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NWR: Roommate advice (warning: this is a very long rant)

edited October 2013 in Wedding Etiquette Forum
Hey ladies, I need some advice on how to handle a situation with my roommate in the least rude way possible. Cliff notes version: my roommate is up my ass and I don't know how to politely tell her to back off.

I just moved into a new apartment on Sept 1st. After my horrific former living situation I thought this would be ideal, as we're both two independent young women who are pretty much on our own in the world and we would
get each other. I told her before I moved in, all I was looking for was a clean, safe place to live, a kitchen I can cook up a storm in, and it's ok if my SO comes over occasionally. All systems go, it seemed at first. 

She split up almost a year ago from her SO of 6 years (she's been very down about it, understandably) so it makes sense that she was probably hoping for not just a roommate but also a friend. As soon as I move in, she swarms me. I work across the street from where we live, and every night that I close at work, she comes over for the last 1.5-2 hours that I'm there and SITS THERE until I get done working. When I come home and try to make dinner, she stands over my shoulder and tells me "Don't use too much spice! Don't put that in! Why are you cooking like this? Do it this way!" At one point I walked away from the stove and said "Ok you just do it then." She thought I was joking and told me to finish...but somehow she ended up at the stove finishing anyway. I tried to explain to her that if I could cook professionally I would, I love cooking that much, I've been cooking for over half my life so it really bothers me when someone stands over my shoulder and dictates to me how to cook. She didn't seem to care, or must've thought I was joking again.

She is also extremely critical of EVERYTHING. Why do I use extra virgin olive oil to cook, don't I know it has cholesterol? Why do I eat at Panera, don't I know it's one of the worst places you can eat? Why do I drink 1% milk, don't I know organic whole milk is a million times better? Why did I buy a 4-cyl car, don't I know that because the engine is smaller and it has to work harder thus being WORSE on gas? Some of the shit she says is just ridiculous, and to question whether or not I know that OIL contains CHOLESTEROL is insulting beyond reason.

I believe that she is 1. happy to have a friend in her life since her breakup, because she doesn't really have anyone else in the area to spend time with beside her ex's family (which she still does) and 2. happy to have someone back in her life that she can control. I JUST left a situation of living with someone who was like this and I didn't realize before I moved in that she would be, too. I pay every month to rent where I live, I didn't sign up for Rent-A-Friend and quite frankly I'm not interested in spending THAT much time with someone I just met a month and a half ago. I'm far from an introvert but I'm more comfortable keeping to myself after a long day at work. I spend 8+ hours a day socializing with people for my job, when I come home I don't want to be forced into doing it even more (which I explained to her, multiple times, to which she says things like "Oh please, you don't have to be at work until noon tomorrow, you can stay up and hang out with me!" or "Oh come on, I'm not asking you to spoon-feed me, just eat with me!" <- she said that when I started to go upstairs to my room to get my laptop charger. She didn't even care WHY I was walking out of the kitchen, she just started whining.) 

My SO says to give her a break, she's obviously very lonely since her breakup and she's probably very excited to have a friend in her life. I get that she's lonely, and I get that she must like having another woman to live with since her last roommate was a guy she wasn't exactly friendly with, but why does that have to be my problem? Why do I have to babysit her when I come home from work when all I want to do is crash in bed? I know I can tell her that I'm not allowed to have anyone in the place when I'm closing at work, but how do I communicate to her that when I'm home, sometimes I just want to be left alone? Morning coffee doesn't need to be a group project. Dinner doesn't even need to be a group project. I don't want to hear comments like "Ohhh, fine, I'll just sit here ALL BY MYSELF THEN!" from a 30-something year old woman when I tell her that I'm just going to go lay down and call it an early night. We both have off on Mondays and she seems to think we must spend them TOGETHER. Before this continues and I lose my sanity after a year, I need to figure out how to address this.

