Clash Of The Roomies
Dear Annie: I live with four other people in a big old house outside Boston. Two of the roommates are a couple, “Jeremy” and “Rachel.” Rachel is a very close friend of mine and has been for about 10 years, ever since we met in college. She and Jeremy live downstairs, while the other three of us live upstairs.
Jeremy and Rachel have been together for three years, and I liked Jeremy fine — until we moved in together. The past year has been a war. He and I started butting heads pretty much immediately. He kept using my condiments and leaving my TV on. (I keep it in the living room downstairs.) I had to tell him to stop several times before he finally did.
Well, things really came to a head yesterday. I was about a month late paying him my portion of the heating bill, and he texted me to ask for it. I told him I would have it to him when I get paid this week. He said, “What about the money Rachel lent you last month?”
I lost my cool and told him it wasn’t his money or his business. He immediately wrote back, “Whoa, whoa, OK, Friday is fine. Pay me back whenever.” But it was too late for him to try to backtrack, and I let him have a piece of my mind. I told him to go to hell or at the very least get out of our house. I may have used even more colorful language than that. I was just so floored by his rudeness.
Now Rachel says she’s angry with both of us for handling ourselves the way we did. She says she knows that Jeremy can be annoying, but she’s hurt that I would act so hatefully toward her boyfriend. He’s trying to find a place to stay temporarily because I told him I don’t want him living here.
I am not apologizing. I am the one who has been wronged here. Right? — Mad in Massachusetts
Dear Mad: No matter how bad you think Jeremy is, cursing him out just made you worse.
Let’s review Morality 101: Two wrongs don’t make a right; they just make a mess. And your friend, by the way, is in the middle of that mess. Apologize to Jeremy for the outburst, but let him know that you do have some valid concerns about living with him. Find a way to tolerate each other, at least until the lease is up. There is enough drama in the world without friends tearing each other apart over condiments and heating bills.
Dear Annie: Usually, I agree with and appreciate your advice. I’m sure you have to edit a lot of the letters you receive and we don’t get all the information. This time, though, based on the information we got, I don’t understand your advice.
When a couple is having a heart-to-heart conversation about a problem in their marriage, why would you encourage them to be anything less than honest with each other? You want “Mumma” to tell “Bill” to stop calling her names. It sounds to us as if he was honestly answering a yes-or-no question when she asked him whether the reason for his wandering eye is that she is fat. She knew it. He acknowledged it. They got to the root of the problem. Are you advocating that he lie to her?
Overall, good job. I enjoy your column. But sometimes you are too quick to side with your readers.