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Dear Wendy

Roommate Troubles

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  • #1083474 Reply


    So, I feel like I’m going crazy (and perhaps I am! Pandemics and such do that to ya!). I’m currently living with 4 roommates going into our fourth year at university. One in particular, let’s call her Rachel, I was immediate friends with the first day of University. We both have parents living in different countries, and so we both leaned on each other a lot of first and second year. We are quite close and talk to each other about everything/have great times together. THIS year, however, I got my very first boyfriend (hooray!).

    Rachel is an interesting roommate. She tends to be passive aggressive (i.e., leaving sticky notes in the kitchen, sending passive-aggressive texts into the house group-chat, etc.), and really loves things to go her way (baking or cooking with her can be quite stressful). As my relationship with my boyfriend has progressed (almost a year!), I’ve been spending the evenings with him at his place since he doesn’t have any roommates, and I don’t want to bother mine. He is completely happy with this as Rachel has said some snide things to him when he’s stayed here (i.e., “Oh, you’re still here??”) thus making him not feel welcome. They’ve had a conversation about it months ago, but it hasn’t really fixed things.

    I, too, have felt this strange pressure to come home at certain times, even when I’m not hanging out with her — I just get this feeling that Rachel thinks I am spending too much time with my boyfriend. I feel this way because she started to place bets on when I was coming home in the morning with one of my other housemates (let’s call her Dana). When I asked what they were doing, they would not tell me. I found out from someone else.

    It also has to do with the little things she says and does (i.e., saying “Do you even live here anymore??” and talking to Dana about things I haven’t been let in on/invited to in front of me without acknowledging me). It makes me feel guilty. I try to schedule fun girls nights, hang out with her during the day, etc. But it never feels like enough. Am I projecting??? It just feels like I’m being belittled in that I need her permission to do these things. Which sucks!!! But I also don’t want to hurt her or abandon her. I am not sure how to proceed from here! Any advice would be greatly appreciated <3

    #1083500 Reply

    You have been this young woman’s almost constant life line for three years and now you are not only tightly coupled up, but largely absent. She likely feels both jealous, abandoned, and like her own uncoupled state is now in bold relief. Be kind to her, even if she is being pissy.

    #1083985 Reply

    Yes, she feels let down by you, because you were her companion as a foreign student. Don’t feel guilty, but don’t let her think that you don’t care about her anymore. Don’t expect either to be included in her projects as you are mostly absent. You can’t expect her to be at the same time more independent and include you at all times.
    Don’t rub either into her face your satisfaction to have a boyfriend (“yeah!” doesn’t sound so great if you are single and your best friend disappears). It is nice to find love, but it is not as if you had just got a PhD, so be more modest about it.
    What you describe is a very common situation. I have lived it on both sides of the friendship and roommates organisation. Who didn’t go through such stuff? If you remain gentle and show a true, sincere concern and friendship for her, if you continue to hang out with her from time to time on the evening as well, she will little by little accept your new circumstances and your friendship will evolve. So do what you can to preserve it and be patient with her.
    It is better indeed that your boyfriend doesn’t come too much at your place, as a matter of respect for your roommates. And ask her to got out with you by night, to a movie or whatever, or on a week-end trip, do nurture your friendships even if you have a boyfriend, that is important in life. Like, “There are ages we haven’t seen a movie together, would you be game”? It will be ok.

    #1084427 Reply

    So from my experience, situations like these aren’t uncommon. Rachel probably feels a bit jealous and unimportant now that you’re in a relationship. I’m not sure why you feel like you need to answer to her, but this comes across like you and Rachel had formed a codependent friendship. It’s also possible you’ve become the friend whose boyfriend is the center of her world (hard to tell from what’s written here).

    My two cents: Relationships can and do change friendships, which can be hard. Show your roommates some grace, but be sure you’re also tending to the areas of your life that were important before you met someone. Having your first boyfriend is exciting and fun, but keep spending time with your girlfriends and enjoying your life outside of him. If you’re the friend who only talks about her boyfriend, always has him in tow, or is constantly texting him while in other situations, that can get old fast as a friend. Also, I don’t think it’s realistic to be included in all the roommate plans anymore since it does sound like you’re often not home, so try not to take that too personally in most situations.

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