The Vine: October 8, 2008
Four years ago, I moved into an apartment with my cousin, signing a month-to-month agreement.The rent was $1000, $500 each, plus utilities that we also split evenly.
In February 2007, my cousin started dating a guy who more or less moved into the apartment.He spent every single night at our place, even on nights when she wasn't here — she went away for a weekend to a bachelorette party and he still stayed at my apartment.He showered here, did his laundry here, cooked here, used the grill, etc.He was actually unemployed for most of the winter, and stayed in our apartment while my roommate and I were at work all day, running up our electricity bill and whatnot.
After about six months of this, I began to question why he wasn't paying rent at our place, or at least chipping in for utilities or shared household items (detergent, toilet paper, etc.).The story I got was that he was locked into a lease and bills at another apartment and couldn't afford to be paying us.For the next six months, I asked many times about what arrangements might possibly be made to fix the situation, such as subletting his room in the other apartment, asking his roommate to find a new roommate, or asking his landlord for out of the lease.
Long story short, I was strung along for a while, and made to believe that solutions were being worked on but they never came to fruition for various reasons.I was also told that my cousin and her boyfriend couldn't spend some of their time at his apartment because someone else was staying in his room there.Even though I was extremely annoyed by the situation, in the interest of not causing a family feud I let things go on as they were.
In February 2008, released from his prior lease, the boyfriend "officially" moved in with us.Instead of telling the landlord (we were worried she'd raise the rent), my roommate and I kept sending her $500 checks each month, and the boyfriend paid us each $167 in cash, so in the end everyone was paying one third of the rent.
I give you this backstory to color the situation I'm writing to ask you about.For a variety of reasons, I've decided to move to another apartment, effective the first of next month.I notified my landlord and my roommates halfway through last month.They have decided to stay here, taking on the $1000 rent.I did not send my landlord a check for October, because back when we moved in four years ago, I'd paid her for my last month's rent — $500.My cousin's boyfriend still hasn't paid me his $167 for this month.
He's been late to pay me before, but he usually says something about it, and he hasn't so far.I am starting to suspect that he thinks he doesn't have to pay me because I paid my last month's rent when I moved in.Does that make sense to you?Of course, from my perspective this month is sort of "free" since the money I spent four years ago is long gone from my bank account.But we both live here this month, and I paid, and my cousin paid, so shouldn't he?
Things have been a little tense around here since I told them I was leaving (they think I didn't give them enough notice), so before I start World War III over $167, I'd like an outside perspective.
Decide which is more important to you: trying to drive the point home one last time that the boyfriend is responsible for his share of the rent (won't work anyway), or keep the peace and let him get by with shorting you (as you've trained him to do all along).
I'd just let it go at this point; I doubt you'll find yourself living with these people again, so trying to teach the boyfriend a lesson about his responsibilities (or get him to make up for all the partial rent he should have paid in the past) won't do you much good.Decide for yourself that, in the future, you won't let this kind of thing continue without consequences again, but this isn't worth pursuing.
I've been happily married for two years now. The two of us are very similar in many ways, particularly when it comes to socializing: we both have a small circle of very close friends (most of whom live far away), we are both happiest socializing in small groups, and we both value our time alone. Until we got married and moved in together, we had both lived alone for at least 10 years and been completely happy with that situation.
Since we've been married, finding time alone has been quite a challenge. On rare occasions it will happen naturally (one or the other will travel for work or spend an evening with a friend), but that isn't satisfying either of us. We were talking about the issue recently and concluded that in an ideal world, we'd both spend at least one entire day and night per week alone. A couple of hours is better than nothing, but it kind of feels like you're just sinking into it and then it's over.
The problem is that we can't think of a practical way to get the extended, regular time alone we need. We live in a one-bedroom apartment, work the same hours (non-negotiable), and as I mentioned, most of our close friends don't live within easy travel distance. Since we can't afford a hotel room twice a week, and also can't afford to move to a larger place (expensive city), we've hit a wall.
