Can Our Lease Weather Unrequited Love?

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My best friend (a gay man) confessed to our roommate (a straight man) that he’s been madly in love with him for two years and “always will be.” I expected this to ruin their relationship. But after our roommate explained that he wasn’t interested, everything was fine — until recently. My BFF began pushing boundaries. Last night, for instance, he jumped into our roommate’s bed and begged to sleep with him. Our roommate asked him nicely to leave, but finally had to yell at him. I’ve advised my BFF to move on to available men, but he won’t (and says he can’t). Help! There are two years left on our lease.


For as long as I can remember, going all the way back to the playground, when aggressive people start harassing others, most of the energy goes to the bullies rather than their targets. It should really be the other way around. Go to your straight roommate, tell him you’re sorry for the hassle he’s been through, and ask if you can help.

Your BFF’s behavior sounds childish and sort of abusive. He was entitled, I suppose, to declare his everlasting love to a straight guy. But no means no! When your roommate told him he didn’t share his feelings, the courtship should have ended.

People get crushes all the time. That doesn’t entitle them to act with impunity — or to get into other people’s beds. Your straight roommate may want to be left alone, or he may want to leave your uncomfortable apartment or have your BFF leave (depending on who holds the lease).

Your job, as a kind person and roommate, is to help him manage what he wants. At the very least, this should include an apology by your BFF and, going forward, a zero-tolerance policy on harassment. If your BFF can behave less impulsively, maybe no one has to move. Be sure to flip the script, though, and tend to the victim first.

Credit…Christoph Niemann

Home for the Holidays, in Twin Beds

I come from a traditional African-American family. I will be going home for Thanksgiving with my new boyfriend who is white — but that’s not the issue. I know that my mother will put us in separate bedrooms while we are there, but my boyfriend thinks sleeping separately at my parents’ house is hypocritical when we sleep together at home. It’s his first visit. Any thoughts?


Other than concern about your boyfriend’s emotional intelligence? As an adult, he should know that this is your call. If you want to raise the issue of sleeping arrangements with your traditional parents on his first visit (and possibly go to war over them), have at it!

Otherwise, encourage your new boyfriend to take it slow and learn the rules of the road this Thanksgiving. Let him pretend he can start calling the shots (at other people’s homes) next year.

Sorry, Your Reservation Is Canceled

My girlfriend and I moved in together recently. After we did, I learned that she had previously promised a friend she could stay in her apartment for a few days during a trip to our city while we were out of town for a month. My girlfriend asked if her friend could use our new apartment. I wouldn’t mind, but we’d agreed to Airbnb our apartment to help pay for our trip. When my girlfriend told her friend this, well in advance, she took it badly, implying my girlfriend had broken a promise. I would have taken it as bad luck and found a new place to stay. The issue: Do favors remain in effect after circumstances change?


The real issue here is that you’re only thinking about what you want (the payout), and your girlfriend’s pal is only thinking about what she wants (a free place to stay). What if you tried keeping everyone’s needs in mind?

Your girlfriend made a promise to her friend before she knew she was moving in with you. No one’s at fault here. Can you possibly Airbnb your apartment around the friend’s travel dates?

Or can you use a little of the income from your monthlong rental to subsidize part of the friend’s lodging for the few days she is in town? People of good faith find reasonable solutions every day — or at least try to.

I See You

I had aortic valve replacement surgery, and whenever I spot a linear scar down someone’s sternum, I am tempted to ask about it, thinking we are members of the same open-heart-surgery club and may enjoy comparing notes. But staring at strangers and demanding explanations of their physical abnormalities is frowned upon. Do I enjoy an exemption, due to my circumstances, or should I leave this alone?


I admire your impulse to make the world a smaller place: just two souls with long vertical scars down their chests. But I bet there are many illnesses that result in such scars (some more serious and with worse prognoses than yours). So, instead of possibly triggering trauma in strangers, try silence.

For help with your awkward situation, send a question to, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.