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Thread: Roommate Conflict

  1. #1
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    Roommate Conflict

    Hello people of the internet.
    I am in need of some guidance when it comes to navigating a healthy non-romantic relationship with my roommate. I'm sorry but this will be lengthy and all over the map so if you read all the way through, thank you.

    A little background: She is 26 and I am 32. We work at the same place of business, but most days while there we only see each other in passing and do not work directly with each other.

    How we came to live together: I was evicted in bad faith by a shady landlord, my previous roommate was moving in with their girlfriend, and this girl consistently talked about wanting out of her grandmother's basement.
    So we started chatting and decided we were both in a situation that could benefit each other. Had it not been for this need needing to be filled, I honestly don't think we would have had many conversations as she is not typically someone I would try to befriend. (This was my first mistake)

    At the time we were moving in together, she was single and not speaking to anyone. She had never been in a relationship, been kissed, had any sort of relationship experience if you catch my drift. She basically described herself as a loner, a quiet nerd who watches anime and plays video games, isn't social,etc.

    Right from the get go I saw some red flags when it came to personality differences but I have been doing my best for the last seven months to work around them and trying to remain positive. They weren't major things. She likes the kitchen sink to be empty at all times so she washes her dishes the moment she's done eating where as I might throw them in the sink and wash them before bed or when I wake up in the morning. I like things that I'm not using to be put away out of sight until they are needed, where as if she uses something everyday she wants it to be left out for easy access. ( Example: I use my tooth brush everyday but I put it in the tooth brush holder or in the cupboard. She uses hers everyday so she wants it to sit on the counter for easier access ). I can do everything you need to do in the shower in 15 minutes tops, she is in there for an hour minimum. She also insists on blow drying her hair the minute she gets out. Those sort of things. Like I said, not major. But over the last few months I've definitely noticed some further issues. Everything needs to be on her terms, she is not considerate, she is ungrateful and sometimes downright rude. Everything needs to resolve her and what she is doing at the moment.

    For example: If I am in the shower and she needs to shower she starts knocking on the door saying are you going to be long I need to shower. I tell her no I'm almost done, and within a few minutes she's knocking again or shes huffing and puffing around the house. However if it is her in the shower,and I knock on the door telling her I'm about to mess myself she tells me I'll have to wait until shes finished.

    The other day I was cooking, and she comes in the kitchen and takes one of the pots I was using and says you'll need to use another one because I need this one. I was also defrosting something in the microwave and she's like I need the microwave. And I told her okay, that's fine but I'm using it right now and she got annoyed.

    Last weekend I had someone coming from 4 hours away to purchase something from me. I woke up early in the morning so that I could be ready when they came. I was in the shower when I heard her wake up and start moving around. I figured I'd be nice and get out so that she could go to the bathroom since it was first thing in the morning. So I went into my room to put clothes on, she goes into the bathroom and hops in the freaking shower. That was just after 9am and at 10:20 I was still waiting for her to get out. I had a towel on my head and no makeup and this person was going to be here in 10 minutes. So FINALLY I hear the water turn off, and I knock on the door and say can I please grab something before you dry your hair. She lets out an UGHHHH sound, opens the door and starts mumbling. I tell her I wasn't done in here and that someone is coming in 10 minutes and she says "oh." No apology or anything.

    That same morning I was in the kitchen trying to bake something and I couldn't find my sugar. I was destroying the cupboards looking for it and finally she asked what I was looking for then proceeded to tell me it is on the table because her boyfriend is using it for his tea. When we first moved in she asked if we could share things that weren't used often ( syrup, sugar, oil, etc ). I buy it because I use it more often. I agreed to it because she wasn't using it often, but now they both use the syrup every Saturday morning and he uses the sugar every Saturday morning.

    I am the one who takes out the garbage and recycling every single week. She has done it one time in the seven months we have lived here. Her theory is that I produce more garbage than she does and that it's more convenient for me to take out since I have to take my dog out to pee regardless. The other day she was complaining that the garbage smelled so bad that she wanted to die. I told her she was more than welcome to take it out herself, she said no she would suffer through it because the bag wasn't completely full and she didn't want to waste a bag. I also buy the garbage bags and recycling bags for the house. At the beginning of us living together she was buying the toilet paper and I was buying the garbage and recycling bags and it just kinda worked out that way. But then she left for a week on vacation and left with me less than half a roll. I had to make a trip out just for toilet paper and have had to purchase it multiple times since then in addition to the garbage and recycling bags..

