September 7, 2016

Dealing With Roommates and Their Cats During the Dog Days

Hey, Bonita…

The AC in our house went out maybe a week ago, and it's taking our slumlords FOREVER to get it fixed. That sucks, but I think my roommates and I will be fine as long as we can open the doors and windows and get a breeze moving. Thing is, I've got one roommate who has several indoor cats, and they are very much against us opening doors and windows. There aren't any screens, so they're naturally worried that the cats will leap out and disappear into the night. I like to hang out in the living room, and it's just way too hot in there when you can't open a window at night!

Sometimes when my roommate isn't home I'll open the windows and just kinda watch the cats to be sure none of them try to jump out, but I always feel like a jerk later. I don't wanna be a liar or a sneak. But until the AC is back, I think our place is unlivable. How do I get through to this person before my skin melts off?

Oh, come on, Athens! This is such a non-issue. Go buy some screens and put them in yourselves—they're cheap, and it's easy—and make sure you take them with you when you move (slumlords get no love). Also, sometimes box fans fit perfectly into windows, so you might not even need screens if you just get a some of those. They even make window fans with extender panels so they'll fit the entire window frame.

The real issue here is communication and compatibility. I'm a little baffled that your roommate conversations never even got to the point of discussing buying some fans and screens for the house. Live with people whom you can talk to, and take the comfort of your home seriously. People are allowed to choose the safety of their pets over their own personal comfort, but those people should probably live alone.

Bonita, I wanted to give my own experience re: ED guy. I've been in his position before, and all I could do was sob uncontrollably for a long time. We're raised with unrealistic standards when it comes to sexuality and masculinity (and femininity), and recurring ED can be absolutely crushing. It's the only thing that's ever made me consider suicide—and that wasn't emotional manipulation, it was the complete devaluing of myself as a person because of my ED. I'm not saying it's fair for his wife to put up with him if he never comes around and addresses it, but crying uncontrollably shouldn't be a count against him.

Thanks for responding with your own experience! I've come to find out that my answer was misconstrued by some, so I'm glad that to have the opportunity to expound on my response and make myself more clear.

I've actually reconnected with the woman who wrote that letter, and guess what? She took my advice—asked if he wanted to either sleep with other people or separate—and it worked. He sucked it up and got a prescription for Cialis, case closed. It wasn't about shaming him into a particular response, it was about reminding him that two committed and monogamous partners are supposed to do everything they can to meet each other’s relationship needs, and if they're not doing that, it’s not a relationship with a healthy future.

I recommended that she talk to her partner about separation because she'd already done all the things I'd otherwise recommend—urging therapy, prescriptions, etc.—but he always responded by falling apart and ending the conversation. I admit I wasn't thinking about the the way ED was affecting his sense of self when I wrote my initial response, but I want it to be clear that I wasn't shaming him for crying.

Still, embarrassment doesn't override his promise to fulfill the needs of his partner. How many women out there diet like crazy just to keep their husbands happy? Seriously, y'all, this woman was on the verge of cheating on her husband over this. I really do think that the better option was for him to dry his eyes, dig deep and get a boner pill.

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