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How do I keep everyone happy in a wierd relationship
January 23, 2010 8:06 AM   Subscribe

I just entered a relationship with my (female) best friend of 3 years and roommate. We've previously never so much as cuddled and recently became very open about our feelings for each other and realized that we want to be together. We are extremely excited about where things are going. There's a problem though...

I've previously been in a relationship with the 3rd (male) roommate. He and I have been very close for years, and it's occasionally gone into sexual territory (it's been close to a year now since the last time). Also, on many occasions he's told me I'm the girl he loves. I do love him, but I'm not interested in him as anything more than extremely close friends and it's been this way for a long while.

We all live together, because previously it hadn't even been close to an issue. We all have our own rooms and space, and none of us were seeking any sort of romance between each other.

I've casually brought up conversation with him asking what he would do if I was ever in a serious relationship where I had someone move in, and he has told me that he would move out. This is not a good solution for me, as I love spending time with him, and we moved in together expecting to stay for at least the entire term of the lease. I've also made my feelings for him very much known on many occasions, and that it probably isn't healthy to think this way (he also gets laid frequently, so it's not like he's waiting for me) Furthermore, we can't afford the place without all three of us pitching in.

I don't want to hurt feelings, but keeping things secret forever never works. I also hate having this big part of my life be so closed off- especially seeing as we all share a large majority of our friends (therefore, I've kept this all secret from them as well).

Hivemind- what is one to do? Throwaway email: unsureofmyoptions@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I've casually brought up conversation with him asking what he would do if I was ever in a serious relationship where I had someone move in, and he has told me that he would move out. This is not a good solution for me, as I love spending time with him, and we moved in together expecting to stay for at least the entire term of the lease.

I'm sorry, but you're being selfish. If moving out is what he needs to do to protect himself and his feelings, you need to let him (whether or not he's also fucking other people). It sucks living with someone you have feelings for who is disinterested in you and seeing someone else. It sucks even more to have that in your face all the time because you live with the couple. You'll find someone to sublet. Let him go.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:17 AM on January 23, 2010 [43 favorites]


If you are afraid of hurt feelings, keeping anything from the other room-mate is only going to make things worse. If the other room-mate has made it clear this is an issue for him, you owe it to him to inform him of the situation and let him make his choice, anything else is selfish, and sleazy. If your motivation is to have him around more often, then informing him immediately ensures that he is more likely to be around in the long term. Don't trade a long term friendship for short term selfishness.
posted by idiopath at 8:18 AM on January 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Make the choice between your male friend and your female friend. You can't have your cake and eat it.

If he would move out if you had a live in lover, then no matter how many times a day/week/month he gets laid, he's waiting for you on some level. He's going to be mildly upset about this at the least, possibly to the point of moving out.

However, there's also the issue of how your female friend will handle this. You and she want to be together, which is fair enough if you're in love.

Some options to consider:

1] You and she move out to somewhere smaller, where you can afford the rent between you.
2] You tell your male friend, and he moves out leaving you and female friend with the rent. You get another room mate to pick up 1/3rd of the rent.
3] You tell the male friend, he is OK with the two of you together and everything continues along in the same way (this won't happen, it doesn't seem).

Someone is going somewhere. While your female friend being more into your life will be sweeter for you, it will be more bitter for your male friend. Only you can decide which you're going to choose.
posted by Solomon at 8:21 AM on January 23, 2010


Is this really just about the male friend? Or is it more about not wanting to "come out of the closet" to your greater circle? Either way, you're not being fair to anyone right now, not even yourself. No apartment is worth the hassle of lying about who you are and who you're dating, so don't use it as an excuse.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:26 AM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that there might be a difference between you being involved with someone new and that someone moving in (that is: new stranger person in the apartment that he doesn't know) and you getting involved with your other roommate (which he does know, and doesn't entail sharing space with a fourth person). If he's that good friends with both of you, that might make a difference - he might understand, and stay.

Unfortunately there's no way of knowing until you tell him, which you should. You can always find someone else to take over his room.

Also, usually the one who moves out is responsible for paying their share of the lease until they find a replacement, so paying rent shouldn't be an issue. (I say usually because I think it differs depending on how you guys handled signing the contract.)
posted by Xany at 8:26 AM on January 23, 2010


It's understandable that you want to make a sucky situation not suck, but that's not something you can control. It's going to suck for him. You're going to have to tell him. You're going to have to deal with his decision and either move somewhere else with your female friend, or else he's going to move out and you're going to find another roommate. You don't get to say, "Hey, you can't move out, I like hanging out with you too much." Staying there would probably be torture for him.
posted by Nattie at 8:26 AM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've casually brought up conversation with him asking what he would do if I was ever in a serious relationship where I had someone move in, and he has told me that he would move out.

He may or may not decide to move out when you tell him/he finds out- he's more likely to if he finds out as opposed to being told


This is not a good solution for me, as I love spending time with him

So it's not really about concern for his wellbeing but for yours?!


and we moved in together expecting to stay for at least the entire term of the lease

What you all expected when you moved in together is completely irrelevant at this point - you didn't expect him to turn into a friend and you didn't expect to end up with her either but things happen and expecting him not to move out because you all intended to stay for a particular length of time was based on the situation like it was before you all moved in and not on how it is now.


