Wedding Woes

Being empathetic and being a doormat are two different things.

Dear Prudence,

I’ve lived with my roommate and their ailing parents for nearly two years. We all rent. The parent is verbally abusive and cruel to my roommate, who says they’ve never had a good relationship. This living situation was misrepresented to me. I was told the father was a chill older person. I was told my roommate had just left an abusive partner, but they’ve remained entangled. My mental health is deteriorating. The dynamic here brings up a lot of my own trauma. I’ve often coped with booze because the stress and histrionics is unrelenting.

I’ve wanted to move out for months, but haven’t had the courage to say so. I’m a woman in my late thirties, and I know I should be able to leave any time I want, with due notice of course. And we are month-to-month. It’s also not financially efficient to divide my time between my place and my partner’s place. And my partner is frustrated with my inability to speak up. I’m also scared to have this conversation because of the fallout. I work with my roommate, and I worry coworkers will judge me.

My roommate says they are grateful for me, and they don’t think anyone else would be willing to live in this situation and I’m a saint. I hate hearing this because it just seems manipulative. They’ve never ACTUALLY acknowledged how this could be hard on me. I have tried to express my feelings, but drop them because it brings my housemate down. I’ve been very encouraging of my roommate, offering to look into senior living options and therapists. I’ve counseled so many tearful breakdowns. I feel guilty for wanting to leave. I am putting them in a lurch and leaving them with an abusive person.

How do I communicate my plans? I want to give them two months’ notice. I’m tempted to give them my deposit to tide them over because they are kind of right that no one would want to live like this. And how honest should I be about that? Do I express how bad this has been for me?

— This Wasn’t on the Lease

Re: Being empathetic and being a doormat are two different things.

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    “Hey Roomie, I wanted to let you know that I am putting in my 30 days notice and will be moving out by November 30th.” Insert information about moving in with partner if it makes it more palatable to you. You are being a doormat and I suspect with the abuse and trauma roomie is being a little manipulative too. And if they’re going to trash you for moving out at work then that’s an HR issue and also speaks to their true self. 
  • For starters, talk to your partner.  Figure out WHERE you are going once you move out.

    Then make plans to move out.  What you are describing is terrible and that's if you made more than a month to month commitment.  But that's all you made.  You should not be entangled in their affairs and it's time to remove yourself from them. 

    Make a plan and stick to it.  Soon. 
  • Just leave. Figure out where you’re moving into, book movers, take a day off to pack and once you have a plan give notice. And leave. Notice means paying the rent in the notice period you don’t have to actually live there. 
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    LW should move out with no guilt. Of course they’d want to roommates to move out and get away from the situation, but they’ve done all they can by suggesting homes for the parents.
    what does that saying go? “You can lead a horse to water, you can’t force them to drink”. 
  • Why will your coworkers know or care where you live? 

    Get out now because if you’re drinking to cope with an abusive situation it’s LONG passed the time when you should have left. 
  • For another good adage.  LW, stop setting yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

    You aren't happy living there.  You're on the a month-to-month lease.  A 30-Day notice is required.  A 60-day notice is even more generous.  Give your notice.  That's it.  You don't need to give a reason.  It doesn't need to be a discussion and, in fact, it shouldn't be.

    Don't tell them they can keep the security deposit to assuage whatever unnecessary guilt you are feeling, unless you move out without notice.

    "Saving" your friend/coworker/roommate is not your job.  Whether they can or cannot get another roommate is also not your concern.  Actually, is she even your friend?  I re-read the letter and this person is only ever called roommate, housemate, and that they work with them.

    I'm picturing this all started innocently enough with them talking about their living situations, at work.  Maybe the coworker mentioned she needed a roommate or the LW mentioned they were looking for a roommate.  So then it worked out for the LW to move in with the coworker.  Possibly someone they were friendly with, but not friends with.
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