#1060: The Case of the Cranky Co-habiting Commuter

Dear Captain Awkward,

I have a recurring problem in my living situation (and relationship) that never seems to get resolved.

It might sound silly but it causes quite a bit of tension in my otherwise happy twosome…
I work two hours away from home which involves a long daily commute and means dragging my tired self home at 7.30pm at the very earliest. Anyone who works this way will understand that there is little time for much else other than dinner, a tv show and a shower before it’s time to get to bed and do the whole thing all over again. Luckily, I love my job.

My partner works 15 minutes from our house alongside his two very best friends. Sometimes, this gets on his last nerve but generally he has no problem spending that much time with them. One guy in particular will sit on after work at our place for the entire evening. He’s still there when I get home late and tired.

The problem is my boyfriend expects me to sit, smile and socialise until this guy decides to go home. They are usually stoned and my boyfriend hasn’t bothered to think about dinner (I find myself buying and making it most weeknights). On nights like this I become enraged but silent and he says I’m selfish not to be more welcoming to his friends. TIMING, dear TIMING!!!

Usually, this friend just talks to my boyfriend as opposed to me anyway but if I try to disappear until he’s gone home, I’m the SheDevil!

I feel that because he gets so much free time with his buddies (sometimes he goes to their houses… I am all for this!!) he could just give me a reprieve from their bro-time in my place. Give my head peace!!

Any thoughts?
Am I a SheDevil?
Cranky Co-habiting Commuter

If you’re a SheDevil for being annoyed at this dynamic, I’m one too! (Or, at least, one of Kate Beaton’s Straw Feminists).

Right now my teaching schedule has me going from 9 am to 10 pm on some days, and I’m trying to imagine if I had to come home and interact with people after that. Nope. Nopeity nope nope nope nope. Nyet. Non! Ne. Nay. Nein.

Here is a visual aid:


Blanket Wife Mode: Engaged. Host Wife Mode: DISENGAGED. (Image description: Jennifer lying down on a couch under a pile of blankets with only her eyes peeking out)

That’s me after one of my Thirteen-Hour-Thursdays*. Do I look like I want to make you dinner or hang out making small talk?

It’s time to negotiate ask make some things clear:

Short-Term Discussions:

If you like making dinner every night and it’s a task that soothes you, by all means continue. But if you need this to be different, you get to ask for it to be different:

Script #1: “Partner, can you take care of getting dinner on the table x days/week? It’s not sustainable for me to keep doing that every night after I commute. Cool, thanks.” 

For the record, in my house growing up, x = 5 days/week because my dad got home easily two hours earlier than my mom on weeknights. (She cooked on the weekends.) They just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last weekend, so, here’s to 50 years of bad jokes and equitably divided household chores.

Script #2: “Partner, on weeknights, can you go to your friend’s house instead of bringing him back here? We can have him over sometime on a weekend when I have more energy.” 


Script #3:Partner, if you want to have Duder over after work every now and then, fine. I want you to be able to hang with your friends! Here’s what I need for that to work: 1) A little advance notice, like a text in the afternoon letting me know he’s hanging out that night 2) For that to be a night you 100% take care of dinner stuff. 3) To be able to say a quick ‘hi’ and then go to bed or to be alone to decompress – I don’t have the energy to hang out and play hostess.

You can shift behaviors without negotiating ahead of time or to enforce the boundaries you’ve asked for, i.e., if you know the dude is gonna be there stop off on your way home and grab something for just you to eat and let them totally fend for themselves because you already ate. You can also come home, see Duder sitting on your couch and say “Oh hi Friend, nice to see you. I’m really tired so I can’t hang out. I’m gonna go in the other room and decompress for a bit, have fun” and then do just that. If your boyfriend is pissy about it, let him be pissy. I don’t think the friend will actually be surprised or sad at all if you do that, this is more about your partner and his expectations. Your partner thinks it’s okay for you to have a sucky time as long as you perform in a way that will make him and his friend have a good time.

Here’s a rule I didn’t even know that I had about such things, are you ready:

“If you’re a close enough friend to do drugs on my couch on the regular, you’re a close enough friend to see me in my pajama pants and be told a perfunctory hello before I go in the other room to read books.” 

You know what’s not reasonable? It’s not reasonable for your partner to expect you to make dinner every night and also put on your SparkleHostess personality after a 12-hour workday. Like, COME ON. Doesn’t he know that it’s Bra-Off-O’clock?