Furthermore, we can't afford the place without all three of us pitching in

Not really pertinent either - if he decides to move out you'll just have to find a new roommate.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:29 AM on January 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Be honest and let him move on. Otherwise it's gonna get real icky for everybody real fast.
posted by Paris Elk at 8:38 AM on January 23, 2010


IMO, disband the house share and all find new rooms. It might put pressure on your new relationship if you're living together at the start. Also, then it doesn't make it that he's getting pushed out as you care about staying friends with him.
posted by Not Supplied at 9:06 AM on January 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


(he also gets laid frequently, so it's not like he's waiting for me)

I hate to be the guy that says the most cliche thing possible, but: Don't confuse sex and love (or whatever synonym is appropriate). He may well be "waiting" in the sense that he's really emotionally into you and just sleeps with these women to forget, pass the time, etc. I'm not sure why you included this in your question, but on the theory that everything you wrote is somehow relevant, don't jump to conclusions here.

On to the meat of your question: Don't live with people you want to fuck/have fucked or people that want to fuck you, unless you're already in some semblance of a committed relationship. It's way too messy. He doesn't have the right to tell you who to sleep with, but you can't hold him to living in a situation he finds untenable. Tell him up front and at least give him a meaningful choice and the respect he deserves.

Also, on many occasions he's told me I'm the girl he loves. I do love him, but I'm not interested in him as anything more than extremely close friends and it's been this way for a long while.

With due sensitivity to the ambiguities of language, you two are talking past each other anyway. There's a good chance that time and physical space apart would do you both a lot of good.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:12 AM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can't have it all. You either have her and not him or him and not her in the house. Talk to him.

It's cliche, but it bears repeating. Two's company. Three's a crowd. Don't become an early 90s romantic dramedy.
posted by inturnaround at 9:51 AM on January 23, 2010


This is not a good solution for me, as I love spending time with him

Echoing that you're being incredibly selfish and adding on the "manipulative". He's a real live thinking and feeling person, if he needs to move out, then if you love him, which you supposedly do, then allow for him to be happy (along with yourself). He's not your pet, there for your amusement, let him go if needs to go. You can get another roommate, but friends are rarer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:52 AM on January 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


It seem to me that you want extremely close friendship with this chap BUT he may be extremely close to you because he loves you. Expecting your close friendship at his loss of watching you with someone would be unfair to him and toxic.

Further, it's best if it has to come to a mutual end where you tell him that you have someone who you're interested in and who'll be living with yourself (in your room) but won't be able to replace him as a room mate due to financial reasons. So tell him that if he wants to move out, he needs to find someone to replace him and you'd rather hold it off to tell him who you're dating until he moves out because those were his initial terms and conditions.
posted by iNfo.Pump at 10:17 AM on January 23, 2010


Further, it's best if it has to come to a mutual end where you tell him that you have someone who you're interested in and who'll be living with yourself (in your room) but won't be able to replace him as a room mate due to financial reasons. So tell him that if he wants to move out, he needs to find someone to replace him and you'd rather hold it off to tell him who you're dating until he moves out because those were his initial terms and conditions.

Please don't take this advice. That would be an outright lie, the person already lives in the apartment. OP, if I were your male friend and you said this to me/told me who you were dating after I moved out, I would probably never talk to you again.

What you should do: tell him the truth. Tell him that you and [female roommate] are entering a relationship, how important he is to you, etc. Then let him make his own decision as to whether or not he's moving out. Or maybe you and [female roommate] could find replacements and move into a smaller, more affordable apartment. Trying to hide it/lying to him about your relationship will eventually lead to resentment from him and, probably, from your new girlfriend.
posted by kro at 12:33 PM on January 23, 2010


So tell him that if he wants to move out, he needs to find someone to replace him and you'd rather hold it off to tell him who you're dating until he moves out because those were his initial terms and conditions.

Yeah, don't do that, it's shitty. This is your mess, not his, and he shouldn't have to do any of the "dirty work" of making things ok. You want to have this relationship, fine, just realize it has consequences, be it hurting a friend to having to find a new roommate.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:38 PM on January 23, 2010


I feel like maybe I'm a fuddy-duddy sexist neanderthal for suggesting this, but does anyone else think her male roommate might react differently because the new date is a woman? It might send the signal "this is never going to happen between us" in the gentlest way possible, without implying any inferiority on his part or triggering any testosterone-fueled male competitiveness.

This still sounds like a possible mess, but maybe it won't be as bad as you think.
posted by salvia at 6:48 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


does anyone else think her male roommate might react differently because the new date is a woman?

Trust me, having your ex decide to start playing for the other team would, if anything, make him feel worse. I turned her off so bad, she went gay!

Plus, the living situation hasn't changed. Male or female, being unable to get away from your ex and her new squeeze in your own living space? I can't even imagine how much that would suck.
posted by canine epigram at 1:18 PM on January 25, 2010


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