Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I recently ended a 15-year live-in- but-not- married relationship. I
supported my ex, whom I watched decline into a sad and unhappy
spiral of drug use, lack of employment, chronic negativity, and general
avoidance of responsibility for herself. It was a long and very difficult
period of my life. Relocating her out of my home and into a settled
new reality was a long and expensive process that I tried to handle as
compassionately as I could. But now that I am living alone I realize
that I get lonelier than I expected, and also that I need some help with
the small chores she did provide, primarily pet care. A woman I have
just started to befriend is new to town. She is looking for a place to
live and has suggested a roommate relationship in exchange for
chores while she looks for a job. Should I be kind and try to help her
or should I put my guard up and beware?
Not Sure What’s Next
Dear Not Sure What’s Next:
Any time one changes a major life circumstance it is wise to take some
time for recovery. You don’t say if “recently” is measured in weeks or
months, but I’m betting it’s not years or you would have a clearer idea
of what to do and be more trustful (or mistrustful) or your instincts.
My advice is to say No thanks and here’s why: You could easily re-
create a very similar circumstance to the one you just got out of.
There might not be the emotional complications of relationship. But
there would be the reality of another adult living with you who does
not have visible means of support. You can solve the pet care problem
by hiring a neighbor kid, buying automatic pet feeders, adding a pet
door and covered run or shelter, or other simple solutions. These are
fixes that’ll ensure your domestic freedom while you readjust to your
new life circumstances.
Tell the potential new roomie that you have promised yourself you will
spend at least two years living alone before you make any changes.
Then look for a good counselor to help you look at your issues.