By Thomas Whitfield
A month ago, my boyfriend got a huge promotion at work, one he wanted for a very long time. I was so happy for him, because he totally deserves it, and it has the potential to really make our future a lot easier. Jump to now, I think the stress is too much. He’s always tired, grumpy and yells at me for the smallest things. He was busy before, but his mood has 1,000% changed. I want to be supportive, because I know this has been a tough transition for him, but I also want him to quit so we can go back to being happy. I tried telling him when he’s being a jerk, but he just gets madder. What should I do? -Male, Gay, 28
It is important to be supportive of our partners when they are experiencing something tough. However, when that stressor becomes the new normal, they need to adjust how they’re interacting with the other important areas of their life. Try talking to him about it when he isn’t “being a jerk.” Bring it up when you guys are relaxed, and show him that you’re concerned for the relationship. If the job is really too much for him, he may need to step back or seek therapy to gain some new stress-coping skills, so he isn’t taking it out on you.
I’ve been living with my best friend for six months, but recently he started bartending, and it’s ruining my life. Usually three times a week I’m woken up at 5 a.m. when he gets home hammered. He always brings people with him, and they play music, smoke pot and drink until I leave for work at 8 a.m. We’ve gotten in fights about it, and he keeps saying he won’t do it anymore, but keeps it up. Before he got this job, he was very depressed because of a break up, and seems happier now, so I feel bad. Where do I draw the line? His name is on the lease, and I don’t have enough money to get my own place. -Male, Gay, 23
His name is on the lease, so you can’t kick him out, but this also means you have the freedom to leave. Roommates can suck, and he is not being very conscientious of you. Find out what your other options are for living, then give him an ultimatum. Either he changes his behavior, or you leave. If you’re being woken up and going to work tired, it’s likely affecting your job performance and could end up screwing you over. It can be tough living with roommates when you have different schedules, but you’re both adults and should respect each other’s space and freedom. If he still wants to have friends over after work and hang out, what would be appropriate and not wake you up? Are there ground rules that can be agreed upon? Again, talk about it when you’re not mad.