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Ex-etiquette: Roommate dating ex may mean a new living situation

| Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Question: Today my roommate came home to say she had found her soul mate, the love of her life. However, he was my soul mate last year, and after a very heated conversation where I told her I thought she was invading my privacy, she told me, “Deal with it, all's fair in love and war.” That can't be good ex-etiquette. What do I do?

Answer: There's not much you can do, short of move — or ask her to move — unless you want to continue living in an uncomfortable situation.

She's sort of backed you into a corner with the “all's fair in love and war” attitude. She's admitting she knows she's being unethical, but she really doesn't care, and if that's the case, it's time to look for a new roommate.

If they get serious, he'll probably stay over, and then you'll have to decide whether that's something you want to live with.

I vote no. Time to move on.

Of course, it's not good ex-etiquette to date your friend's ex, unless they give their blessing. They both could have moved on and no one cared. Most don't get the approval; yet, people still do it, which doesn't make it OK, it's just what happens when people are attracted to each other. Reason usually goes right out the window, and, like your roommate, they don't care whose feelings get hurt. Problem is, it could just be a paper fire — all flash and burns out quickly.

Once all the smoke clears, you are still hurting, she's lost a friend, a boyfriend and a place to live. If she thinks it through, the chances are not that good for a positive outcome. Even if she gets the guy, that's still just 1 in 4. Bad odds. Bad ex-etiquette.

Your roommate is calling your ex her “soul mate.” Not sure what a “soul mate” is exactly, but people, particularly women, think they are out there hiding somewhere and when they are found, they will inherently be understood just by breathing the same air. If that's the case, you can understand why your roommate might want to risk it all.

It's interesting how easily someone can feel like a “soul mate” when the hormones are flying.

Bottom line, from an ex-etiquette standpoint, everyone has shown their true colors. If she had come home with a more sensitive approach, one might have been inclined to look at it differently, and you might have been able to work through it.

She could have put herself in your shoes and used empathy when problem-solving. (Ex-Etiquette rule No. 7.) She did use ex-etiquette rule No. 8, “Be honest and straightforward,” but her approach is wanting.

As it is, she doesn't seem to care that much about how you feel — and when you live with someone, roommate or romantically, their feelings should, at least, be taken into consideration.

Dr. Jann Blackstone is the author of “Ex-etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation,” and the founder of Bonus Families, www.bonusfamilies.com. Reach her at drjannblackstone@gmail.com.

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