Alice, How Do I Deal With My Roommate & Her Boyfriend’s Arguments?

updated May 3, 2019
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Dear Alice,

My official roommate has her boyfriend living with her, which has been the situation for two and half years with no real problems. He’s very friendly, respectful, and helpful, and is basically our third and unofficial roommate. However, sometimes they get into couple fights, and this often ends with her screaming at the top of her lungs at him for at least 10 minutes at a time.

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It comes and goes but sometimes these arguments can last for weeks and there is no escape from the daily barrage of screaming and yelling. I can even hear it upstairs through noise-cancelling headphones. Although he doesn’t shout back, I still get really upset when this happens, having grown up in a household where shouting and verbal abuse were not uncommon.

Part of the problem is that she’s going through an emotionally unstable time in her life, in large part due to changing medications. I want to be understanding of this, but I also want to have a peaceful home environment. How do I talk to her about this without making her feel bad about her condition?


Ear Sore

Dear Ear Sore,

It sounds like you’ve not only have tolerated, but kind of enjoyed having your roommate’s boyfriend as a third roommate for the past few years and I’m relieved that situation is generally working out. But what’s not working out and what you don’t have to tolerate is being exposed to your roommate’s shoutfests.

You need to talk with her, bringing compassion for her current emotional shakiness, to explain that her outbursts have an effect on you: that they stress you out and make you feel uncomfortable in your own home. You sound like an easygoing person, but the downside to this personality trait is that your agreeability and silence can be mistaken for acquiescence or even contentment with the status quo. Even if your roommate doesn’t change her behavior after your talk, at least you’ve spoken up.


p.s. Readers, have you ever lived with a couple before and dealt with their arguments? How did you handle it?

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