My Guy is Being Taken Advantage Of

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
I'm in a nine month relationship and generally we are very happy. Yes, there is the occassional argument, but so far we have always been able to talk about things and sort them out. My problem is this. My partner is staying with three other guys as he cannot afford the rent on his own. One of these three guys is his cousin, who is not working and just causing him a lot of problems. Even when he was working (briefly), he didn't contribute in any way for food or rent.

Things are getting serious now, however, as the guy keeps boring money from people or taking cellphones from them and promising to pay them, which he then can't as he doesn't have money. They then come looking for money from my partner, and recently even threatened to take his radio and things for the money this guy owes them.

This causes friction in our relationship, as first of all my partner will often not be able to come and visit me as he has to sort out his (cousin's) problems. Sometimes when he does come to visit he's down and he just wants to sleep in order to escape from his problems.

I really love this guy a lot and I don't know how to help. I've suggested that he get rid of this guy, that he moves in with me, but he insists on sorting things out on his own, which comes down to talking to the guy and paying his debts for him. It really annoys me that he keeps letting this guy take advantage of him like this, and it annoys me that it affects our relationship.

I love him very much, but I have needs too and lately things have been getting worse with this cousin. I'm not sure how to handle this situation. Please help.

PS, my boyfriend is 20 years old. Advice
OK, I realize this is really stressful and tough. But it might help to realize that TONS of college-age roommates go through this exact situation. There is usually one immature member of the group that still thinks like a kid. He figures "mommy and daddy" will always take care of him and sort of looks on his new roommates as his new "parents". So just like a toddler, he's going to keep pushing limits and pushing limits to see what he can get away with. He has no reason to take care of himself, if everybody else can be tricked into doing it for him!

Just like with toddlers, the only solution is to draw a line. You can't reason with him - he's not interested in being reasonable! He's interested in having his own way. He either meets the rules of the house, that ALL household members meet, or he has to leave. It is NOT being harsh to do this. It is treating him like an adult. It's the same rules ALL adults live by.

I know your boyfriend wants to "be an adult" and handle this on his own. However, the person he is dealing with is NOT acting like an adult. And one of those things you learn in life is that you can NOT "fix" other people and you can NOT "force them" to grow up. That is something this toddler-guy is going to have to do all on his own. By maintaining the apartment environment for toddler-guy, the others are actually encouraging him and enabling him to keep on in his delusional world.

So I would actually recommend that your boyfriend either 1) set rules down for the next two weeks, and if they're not met, out goes the toddler-guy or 2) let toddler-guy make his way ON HIS OWN and come to live with you. Your boyfriend should be an adult. Yes. And that involves setting rules, following them and not putting up with toddler behavior. There is no way, 2 weeks from now, that your boyfriend should in ANY way be involved with this other guy unless the accounts are fully settled. To do otherwise is to make things worse.

As a girlfriend you can't TELL your guy what to do. But you can tell him you 100% stand by his decision to do the *right thing* - and that the right thing involves making a stand. Being an adult is really tough. You have to do things that hurt others. But if you don't make a stand for yourself and what is right, you turn into a doormat. It's time for your boyfriend to take that stand - and you as his girlfriend will be right there at his side.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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