Advice

Carolyn Hax: Why does friend’s observation about her fiancé bother her?

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I am happily engaged to a wonderful man. He is renovating a condo that we will move into this summer, so I have picked up his share of the household chores.

I also have some habits from living alone for so long that annoy him and that I am working to fix (forgetting to refill the toilet paper roll, leaving rinsed dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher, little things). We are able to communicate these in such a way that gently reminds me of whatever habit I just did, and laugh it off together.

My best friend just informed me that she thinks my fiancé is bossy and controlling. I was shocked, but now I can’t get the idea out of my head. Every time he points out that I dropped my clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the laundry, I wonder if I’m missing some sign that I am being controlled.

I do know my friend is unhappy that we see each other far less than we used to (I practically lived with her and her husband, and just after I started dating my now-fiancé I got a job across town so it’s hard to get together as much), so I don’t know if this is a manifestation of her jealousy, or if she’s picking up on something I can’t see.

Missed Something?

Tough call. On the one hand, we’re talking about leaving clothes on the floor, which is rude in a shared home; it’s not like you have to use a level on the hand towels a la Sleeping With the Enemy. And if we can’t remind our partners in life not to strand us without TP, then we might as well all live alone.

On the other hand, I imagine being corrected by a partner and cringe. If there weren’t some truth to your friend’s observation, wouldn’t you have laughed it off?

I don’t have enough information to commit to an answer, except this one: Are you completely and comfortably yourself around your fiancé? Are you making an effort to be a better roommate because you want to, or do you feel you have to for fear of losing him? A marriage to someone controlling means never feeling completely at ease. Don’t do that to yourself.

And, make more time for your friend. Good policy regardless.

Re: Stranded without TP! When living alone, I often was too lazy to go get the new toilet paper roll when I used up the old one and as a result stranded myself a few times. I got into the habit of putting the empty TP roll on the top of the closed toilet lid so that I could NOT sit down without noticing I was out (don’t ask me why this was less trouble than just getting the new roll). When my roommate moved in, she just about died laughing the first time she saw the empty roll on top of the lid, but at least I didn’t strand her! Who knows, maybe this is a solution for someone else.

Anonymous

Maybe, but I think this says more about the merits of choosing the right roommate than the right safeguard against TP stranding.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.

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