Dear Annie

Dear Annie: Recently, I moved into an apartment with my friend “Grace.” Since we moved in, Grace’s boyfriend, “Jesse,” has been spending a lot of time at our place. He stores his groceries in our refrigerator, and they often shower in our (shared) bathroom together while I’m home. Last week, he brought a suitcase over, and he has spent every night here since. I think Jesse’s a nice guy, but I’m uncomfortable having him as our pseudo third roommate (who doesn’t even pay rent). It feels like a violation of my personal space. I don’t want my friendship with Grace to be strained. What is the best way to handle this?

— Frustrated Friend

Dear Frustrated Friend: Meet with Grace for an open conversation about expectations and boundaries. Together you can come up with a list of house rules, not just regarding how many nights a week boyfriends are allowed to stay but also regarding cleaning, parties, quiet hours, etc. You’ll both need to make compromises — but be honest with yourselves and each other about what you’re willing to accept. Agreeing to a rule that you secretly think is unfair now would only lead to resentment down the road, which would defeat the whole purpose of the document in the first place. And yes, it should be a document — something written down and signed by you both.

This might sound too rigid or formal for friends. But trust me; if you want your friendship to survive your lease, you’re going to need ground rules.

Dear Annie: A while ago, I wrote to you and asked for advice about what to do about my husband’s frequently looking at women on his phone. You said I should stop snooping and confront him about it. So I took your advice. I stopped snooping and had a conversation with my husband — which was not unusual, as we converse quite well and openly. I discussed with my husband his perusing on the internet and looking at women scantily dressed. I asked why he feels the need to actively search these images out, and this is what he told me: “All men look at women, and you should be glad I’m looking at women and not men.” I should mention that these are just pictures and videos of women, not pornographic sites with other activities.

I stated how this made me feel and told him that happily married men in committed relationships shouldn’t feel the need to actively search these things out. He said that they are just pictures and that I’m being ridiculous for letting it bother me. I asked how he would feel if I were doing the same thing and looking at other men. He said it would not bother him. I have no desire to look at photos of male models, as they are not real-life images of your common man. I am happy in my current relationship with my husband.

Am I being overly insecure, or is this just the way men are and will always be? I would love to hear from your other readers about whether this has been a problem in their relationships and, if so, how they overcame this obstacle.

— Never Gonna Be Good Enough

Dear Never Gonna Be Good Enough: First off, this is not about whether or not you’re good enough. Please ditch that line of thinking now. I’ll open this question up to readers, but every marriage is different, and this type of issue is highly personal. What’s OK to one person isn’t OK to another. I’d encourage you two to seek the help of a counselor in finding a middle ground that works for you both.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]


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