    The place we moved into is very small, there isn't a lot of space and there is no closets. The only place we have storage is in the basement. I have a king size bed so I had to take the bigger room as my bed will not fit in the other room. She insists on having access to all of her things ( movies, games, anime figures, sewing stuff ) even though she doesn't use them on a daily basis. So needless to say, she has completely taken over the entire living room. There is not one single thing in there that belongs to me and she makes it clear that it is her space. The living room looks like a freaking dorm room / flea market.

    Her mother and her sister come over every Thursday to watch certain tv shows together, the sister usually stays until 11pm or later. Her tv is right outside my bedroom and she listens to it at max volume. I've told her many times it is way too loud and have asked her to turn it down. Her response is that her streams volume goes up and down and she can't be bothered to toggle it during the louder parts, and also if she has to turn it down then what is the point in watching it because she can't hear it properly.

    There's been times that someone from work was driving her home and I was gonna be done a few minutes later. At no point did she say hey could we wait just a few minutes and give her a ride too since we're going to the same house. But yet when my friends offer me rides home from work and we are done at the same time or close to, she gets so offended and mad that I don't ask if they will drive her too. It's like a double standard. She wants me to do it for her, but will not do it for me.

    About a month into living together, she starts seeing someone she met online and they've now been in a relationship ever since. (I hate every little thing about their relationship). He comes over every Tuesday or Wednesday, they sit outside my bedroom watching tv until about 10 pm. Friday night he comes over and they do the same thing until about 2am when they go to bed. Her life orbits around him but she puts little to no effort into anything.

    She is very plain Jane, she doesn't wear makeup ( which is fine, that's her choice, she doesn't have to ),she doesn't ever try to dress nice or look good for him, when she invites him over for dinner its either her leftovers from the week, expired canned plain sauce with microwaved noodles, or sauce and cheese on a tortilla.
    He just bought her a $400 gaming system for Christmas in addition to other things, and she gave him a hand painted picture of his cats, a mug and boxers / socks. I know gifts aren't about the value, its about the thought and gesture but that's just on a whole other level. You don't need to tell me that I don't need to approve of her relationship. I know this. I don't need to, and I don't want control of it either, I literally don't want to care about the relationship in a good or bad way. I don't want to give it a second thought but because I am SOOO beyond annoyed with everything, I notice these things regardless if I want to or not.

    Anytime there is an issue with the house we rent she always puts it on me to contact the landlords or to deal with it. Last night while I was sleeping her soap dispenser fell into our sink, the sink completely cracked and fell apart on her watch. She notified the landlords and they said they would come today. So fast forward to 830 this morning and she tells me they are on their way. I tell her I will be in my room with my dog ( avoiding them and avoiding having my dog bark and go crazy so early in the morning ). And she says well I'm gonna be in my room and someone needs to deal with them. I suggested we leave the door open, tell them to let themselves in, replace the sink and see themselves out. She cuts me off and gets so angry and is like NO, I guess I'M the one who has to get dressed and I'M the one who has to deal with them. I told her that was her choice, and that I saw nothing wrong with my suggestion. She didn't talk to me for the rest of the day. She was P.O'd because she couldn't go lay next to her boyfriend while he slept. I'm sorry princess but you don't get special treatment and you don't get to avoid life things just because you have a boyfriend.

    She has gone away on vacation twice since living together. Once for a week and once for a weekend. She asked me to take care of her cat ( with extremely specific instructions on how to feed it, how many pieces of kibble etc ) without a thank you either time.

    Thanksgiving ( Canada ) weekend she was going to be spending the night at her boyfriends for the first time.She asked if I would mind feeding her cat that night and the next morning. It has now been six weeks since then and every single Saturday she leaves the cats food on the counter and takes off. She doesn't ask, she doesn't say thank you, she literally just expects me to feed her cat while she is gone. She doesn't even say bye or tell me she's leaving.

    This is driving me insane for multiple reasons.The lack of consideration to ask and the lack of appreciation is one. Yes I am home, yes I am capable of feeding the cat. It doesn't cut into whatever I'm doing, I get that. But why does it automatically fall on me? Just because she has chosen to change her routine to where she is no longer home on Saturdays that shouldn't mean that I now have to take on this responsibility. What if I wasn't going to be home? I mean its rare because I am always home except when at work but what if I was't going to be? It's not my cat.

