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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
DizzyDolphin Offline
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Horrid Housemate - March 12th 2014, 08:02 PM

So, a brief history; I suffered with depression from early 2011 till late 2012, I was on anti-depressants and was having CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). I eventually got better and was really happy.
March 2012 me and my boyfriend moved in together (Renting) with a house mate who was an old school friend of my boyfriend's. Everything started off well, though over the first month I noticed how messy this guy was, he wasn't doing pots and left stuff everywhere, I found Ketchup in the bathroom once. Anyway, after 6 months the landlord told us he wanted the house back so we found a new place two streets over and moved in there (Still renting) and our house mate was still messy but he was nice and good to talk to.


Around 3 weeks ago our house mate had made some mince mix to put in wraps for his tea, he did not use some of the mince and left it for a full day on the side of the kitchen. It attracted flies and all sorts, so my boyfriend threw it away as you would, this upset our house mate as he was planning on eating the mince (Personally wouldn't have fed it to a rat myself) and he made a comment in a very harsh tone, he said to my boyfriend 'You could have at least said sorry for chucking it' and then stormed back upstairs to his bedroom. This is where things start going down hill.
The next morning I find our house mate has put my college work and bags and some of my boyfriend's stuff in a mouldy box that was to be thrown out. I ignored it thinking he had got the annoyance at loosing his mince out his system though it annoyed my boyfriend a lot. Though my boyfriend did nothing in retaliation our house mate proceeded to ignore us and stay in his room a lot of the time playing on his X-box. This continued for two and a half weeks. My boyfriend then text our house mate asking when my boyfriend (Who pays all the bills out of his bank account) would be getting our house mates bill money. Our house mate replied with a very long text saying how he felt like he was being pushed out and that outside his room things felt tense because of me and my boyfriend and that he would pay for what he used. This pissed my boyfriend off, I had never seen him so annoyed in the time we have been together (Coming up to 3 years) and he replied. His reply informed our house mate that he was constantly leaving mess which we would tidy up and that he had left the shower covered in body paint after going to a concert and how he was making things tense and that if he did not pay his share of the bills the money would come out of the rent my boyfriend gave our house mate. (House mate pays the rent out of his bank account) and that he also should start paying rent on time as the letting agency have complained about it being late several times. He also informed our house mate he wanted the money he owed him from paying the fees and deposits for both houses we have rented (Almost 1600). The next day our house mate left bill money on the coffee table and was still ignoring us. Still constantly on his X-box.
This weekend we went to visit my boyfriend's parents who have told us they will give us the money for a deposit for a house so we can buy a house and get a mortgage. We are both very excited and have been to the bank and know how much they will lend us. It is possible for us to find a place, have all the paperwork and legal stuff done and moved in within 3-4 months, which I am excited about.

Now we get to the problem...

Over these past few weeks with things being tense I have felt unsafe in the house as my house mate has lashed out before and I worried it is something he will do. I have felt like not going home after college or seeing friends. I don't want to leave my room as I do not want to see our house mate as he tends to glare which unnerves me. I feel stressed, on edge I can be snappy when I feel like this and have snapped at my boyfriend. I become upset easily at the minute and I feel generally down and low. I am also very worried that my depression may return... I know in four months we could be moving into our own place but when I was depressed before waiting for anything good felt like forever and it damn nearly killed me. I am also scared of telling our house mate, we have to give two months notice for moving out to the letting agency and we will tell our house mate at the same time we do that as he has family nearby who he can stay with and his mother's partner rents properties so he should have no trouble finding somewhere. And to be honest I wouldn't care if it left him in a bit of a sticky situation as he has made this house tense and horrible to be in. And yes me and my boyfriend have tried to talk to him but he ignores us and leaves the house. I just don't want to be in this house a minute longer than I have to, bedroom will be the first thing being moved into the new house when we find it. I cannot stand being in this house and I know my boyfriend is worried about my depression returning and I try my best to ease his worries but that is hard when I am worrying so much myself.

Being in this house makes me want to cry and leave. I am so worried and I don't know what to do.
  (#2 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Horrid Housemate - March 12th 2014, 11:17 PM

Hello, Louisa!

I've had to deal with some horrible roommates as well. Generally, they were messy and disrespectful of others (e.g., talking loudly until 2 AM). There are a few things you can try. It sounds like you've already attempted to talk to your housemate... but HOW have you attempted to talk to him? For example, if you're always communicating via text, then you might be seen as passive-aggressive, which is going to make your housemate uncomfortable. As strange as this may sound, a face-to-face approach would be better, as it shows you're sincere about resolving the issues you're dealing with. With that being said, HOW you approach someone face-to-face is very important, as it can also be seen as confrontational. Maybe you could make a statement along these lines:

"I know things have been tense for all of us lately, and I don't want any of us to continue feeling uncomfortable. [Name], can we please find some time to hang out together and work things out? No blaming, no yelling, just a relaxing meal together where we figure out how to make this place a more pleasant home for all of us? I don't want to part on bad terms, because you're a really nice guy, and I don't like how things have turned out."

Also, do you tend to confront your housemate with your boyfriend, or do you confront your housemate separately, or do you let your boyfriend do all the confronting? It might help to think about how some approaches might be more uncomfortable for your housemate than others. You want to avoid being too confrontational AND too passive-aggressive (e.g., letting your boyfriend communicate messages on your behalf).