If your partner pushes back at this, or calls you unwelcoming or mean (or a She-Devil) I’d be like “Yep, I’m a She-Devil, also, I don’t want to see that fucking dude’s face on my couch again which should be easy because we’re broken up now byeeeeeee.”

See also: “Yep, I’m not really welcoming in those circumstances because I don’t actually feel welcoming. I like hanging out with your friends sometimes just fine, but on weeknights I’m pretty useless for socializing. It’s not a mystery as to why. If you want to hang out with people, great! But don’t pressure me into it on weeknights, it won’t be a good time for me!” 

Medium-Term Discussion: 

Consider: “I need us to find a place closer to my work. Four hours is too long for me to commute every day.” 

I hope your partner is cool about this and you continue to be mostly happy together.

*One more week! One more week. The end of the term is soooooooooooooooooooooo close, y’all.







  1. I'll come up with a clever name later...maybe. said:

    LW – have you said anything to the friend? As in “It’s great to see you, but I really had a long day and need to get to bed.” Or “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” I have a friend whose husband is an early to bed kind of guy. I was visiting her when he came home and the moment he was done with dinner he looked at me and said “I’m going to have to ask you to leave. I’ve had a long day and really need time to unwind and I can’t do that with you here.” He didn’t say it meanly…he just said it and I responded with “oh of course” and just picked up my stuff, said bye and left.

    • c. said:

      i see your point and i’m glad it worked out for you in that case, but it’s setting up a naggy/scoldy dynamic, at the same time. especially if lw’s boyfriend has, it sounds like, previously argued with her about how she isn’t gracious enough in these situations. we don’t want her to have to be the bad guy or like a de facto parent in their household. know what i mean?

      • I don’t think such a request inherently sets up that dynamic. I think the boyfriend may claim it does, that she’s being naggy or scoldy, but if he says that about the kind of clear request Clever Name outlined, he is lying.

        I think if she’s *always* the one making the request, because the boyfriend unfairly shovels all the work of telling people when to go home onto LW, then yeah, she gets stuck with being the de facto parent. But that’s not on her, that’s on him.

        “We don’t want her to have to be the bad guy” is dependent on the boyfriend stepping up and helping, not on the LW politely establishing boundaries. If the BF steps up, she won’t have to be the “bad guy”, and the rare and occasional point where she needs to remind people that it’s been four hours of commute and a full workday will not be her being “bad”, it will be her providing useful information about needed behaviour that is promptly respected and supported.

        • c. said:

          i’d be with you if lw didn’t mention that he’d already scolded her for how she treats his friends. like, if she’s looking for practical strategies, adding another piece of uncomfortable emotional work for her to do is probably not the right thing, even if it’s objectively the right thing. a situation where she ends up having to point out that he’s lying or whatever isn’t better than what she has now.

          • Yeah, but she’s either got to do the emotional labour of talking to the bf, the emotional labour of talking to the friend, or the emotional labour of being social for their convenience, or the emotional labour of dealing with bf being sulky.

            There is no option here which does not involve emotional labour. The advantage of talking to bf is that (presuming this is one lazily bad habit and he cares about LW) it has the option of being one-time emotional labour which results in (1) less labour in the future and (2) more support for what labour there is.

          • (Also: she does not have to tell him he’s lying. I’m just telling her that anyone who says that a calm “It’s great to see you, but I really had a long day and need to get to bed.” is naggy or scoldy is lying. She is free to remember that, and take it to heart, and add “you think” to her recollection of their insults, and take whatever warmth she can from the knowledge that someone from the outside looked at the situation and said “wow, anyone who treats you that way is not right and is not cool.”)

          • c. said:

            @aphotic i’m kinda not sure what your point is, because i also think she should talk to her boyfriend instead of running interference directly with his high friend, which is what i’ve been advocating for here. i want her to know no one is expecting her to tell his friend what to do or talk to him at all if she doesn’t want to.

          • MsBorgia said:

            Also might be worth mentioning that while the bf is scolding LW, his friend might not notice anything wrong at all. This was a dynamic in my last relationship where my ex would berate me for doing X to his friend. I once apologized to his friend for X and the friend said, “What? I never noticed that, you’re fine.” So, a control tactic more than a concern for social niceties.

      • No. The boyfriend is already the bad guy by sitting around stoned off his ass with his friend and making the poor, tired LW make dinner for two losers and socialize with them after a work day plus a four-hour commute.

