Leaving the Nest

I received the below submission as comment on a previous post:

“I have a question! Next Fall my daughter is going away to a University. I’ve been preparing her for over a year now on how to live alone without a parent and what things to watch out for, yet I still have a lot of anxiety over her move and being without me. We will be 3 states apart and it is really hard for me to let go. What tips do you have on letting go and not freaking out when I say good-bye….. ”

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Dear Reader,

As you may, or may not know, I am not the expert on sending daughters off to college. So, I consulted the authority on this matter…my own mother. She has successfully sent 3 daughters off to college. I thought she might have some valuable insight, having lived it 3 times over.

If her insight isn’t what you needed to hear, I just have to say it was what I needed to hear this weekend. It gave me a boost for the week, I did not know I needed. Since our quick chat, I have felt continuously thankful that I have a mother that is so self-aware, wise, selfless and encouraging.  I know not so many people are as lucky as I am. However, dear reader, I think your daughter must be as lucky and me and my sisters have been.

My Mom expressed that she felt similar emotions to what you are feeling about the impending move and separation. That worrying about the “What if she can’t or won’t?!” is perfectly normal, but instead try to think about the “What if she can and will?!”. She said that positive outlook really made a big difference for her. She was able to be excited about our futures and be excited with us for the next step, instead of dwelling on something negative. Personally, I always feel the most excited and prepared when my parents are also excited for me. Their approval and belief in me gives me an extra boost of confidence when I might normally feel unsure.

From my perspective, I feel that it is human nature to fulfill the roles people assign to us. People who are labeled as”losers”, have been told over and over again they are a loser, they are lazy and are good for nothing. The same goes for people who are confident, successful and happy. They are built up by those around them. We start to believe and embody what the people around us think and say about us.  Since your daughter already has the tools needed to succeed, keep on encouraging her and reminding her of how great she will do on her own. Of course, there will be hard parts to college, but going in believing that she can handle it, that she is aware and that she will succeed will give her the upper hand in most situations.

In terms of letting go and how hard it can be,  my mother suggested, to be so thankful that you were able to raise a healthy young woman who can be on her own. That you can “let go”. There are many parents who wish that their child was capable of such an accomplishment. But on the day of the move, tears are inevitable! Do your best to keep it together, because it is not your daughter’s  responsibility to make you happy, but it is your responsibility to make sure she doesn’t feel guilty about pursuing her dreams.

All in all, you gave her the tools she needs, now believe in yourself that you succeeded in raising her right and share the joy and excitement that will come with the future.

With Love,

Stephanie

Busting a Move

Dear Stephanie,

I have been living with one of my best friends for 2 years and it’s been great. We have the same living habits, our apartment is in a cute old brownstone in a great neighborhood, and an easy commute to work for the both of us. The only downside is that I have a much smaller room and we pay the same rent. My room is technically part of her room, just with a wall divider, so there isn’t much privacy. This has never been an issue, just more of an inconvenience for me which I’ve never felt was a problem since, I’ve been happy with every other aspect of our living space.

Things started to change when she got a boyfriend last January. Which I understand and is part of life, things change. I started dating my now BF too, and we both spend a lot of time with our boyfriends and MUCH less time together as friends. This is fine, but it’s just been a very different living situation than it was before.

So, anyways, I hadn’t any intention of moving any time soon, but my boyfriend and I were talking about the future, and discussed living together. He recently asked if I would seriously consider moving in with him and I was open to the idea, but hesitant to leave my roommate to fend for herself. I knew I was not ready to move out in the next month or so. I said I would consider it for next year ( This discussion is happening in August/September) when our lease was up at the end of February. On that note, he researched and found some places for us to look at for the future and I was interested. So, one weekend we decided to take a look get a feel for the rental market.

I didn’t tell my roommate we were going to look, because I didn’t want to alarm her. Nothing was set in stone and it was just to see what was out there just for our own research. So, off we went to get ideas. I didn’t tell my roommate and I thought I was doing the right thing by not alarming her.

When we were looking we ended up falling IN LOVE with one of the apartments. As soon as we walked in the apartment, I could picture my life with my boyfriend there. I wasn’t expecting it to happen, but once we saw the place we knew we had to move. Bonus!! – the rent would be the same as my current, but I would be getting SO much more.

After speaking with a leasing agent, she told us a few places were still available and if we were seriously interested, we should put a hold on one of the apartments for March 2018. It all happened so fast, but we felt comfortable committing to a place since we wouldn’t have to move until the end of February. At the time a little less 6 months away.

It was perfect. I was only concerned about leaving my roommate and her having to figure out a new living arrangement. After thinking about it more, I decided that I needed to do what was best for me and my life. Since, the move was 5 months out when I told her, I thought  that was enough time to let her know and for her to figure out what to do.