If your housemate absolutely refuses to address the tense situation with you and your boyfriend (e.g., ignoring your statement and playing on his video game console), then all you can really do is reassure yourself that this situation is temporary. I know it sucks, because I've been there before; however, it IS temporary, and you don't have to let this unpleasant situation undo all the progress you've made with regard to your depression. Consider this "practice" for stressful situations you'll face in the future. Life is full of challenging circumstances, and you'll need to learn how to handle them without becoming unraveled. Even if you're living in a house with your boyfriend and have everything going for you, things WILL come up later in life, and you'll need to be able to cope with those situations. I highly encourage you to work on developing coping mechanisms - TeenHelp's list of alternatives to self harm is a good place to start, even if you're not concerned about self harm (the alternatives focus on different emotions, such as sadness and anger).

I wish you and your boyfriend all the best! Feel free to keep us updated on your situation with your housemate. =)

  (#3 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Horrid Housemate - March 13th 2014, 08:06 PM

I don't think that communicating via text is a very good idea when talking to housemates. I had a housemate who never talked to me and only texted me when there was a problem with something and that made me feel annoyed.

It's understandable that you feel unsafe near him. Could you speak with him WITH your boyfriend? This could help you feel safer if he starts lashing out or ranting. Sit him down, explain that you want to talk to everyone because the mood around the house has made you feel unsafe and things have been tense. Discuss why everyone feels that way and try to be the mature and calm person. It could help to use this discussion to explain that you and your boyfriend will be moving out in four months. You don't have to say that it's at least in part because of him, you can frame it as just being a natural step in your relationship that you want to live alone with each other instead of living with other friends.

It may also help to lay some ground rules for the next few months. If you don't have a cleaning schedule, it could help to make one, so that he'll have no excuse to help with cleaning when it's his turn to do chores. You could also make some universal rules for the house like not leaving food out, cleaning up after yourself if you leave shared spaces dirty, and so on. These things may seem like common sense but unfortunately some people think otherwise, and assume that if their housemates haven't told them this is a rule that it isn't and they don't have to do it. It could help if you don't frame these rules as being about him specifically but as something you all have to do, and encourage him and your boyfriend to participate in the discussion with rules of their own - like if your boyfriend dislikes that you always clutter the living room table with magazines and don't put them away until much later (random example) then you can agree to not do that, and so on.

You'll want to be as clear about communication as possible, instead of relying on everyone interpreting silences or very basic communication together.

I know everyone hates passive-aggressive notes, but if your housemate keeps disregarding basic rules about keeping things clean, putting a note on the kitchen wall reminding everyone that putting food in the fridge and cleaning what they leave dirty is a good idea. Maybe he just forgets, some people are forgetful, and I once had a housemate who appreciated and needed that type of reminder.

I also recommend working on coping mechanisms and trying to find alternatives to dealing with these problems. If he's sulking in his room? Ignore it the best you can, get on with your life. Be civil to him but try to minimize the time you spend together if he's making you feel unsafe. If he's been misplacing your belongings, keep them in your room and lock them in the drawer or even begin locking the door. That type of thing. If you need to study or just hang out with your boyfriend going to places like the library or a cafe you like can help you be away from home, in a reasonably comfortable setting that is free or cheap. It's not ideal but it's only for 4 months right.

  (#4 (permalink)) Old
DizzyDolphin Offline
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Re: Horrid Housemate - March 14th 2014, 09:57 PM

Originally Posted by Usernames Suck View Post

I don't think that communicating via text is a very good idea when talking to housemates. I had a housemate who never talked to me and only texted me when there was a problem with something and that made me feel annoyed.

It may also help to lay some ground rules for the next few months. If you don't have a cleaning schedule, it could help to make one, so that he'll have no excuse to help with cleaning when it's his turn to do chores. You could also make some universal rules for the house like not leaving food out, cleaning up after yourself if you leave shared spaces dirty, and so on.
Thanks for the help with this, with regards to the texting I think both my house mate and boyfriend were annoyed at that time and sent it as texts. We have both tried approaching him verbally together and apart but he blanks us.

We do have ground rules, I try to stick to them for the most part, they are mostly along the lines of tidy up as you go and it will make it all easier for all of us. Though in our house a schedule is hard, my boyfriend works in a hospital and does shifts and they often do swapping to help each other out, its difficult to make a good solid schedule that gets stuck to. Our house mate works night often and also looks after his younger brother who is at his mums house so he is there at random times to help out. Also I may sometimes be at my mothers (2 hour bus ride away) as my sister gets chest infections time to time and I will go down to take care of her as both our parents work full time.
Also with the suggestion he may forget, he doesn't, when we did talk he would often say 'Oh I will do it in a bit' ect.

With regards to belonging no door to inside rooms have locks and we don't have locking draws. Though my stuff is now in our bedroom and our house mate does not come into the bedroom. Also with going out it isn't as easy, our local library does not have amazing internet and I do a lot of research and internet based work for college and have a lot of stuff I use regularly for college and would have to drag that round with me. Also it costs me money to get into town on buses / trams and I don't have any source of income and it is also exact change buses so my bf may not have the change on him.

I live in an inconvenient place it would seem...

As for coping I have bough 4 scooby doo movies... They cheer me up and destress me. (I plan on never fully growing up)
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