The Very Definition of "User"
I'm writing to you trying to find confirmation on how I'm feeling about my relationship with my roommate.
My roommate and I are both furries, bi and have been friends for about three years. We became closer as friends when he became homeless and I was moral support for the transition. Once he was able to find a place, I helped out by purchasing furniture for the apartment and generally checking in with him by text and weekly visits once I was back in the area.
During the following school year, this closeness on my part turned to attraction but when I told him how I felt, he turned me down saying I wasn't his type. When I asked if we could go out and give it a try anyways, he began to make up excuses. Finally he admitted to being attracted to someone online and had begun a long distance relationship with her. During this time his personal life improved as while he talked with her, I was still a source of companionship. But then the stresses of life began to drive a wedge between us and he became withdrawn. He later told me that he was having problems with his roommate and keeping up with bills. I helped him out twice with making rent.
When issues with his past roommate became too much for him to handle and began to worry me to the point of fearing for his safety, I helped him get settled in my apartment which I had reserved for the next school year with the understanding that he would watch it for me and take care of things as needed as I was studying abroad for the summer.
During my time away, he let his homeless friends use the shower and kitchen, sleep on the porch, his ex-(now evicted) roommates spent the night, one without his permission, nearly getting him and me also evicted and let people I didn't know stay and rifle through my belongs I had moved in before my trip. Because of this when I returned I found 100 dollars in money missing, movies and clothes gone and entire bin of my belongs missing. When I asked him what happened he admitted he had let them say and told me that they had gone through my stuff.
He apologized but I felt that his behavior put me in a difficult as now I had to kick the homeless off my porch and try to sort through what was missing. His lack of effort to be "the heavy" and to have general respect for the person he lives with by laying down the law with his guests caused issues with my family who considered kicking him out.
I still have a soft spot for him. He's smart, funny and easy to be around and live with mostly. He does however smoke weed even though he knows that the smell gets everywhere and my family and his are against it, spends his money on weed instead of paying for rent or food first (I've covering rent for three months now and buy groceries cause he does want to). He spends most of his time playing video games and talking to his girlfriend online. She and I aren't on good terms either as she cheated on her last boyfriend with my roommate and has another guy lined up for when she goes to college and breaks it of with my roomie.
Whenever I try to talk to him about this, he says he's trying and that I need to understand it's hard for him. He says he needs weed to relax, he loves his girlfriend and needs to drive 9 hours, taking of work to do so, to visit her. I think he's allowing himself to go down the same path that resulted in his original homelessness. Our friends in the college and neighborhood do to. My own friends think he's a hopeless cause and I've been told to be careful lest I get dragged down too.
I still care about him deeply. I won't say I love him, but it's close. I don't want to send him packing because in a way he saved me from a deep depression after some of my high school friends betrayed me after I went to college. I'm scared that if I turn my back him, he'll revert to his past behaviors and wipe up in trouble much more quicker than if I'm watching out for him.
What complicates this more is that I've been getting mixed messages from him on a more intimate level. At a party one night, he mentioned being cold and wanting to share his bed with a friend and me. That morning however when he woke up, he freaked out to find me next to him. When we eat out he'll brush his foot over mine multiple times and get embarrassed when I point it out. He's even began to flirt with me somewhat when he drinks. It's a little awkward, especially if I return the flirt he gets bashful or tells me to knock it off.
All in all, I'm tired of taking care of someone who is only a year younger than me. I'm trying of his games when I just get brushed aside so he can skype his girlfriend. Whenever I try and talk to him about how I feel, all I get is a insincere apology and nothing more. His words means very little to me has his actions never back them up. I don't trust his word at all so when he actually keeps it I'm surprised.
Thanks for your time and thought,
* * *
My Dear J-Chat,
I believe cases like yours are what may have originally inspired a phrase that is now abbreviated as “WTF,” or, in more polite language, “Are you kidding me?” You are being used and emotionally manipulated by a derp, or, in more psychological terms, you are empowering someone to take advantage of your ersatz codependency; that is, not a codependency as one might find in a marriage, but one in which there isn’t even an actual commitment of any sort between the two of you.
Not only is this guy taking advantage of your good heart, generosity, and extreme tolerance, but he makes these gestures toward you to encourage you to believe there might be a possibility of a loving relationship only to pull out and, as you noted, hang out with his girlfriend, who is also a user who switches boyfriends according to what is convenient to her needs at the time. In addition to this girlfriend, your roommate hangs out with other losers and users who then in turn use you.
You make excuses for him. Boo hoo, he had a rough time. Wah wah, he needs his weed to get over his stress. OMG. If he’s so smart and funny, why doesn’t he use those smarts and charisma to get a life?
He has taken your money, taken your heart, taken advantage of your trust to trash your apartment with his loser friends, and all you get is a wan smile, a lame apology, and insincere footsie action under the table.
Look, I try very hard in my column to sympathize with other people and understand their viewpoint and position. The vast majority of those who write me have serious problems and are genuinely trying to solve them and become better people. You, J-Chat, are a good person to a fault. You have given and given and given and are selflessly concerned about your roommate.
Your roommate, on the other hand, makes me want to barf up the salmon I had for dinner.
He might be charming, but he is not a good person. I tell you this from an objective viewpoint, which is why, I hope, you wrote to me—to gain some perspective.
Charity is a wonderful thing. Giving and living for other people is why we were put here on Earth, I firmly believe. But we can’t do that when our own well-being is destroyed by the recipients who take our charity without appreciation and who do nothing to try to be better persons themselves. A user, by definition, is someone who takes and doesn’t give back. A person who coasts through life, leeching off the good will of others who, if they don’t wise up, become suckers.
Time to wise up, J-Chat, and open your eyes to the fact that this guy will suck the very life out of you without a hint of regret. Don’t worry about what happens to him if you are strong enough to cut the ties. I’m sure he’ll find someone else to use.
Sorry to say that, but you did ask. Please take my words in the spirit they are intended: to try and help you.
I hope it works out for you.
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