I told my roommate 3 weeks ago that I am moving out in February. She was shocked when I told her, and I don’t know if I was communicating super clearly. It was hard to show my excitement but also my empathy. She said she was upset because she feels like this came out of nowhere, and said she has nowhere to go and doesn’t want to live with anyone else or anywhere else. I offered multiple times to help her look for places or roommates and she said no.

My roommate has now been ignoring me for 3 weeks, and I’ve tried to stay friendly and say good morning and goodnight, but it’s awkward. She literally hasn’t talked to me at all. At this point, I’m not sure what to do. Its awkward and uncomfortable being at my apartment, and I don’t know how to interact with her since she won’t talk. She’s not some random person I’m living with, she was one of my best friends. I didn’t think our friendship was going to end over this, and I don’t necessarily think it is over at this point, but I don’t know how to repair it, or even if it can be repaired. I’m 100% set and excited to move and I feel I’ve offered all I can to help her for the next step.  I don’t even talk about my new apartment with someone if she’s home so I don’t hurt her feelings.

Do you have any advice on how to handle the next few months living in this situation or how to mend things with her?? Or should I let the friendship slowly go if this is how things are going to be?

Sincerely,

A Frustrated Roommate

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Dear Frustrated,

First I want to say congrats on that exciting, and big step you are taking with your boyfriend! I am sure you will both be very happy in this next adventure.

Next, I want to say thanks for your question an all the background information you gave. It painted a clear picture for me and I’m sorry that while you are so excited for the next step with your boyfriend, your friendship is suffering. But, I admire you for wanting to mend the fence with your friend. I am not that sure I am as big of a person, especially since she can’t expect you to live with her forever, and 5 months is a crazy generous amount of time for her to get it together (2 months is standard), and you are offering to help her out  AND she is acting like an absolute child giving you the silent treatment. Sounds to me like she is the one who needs some advice! But since you asked, I am more than happy to help! =)

That being said, I think there are 2 ways to make to make a difference in the coming months where you can be happier and more comfortable in your home. 

1. If I were you, I would take a second to think about why she is so surprisingly upset? My first impression is that she is she is hurt that you did not tell her about this exciting news in your life, until after you signed your new lease. She felt excluded. Perhaps, she doesn’t even realize that things have changed? It might have been an abrupt wake up call for her to realize things are different now. That on top of the relatively small annoyance of figuring out a new living situation, is why she is so upset. I don’t think this is your fault, you are allowed to keep things between you and your partner until you feel the time is right. It is part of growing in a relationship. (I personally find your timing to be generous. 5 months is a lot of time to solve a small problem.)
But anyway, if you agree and think that it is possible that is part of the reason why she is so upset, try to express to her that you still value your relationship and still want that friendship. Just because your time living together is ending 5 months, does not mean your friendship is ending that day either.
Even though she is not talking to you she can still hear you. So it might feel like you are talking to a wall, but at least she will know you still care. From there, the ball is in her court. You’re doing all you can. If she doesn’t tell you what’s up how can you make anything better? If you get no response here then I suggest point 2.
2. Leave it be. She appears to be too selfish to see past her nose. If she can’t understand that you are trying your best to do everything right, then I don’t think she deserves a friendship with someone so giving and considerate.
Now, I know point 2 is starting off pretty hard in the paint, but all I’m really suggesting is you keep on saying hello, and goodbye and being friendly. She may come around or she may not, but you can go to bed every night knowing you are being the bigger, better, kinder person. I’m sure sooner or later she will see the light and come around. Water cuts through rock not because of it’s strength, but because it is persistence. You might not be buddies in the coming months but perhaps she’ll grow by your example and you can work it out.
Regardless, you being kind to her shows that she’s not getting to you. People who give the silent treatment are looking for a reaction and she is clearly not getting one. So keep being home and enjoying your space. If she breaks her silence or not, you deserve to enjoy the comfort of your home.
I personally, want you to work it out because that is exactly what I would want in the same scenario. No one is perfect and they are your friend for a reason! You have a bond over something! BUT, we all know not all things are meant to last. Some relationships are valuable in that you learn a lot while in them, but in order to move forward and grow things have to end. This always so hard and so confusing, especially with platonic relationships. So if that is the outcome of this particular friendship, just know that nothing was a waste and you should be thankful for all the good times. Who knows, may some time apart will bring you back together even stronger.
So, I hope this was helpful and has given you some ideas on what to do next. I think, it’s all going to work out the way it is supposed to. If anything, you’ll just be more excited to move in with your boyfriend… and that’s not so bad?
If anyone else has a suggestion for this Frustrated Roommate please leave a comment below. We would both love to hear it.
With Love,
Stephanie