"I really, really, really do not want him to live with her."
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Dear Miss Information,
I've been dating my boyfriend for a little under a year. We started off casual, mostly because I'd been warned by friends that he wasn't the "dating" type. But when he found out I was into monogamy, we talked about things and have been working out great ever since. We hardly ever argue and when we do we make sure to clear the air as quickly and effectively as possible. He tends to compromise more than I do, mostly because I am more emotional and have more "relationship demands" than he does. We have vaguely discussed where our relationship is headed, and although he is a few years older than me, we do see ourselves being together for quite some time — barring some extreme disruption.
The thing is, both of his male roommates are moving out this summer and he's in the market for new ones. He's brought up his close female friend twice when we've talked about the situation, and I've politely but swiftly changed the subject. I am incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of him moving in with her, not because I don't trust him (or her, I think she's great) but because I just do not like the idea of my boyfriend living with a girl. The pettiest part of this is that I've been living with a male roommate for the entirety of our relationship (though I am moving in with two girls in the summer). I don't know whether I should tell him how I feel, knowing that it's pushing a double standard and also bound to bring up issues of trust and propriety that just might not be worth talking about. But I really, really, really do not want him to live with her. I fear that, if this living situation does happen, it will foster resentment on my part as well as his and lead to a huge rift in — and potential end to — our relationship.
This is pretty much the first time I have reached out to a third party instead of directly confronting him with my fears; I am incredibly conflicted and terrified of how this might make him feel, but I know he'd at least want to know… Off the record, girl-to-girl, what should I do?
Dear 2Br, 1Ba:
Well, the good news is, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. You recognize the paranoid thoughts for what they are, which is half the battle! Unfortunately, the other half—the “getting those thoughts to shut up”—is fought uphill, in the rain, to a perpetual soundtrack of Toby Keith. It’s a very specific hell, but it’s something we can all relate to.
Here is a sliver of hope, though. When I was a freshman in college—the first time most of us had experienced cohabitation—there was a term for hooking up with someone on your floor: “Incest.” Sure, some of that was a half-hearted attempt to impose a keeping-it-in-your-pants policy among hormonal teens, but after a few weeks, the thought of actually doing it felt pretty repugnant. When you live with someone, they see you at your least attractive. You can’t keep up your façade of being a genteel and dainty creature, because, spoiler: behind closed doors, most of us aren’t.
Assuming you trust your boyfriend, you trust his future roommate, and you have a good relationship with both, I don’t think you have much to worry about. Look at it this way: when was the last time you saw your male roommate shuffle to the fridge in his Reel Big Fish t-shirt and hole-y boxers, and you thought, “Damn, Richard! Someone’s bringin’ it on a Tuesday!”? Oh, never? I rest my case.
It is totally valid to discuss your misgivings with your boyfriend, but tone is everything. First, be clear with yourself on what you can reasonably expect from him. It’s not fair to throw yourself on the hood of his car and screech, “Change your plans!” It’s much better to approach it as, “This is a weird fear I have. Can you help talk me through it?” But of course, you know this.
You’ve got a good sense of right and wrong, 2Br. Now talk it out, lace your boots, and start climbing.