Feeling Trapped

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’ve been in and out of relationship with Dave for 15 years, never
married. First it was good; then it was bad; then he moved out (year
seven); then I asked him back. When he came back I did what I swore
I would never do, put him on the deed, so that if I out of the
relationship I need to pay half the change in the house’s value since


For the last six years we’ve been roommates (not lovers), which
is good when it’s good and horrid when it’s not. We both meditate but
Dave is reflexively negative, an underachiever who just took early
social security – at a whopping $782 a month, if that tells you
anything about his work history (gardener, a lot earned “under the
table” which doesn’t help in one’s old age). He’s good around the
house and yard, but spends the rest of his time complaining and
watching TV. I moved to my mother’s for three months to help her
recover from major surgery, but find myself dreading the idea of
moving back. I think it’s time to pull the plug on this relationship, but I
cannot imagine enduring the drama and guilt-trips that’ll follow.
Feeling Trapped

Dear Trapped:
I can imagine something worse than the drama you’re wise to
anticipate: avoiding it forever and living with Dave. Close your eyes
and imagine another ten, twenty, thirty years with him. Does this
inspire joy and anticipation or sadness and resignation?


You have two choices: try a test period with new behavioral
boundaries, or tell him it’s kaput. I’d advocate three months living
together, but with rules that address the most egregious of your
gripes: restrictions on tv hours in the common spaces; time and
repetition limits on complaining; established meditation/quiet times in
the morning/evening; whatever it would take for you not to hate being
in the same home. In this market, it’s not going to cost you very much to buy
him out. The process may reveal the guy you used to like, or may provide                          him a financial cushion to relocate.. You may choose to be generous in either
paradigm, but you should be clear where your boundaries are.