And I admit that the wall is presenting slightly more of a problem for me than for him. He'd probably be okay with adjusting and taking what time we can, while I feel quite desperate for not-just-occasional time alone. Like, to the point that I'm writing to people for help. If we could financially manage it I'd even float the idea of separate apartments. I know that sounds extreme, but I LOVED having my own space, and up in my head there's an ideal world where married couples can still have that. Most people I talk to think that's nuts but whatever.
So, I guess I thought maybe some of your readers might have some suggestions. And, honestly, I've enjoyed reading your site and your advice for so long that I'm thrilled to have something to ask!
I suspect that my readers will probably tell you what I'll tell you: that if what you want is more space or separate spaces, you'll have to change something to make that happen.Get a higher-paying job, or one where you can work nights; move to a different, cheaper city; alter the physical layout of the apartment somehow so that it's two tiny bedrooms instead of one.
Or get divorced.Or one of you moves out.
I don't think what you want is nuts, at all.I love my family, I love my friends, I love my boyfriend…I need my space, and come the day I get married, I will require my own room, even if it's a windowless former closet.There's a cultural ideal, I think, a snapshot of happy togetherness that doesn't account for the fact that not everyone wants that all the time, or even most of the time.It's not a majority view, but why pretend you're something you're not?
The problem here is the when and the how.You didn't really come to the conclusion that you'd both prefer regular, scheduled alone time until after you'd gotten married, which isn't surprising, but isn't ideal, either — and you want a solution while telling me in the same breath that anything I'd suggest is off the table.Again, I feel you on the wanting your own space and "me time," but wanting it two years into a marriage is more problematic.
Well, you'll need to put it back on somehow: find a creative solution within the current circumstances, or change the circumstances to suit yourself.Would people find it odd if you and your husband maintained separate residences?Yes, some people probably would.Who cares?There's always someone who's going to find something odd; you don't owe them an explanation.If you have kids, is the separate-homes thing going to work?Not as well, no; you'd have to find a bigger place with more discrete spaces and work it out that way.
Think about moving to a less expensive town, or neighborhood, so you can have a two-bedroom or larger; write up an exhaustive list of ways you could make this work, no matter how outlandish or impossible.But understand that it will take an effort.You should probably have discussed this prior to getting married, and you've made certain choices — including the marriage itself — that tend to rule out most of your options here.Not all realities can co-exist, not every compromise is makeable, and you may need to decide, in the short term at least, that your marriage is more important to you than your space.
I read The Vine every day and love your advice, and I'm hoping you and/or your readers can give me some advice on this.
When I got married, I took my husband's name. I was really young and my career was just starting to take off, and I published several technical papers.
Five years after I got married, I got tired of the emotional and physical abuse and divorced his ass. It was a long, horrible ordeal, complete with rumor-spreading and stalking and being abandoned by most of my friends. Because it was so traumatic, I did not take my maiden name back. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but I'm a consultant with a fairly large customer base, and I didn't want to hear "oh, did you get married?" and have to bring up my divorce every day for months on end.
…at the time. I'm in a much better place emotionally now than I was then, so I can mention it without getting teary-eyed. So I'd like to change my name back now. It's a hassle, of course, with the Social Security and the bank accounts and everything, but it's worth it to me to erase any remaining links I have to my asshole ex.
So here's my question: what do I do about the technical papers? They're published under my married name. How do I account for that? It looks awfully weird if a resume has one name at the top and another name in the publications section, doesn't it? I'm afraid the answer is to just go by my maiden name in my personal life and stay Mrs. Asshole in my professional life, and I'm REALLY hoping that there's another option.
Thanks in advance for any advice you (or your readers) can offer!
I Should Have Just Kept My Maiden Name In The First Place
It's not 1908; most people, seeing two different names on a résumé, would probably just assume that one is your maiden name and one is your married name, and anything else they assume is not really your problem.
A note next to each relevant paper in the publications section, along the lines of "published as 'Firstname Asshole,'" should take care of it.No doubt this comes up on résumés all the time, and isn't considered "awfully weird" by anyone who understands that women often change their names after a marriage or divorce.
If anyone asks: "I finally got around to going back to my maiden name," subject change, done.
Tags: boys (and girls) etiquette roommates workplace