I have lived with my roommates for three years. We’re close. For three months, I’ve been dating a guy I’m excited about. I overheard one of my roommates making snarky comments about how much time I spend with him. (She’s never met him, even when she had the chance.) The breaking point: She and I were leaving for breakfast, and my boyfriend was going to sleep in at the apartment alone. She said sharply that she didn’t want him in the apartment unattended. Ultimately, she changed her mind. But I’m livid that she questioned my judgment about someone I’ve been dating for months. How do I deal with her jealousy?
Three months? Are you serious? When I was younger, it took me almost that long to find out that the guy I was dating happened to be married. My guess is that you’ve barely scratched the surface of knowing your new boyfriend.
Your roommates are not obliged to let a stranger stay alone in your shared apartment, even if you gave them a chance to meet him. As a show of respect for them, say, “I’m getting serious with my boyfriend, and I’d like you to meet him. When can we take you out for drinks?” You have altered the mix in the apartment with a (hopefully occasional) new guest. It’s on you to help the others feel comfortable with him.
Also, be careful not to fall into that hoary cliché of abandoning your tried-and-true friends for an exciting new beau. I’m not saying you have. But the more secure your roommates feel about your friendship, which you may shore up by spending time with them, the more likely they will be to support your romance (or, at least, not express their pretty natural jealousy of it).
Of All the Names in the Baby Book …
My one-year-old daughter is named Raphaëlle Lucrezia. My neighbor in our small apartment block recently acquired two dogs and named them Raphaëlle and Lulu. I know the spelling of the dog’s name is the same as my daughter’s because all apartment owners must approve a written request for new dogs in the building. I am offended that my neighbor used my child’s name for a dog. May I ask her to rename it?
It seems to me you missed your golden opportunity. Why did you sign the permission slip for a dog named Raphaëlle? You might have had a constructive talk about it, with some leverage, beforehand. (I gather you don’t mind the Lucrezia-Lulu connection.)
But now the dogs are named and presumably approved by the building. You can still go to your neighbor and say, “I’m uncomfortable that you’ve used my child’s name for your dogs.” Of course, she’s under no obligation to rename them. You don’t own the rights to “Raphaëlle.” Can you possibly reframe this as homage to your outstanding taste?
Short Answer: Be Nice
At a family party, my son and my daughter’s husband argued over politics. It got nasty, then personal. (Yes, alcohol was involved.) The two men are close in age but don’t have much else in common. Now, three months later, my daughter called to tell me they are not coming to my mother’s 80th birthday party because of family tension. She wouldn’t discuss it further. My son says he doesn’t want to see his brother-in-law again. I am heartbroken, but I don’t want to get in the middle of this. Is there anything I can do?
I’m sorry for you, Grandma. If it’s any consolation, I receive several letters a week about ugly tribal discord. Here’s the thing: The only person’s behavior you can control is yours. I think you’ve been wise not to take sides among enemy combatants or try to guilt them into attending the party. That just embroils you in the conflict.
Instead, make extra efforts to see your son and son-in-law on their own. Be warm to both of them and avoid talking about the feud (or your broken heart). Maybe they’ll cool off in time. But even if they don’t, establishing yourself as a loving presence in their lives makes it less likely that they'll skip your birthday party — even if they're no-shows at your mother's.
In the last six months, I have dined at a particular restaurant about 10 times, including one pricey business dinner and several dates. I usually book my reservations through OpenTable. I’d like to think I’m a regular, but every time I arrive, it’s like starting over. The manager never recognizes me. Shouldn’t OpenTable data let them know a valued customer is coming? Am I being fair?
I get your desire to feel welcome. It’s only human. But it’s also ironic that you expect an app to accomplish it for you. Have you ever introduced yourself to the manager? Do you know her (or his) name? It’s amazing what a handshake and some friendly small talk can do. Try it!
For help with your awkward situation, send a question to [email protected], to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.
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