        • I’m generally figuring that BF can have this one (fairly atrocious to me, but then I would be in tears if I had to put up with this regularly) habit and still be *overall* a good guy, and I don’t want to push LW into feeling that she needs to defend him (“he’s not a loser!”) from the cruel internet, so I’m not going to say he IS a bad guy or a loser.

          But I will say that IF the bad guy role needed to be assigned, yeah, I would be inclined to put it where you are putting it.

          I’m just trying very hard not to assign it, because I think “your BF is a bad guy and a loser” is a blanket kind of conversation I don’t want to get into when LW has described one (horripilatingly atrocious to me) habit. He’s still a BF, not an ex, and she asked for “how do I deal with this” not “is he still worth it”, you know?

        • de Pommes said:

          There is honestly no reason for these sort of descriptors. Yes, the boyfriend is acting thoughtlessly and, dare I say, selfishly. People act in such a way all the time without being “losers.”

          I used to live with a cisgender and straight guy bestie who is still the only person of his gender and sexuality combo, that I have known, who is honestly as good at emotional labor as those socialized to do it from birth. Back when I was severely depressed and living in a state where he was pretty much my only friend, when he would come home from his very exhausting job, I would proceed to just go on my negativity spiral rants while he just looked lifelessly at the wall behind me, making listening sounds. Because I was in this Ultra Sensitive And Taking Everything The Worst Way Possible mode, I’d get upset at him for not actually paying attention.

          Eventually, I realized how selfish and thoughtless I was being, and we made a rule that I would ask if he was willing to listen to me vent, I would respect his “nope” without any sort of backlash. I was just so far up in my brain’s nonsense that I genuinely didn’t see how bad my behavior was.

          Sure, you could call me a “loser” for doing this. My friend didn’t. We talked it out and found a solution that worked for us.

          If you’re noticing any pushback on the word “loser” here, it’s because it can be an upsetting and judgmental word. I’m currently living with my parents, working at a job that is associated more with college kids than 30+ year olds, making less money per hour than I did at the age of 19. The word “loser” could easily apply to me and honestly, first reading this comment made me feel defensive of this boyfriend of the LW’s and I don’t even know the guy. I can’t inagine actually being the LW and finding it helpful at all.

          Signed, somebody who ~imbibes the devil’s weed~ on the regular and doesn’t see how it’s related to the whole “loser” assignment, either

          • c. said:

            @de Pommes yeah i’m seeing a lot of super harsh generalizing and willful misreading in the comments. i know people have pointed this out lately but this is my first firsthand time. like “sweep him into the trash!” is useful or “he’s the worst!” is useful etc.

          • I apologize for being impolite and offensive.

        • c. said:

          lw didn’t say she wants to dump this guy or needs reasons to hate him. she’s in a situation and wants validation and support and guidance. my use of “the bad guy” is a well understood trope so there’s no need to straw man it in this way.

          • I apologize for the misunderstanding. I thought you assumed the OP was doing something wrong by stating her boundaries.

        • v said:

          So much this.

    • Allison said:

      Huh, you know maybe it is the friend who’s taking it personally for some reason, and the boyfriend is thinking “she’s hurting my friend’s feelings, that’s unacceptable!” but in this case, he needs to be able to explain to the friend “look bro it’s not you, she just needs some alone time.”

      • It might be the friend, it might be the newsagent.

        It doesn’t matter who is offended that the LW isn’t cooking for and entertaining the High Dudes.

        What matters is that the LW shouldn’t have to if she doesn’t want to.

    • That story reads to me as your friend and her husband have discussed what to do when tired, and have agreed that the tired person can kick people out.

      I don’t think the LW is in the same position vis-a-vis her boyfriend as friend’s husband vis-a-vis friend.

  2. policychick said:

    This reminds me of the Garfunkel & Oates song, ‘You and Me and Steve’. (it’s a bit racy, fair warning, so if it is inappropriate to mention please ignore!)

    But seriously LW, I think all of the Captain’s suggestions are good ones. If anything at all….FOUR HOURS A DAY ON THE ROAD. That alone should give you standing to ask for (and expect) more support and understanding. He literally has 20 more hours off the clock than you do! How much of that time is put into household labor?

    I’d add this suggestion too: Can you ask your boyfriend something like, “Can we set aside a standing date night, one night a week that is just us with no company?” It would be nice to know that every Wednesday is always going to be your own. Good luck LW!

    • JenniferP said:

      I love that song! Not inappropriate for the site, though folks at work may want to wear headphones.

