“My Partner’s Grown Nephew Lives With Us Rent-Free and I’m Sick of It”

Do you think it’s ok to want to have privacy and independence from my partner’s, “Mike’s,” 21-year-old nephew who has lived with us since he was 14? He is now grown and working and has his own vehicle, but he doesn’t contribute to us in any way at all – not financially with money for rent or household necessities and not physically with chores either. I feel like he should have taken some responsibility in this household by now, but Mike doesn’t even try talking to him about this. They don’t have a close relationship; they don’t really talk to each other at all.

The whole issue has been causing strain in our relationship for years now. I feel like Mike’s nephew is being given special treatment to live here for free, whereas I’m paying half of the bills. Also, I miss my privacy and space. I finally snapped and broke our TV because Mike won’t do anything about this. Now we haven’t spoken in two days. I just feel like leaving at this point. — Sick of the Freeloading Nephew

Yes, you should leave. Mike’s silence IS his response to you. You are asking for him to give his nephew some responsibilities, to ask him to get his own place, to assure you that your feelings are valid and that he respects them. His silence is an implicit response and the answer is no. No, he does not respect your feelings, and no, he will not ask his nephew to move out, and no, he will not ask him to contribute to the household. I bet once he loses your half of the rent, he’s going to finally talk to his nephew about financially contributing to the household! Too bad you’ll be long gone by then. Oh, please, be long gone by then. (And, also, consider therapy for yourself. Breaking a TV in a fit of anger is not a good sign of emotional stability.)

My future husband’s groomsman has asked us less than two weeks before the wedding if he can bring a date. Initially, I was going to let it slide, but then I found out that this person he wants to invite is a stranger he met less than a week ago on a casual dating site and whom he isn’t officially dating. Are we being unreasonable by telling his groomsman that he cannot bring this date? Should I just bite the bullet and tell him that he can come? — Non-Plussed Bride

What’s your policy for other people bringing dates to the wedding? If you’ve extended a “plus one” to every guest, it would be pretty terrible to not extend the same perk to someone who’s actually in your wedding party. If you have not extended plus-ones to any other guest, you have a pretty good excuse not to make a special exception in this case. Considering this must be a pretty close friend for him to be a groomsmen, if you are having a large enough wedding that one more person could pretty easily be absorbed by the crowd, I’d probably just let the groomsman bring a date. Who knows – maybe they’ll end up a long-term couple and your wedding could be where the feelings began to progress, which could make a sweet story.


  1. Anonymous says:

    LW1: this falls into the category of setting no boundary. I agree with Wendy. Please leave. Meanwhile, instead of breaking your own stuff, just pay a third of the bills. No free roommate: that doesn’t exist. Don’t do anything for this guy, and for your partner, no laundry, no meals, no groceries. And move out as soon as possible. This is long overdue, your growing a spine.

  2. LW1: Is there a reason you can’t talk to the nephew? I mean he’s lived with you for 7 years at this point. Obviously not with the tone of your letter. But at least have him start doing chores and cleaning up after himself and move up to paying a third of the rent.

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