Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 6:15 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Feelings for housemate who’s smitten with a player

Advice columnist Carolyn Hax offers a compromise on handling a tricky situation.


Syndicated columnist

advertising

Dear Carolyn

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

DEAR CAROLYN: My housemate is smitten with a girl (nothing has happened yet), and he asks me for advice and I just have such a bad feeling. It’s so viscerally anti-her that I wonder if I’m secretly harboring feelings for him. And it’s nothing glaring — she seems thoughtful and is very friendly.

Can you tell me if my red flags are ludicrous? (1) She has dated at least four of his friends. (2) All of them still have strong negative feelings about her. (3) She started getting very close to him (gifts, late-night texts) while still dating someone else. (4) She seems to need to be desired, by a lot of people, a lot. (5) She is MUCH friendlier to men than women.

Am I a jealous hag?

— Red Flags

DEAR RED FLAGS: Each flag seems legitimate, and you do have feelings for him.

The former isn’t a tough call, and the latter isn’t my call at all — you basically admitted it. If I’m right, though, then think of it as a game of hearts. Either stay out of it entirely while his crush runs its (collision) course, or shoot the moon — admit you’re allergic to her for what you think are legitimate reasons in spite of your blatant self-interest due to your, ah, feelings for him.

TO RED FLAGS: I don’t know if I agree with Carolyn. I have had similar feelings about a woman whom you describe to such a tee I genuinely wondered if it was the same person. This woman didn’t really encroach on my marital territory (although she did overrun my social network), so it wasn’t an issue of romantic jealousy. She just ... triggered me. It can be personally offensive to watch a woman use your (male) friends for their affections, and also not value other women at all.

— Anonymous

DEAR ANONYMOUS: Thanks. You’re right, someone can still offend you when you have no personal stake in her actions.

... To the extent that, when I read the description, I too thought it could be someone I once knew. Same thing — couldn’t abide the person even when nothing of mine was at stake. Still can’t.

DEAR CAROLYN: I do think I probably have feelings for him. Our housing situation is essentially a sexless companion marriage — I have never gotten along with anyone quite so easily or well, down to the level of messiness tolerable, correct procedure for making a stir-fry, kindness and musical taste. I’m protective of him for that, and also because his mother recently died. I get irritated every time this girl’s name comes up. I know he loves living with me, but I don’t think the romantic feelings are mutual.

— Red Flags again

DEAR RED FLAGS AGAIN: I hope you two find your way to each other.

There might be a middle way to handle this, if you think you can admit she rubs you the wrong way and also admit you’re not an unbiased judge ... without overcommitting to an analysis of either. Planting seeds, leaving breadcrumbs, pick your cliché, would let him think things over, at least.

If you let things run their course, though, remember — he’ll apparently have “strong negative feelings about her” soon.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax. Find her columns daily at www.seattletimes.com/living



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Hurry! Last two weeks to save 15%.

Hurry! Last two weeks to save 15%.

Reserve your copy of "The Seattle Sketcher," the long-awaited book by staff artist Gabriel Campanario, for the special price of just $29.95.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising

The Seattle Times Historical Archives

Browse our newspaper page archives from 1900-1984

Homes -- New Home Showcase

Three homes ready for move-in by year-end

Three homes ready for move-in by year-end


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►