DEAR AMY: My roommate “Bart” and I are mostly on great terms with one another, but a few times a month, he and I go through a frustrating routine. It usually starts with me casually expressing my opinion on something, during the course of an otherwise normal conversation. If he disagrees, he gets angry and curses at me. I ask him if we can talk about it, and then he storms off, doesn’t talk to me for days, and then, when he’s ready, he’ll start talking to me again. I’m enabling his behavior by dropping the subject and letting him think it’s OK if he mistreats me in this way. I think I do this because I want the whole thing to blow over and am just so done with his tantrums, but now I think I need to take action because it keeps happening. Recently, he came into my room just to chit chat like we usually do. Then suddenly he gave his unsolicited opinion on my close relationship with a friend. His attitude was critical and prying. He said he thought it was “fishy” that I hung out with my friend in my room with the door closed. I felt this was very rude (and odd) of him to bring this up. I calmly told him it wasn’t his place to judge, and that I did not ask his opinion of our relationship. He walked out of my room cursing me, telling me to shut up, and to never ask him for anything ever again. He then left a book I had given him in front of my door. I was shocked at how weirdly south that went, but also not surprised. After these confrontations I’m left feeling awkward and ill-at-ease in our home for a few days and do my best to avoid him. What do you think I should do about this?
DEAR DONE: You have the right to live in your own home without the pressure of tiptoeing around your roommate for several days after he lashes out.
You should take a long and careful look at whether you want to continue to cohabit with him. You don’t seem to feel unsafe, but you will have to gauge whether his volatility and behavior presents a safety issue for you.
You should also talk to him about his behavior — during a calm moment. Tell him, “I really like living with you. I value our friendship. But your anger seems to come out of nowhere. Maybe I should have said something earlier, but I’m saying it now. I truly do not know what’s going on with you, but I don’t like being confronted, yelled at, and cursed at.”
There are a multitude of possible explanations for why your roommate acts this way. He might offer up some reasons or excuses for his behavior. He might act out, curse you out, and ghost you. But you will have stated your case.
DEAR AMY: Mother’s Day will be upon us soon. I am a resident of a senior living facility and have some suggestions for your readers: If your parent or loved one is in a senior living facility, she is more like a prisoner since the pandemic began. Amenities such as shopping or post office trips are a thing of the past. Instead of a gift of perfumed powder, what she could really use are postage stamps and/or thank-you notes or a selection of birthday, get-well or sympathy cards to send out. I am not a mother, but would like to speak for my fellow residents, many of whom are moms. Can you pass the word along?
Senior Living Resident
DEAR RESIDENT: This is fantastic advice. I would add that receiving mail — not just on special days — could help to spark enriching correspondences.
DEAR AMY: “Bewildered” are a married couple that found out they have half-siblings through DNA testing. Several years ago, I snooped through a significant other’s phone and found things that broke my heart and turned my life upside down for a long time. I believe things truly happen for a reason, but ever since that day, I live steadfastly by the phrase: “If you can’t handle what you find when you snoop, DON’T SNOOP.”
Figured it Out the Hard Way
DEAR FIGURED: This is great advice. I will add that people who receive unexpected results might ask relatives, “Do you want to know what I’ve learned?” before blurting it out.