      Here it is:

      • policychick said:

        Yeah those Ladies slay me!

      • SamKD said:

        You definitely do learn something new every day…I’d never heard of this group and now I’m busy doing YouTube when I kinda ought to be working. Thanks!

        • policychick said:

          Another really good one is “Pregnant Women Are Smug.”

  3. Belle said:

    On today’s episode of Women Doing Emotional Labour While The Men In Their Life Sit Around Oblivious And Having A Nice Time. (WDEL for short?) I hope you can sort it LW, hopefully this is just a classic case of using your words and sticking to them and him not being an arse and you guys can continue being a happy twosome 🙂

    • notleia said:

      My ex-boyfriend was like this when I came to see him but he thought I didn’t do the adequate nice-nice-ing at his parents (obvs he lived with his parents).

      “Your partner thinks it’s okay for you to have a sucky time as long as you perform in a way that will make him and his friend have a good time” has given me SUCH clarity about what was happening and why that guy sucked about emotional labor. Or just why that guy sucked.

    • Allison said:

      Ha! We need more of this actually. It sucks it keeps happening, but for the women who’ve dealt with it personally, it makes us feel sane knowing we’re not a) alone or b) unreasonable

    • He’s already being an arse. The best thing he can do is stop being one.

    • Indie said:

      Love this!

  4. Kacienna said:

    You are being completely reasonable and the Captain’s scripts are great. Couples do not have to do all social things together, even in their own homes, and even more so when you’re dealing with such a difficult commute. I can’t imagine a job I would love enough to do spend 20 hours a week commuting (though if you do, that’s great! People have different needs and priorities!)

    With you home so much later, I think it would be totally reasonable to even say that when you come home, you need to not have guests over, except in special circumstances like people from out of town. Going off to do your own thing is not at all unreasonable.

    If you’re regularly providing dinner for both of you, that’s also unfair to you. My husband and I eat so differently that most of our meals are fend-for-yourself or sometimes I’m-cooking-this-if-you-want-any, but if eating the same thing for dinner at the same time is a thing the two of you value, it definitely makes sense for him to cook most nights with your schedules.

    Also, are they getting stoned in your shared home and if so, are you okay with that? If you are, no problem. I live in a state where marijuana is still illegal and wouldn’t want the liability of having it in my home, plus I’m not okay with anyone smoking anything in my space. Those are also legitimate boundaries to draw for a place where you live.

    • sofar said:

      I was thinking along these same lines.

      My husband and his friends are extroverts with very flexible boundaries. And I used to (and still do sometimes) come home to people stoned on the couches and watching TV or listening to music I hate. And they would stay LATE.

      I had a make my husband understand that, after a work day, I need to cook, clean, open the windows, walk around in my underwear and NOT have Rick and Morty on the damned TV (and stoned people on the couch watching it in the dark) to feel sane and happy after work. And that it’s super uncomfortable for me to cook the meal I planned for that night and not have enough to offer the “guests.” It pissed me off so much that these adults didn’t even consider that it was not cool to just lounge around in our space indefinitely.

      So I spoke up. We compromised by my husband having 2 nights a week (one of which must be a weekend night) when he can have people over for casual hangouts. He can get his extrovert time in on other nights by going to bars with his friends or their places. I needed to enforce this only once (his friend had come by to “drop something off” and then camped out in the couch and turned on pro wrestling and my husband didn’t know how to tell him to leave). So I switched off the tv, asked Alexa to play 80s pop and opened all the blinds. He left.

      I know some of his friends think I am a total buzzkill but I think they are annoying and lazy so whatever.

      • Just came here to slow-clap that last sentence. *clap…clap…clap…*

      • aebhel said:

        Yep. Fortunately my husband is also a hermit, but I’ve had SO’s and roommates like this; at least with roommates, I could retreat to my bedroom and put headphones on, but ‘I want to be able to relax in my own space without having to play hostess for a bunch of stoned people I’m not actually friends with’ is not an unreasonable boundary.

        I would think LW’s boyfriend was being inconsiderate regardless, but the fact that she can’t even bow out and go read a book without him getting pissy is just the topping on the cake. For me, being ‘on’ takes a lot of energy, and it’s not energy I’m willing to expend on my time off, for gatherings of people I’m not interested in hanging out with.

