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Guest, roommate, whatever: Respect boundaries, please

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Guest, roommate, whatever: Respect boundaries, please

D.C.: For logistical reasons, my S.O. lives at my place on weekends. For the most part, it's fun. But I usually live alone, and I'm set in my ways. I'm trying to be less rigid.

In particular, I see weekend mornings as downtime — quiet, relaxed, lazy. I need the time to sleep in, keep to myself and recharge. It's my routine. I'm usually go-go-go for the afternoons and evenings.

I've explained that it's nothing personal, but I really need him to leave me alone so I'm in a good mood for the rest of the day.

My S.O. will start bugging me by 10 a.m. about what's for breakfast, when am I getting out of bed, what are we doing today, and so on. It's making me nuts! I've suggested he just fix himself something to eat or go out without me, but instead he sits around, tapping his foot, trying to nudge me out of bed.

I get that he's bored, but he's intruding on the only quiet time I get all week! Is there an effective way to talk this out?

Carolyn: Have you given him a time: "For practical purposes, I do not exist until 11 a.m."? Or whatever. A clear line would make it easier for him to structure his own time, without his having to worry that he'll "miss" you if you happen to get up earlier.

BTW, answering this way is taking all the restraint I can muster. I find it completely unacceptable and verging on disturbing that he can't just respect your wishes and leave you alone. But since you haven't thrown him out, dumped him or said you were on the verge of throwing him out or dumping him, I'm figuring you're more annoyed than outraged, so I'm trying to answer from that perspective.

But I mean really. A grown person who doesn't know how to go out for a bagel or read a newspaper? I have no patience for people who can't find a way to amuse themselves in a world that offers an endless supply of fascinating things to do. Not to mention people who don't respect boundaries.

D.C. Again: I was raised to be polite to houseguests, so that's why I haven't snarled when he tries to nudge me out of bed. I've been worried that ignoring him was a rude way to treat a guest. But if someone's there every weekend, I guess they're more of a roommate than a guest.

Come tomorrow morning, I will hurl a pillow at him every time he nags me. At least until I run out of pillows.

Carolyn: Exactly, he's not a guest.

The pillows may be rhetorical flourish, but they come across as an is-it-reeeeeeally-okay-for-me-to-be-annoyed? cutesy poo hedge. Like getting a baby voice when you're asking for something that's hard to ask for, even though you have every stinkin' right to ask for it.

Anyone with a story like this, where being "raised to be polite" has resulted in the trampling by others of your needs or clearly stated wishes, needs to read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. ASAP. It's not just about stalking, it's about boundaries, too.

Draw the line clearly. If he keeps crossing it, lose him.

Guest, roommate, whatever: Respect boundaries, please 01/05/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:17am]
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