ETA: please also tell me if I'm just being a raging bitch. I really might not realize it because I feel so suffocated that all I can focus on is how to regain some of my own comfort. If I'm way off-base, I want to know

Re: NWR: Roommate advice (warning: this is a very long rant)

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    Hey ladies, I need some advice on how to handle a situation with my roommate in the least rude way possible. Cliff notes version: my roommate is up my ass and I don't know how to politely tell her to back off.

    I just moved into a new apartment on Sept 1st. After my horrific former living situation I thought this would be ideal, as we're both two independent young women who are pretty much on our own in the world and we would
    get each other. I told her before I moved in, all I was looking for was a clean, safe place to live, a kitchen I can cook up a storm in, and it's ok if my SO comes over occasionally. All systems go, it seemed at first. 

    She split up almost a year ago from her SO of 6 years (she's been very down about it, understandably) so it makes sense that she was probably hoping for not just a roommate but also a friend. As soon as I move in, she swarms me. I work across the street from where we live, and every night that I close at work, she comes over for the last 1.5-2 hours that I'm there and SITS THERE until I get done working. When I come home and try to make dinner, she stands over my shoulder and tells me "Don't use too much spice! Don't put that in! Why are you cooking like this? Do it this way!" At one point I walked away from the stove and said "Ok you just do it then." She thought I was joking and told me to finish...but somehow she ended up at the stove finishing anyway. I tried to explain to her that if I could cook professionally I would, I love cooking that much, I've been cooking for over half my life so it really bothers me when someone stands over my shoulder and dictates to me how to cook. She didn't seem to care, or must've thought I was joking again.

    She is also extremely critical of EVERYTHING. Why do I use extra virgin olive oil to cook, don't I know it has cholesterol? Why do I eat at Panera, don't I know it's one of the worst places you can eat? Why do I drink 1% milk, don't I know organic whole milk is a million times better? Why did I buy a 4-cyl car, don't I know that because the engine is smaller and it has to work harder thus being WORSE on gas? Some of the shit she says is just ridiculous, and to question whether or not I know that OIL contains CHOLESTEROL is insulting beyond reason.

    I believe that she is 1. happy to have a friend in her life since her breakup, because she doesn't really have anyone else in the area to spend time with beside her ex's family (which she still does) and 2. happy to have someone back in her life that she can control. I JUST left a situation of living with someone who was like this and I didn't realize before I moved in that she would be, too. I pay every month to rent where I live, I didn't sign up for Rent-A-Friend and quite frankly I'm not interested in spending THAT much time with someone I just met a month and a half ago. I'm far from an introvert but I'm more comfortable keeping to myself after a long day at work. I spend 8+ hours a day socializing with people for my job, when I come home I don't want to be forced into doing it even more (which I explained to her, multiple times, to which she says things like "Oh please, you don't have to be at work until noon tomorrow, you can stay up and hang out with me!" or "Oh come on, I'm not asking you to spoon-feed me, just eat with me!" <- she said that when I started to go upstairs to my room to get my laptop charger. She didn't even care WHY I was walking out of the kitchen, she just started whining.) 

    My SO says to give her a break, she's obviously very lonely since her breakup and she's probably very excited to have a friend in her life. I get that she's lonely, and I get that she must like having another woman to live with since her last roommate was a guy she wasn't exactly friendly with, but why does that have to be my problem? Why do I have to babysit her when I come home from work when all I want to do is crash in bed? I know I can tell her that I'm not allowed to have anyone in the place when I'm closing at work, but how do I communicate to her that when I'm home, sometimes I just want to be left alone? Morning coffee doesn't need to be a group project. Dinner doesn't even need to be a group project. I don't want to hear comments like "Ohhh, fine, I'll just sit here ALL BY MYSELF THEN!" from a 30-something year old woman when I tell her that I'm just going to go lay down and call it an early night. We both have off on Mondays and she seems to think we must spend them TOGETHER. Before this continues and I lose my sanity after a year, I need to figure out how to address this.