    • myswtghst said:

      Yeah, LW is totally reasonable. In my current job, my commute is either 2 hours per day total (if I’m in my normal office) or 4+ hours per day (if I’m in our other location). That means that during our busy season when I’m training classes for 8-9 hours a day at the faraway office, I can be gone for 13+ hours, and only have about an hour before bedtime when I get home if I want to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep. Thankfully, my husband is super understanding, and will totally support me in the moment when I say “hey, I’ve been up since 4:30 this morning so I’m off to bed, you guys have fun!”. He has several friends / family members who are nice but require constant, continuous interaction and attention, which I find exhausting after a long day of work, so I appreciate that we’ve reached an agreement on me making an appearance then peacing out and letting them do their thing. We’re also pretty clear that they are responsible for dinner on those nights unless I offer to grab something on my way home for everyone.

      I think LW needs to have at least one conversation with boyfriend (maybe on the weekend, when they’re both a little more relaxed, if possible) where LW does the following:
      + Explains how she’s feeling about things (“Based on my long commute, sometimes when I get home I just really want to crash, and I feel frustrated when I get home to find you have company and I’m expected to feed / entertain both of you when I’m really not up for it.”)
      + Outlines what she’s comfortable with (“I don’t mind if you’d like your guest to stay, but I’d like to be able to graciously bow out and head to bed” -OR- “Based on how noise carries in the apartment, I’d appreciate it if you guys could relocate to his place / he could head out so I can get my rest”)
      + Asks boyfriend what he thinks and maybe tries to understand where this expectation is coming from, to see if it can be adjusted.
      + Works with boyfriend to come to a mutually agreeable outcome (whatever that may be).

  5. OkeefemyKeefe said:

    My mother was notorious among her friends and family for just… going to bed. When people were over at their place (mostly when my parents were in their 20s/30s) and my mom was done with hanging out, she would just announce to the room: “Ok everybody, I’m done.” Then head into her room to change into pajamas and go to bed.

    I’ve heard this story about her so many times, and every single time it was relayed with nothing but affection for my mother, and usually a dose of respect for my mom’s no-nonsense approach to setting that boundary. No one ever told me my mom was a “she devil” for wanting to go to bed in her own house. They would all laugh, finish their drink with my dad, and get the signal loud and clear to head out. And years later, tell me how charming my mom was. (I guess anyone who didn’t find it charming didn’t last long enough to share the stories with me!)

    You did not invite friend over – you are under no obligation to entertain him. If you need to sleep, sleep. Leave boyfriend to entertain friend if you’re OK with him being over. And if you’re not, you are *not* a she-devil for saying “guys, it’s been a long day – time to pack it up.” Good people would respond to that with “oh ok, I’ll head out then.” Or even “OK, Boyfriend let’s finish [this TV show/board game/whatever] and then call it a night.”

    • Sara said:

      My friend’s husband does this. When he’s done, he’s just done. I was over there for NYE last year and he just took a shower at 11 and went to bed.

    • Catherine from Canada said:

      In my family we call it “doing a Jane.” My sister Jane works in advertising, entertains a lot, is married to an VERY social guy, but is a bit of an introvert herself, with definite energy limits. She has perfected the knack of “taking dishes to the kitchen” or “visiting the ladies room” and just never coming back. The party’s in full swing and no-one notices – until much later – that she’s missing. No-one minds, everyone’s impressed with how graceful she is about it.
      I pulled a Jane myself last week while visiting them; excused myself from a dinner party at a restaurant with Jane, her husband and their friends, walked back to their apartment and went to bed.

      • RabbitRabbit said:

        I did this at a party I was co-hosting with my husband. We had a dedicated hanger-on group at 2 am and I was like, I just cannot deal with having to be social any longer. I wished everyone a pleasant party and went to sleep.

        • You have to be careful with this–I did it once, my late husband joined me in bed, and somewhat later I woke up to odd noises in the living room. I said “What’s that?” and he said “I don’t know, maybe Friend A and Friend B?” I said “You came to bed and left people in the house?” Apparently he thought they’d get the hint? Or something. He was awful at stuff like that. He went out to investigate and discovered them fucking in the middle of the living room floor.

          • walkingwhilefemale said:

            This gave me a chuckle. Reminds me of a holiday party I went to a few years ago where the host found people fucking ON THE COATS in the guest bedroom (coats were laid out on the bed). He told them “There’s a perfectly nice rain shower 6 feet away you can fuck in!”

          • policychick said:

            That was not the closing sentence I was expecting.

          • vanadiumoxide said:

            I just gasped SO LOUDLY.