    The other reason this drives me insane is because she was constantly on me about not leaving my cats food out. I keep my cat's food in my room,but she insists I put it away while I'm not home otherwise her cat comes into my room and eats it and she doesn't want him to get fat. I have been doing this at her request for months because I know it is important to her. Which means my cat who is use to eating whenever she pleases, can now only eat at certain times of the day.

    The other reason this is driving me nuts is this. My dog unfortunately gets bored when he is at home alone and he gets into the garbage and other things. She knows this. I'm extremely careful with what goes into the garbage ( no cooked chicken bones, etc ). And I always make sure I try to hide and secure the garbage before I leave for the day. ( I leave about an hour before her ). I shut the bathroom door so that he can't get the garbage in there. I go out of my way on a daily basis to make sure that my dog doesn't get sick from eating garbage and so that I don't have to clean it up every day when I get home from work, just to come home and see that she has unsecured the garbage, left the bathroom door open, etc. There has also been more than one occasion where her or her sister has put cooked chicken wing bones in the garbage and my dog has gotten to them even thought I have stressed and begged them not to do this.

    She also leaves candy and chocolate on her desk all the time in a basket then leaves for work. My dog has gotten a hold of these things on numerous occasions,and then she expects me to replace them for her. I have told her repeatedly that my dog can die from consuming these things and that she needs to be more careful. Her response is always along the lines of " well they've been here this long and it's been fine" or a reason why she needs to keep them there.

    So needless to say I am extremely bothered that she expects a lot from me, which I try my best to oblige to, but she is not willing to budge an ounce when it comes to my requests. I tried setting boundaries with her the other day and told her I do these things because it is important to you, I need you to do this for me because it is important and she basically just said " mornings aren't good for me to remember things" . I told her I would gladly text her a reminder in the morning, or put up post it notes, whatever it took to help remind her and she wasn't down with any of it. She has never offered to take my dog out for me if I'm going to be home late, she won't feed him for me.

    If I don't feed her cat or tell her that I don't want to, I see it causing problems. She's not approachable. She has no problem telling me the things I need to work on or am doing wrong but when it's the other way around she takes it personally / offensively and retaliates. Her mom lives in town but if she had to rely on her mom to come feed the cat when I was at home and perfectly capable of doing it,her mother would also cause problems for me while here during the week.

    Moving is not an option right now. That suggestion will be disregarded.
    I am driving myself absolutely batpoop crazy, these issues are all I think about and I don't know how to resolve them. I find myself growing more and more agitated with every single little thing she does and dread going home after work.

    I need suggestions on how I can change my mentality / way of thinking, not let things bother me,let things slide, etc.

  2. #2
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    I'm not saying this is an excuse and I know I'm making an assumption, but is this girl by any chance on the autism spectrum? I'm not a psychologist, but I'm a welfare worker and I work with people with disabilities and mental health conditions. I also know people on the autism spectrum in my own personal life. Some of the stuff you said reminded me of this guy on the spectrum that I know.

    I used to try being friends with him and I invited him to my group events and he used to come to quite a few of them. We only very rarely hung out one-on-one though. Then every time he had an event, he didn't invite me. I got really hurt and I tried talking to him about it a few times. He said he didn't understand why I was upset because we're not close and don't hang out much. So why did I care I wasn't invited? I said: "Why do you come to my events but you don't invite me back?" And he didn't understand what I was trying to say because he didn't understand reciprocity. Also one time he thought I was talking too loud or something just in normal conversation and he hissed "Ssshhhh!" at me. And he would be controlling about how you do things, like little stuff.

    It sounds to me like this girl is completely socially clueless, she doesn't understand politeness and social constructs. She also doesn't understand reciprocating and trying to compromise. However, I think even if she was on the autism spectrum, it doesn't really make the situation any easier for you.

    You deserve to live in a space and with a roommate where you feel comfortable, heard and respected. It doesn't sound like you're getting that with this girl at all. She does sound very self-centred and rude. I'm also not sure if some of that comes from the fact that she just doesn't have good social skills in general and she's too used to being on her own and living alone. Like, living alone in her grandmother's basement. I know people that have never been in a relationship or had many friends and they are just clueless about compromising and sympathizing with other people.

