“Ugh: My boyfriend is hardcore flirting with my roommate.”

Dear Sarah,

I’ve been seeing a one guy exclusively for about eight months now. Things were great until the past couple of weeks. He’s a massive flirt with everyone, but usually I can deal. We are both at university and it seems like everybody is pretty chummy and flirtatious. Anyway, now I feel like it’s crossed a line: he and my housemate have started to flirt with each other—a lot. Only a few days ago, for example, they were sitting together across the table from me reading each other’s phones and being all touchy-feely. It felt so disrespectful. I don’t understand why she does this with him when she knows we are going out? It also happens over Snapchat and via text. I’ve talked to him about it, and he says that flirting is “a part of him,” and he doesn’t want to change. OK, fair enough, but I just wish that since we are in a relationship, he’d start acting like it and that other people would also respect the fact we’re going out.

So, what do I do? Should I ignore it or say something?

Thank you for letting me rant!

—Annoyed and Confused in London

Dear Annoyed,

I’m shaking my head. You have every right to be both annoyed and confused. Two words come immediately to mind: NOT COOL. Yes, college is a big hormonal soup and it is pretty common to indulge in some harmless dabbling with all those cute boys and girls running around. However, this kind of in-your-face behavior with your housemate is unacceptable. It sounds like you have been quite tolerant about letting him be his little Casanova self thus far, so no one could accuse you of being uptight or controlling. You just want to feel safe and loved. That’s normal. Nobody feels great being in a relationship with a player.

You should say something and soon. Between the cuddling and texting and Snapchatting, its easy to imagine an overheated scenario in which your housemate and BF say or do something that—although they may regret it—could be truly hurtful to you. He’s already been defensive about his “I gotta be me” behavior, so assume there will be resistance. Before you approach him, be really clear about how you are feeling and what your expectations of him are. To prepare for the conversation, maybe sit down and write out a list of statements like, “When you do X, this is how it makes me feel.” Remind him that you were cool with some degree of messing around, but the situation with your housemate is painful and makes you unsure about his commitment to you.

Sort things out with him before you address your housemate. For one thing, if he turns the volume down, she’ll probably back off as well. If she pursues him, you’ll need to express to her how this is hurtful, and that it’s very important to you to protect: 1. Your relationship with him. 2. Your friendship with her. And, 3. Simply enjoy a peaceful living situation. Try to be as calm as you can, it’s unfair, but if you start ranting, it may just give them both a excuse (however lame) to blow you off.

Unfortunately, their inconsiderate behavior has thrust you into a thorny situation, but I have faith that you have the good sense to sort it out intelligently, and—no matter what—be able to hold your own head high.

Love, Sarah

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