, and a little reprieve from the judgment of people who “mean well” but come off seeming more like nosy, jealous busybodies than anything else.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have a reason to be upset. If your roommate has basically let his girlfriend move into your home, and you and your other roommates feel she should begin contributing to the rent or household expenses, then that is a concern you can voice to him. But let me stress: this conversation should focus solely on how you and your roommates feel taken advantage of, not on all the reasons you’re worried about Rick’s relationship. Don’t use the fact that his girlfriend is living rent-free in your home as an excuse to “intervene” in a situation that does not concern you. Stick to the situation that does concern you. And then leave them alone. They’re young and in love. Let them enjoy it before the stress of reality eventually bursts that couple bubble they’re living in.