Advice

Miss Information: How do I get rid of my roommate’s annoying boyfriend?

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Miss Information is off this week. She'll be back next week with an all-new column. In the meantime, enjoy this "Best Of" and check out her latest feature, Seven Hair-Metal Ballads That Gave Me Stupid Ideas About Love and Sex.

Dear Miss Information,

My roommate's boyfriend has all but moved in. He doesn't pay any of the bills and he eats all my groceries. My roommate and I split the utilities and I want to make him pay his third. She's hard to confront and I know when I talk to her about this she'll freak out and make my life unlivable. She's my best friend. I just want him to stop leaving pubes on my soap, or at least make him pay for the privilege.Ms. Jack Tripper

Dear Ms. Jack Tripper,  

I agree that this boyfriend's a menace, but his name's not on the lease. You signed on with the assumption that two people would be splitting the bills, not three. If unexpected annoyance meant automatic discount I'd be getting my prescription drugs, laundry, and coffee drinks for free. I know that a shitty live-in boyfriend is no comparison, but I'm being realistic. How many situations like this do you know of where the third party has cheerfully come through with a check? For me, it's nada. Zilch. Zero. 

Here's the deal: your roommate's guy is responsible for any long-distance phone calls and movies-on-demand, but heat and hot water are out of the equation. He sounds like too much of a slob to be taking eighty showers daily, and the difference in usage is likely so small it's not worth getting in a big nasty fight with your BFF. 

When it comes to food, he definitely owes you. You can be passive-aggressive and start hiding stuff in your room, or you can whip out the old Sharpie and let him know exactly which of the perishables belong to you. You could also organize a group trip to the grocery store where you share a cart and divide the cost of the items. He pays for the Swiss Cake Rolls, and you come off like a sweetheart who's accepted him as one of the family. 

Sucks for you, but it's unlikely this guy's going to go away. The only thing you can do is make life around your place more livable. That might mean dropping this notion of fairness and searching for an acceptable bare minimum. Get your roommate away from Mr. Wonderful and talk to her one-on-one. See if you can get her to agree to some changes, such as a set number of nights per week when he's not around or a few rules about who gets custody of the couch and TV. If you've done all this and it's still the same BS, time to load up the hatchback with liquor and banana boxes and move on before the friendship becomes unsalvageable.

Dear Miss Information,

I've been "dating" this guy for three months. We rarely see each other. We've only been out six or seven times. Last time we got together, I decided I didn't want to drink or fool around with a guy who calls me so sporadically. But I've caved in, because he's one of the few men I've met who's my age and doesn't seem ancient. I usually date men in their late twenties (my bad, and a subject for another letter) even though I'm forty-one. Recently he wrote me a short note, acting as if there hadn't been fifteen days of silence. I wrote him back telling him I didn't want to pursue this any further.  

He wrote me back a long letter about his complicated work life and all the business trips he's taken recently. He says I should have pursued him more and he's very disappointed. Come on. He's spent hundreds of dollars taking me out those few times over the past three months. Does a man do all this just for sporadic sex? I'm pretty sure the answer is yes! He has never made any noise about wanting to be my boyfriend. He says if we get more intimate, I'll be on his mind more.

That's BS. This man literally forgets I exist for weeks at a time. This is not the first guy this has happened with. Is there a new trend toward men having a bullpen of women they "date" very sporadically over a few months, hoping that six or seven dinners will buy them intercourse? Wouldn't it be cheaper just to hire a prostitute?  

The Ghost and Mrs. Demure  

Dear Mrs. Demure,

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Demure. This guy's a john just because he doesn't call you enough? That's some pretty fucked-up reasoning. Yes, whether you're getting laid factors into anyone's motivations. But to use it as the be-all-end-all is over-simplifying. Your booty's good. But it's not that good, sweetie. "All cats are grey in the dark," says kite runner and cougar lover Ben Franklin.  

Despite your sexist, one-size-fits-all explanations, I do think you're an emotionally perceptive person. You realized the effects Amnesia Man's actions were having on your feelings and set up protective boundaries. Then you went back and violated those boundaries. Bad, Demure, bad. Now you're blaming him. He's a jerk who just wants sex. All men just want sex. He just wanted to get you drunk on expensive Bordeaux and out of your lobster bib.  

I used to hang with a very cute, very cool guy named M. He always wanted to spend more time together, I'd always blow him off. Why? Because he made it clear he didn't want a relationship. I did. For that reason, I felt justified assigning him lower priority and acting kind of flaky. I'd tell him I'll hang out and then I'd cancel. One minute I'm flirting like a madwoman, the next I'm pulling away. Who's more of a sleaze? Me or your guy? I'd say it's about equal. We were both acting in line with our priorities.

Amnesia Man isn't necessarily wrong. He's just wrong for you. As hard as it is, you have to not try to form ideas and biases against entire genders and people you haven't even met yet. It doesn't guard against bad apples. It just repels nice folks, because you come off bitter and jaded.  

Dear Miss Information,

I have somehow found myself in a relationship with a selectively religious man. He won't have sex 'til marriage. I really like him, so what should I do? How can I convince him to marry me? Good God

Dear Good God,  

I'm not particularly Jesusy, though I have had ecclesiastical experiences while listening to "Stranglehold" by Ted Nugent while stoned and eating German chocolate brownies.  

You say "selectively religious" like it's this big problem. I think it shows he's intelligent, open-minded, and capable of sophisticated reason. You know who's really good at being one-noted, Good God? Dolts and Nazis. We're all hypocrites to some extent, just about different things. It's only when someone disagrees with us (how dare they!) that we start getting uptight. Otherwise it's inconsequential and endearing.  

Number one on the agenda — way above convincing this guy to marry you — is making sure you can both show respect for and exhibit tolerance toward his beliefs. Genuine tolerance. Eye rolling, teeth sucking, and heavy sighing coupled with, "No really, it's fine," just won't do it.  

Have you talked about how you'll observe the holidays, what you'll tell your families, and what you'd do in the event of an unplanned pregnancy? What if one or both of you decides to change your religion? Heavy stuff, yeah, but you need to get into it before you start talking marriage licenses and picking out a preacher. Speaking of, is it going to be Vegas Elvis or an old-school man of the cloth performing the ceremony?  

With all this yapping, who has time for sexing? Don't worry. For a lot of folks the 'no sex before marriage' rule is extremely bendy. It could mean nearly everything is fair game — even oral. Then again, it could mean no Frenching. I'd say make the absolute most of what he'll let you do. Give the relationship a spoken or unspoken time limit after which you'll make a decision to end it or move forward. Above all, don't rush into something as huge as marriage just because you're horny and impatient. 

Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.