          • I had to read this (and @walkingwhilefemale’s comment, since we’re out of nesting) aloud to my partner. The “perfectly nice rain shower” has the bonus of being sufficiently ambiguous in the re-telling — is it an indoor fancy shower that simulates rain, or is it a door onto the balcony with pouring rain? — to make for gales and gales of laughter.

      • Turquoise Dragon said:

        I have on occasion missed supper with my in laws because suppertime comes and goes, and then it’s bed time, and I hug people and go to bed. Partner has been clear with his parents that I don’t mind if this happens occasionally (really, I can get food if I want it on these nights), but that if they don’t start supper until hours after 8pm, they don’t get to fuss if I opt for sleep instead. It seems to work.
        The impact of a grandchild upon suppertime is still being negotiated, but the basic terms remain, feed us when it’s supper time, or don’t fuss when we make other arrangements and then go to bed.

        • KStanley said:

          You are a marvelous and sensible dragon. May your lair be full of treasure.

        • Rana said:

          I’m terrible at doing this on my own behalf, but Small Child’s bedtime is sacred now, and people just have to accept that when it’s rolling around, we WILL pack up everything and head home, no matter what fun is being had or might be missed. (A couple of days in which Child was a cranky beast in the wake of a delayed bedtime taught us that bedtime is NOT something we can take for granted any more.)

          Ditto food, which has an even more effective feedback loop, in that Child will shift away from her usual amiable self into a cranky whining pill if she’s not fed regularly. (As do my husband and I, to be honest, but we are old enough to have better self control.)

      • jd said:

        I do this! I have not infrequently taken naps in the middle of parties (or gone on long quiet walks) to decompress, and then come back later refreshed and ready to keep going. I was a fairly oblivious child and teenager who didn’t cotton onto social norms quickly, but as awkward as that could be it had the kind of lovely side-benefit that I just got into the habit of setting boundaries as needed and never noticing if people got upset. I’m more socially aware now and more self-conscious, but people who know me are all used to the fact that I will dip in and out of parties when I need a recharge.

        (I once had a nap on my bed in full view of an Easter dinner party–b/c awkward bedroom location next to dining room–and was out for about an hour or two before I woke up, had dessert, and said goodbyes. Nobody minded.)

    • Shinobi said:

      One of my best friends will just fall asleep wherever we happen to be hanging out. We’ll be doing group Rock Band and she’ll dead be asleep on the couch until someone wakes her up to hug goodbye, and then she will go to her actual bed. I’m fine with this.

    • carabiner said:

      There’s a couple in my friend group who are like this. They love to host, and 90% of our social gatherings happen at their apartment. Inevitably, at some point in the night the wife (who is a weary PHD candidate) will do one of two things:

      1) say “goodnight!” and head to bed, if it’s a small group
      2) just leave and go to bed, if it’s a large group

      No one ever thinks twice about it, or feels uncomfortable that she isn’t “playing hostess” in her own home. She would have every right to tell us to leave because she’s tired, but she doesn’t, and so we carry on without her and make sure we all clean up after ourselves before leaving. I have also fallen asleep at parties I’ve hosted at my own place, and my boyfriend (who does not live there) carries on hosting duties after I’ve gone to bed.

      OP: your partner’s behavior, I’m sorry to say, is uncalled for and (IMO) misogynist. At best you could call it old-fashioned. I hope you can use some of the scripts the Captain provided and that your partner is open to hearing this criticism and working to improve.

      It would be one thing (and even then, still not excusable) if your partner was hosting intellectual salons in the Parisian fashion, and he wanted you to participate and share your very cultured views on progressive societal issues of the day. What he’s doing is getting high on the couch with his buddy. This does not concern you, and he’s being ridiculous for thinking his casual hang time is your responsibility to manage. Please don’t let him continue to gaslight you into thinking you’re doing anything wrong here.

      • Thursday Next said:

        A resounding “yes” to the last paragraph here.

        • viva said:


          His attitude is either:

          1. Misogynistic (my female-partner must be the perfect good little hostess at all times because our home isn’t really ‘our’ home, it’s my castle)


          2. Attachment issues (unless she sits here hanging out with *my* friends – every single time – she’s disrespecting our couplehood). I have no qualifications to expound on this, I’ve just experienced it from both sides over the years. (Yes I admit I was the the insecure attached type when I was younger)

          Either attitude should be unacceptable. You are being disrespected in your own damn home, at minimum.

