Time to make some b-b-boundaries
July 2, 2012 8:30 AM Subscribe
My boyfriend and I are helping out a homeless couple and a homeless single girl-- how do I set boundaries and time limits without seeming pushy? When is enough enough? How do I truly help them? Lots and lots of details inside.
posted by camylanded to human relations (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I’m in a bit of a sticky situation. I live with my boyfriend in a small 2 bedroom apartment—one room is ours and the other is an art room—a room that is helping make money by selling art (hence we need the space from a business standpoint). We’re both helpful people to anyone who needs help—we both believe that what “goes around comes around” and if we’re doing good things, those good things are coming back. So we do as much good as we can—perhaps him a little more than I.
But I wonder—when is enough?
Recently, my boyfriend brought a co-worker home from work. She had started working there a few days prior. She had called him in the middle of the night and told him she needed a ride. It turns out the guy she had been living with ditched her in the middle of the country and told her to not come back to his apartment. My boyfriend told her she could stay with us. She’s been super gracious/helpful and I’ve enjoyed her company… only now… she needs to get her stuff back from this guy’s apartment. We don’t have a lot of space. Also, her ex-boyfriend is calling her and telling her she needs to come get her 3-year-old son because he “doesn’t want to deal with him anymore”.
On top of it all, he had promised his friend weeks ago that him and his girlfriend could stay here for 2 weeks because they got kicked out of her parent’s house. We lived with him in the past and those “2 weeks” turned into a month—to nutshell a long story.
I tried having a conversation about setting boundaries with all of this going on last night and it went something like “Give him 2 weeks because I already promised that and give her 3 weeks to get an apartment”. He also told me that if I have a problem before that, I need to speak up and confront them about it because he’s perfectly fine with it.
So a few questions—first off, how do I handle confronting these people staying with us when I have an issue? I’m introverted so for me, it’s a lot to take in (not to mention I’m really bad with confrontation), even if we’re really helping these people out. Secondly, how do I set boundaries and help his co-worker out without being mean or making her feel like she’s putting us out? We don’t know her very well. I’m afraid this is going to turn into something long term because he doesn’t care to help out and I’m guilt tripped into accepting it. What now? Do I help them find apartments/manage money so that they don’t end up staying here longer or should I just kick them out after the allotted time and not care? I know he would accept it almost indefinitely. The co-worker has offered to help with rent. His friend however has not (and judging from the past living experience probably won’t).