    The problem I think is that you can't change people. You've already tried talking to her about all of this many times and she just doesn't get it. She should have actually known how to behave in these situations even without you constantly telling her. People can be inexperienced and make mistakes, but in the very least they have to be open-minded and willing to improve.

    Honestly I'm not sure whether you can do anything about this. From my perspective, a couple of things you can do is set a lot more rules. I think that maybe some of your arrangements have been too liberal or vague.

    My best friend has usually lived with 2-3 people and they had formal rules. They had a chore roster and people were expected to do chores assigned to them. I don't understand why from the start you've basically been doing most chores on your own. You need to halve all the chores and say, every week you do XYZ and I do XYZ. Also either you both buy all your own food and necessities, or buy them and split them exactly half. E.g. all sugar, salt, toilet paper, soap, etc. halved between two of you. It doesn't matter if someone goes on a trip or whatever, it still has to be half. These rules need to be consistent. You need to say to her very firmly that if she doesn't follow basic polite things like that, it's not going to work out.

    You also need to stand up for yourself regarding the TV, etc. If it's 11 p.m., it's late and you need to sleep. It's completely reasonable for you to stand your ground. The same with other issues. I don't really see this girl wanting to change to be honest. So maybe start putting ads out or asking friends to try to get a new roommate.

    Regarding her relationship, you are right, it's none of your concern. I think you need to try your best not to think about it.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    It's really hard to find a roommate whereas you're on the same page about everything. Many people who started as friends being roommates become enemies. I know it happened to my daughter, and on more than one occasion with my stepdaughter.

    I'd get out as soon as the lease is up, and rent a studio by yourself or some other low cost option that's doable solo.

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    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    You're going to run into some issues with a dog and a cat trying to find a rental that will accept four-legged pets. Unfortunately beggars can't be choosers. This might sound harsh but I'm being honest with you. I don't think you made the wrong decision - you did what you had to do at the time and that was putting a roof over your head.

    Here are some things that crossed my mind while reading above:

    -ignore the displaced items that she leaves around (getting angry about it doesn't teleport it back into place); that's just who she is and you'll have to accept it for as long as you live with each other
    -don't share any of your food (keep them in a locked pantry in your bedroom or get a lock and key type cupboard)
    -you can either tell her you're no longer feeding her cat (have no time etc) or you can bond with the cat and be less resentful and angry overall as a person
    -put your dog in doggy daycare a few days of the week if you can't afford every day
    -another doggy idea: keep the trash in a cupboard or room that is dog proof or get a large bin from Home Depot with a lid (an actual garbage bin) and put it outside on the balcony; your dog really should not have any access to garbage - he's already learned that he can get away rummaging through it through the day (this is your problem not hers so fix this problem and don't blame it on your roommate)
    -if you know her schedule for the bathroom, avoid it and use it when it's available (unfortunately sharing bathrooms is a very old problem for as long as people have lived together in homes/houses/apartments); you're just going to have to find a more mature way about it and work with your schedules - avoid run ins with her if she's unreasonable and irritable

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    All you can do is provide more boundaries and stop sharing this much. You buy and use/consume your stuff, she buys/consumes her stuff. Pinching pennies by over-sharing cause too much friction so stop doing that. Try to work around each other more with regard to using shared rooms or items. Try to observe each others' schedules and try not to be in the shared areas at the same time. Clean up after yourself after using a shared area. Leave the house as much as possible. Do not think of this as living like a couple. It isn't. Try not to nitpick this much. Get out more.

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    I genuinely thank you for your response and understanding. She is not on the spectrum but you are right about her not having any social skills.

    It isn't just with me though. When she was headed to meet the boyfriends parents for the first time and spend the night I told she she should bring something and she looked at me like I had two heads.

    I told her it is nice to bring something when you go to someone's house especially for a Thanksgiving meal. You don't just show up empty handed, you offer to bring something. Her response was " well he's not gonna bring anything to my dinner so why should I" and that turned out to be false like I expected and he showed up with a nice bottle of wine for her family.

    Prior to living in her grandmother's basement she lived in two separate rentals. Both rentals included multiple people and animals. In one house she lived with 6 people, 3 dogs and 4 cats. You would think she'd be able to handle and compromise living with just one if she could live with that many.

