Roommates with Attitude

Dear J & J: I’ve been dating this woman for a few months and we really get along. The problem is her roommate. I don’t think I’ve done anything to offend her, but she acts like I’m the devil. It’s definitely affecting my ability to see the woman who lives with her because there’s so much tension. What should I do?!?!?

S. M.
Quincy, MA

JILL: Roommate relationships are complicated. Often you move in as friends and then learn about all of the things you can’t stand about one another. You may have unknowingly stumbled into a roommate war zone, or maybe your date’s roommate is having problems all on her own. For example, often roommates who aren’t dating (or aren’t dating someone they like) will act out against the person whom their roommate brings home. Usually it’s because the roommate is jealous of the fact that her roommate has a date, jealous of your time with her friend, or simply attracted to you (and competitive with her roommate) and angry that you aren’t interested in her instead. My advice is to avoid the house of hell and spend time getting to know the woman you like away from her pad.

JACK: Welcome to the black hole of interpersonal relationships. Anything, repeat anything, could be contributing to the roommate’s behavior — from simple jealousy to latent hatred toward the opposite sex. My advice is to avoid the black hole all together, my friend. Remain calm, cool and collected at all times. In other words: this is your date’s problem in the end. All you have to do is walk a straight line and be polite. The nicer you are — i.e., why don't we invite your friend to brunch? — the more likely it is that the roommate and not you will be perceived as the problem.

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