Power Struggle with Roommate; Need Advice

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Surf Rider
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04 Apr 2017, 6:02 pm

So I think that my roommate and I are locked in a power struggle. It's just the two of us in our apartment in student housing, so we're stuck with each other for the time being. There's kind of a hostile feeling between us, which I don't want.

It started with him getting on my case for cleaning up after myself. I started being better about cleaning up after myself, and I pointed out that the messes he left were as big as mine. He resisted this, maintaining that it was my messes that mattered and that his messes were irrelevant. In one discussion there were some crumbs and some goop he'd left lying on the table in front of me, which I pointed out, and it took going in circles with the discussion 3 or 4 times before he agreed that his mess was a problem and that he needed to clean it up. Each time he pointed out a mess of mine, I said I would clean it up, and then I'd point out a mess of his, and he'd say that his mess wasn't important.

He's also tried to set me up with people several times and has tried to get me to try online dating several times. I refused in every case, and eventually he stopped asking.

I get the feeling that this isn't really about cleaning up messes, because today he left a puddle of coffee on the counter and on the coffee table. He also leaves his laundry detergent and a bag of oranges and his backpack in the living room, so to me, it's not about cleaning up messes. I think this is more that he's trying establish that he's in charge of the apartment and that he's the dominant one in our roommate-ship. So far my resistance to his efforts to establish dominance have only frustrated him further.

Any advice on what to do? I was going to be upfront with him and say that I think this dispute is about dominance rather than messiness, but if you have a better idea, let me know.


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the_phoenix
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04 Apr 2017, 6:41 pm

Surf Rider wrote:
I get the feeling that this isn't really about cleaning up messes, because today he left a puddle of coffee on the counter and on the coffee table.

Any advice on what to do? I was going to be upfront with him and say that I think this dispute is about dominance rather than messiness, but if you have a better idea, let me know.


Puddles of coffee? How rude ... sounds like he's passive aggressive.

Careful about confronting this guy and telling him you think the dispute is about dominance rather than messiness, that could all too easily backfire. He might think you're weak and whining for bringing the topic up that way, he might laugh at you, he might double-down and be twice as messy since now he knows for sure he's upsetting you ... that could feed into his sense of power over you.

With a guy like this, I would pick my battles carefully. If anything, I would be more likely to talk to him about the puddles of coffee (of which the evidence is right there) than I would about "dominance" (which he can easily just deny).

And yeah, it definitely sounds like there will be times when the right thing to do is to stand up to him. The thing is to do so with confidence and assertiveness.

Here's a quick YouTube video on the topic:



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Summer_Twilight
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05 Apr 2017, 12:25 pm

Your situation reminds me time and time again why I lost my interest in roommates long ago.

It sounds like he's a bit of a hypocrite next to trying to fix you because he doesn't want to fix himself. He also sounds like he's a bit on the controlling side.

Standing up for yourself:
1.I appreciate the effort in finding me a significant other but that's just not on the radar for me right now or "That's just not my focus at the moment."
2. Maybe we should start having weekly meetings about who cleans what each month verses who's responsible for personal messes.
3. You can also leave notes on the kitchen counter or bedroom door.
"Hey, I came home last night and there was a huge mess out there. Please start cleaning up after yourself."

If this doesn't work, you can also talk with the people who are mentors.



Surf Rider
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06 Apr 2017, 1:55 pm

Thanks for the responses. It seems to have gotten a little better and he seems to have backed off a little. But I'm sure there will be some future conflicts. I feel good about myself when I stand up for myself, like I did in this situation. I do have some things I could improve with my cleaning but I didn't let him push me around, which is what I was going for.


_________________
Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 107 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 122 of 200
You seem to have both neurodiverse and neurotypical traits