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'My Housemates Turned My Partner Against Me!'

You asked, and this time, our readers helped us answer.

by Gretchen Brown
July 22, 2021 | Love
colorful thought bubbles surround the column name, Ask Me Instead.

Dear Ask Me Instead,

My partner and I had a healthy relationship before our housemates, but when they came, my partner spent most of his time with them, and they had a very negative effect on him, and everyone turned against me.

I don't deserve to be miserable in my own home. What can I do to solve this problem?

We asked our followers on Instagram and Facebook for help answering this week's question. And spoiler alert: the consensus was pretty much unanimous.

"Get out now." "Dump him." "Leave."

social media responses reading "get out now" and "dump him." rewire pbs love housemates
a Facebook comment saying "leave." rewire pbs love housemates

I can't help but agree with our readers. Even though "dump him" has become a common internet refrain, especially on Reddit R/Relationships and R/AmITheAsshole, it's advice we need more often than we admit.

From an outsider's point of view, of course you should leave — at the very least, leave the house, if not the relationship. Why would you stay somewhere that makes you uncomfortable, that makes you sad, that radiates negative energy each and every day?

And why would you stay with someone who is making you miserable, or at least, doesn't care that your housemates are?

Hearing "dump him" can make you feel ridiculous for staying as long as you have. It's so obvious to everyone else, you think. How could you not see?

Being in the thick of a relationship like that is different. You don't have 20-20 vision. Leaving can seem just as difficult as staying.

The Netflix show Bojack Horseman puts it best: "When you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags."

Maybe you're replaying all the good times in your head. Maybe you don't know what life will be like on your own anymore because this is all you've known for a long while.

a pointing hand abstract. REWIRE PBS love partners housemates
Credit: Ben Malley // TPT and Ded Pixto // Adobe

Some humans are wired to solve problems. Faced with a difficult situation, we don't run away. We think we can fix it, all on our own.

Sometimes this gets us in trouble. We don't reach out for help, too stubborn to believe we need it.

Don't blame yourself for staying, for seeing the signs and thinking "I can fix this," instead of running far, far away.

But now that you see things for what they are, this is a situation you need a clean break from. Solving this problem means getting out of it.

One reader, Patricia, put it this way:

"Move out. Your partner can either wake up and follow, or stay with (his housemates)," she writes.

"If they want to follow you, you need to assess the relationship and whether it's worth continuing to invest in somebody that would do that. Frankly, I don't think it is."

a reader response on Facebook. Rewire pbs love housemates

I don't know your full situation. I don't know how much of your misery was perpetuated by your partner alone, and how much was the fault of his housemates.

Your partner is a different person than he was when you started dating. It's natural to grow and change over time, and can be one of the most challenging parts of a long-term relationship. Because that change isn't always in line with the way your partner has changed.

But if I'm reading it right, the way your partner has changed has made him incapable of sticking up for you in front of his friends, and that is inexcusable. 

No, it's not your partner's job to be the only person who makes you happy. But your partner should want to make you happy and do things to help make that happen. A good partner is supportive, not combative, and that includes around his friends.

If you two were removed from the situation, living completely on your own, would the problem go away? Maybe. 

But in the real world, our relationships aren't in a bubble. The way he treats you when other people are around should tell you all you need to know about who he is.

Have a life dilemma?

Email Ask Me Instead at [email protected] or send us a note using this form. All submissions are anonymous.

For more good advice, visit the Ask Me Instead collection.

Gretchen Brown
Gretchen Brown is an editor for Rewire. She’s into public media, music and really good coffee. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @gretch_brown.
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