Living Logistics: How to Confront a Messy Roommate

Q: My boyfriend and I work together and have lived together with one of our colleagues for the past six months. Unfortunately, we have talked to him several times about his cleanliness and tidiness. I have gotten to the point where I no longer want to live with him. My boyfriend, however, is willing to put up with whatever since he says that I am the cleanest in the house. I want to continue living with our colleague because I am partially afraid of making awkward relations with him. Is there anything I can do to remedy the situation or how shall I call it quits?

A: This is of course a touchy situation, but if you don’t really want to make any changes right now in the base of your relationship, then you might keep reminding him of his responsibility to everyone else in terms of upkeep. You could even ask him if he has a problem with your requests that he do his share and hear what he has to say. He may say it doesn’t matter to him, or he doesn’t notice, or he thinks you are too finicky. . or he may pledge to try to improve. If his tidiness is leaving things around the apartment, you can suggest that you will, to keep from nagging, simply put his things in a box, in his room, so he can deal with them when he feels like it. This still has you picking up after him, but may give you greater freedom to have things the way you want them without having to literally nag.

Relative Relations: Splitting Up Holidays Once Married

Q: Is there a specific protocol for the most polite way to split up holidays once you are married? I don’t want anyone to feel left out, but we all know not every holiday can be spent all together.

A: This is always difficult and requires the understanding and goodwill of everyone. Some couples switch every year – Thanksgiving with your family, Christmas with his, this year, the reverse the next year, with a clear communication that this is what you are doing. Some make arrangements to see both families during a particular season. For example, Christmas on Christmas day with your family this year, a few days later or before with his; and the reverse next year. Others, when the families aren’t too big, host holidays themselves inviting both families to their home. “Fair” seems to be the key concept in working out this problem so no one feels “ditched” or abandoned, and again, this requires sincere communication of your plans, on your part.

Gossip Girls: Do I Confront Someone who has Been Speaking Badly About Me?

Q: You heard through the grapevine that someone was not saying nice things about yourself. What do you do? To confront or not confront without proof.’

A: It depends on your relationship to the person, but if it is possible to not confront but to ask, without divulging your source, it is fine to do so.  “George, I have been told that you said XXX about me and this upset me a lot. I would rather you came to me if you had a problem, and would like to work this out so it doesn’t happen again. If you have some problem with me, I’d appreciate it if you would try to work it out with me before sharing your opinions and critical comments with so man others.”