Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Tenancy causes relationship tension

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My boyfriend "Wally" and I bought our first home together 10 months ago. Three months ago, his friend "Bart" moved into our guest room.

Three weeks later he had furniture delivered. More is in the basement. Bart is self-employed (he buys and trades stocks) but has been traveling overseas off and on. When I broach the subject of finding other housing, he tells me that he doesn't want to rent (even though he rents from us for $200 a month). He says he'd rather buy a house.

The uncertainty surrounding the length and terms of his stay has caused tension in my relationship with my boyfriend, and more than a few fights. We have had ongoing issues, but before Bart arrived, our relationship was in a good place, although communication is clearly still something we need to work on.

All I want is a rough timeline and clear expectations. After more than a year of living in my boyfriend's parents' infested and cluttered basement, I want our home back. I want Bart to re-evaluate his own expectations, find his own apartment and start building his life, so we can focus on building ours.

I'm not sure I will get Wally100 percent onboard with having this conversation with Bart. I have asked him to, but he said he doesn't want to ask him too many questions because he believes it is none of our business.

I would like to casually start the conversation with both of them in the room so that both of us can hear what Bart's thoughts are concerning his future.

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I know what I WANT to say, but HOW do I say it without coming off like I'm kicking him out?

-- Crowded

Dear Crowded: You co-own this house. You have an equal right to express how the house is run, and who lives there. I suggest you firmly locate your backbone and freely share your reasonable concern with both men. Because you have allowed this man to live in your home as a tenant, it might be more difficult to get him to leave than you realize.

Most importantly, you are in a relationship where you don't think you have an equal voice. You seem to have agreed to this tenancy beforehand, and either you were too passive to express your doubts at the time, or the reality of this has given you second thoughts.

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