    • thneedle said:

      My grandfather’s wife did this. I was over for dinner and we were chatting afterward. It was still pretty early, like 8pm maybe? and she got up from the table for a bit. Then she popped back in, in her bathrobe, to say goodnight. It was all fine!

      I was a little surprised, but that’s all. My grandfather explained that she had gotten to a point where she couldn’t sleep in past 5am or so, even if she wanted to, and so she had an early bedtime as a result.

      I have a clear memory of trying to out-wait a friend who was over visiting, because I wanted to have some time with just my wife before I got into bed. (I think he was already there when I got home from work.) Our friend wasn’t leaving and wasn’t leaving. I was so tired. I finally gave up and said something about bed, and he instantly got up and said he should leave too. I was so mad! The next time he was over in the evening, I said something about bed a good hour earlier, and yup, he left then and I got to have some evening with my wife.

      • S.H. said:

        It sounds like in this case your friend was good about taking the hint easily once you spoke up, which is good. Having different expectations about social visits is awkward, but I’m definitely thankful for realizing that it’s okay to speak up.

        I did this once at a party that I was hosting alone. It went on from about 6 to 11, which felt reasonable to me. But I some people are used to staying much later, so they didn’t realize that I was done. I was getting sleepy, and I said, “I’ve really enjoyed having you all. I’m sleepy now, but I want to do it again.” Luckily my friends were cool with it, and not the type to be offended by reasonable boundaries.

        • I’ve found that specifying end times for parties works surprisingly well! Almost all people will drift out starting about 10 minutes before the specified end time, and then you start cleaning up AT the remainder. Since we started doing this we’ve had, almost all times, the only people who stay past 15 minutes late be close friends who are *intending* to help clean up from the beginning.

          • daen said:

            We host my parents and siblings for family get-togethers, and we have found it invaluable to include the end time in the invitation, as J Preposterice suggests. I will also say, about fifteen minutes before that time, that I’ll make one last pot of coffee for those people who want to refill their travel mugs before heading out. This does wonders, especially as the one brother-in-law who stays until the last moment is often reliant on coffee to get him home again.

            The first time we did this (which was the first time we hosted – we knew this would be an issue going in), one of my sibs said, in a tone between amusement and wonder, “Wow, you’re serious about this end time thing.” I agreed, yes, we were. And it’s never been an issue since.

      • sconn said:

        It is really, really hard for me to hint that I want people to leave. But usually people rush to leave as soon as they catch on. I have a dear friend who’d stay forever if I let her, but after a few hours I really can’t take the social time. So I have to say things like “I’m going to have to do some chores” or “do you have to get home soon?” or even “I’m exhausted, would you mind leaving?” I feel guilty for doing this, but I shouldn’t. She’s absolutely cool with it.

  6. OkeefemyKeefe said:

    My parents friends used to tell me quite often that when they were younger and hanging out at my parents’ place, my mom would announce to the room “OK, I’m done.” And then she would head into her room, change into pajamas, and go to bed.

    No one tells me this story without laughing at how awesome my mom was for just peacing out when they overstayed their welcomes. They always convey affection and respect for my mom (or maybe the people who took it the wrong way didn’t last long enough to tell me the story).

    You are a normal person for wanting to just go to bed when you get home. You didn’t invite the friend – you are not obligated in any way to entertain him.

    (Sorry if this is double posted – comment monster ate my comment)

    • OkeefemyKeefe said:

      Agh now my other comment appeared – please feel free to delete this second one. Sorry about that!

      • JenniferP said:

        I’m not deleting it b/c I officially love your mom and this entire story and I don’t mind reading it twice.

        • Marthooh said:

          And besides, version one is now covered with comment monster barf.

      • c. said:

        yeah BOTH versions are great plus i feel like she’d like the second one better because it’s fewer words long ;D

        • OkeefemyKeefe said:

          She would’ve been baffled that I thought it was even worth mentioning! 🙂 My mom taught me that being blunt with boundaries is OK, and that when you’re surrounded with the right people, they’re able to laugh instead of getting offended (and of course, listen).

    • slfisher said:

      I once had a New Year’s Eve party where I did this, and everyone was not only fine with it, but they cleaned up after the party for me. What a nice surprise that was to find in the morning.

      • Indie said:

        Having high standards for friends and lovers is filled with delightful rewards like these.

