Dear Mary: We're looking for a new home but I'm dead against his pal moving in
My boyfriend and I have been living together for nearly four years - initially in a house shared with mutual friends, then on our own in a great apartment. Our landlady has decided to sell so we are having to look for something else. We considered buying a place but feel we need a bit more time to save so are planning to rent again.
My boyfriend's friend and colleague suggested we get a two-bed place and share with him. I am completely against it but my boyfriend is all for it. It's putting a huge strain on things as my boyfriend is saying the three of us need to meet for a sit-down chat and if I don't want to, I need to be the one to say it.
My reasons are as follows. They're both Fifa addicts and I know it's all they will do if they live together. His friend is younger and I feel I'll be responsible for looking after him (and my boyfriend). Their jobs are very time consuming with unpredictable schedules and when they're together it's all they talk about, although for the past year I've been working hard to get my boyfriend to switch off from work occasionally. However I think the two of them together will make it so much worse.
I also just like my own space with my boyfriend after having it for quite some time. I want to be able to come home and do as I please and enjoy my partner's company without having to worry about his friend.
I just think I'm going to become the third wheel to my own relationship but my boyfriend doesn't understand my reasons at all. He says it will help financially and it'll be good socially.
I feel really awful that I'm so against it and my boyfriend is not backing down at all.
I've even suggested I move out and let the two of them move in together and my boyfriend barely responds.
I don't know what to do. Am I in the wrong for being against this? How do I proceed without ruining my relationship, upsetting our friend or sacrificing my own happiness?
Mary replies: One of the major differences between men and women is that women tend to look and plan ahead whereas men seem to stay very much in the present. As a result you are looking at all the possible permutations of the scenario you describe whereas your boyfriend just thinks it's a great idea. As a female I share your concerns but as you wrote looking for advice, I will try to remain neutral.
Naturally you have become used to living with your boyfriend and there being just the two of you, and change is indeed difficult. If you were all just friends sharing an apartment there wouldn't be such a problem as you would all be doing your own thing and sharing the rent. At the same time you cannot shoot down the proposed plan without talking about it together and hearing each other's views.
I wonder if the friend - let's call him Bill - has ever shared an apartment previously because there are lots of housekeeping rules that have to be agreed upon by everybody. Otherwise resentments build up, leading to all sorts of unpleasantness. So have courage and arrange for the three of you to meet up to discuss things.
Most leases nowadays are for a year so you would have to be prepared to try it for a year if you were to go ahead. Admittedly one third of the rent would be helpful with your saving plan but you would need to have some sort of contract in place between you all, in case of future problems. What is going to happen at mealtimes and at the weekends? If you and your boyfriend share the cooking then will Bill also be prepared to cook for you or will he always be going solo. Will you share costs of grocery shopping or keep things separately in the fridge? Who will do the cleaning of the apartment, and the bathroom - particularly if it is a communal one?
The thought of your boyfriend and Bill playing endless football computer games while you are there is not good, but at the same time they both appear to love it and it is a switch-off from work for them. So some form of compromise would have to be agreed as to times and duration of play.
What happens if and when Bill brings a girl - or a guy - home to spend the night and what if there is a succession of different partners?
If you and your boyfriend are having sex will he be able to hear you, and therefore end up with everybody feeling embarrassed?
These are just some of the questions that will have to be discussed, and I think that when you sit down with your boyfriend and Bill and go through the practicalities of actually living together, it might not be as appealing as it appears to them both right now.
Try to be very level-headed and factual when going through your list rather than appearing to be disapproving. Stress that you would be willing to give it a go - if you are - but with an out, without blame, if it is definitely not working for you.
You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.
Sunday Indo Living