When boyfriend’s friends overstay their welcome

Carolyn Hax
Columnist July 13, 2013

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

Ever since my boyfriend and I moved in together earlier this year, I have been uncomfortable with the amount of time his friends “Jim” and “Dave” spend at our house. They come over anywhere from two to five nights EACH WEEK, often showing up unannounced. They will say they’re just coming over to watch TV and have “a” beer, which usually turns into three, and don’t leave till after I’ve gone to bed. This happens weekdays and weekends, whether or not my boyfriend and I already have plans with each other.

At first, my boyfriend acted helpless about it (“I can’t stop them from coming over”), but when I called him on that, he switched to a new defense: “I shouldn’t have to give up my friends just because we live together.” I’m at the end of my rope. Any suggestions?

You, Me, Jim and Dave


(Nick Galifianakis)

One: washingtonpost.com/
rentals.

Carolyn:

I appreciate your response, and I’m sure you’re right — but assuming I do want to stay in the relationship, do you agree with me that it’s reasonable to want a few nights a week with no drop-ins?

Also, I wonder whether the rules are any different because we are not married and hence my rights are more those of a roommate vs. a wife. If I promise to check out rentals, will you please offer a tiny bit more guidance for the interim?

You, Me, Jim and Dave again

Oh, all right.

First, the rules are not different with or without marriage, because this is about your consideration of each other’s needs, and that would apply if you were married 50 years or just good friends and roommates.

Next, his current defense cuts both ways: “I shouldn’t have to give up my friends just because we live together” turns around nicely to, “Okay. And I shouldn’t have to give up my quiet time just because we live together. So doesn’t it make sense that we both have to give a little, out of respect for each other?”

If he’s a tool about it even after you put it that way, then: washingtonpost.com/rentals.

Re: Jim and Dave:

Being “a tool about it” includes his going along with it while painting you as the shrewish mean-mommy girlfriend who won’t let him have his guy fun. (Watch a few beer commercials, and you’ll see what I mean.)

Anonymous

Yes, seen them. Thanks.

Why those commercials are so offensive, and why I’m not inclined to suggest ways to fix or save this relationship, is that they both rest on the idea that Woman wants only to snuggle with Man, and Man wants only to hang with Buddies. Ugh. Not only is that worldview an insult to human complexity, it’s also a self-fulfilling prophecy: It trains both men and women to accept as “normal” a relationship in which one or both halves of the couple would rather be somewhere else or with someone else. I just can’t see the point in that.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com. Sign up for Carolyn Hax’s column, delivered to your inbox early each morning, at http://bit.ly/haxpost.

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