    And see the thing about you not being invited, I completely get. We are not close. But with that being said, when we first moved in if I was getting a ride to the grocery store and knew she needed groceries too I'd ask if she wanted to tag along, or if I had a ride after work I'd offer her one too. If I cooked too much food I'd offer to her. But none of these things are ever reciprocated so I stopped doing them.

    We don't have a chore list. It's been a while but she is normally the one to vacuum the living room because all of her stuff is in it and she spends most of her time in it and I'm never in there. We both take care of our own cat litter and cleaning the kitchen counter when we are done, but when it comes to garbage it's somehow put on me. And when it comes to cleaning the bathroom or the floors or stairway, if I don't do it it doesn't get done. She doesn't even change the toilet paper roll. She will just keep placing a new one on top of the old one.

    As much as I am unhappy here, my biggest fear right now is that when the lease is up she will want to get a place with her boyfriend who currently lives at home.

    I know it sounds like a blessing, but it truly would be a nightmare. The housing market is heart breaking and disgusting here. We were lucky enough to get this crappy apartment at the last minute.

    I'm already maxed out paying what I pay here because my rent doubled when I had to move and now since I'm further from work I'm putting out for transportation. So I'm paying $400 more a month than I was 7 months ago but not making any more money than I was 7 months ago.

    As someone below mentioned, it is very difficult finding housing when you have pets. My pets are my life and they aren't going anywhere.

    I also am quite the loner. The few friends I do have are not local and are all in commited relationships, so unfortunately living with them is not an option.

    People keep telling me to start looking two months prior to the lease ending and then just leave first so she doesn't have the option of leaving me high and dry for the boyfriend, but if I somehow did find a place to live without her and then it was never her plan to live with the boyfriend, I'd feel terrible for leaving her high and dry.

    I just feel stuck, and this is really where my unhappiness lays. I like to be in control of my own life and right now I feel like I've lost it. Everything is on her schedule, what's convenient for her and I feel like I have no option but to go along with it all or be homeless and that's a really terrible feeling

    Thank you again, really.

  8. #7
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    I think you CAN be in control of your own life if you actually act more assertive. Also you can control your thoughts and feelings about her behaviours. I could be wrong but you seem too invested in things she does that have nothing to do with you really. You seem annoyed at how she acts with her boyfriend, his family, etc. That is not related to you so don't make it your business to tell her what to do regarding those things, e.g. "You should bring something to Thanksgiving dinner." That is up to her what she wants to do in her own life outside of you.

    Also yes that's right, you can't just automatically expect that she will give you a lift, share her cooking with you, or anything along those lines. Your best course of action is not do anything "extra" for her either. I used to feel really hurt because I would invite some people to my parties and events, and they came. But they never invited me to anything of theirs. Then I realised that the best thing to do is stop inviting them. That actually really helped not to feel offended anymore.

    Your best course of action is just to live inside your apartment as civilly as possible. Stop worrying about things outside of that like her relationship, things at work, lifts home, so on. It's clear you don't gel, so stop trying to befriend her. Clearly all your nice gestures have fallen on deaf ears.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    I would negotiate a schedule for using the bathroom, and I'd skip any investment in the rest. You have only 5 more months left on the lease. That gives you time to find another arrangement and leave, or, you can decide that she's worth putting up with in order to keep your current apartment with her. Either way, you'll need to do your own chores such as garbage removal if you live on your own, anyway, so you get to decide whether the ability compromise and operate 'around' this roommate is worth avoiding the cost of moving out. If not, then start looking for a better arrangement and keep your dealings civil until you can respectfully decline to sign on for another year.

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    You were in need of someone to help you with the rent; you did not screen for any problems because that need was the primary thing on your mind. Are you capable of paying the rent by yourself? chi

  11. 11-26-2019, 09:29 AM

  12. #10
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bmars87
    I just feel stuck, and this is really where my unhappiness lays. I like to be in control of my own life and right now I feel like I've lost it.
    There's a lot of loss of control when living with others and working together. Maybe if you felt like you're getting some place or doing more with your life rather than just working, looking after your pets and feeding someone else's pets you'd feel more fulfilled overall. I'm not judging you. I've been in your place before. Find more purpose in life or find a purpose to get you places and then do whatever the f- you want, know what I mean? This whole living situation is tough. You need to get back on your feet and feel more at peace. How do you do that? Start over? Think of living differently? Eliminating certain things in your life? Making a life change? Who knows? It's up to you though.

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