DR. WALLACE: Is it all right to pretend everything is fine after you move out of your parents’ house, even if times get tough? I don’t want to be a failure by begging my parents to go back home even though that might be a reasonable option for my situation.
I’m a 19-year-old guy and I have a decent job, but I just lost my roommate since he moved out of state to follow his girlfriend. He and I have been friends at work for nearly two years and then with only 35 days notice, he was gone! I can’t really afford my two-bedroom apartment without him, so to stay here I’d need a new roommate.
This is where things have gotten tricky for me. I’ve posted an ad for a roommate on several forums and websites, but to be honest the quality of the people who replied makes me dubious they’d be able to stay long and worried about how they would be to live with. Anytime you start living with a stranger, things can get crazy. I know this because of stories I’ve heard at work about this exact topic.
Do you have any suggestions on how I can stay independent if possible and keep my pride intact? — Just Lost the Perfect Roommate, via email
JUST LOST THE PERFECT ROOMMATE: I have a few ideas. First, you can network quickly and thoroughly amongst your remaining friends, acquaintances and even family members to see if they know of anyone seeking a place to live. Getting a positive referral may be the solution you are looking for here. I’d also explain your current dilemma to your parents to see whom they may know as their social circles may go far beyond yours and one of their friends or co-workers might present a suitable person.
The other idea is for you to give “intent to move out” notice yourself on this apartment and to seek to rent just a room from someone in your local area. See if you can arrange a 90-day commitment and be honest and tell the family or landlord you rent from that you will seek to get your own place again soon once you find a suitable roommate to live with. Most cities have many rooms for rent so your odds of finding one are pretty good.
Finally, instead of renting a room commercially, you could offer to pay your parents the going rate for a room by explaining to them exactly what your plan is. You’ll stay only until you find the right roommate and then you’ll venture out again. There is no shame at all in your situation and remember that your roommate’s departure triggered your current dilemma, not any actions on your end. One of these options should work out for you. Good luck and remember that you are a successful young person who is working his way toward a good future.
EVERY WEEK BRINGS A NEW ULTIMATUM
DR. WALLACE: I’m 17 and my boyfriend is starting to drive me crazy. We go to the same high school, and we’ve been a couple for over six months now. He’s a popular boy and he plays on two sports teams at our school.
At first, he treated me great; he was always pursuing me, giving me flowers and doing nice things for me. But gradually over the months he seems more controlling when it comes to our relationship.
My problem is that he now seems to give me directions or orders about many things. For example, he doesn’t want me to talk to or socialize with certain people at our school. He also wants me to stop wearing any clothes that match the color of our biggest rival school. Now I’m not talking about wearing one of their school’s T-shirts; I mean he doesn’t want me to wear any stitch of clothing with the color red on it.
Then last week he told me he wants me to stop eating any fast food at all, whether I’m with him or not. I’m growing tired of his ultimatums, but we do get a lot of attention at our school since we are one of the more high-profile couples on campus. What can I do to get him to stop these ultimatums he keeps laying on me? — His Girlfriend, via email
HIS GIRLFRIEND: Any time one partner in a relationship starts trying to control or dictate the actions or behaviors of the other, it is a bad sign in my opinion. I’d go so far as to say he’s showing you a “red flag” here, so don’t ignore it.
Your options are simple. One option is to break off the relationship and when asked by others why, explain exactly why you left him. The other option is to sit him down and tell him directly that you are not going to allow yourself to be subjected to his ultimatums and that if he values your relationship, he should stop that behavior immediately. And even if he says he’ll stop, keep a very close eye on his behavior overall. He may well have a controlling personality type and his desire to control and manipulate you may manifest itself in other ways soon.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.