    ETA: please also tell me if I'm just being a raging bitch. I really might not realize it because I feel so suffocated that all I can focus on is how to regain some of my own comfort. If I'm way off-base, I want to know

    Any option to move and sublet to someone else? Have you told her lately that you don't love her? Could it be time to use stronger language and be more direct? Can you buy her a puppy? I know I'd just be frank and tell her to leave me alone. So what if you piss her off?
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    Dear god, you guys need boundaries and she's totally not respecting yours! I would tell her to leave me alone and I would be looking for anywhere else to live.
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    I'm sorry. I had a nightmare roommate but she was a nightmare for very different reasons. I wish I had some advice. What do you think if you talked to her and explained in a nice way how you were feeling? Do you think she'd hear you out or would she get upset?
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    Hmmmm, I wonder why her relationship is over..... Psycho control freak. 

    Unfortunately, you'll need to address this in an adult to adult convo with her about boundaries. Write out what your are. If I were you this would be my list:

    - It's not ok for you to come to my place of work unless you have a business reason to do so - I am trying to build a career and it's important that you respect my professional/personal boundaries
    - If I am working on a project (such as cooking, crafting, etc.), it's important that you respect that I enjoy exercising creativity. Often I feel as if I can't when you are dictating how I should do things. If you want, we can cook together one night per month, but outside that, I need you to respect that my time in the kitchen is important to me. I am not joking about this.
    - I feel sometimes that you are very critical of my choices. It's important that we have mutual respect for each other. We are individual adults and will make our own decisions. If I do/buy/choose/use something that you wouldn't, it's important to me that you don't criticize it.
    - I want a good relationship, but I feel as if we are forcing this friendship and it's moving too fast for me. It's important to me to have alone time to balance out my life. I need you to respect that.
    - For these reasons, I am feeling smothered and considering breaking this lease and looking for another place to live. I want this to work out, but these are the things I need from you. 
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    Can you consider a personal "roommate contract" that spells out boundaries and responsibilities?  It may sound silly, but it has worked for me in the past when I rented out a bedroom in my home for extra income.

    Use the document to spell out boundaries that you BOTH agree too.  You give a little and she gives a lot (more because she sounds bat shit crazy).  Agree to eating with her one night a week, spending one afternoon a month hanging out or something similar.

    On the other hand you don't NEED to be friends with her, it is possible to just coexist.
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    Yikes, I don't have any really great advice to offer you but: 
    a) I would ignore stupid questions like "why did you buy this car" or "why do you eat that", and would probably respond with "why do you ask me this type of rhetorical question when I know you aren't looking for an answer?" 

    b) I would make sure we were cooking separate meals and NOT splitting food expenses (I've always done this with roommates and it helps with the "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is yours, and that's it" kind of thing.  

    c)  tell her that she can't come hang out with you at work; its distracting and unprofessional.  

    d) stop giving her more reasons to ask questions-if you ignore, or plainly tell her that these types of questions get annoying, then she may back off.

    e) be blunt.  If she whines about you leaving the room, say "what's your deal?"

    Sorry that you're having to deal with this.  Make plans that don't involve her.  Have a life.  Maybe she will get one too.
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    Why isn't she dating? It seems like meeting new people through online dating would be an ideal situation for her. Since you've only lived there for a month, I guess that's none of your business quite yet...

    Hmmm.

    I would ignore her and be blunt. I also wouldn't cook for her.

     

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    edited October 2013
    Sounds like you're not being direct if she thinks you're joking. Stop trying to avoid hurting her feelings. 

    ETA: And don't blame this on her breakup or wanting a friend. This is her personality, not just enthusiasm over a new person in her life. 
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    Thank you so much for the responses...especially for sitting through that ridiculously long rant. I agree with everyone who called me out for not being direct enough, because I am afraid of hurting her feelings and making the living situation miserable (I don't want to live with someone who hates me, know what I mean?). But, I will grow to hate her if I don't nip this in the bud. 

    @southernbelle0915 thank you for that list, that wording is very spot on to how I feel and I think I can be comfortable with using that verbage with her. This kills me, as I'm the one who gets called into work an hour early just to help my boss on "how to word something uncomfortable" in an email, but when it's my own situation I can't think of what to say or how to say it lol
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