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Dear Harriette by Harriette Cole
DEAR HARRIETTE: I let my daughter’s best friend live with us for her final semester of college. The agreement was that she would stay and pay $300 a month to rent out our upstairs guest room until she graduated. After graduation, the plan was for her to move back to the West Coast with her family. It’s now been a month since graduation, and she is not taking any major steps to move out. It’s been a pleasure having her here, but she is done with school, and even my own daughter has moved out, so it makes less sense that she’s living here. How do I gently tell her that her time is up? — Time To Go
DEAR TIME TO GO: This is on you. You should have been talking to her about her exit strategy well before this moment. Obviously, she feels comfortable and safe in your home. She may not ever bring up moving unless you do.
There is a simple solution to this problem. Sit down with this young woman. Remind her that the terms you agreed upon when she moved in have come to a conclusion, and it is time for her to move. Point out that her friend, your daughter, has moved, and so must she. Ask her why she hasn’t left yet. Find out if she is facing any problems that may need addressing. Be kind and empathetic but clear. Give her a deadline by when she must leave, and encourage her regularly to meet that deadline.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend has a roommate with a STUNNINGLY gorgeous girlfriend who is always at the house. She’s even at the house when her boyfriend isn’t there. I’m afraid to admit that this makes me uneasy. They’re very friendly with each other, and I wish she would go over only when her boyfriend is there. What can I do? — Uneasy
DEAR UNEASY: What an awkward position to be in. You have no control, nor does your boyfriend for the most part. And he is in a vulnerable position. Now, the truth of the matter is that this woman’s beauty should not be a reason to prompt infidelity. However, her constant presence could prove to be unnerving.
Do you have any reason to believe that your boyfriend is romantically interested in this woman? If not, don’t plant the idea in his head. You can ask why she is in the house when her boyfriend is not. This is a classic challenge for roommates — figuring out boundaries of when friends, including boyfriends and girlfriends, can be in the house when you are not. Your boyfriend can legitimately address that with his roommate.
Tread lightly. Resist being jealous or intimidated by this woman. She is a person, just like you. Don’t put her on a pedestal. Encourage your boyfriend to establish ground rules at his apartment that address guests, housekeeping duties, etc. so that he and his roommate agree on how they will live there. Do not nag about her. Assume the positive until proven otherwise.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAM- LEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and acti- vate their dreams. You can send questions to askharri- firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.