      • Andraste's Knicker Weasels (formerly ancolie) said:

        I actually said, “aww!” Out loud at a coffee shop/bakery when I read this. 🙂

    • Saturnalia said:

      Growing up, my parents and their friends had lots of dinner parties. Your awesome mom reminds me of one of my mom’s friends whose go to phrase was:

      “Dear, shall we go to bed so these fine people can leave?”


      • Saturngrl said:

        💕💕 I am in love. That is a seriously awesome line.

      • caryatid said:

        my husband says this! he got it from an esteemed & aged relative.

  7. Morticia said:

    LW, your BF sounds like an inconsiderate jerk. The fact that he calls you a SheDevil for wanting to decompress after your 12 hour work day has my shoulders up around my ears. Honestly, to me this would be a deal breaker. But, since it hasn’t broken for you, I offer jedi hugs if wanted, and the hope that addressing the issue directly results in some positive changes. Also, I would advise you to never make dinner for anyone but yourself on weekdays unless, as the Captain said, you like cooking, and enjoy that.

    • TootsNYC said:

      Morticia–the LW used that term; she didn’t say her boyfriend calls her that.

      • Morticia said:

        Even if he is only making her feel like that, he needs to cool it. He is being very inconsiderate.

    • Stishovite said:

      Heh. Come home, prepare dinner for yourself and only yourself, and when BF complains, say “you’ve been sitting on the couch for X hours, 10 feet from the kitchen, getting stoned with your friend, and you expect to eat my meal? How is that reasonable?” Or not. My snark level is quite high at the moment…

      • slfisher said:

        I’m sorry, but that’s passive aggressive. Use words and assume good motivations on the part of the SO. Find a time when you’re not exhausted and SO is not stoned and with friends and have an actual conversation about this.

        My cooking dinner after I get home from work and a two-hour commute isn’t working for me. Here are some alternatives: You could take responsibility for dinner x nights a week. We could get together on weekends and make a couple big batches of something and eat leftovers during the week. We could get a crockpot and start dinner in the morning before we leave for work. I could eat on my way home and you fend for yourself. etc.

        I’m also not up to being social with your friends on weeknights after working and commuting. Here are some alternatives: You can have friends over x nights per week and the weekends. You can go to your friend’s house or another location. It can be ok for me to go to another room in the house to decompress. etc.

        If you get pushback on this, *then* is the time to start thinking about alternatives to the SO. But at least give them the opportunity to step up. If OP has been silent this whole time, maybe they don’t realize. Yes, I understand that SO is griping to the OP about being ungracious to the friends, and that sucks, and the way for OP to be more gracious is to feel like they have more control over the situation, so let’s talk about how to get that, and then perhaps OP can find it within themselves to be more gracious.

        • Kacienna said:

          The specific “You’ve been sitting on the couch for X hours..” etc might be passive aggressive, but I think it’s totally reasonable for the LW to prepare dinner just for herself and, if challenged, reply “Oh, I figured you guys were doing your own thing,” as if that’s a perfectly normal thing to say, because it is in fact perfectly normal to expect someone who’s home 2 hours before you to at least work out feeding himself, if not you.

          It’s fine with the LW wants to start off with the talk, but I don’t think she needs to take on the emotional labor of initiating a discussion and setting out seven different alternatives before she can assert herself.

        • Morticia said:

          Why do I think the crockpot option is not viable? LW has to leave 2 hours earlier than SO, so she shouldn’t be expected to do the prep. Even if SO were actually to prepare something, my money is on 2 stoners finishing the entire contents of said crockpot long before LW gets home.

          • slfisher said:

            And maybe it’s not but it’s an easy option I’ve not seen mentioned.

        • johann7 said:

          Am I an unusual cook in that, for me, ingredient prep for meals takes far and away the most time, with the actual cooking portion being relatively short and/or not requiring constant attention?

          I see people suggest crock pot recipes as somehow labor-saving a lot, and I just don’t see it – if I’m simmering lentils over low heat all day or boiling them for 30 minutes right before I eat, it’s the same amount of work to measure the lentils/rice/broth/spices and chop all the vegetables. I can maybe see it being a meat-specific thing, but even when I was cooking meat as a child, preparing the ground beef or pork chops or chicken breasts was always more labor-intensive than the actual cooking, where things could simmer on the stove with occasional stirring or bake with one intervention to turn the meat over or whatever. I’ve always found the additional logistical labor of planning out my meal prep process an entire day in advance to be more than was ever saved by slow-cooking.

          • Kacienna said:

            What I find the crockpot useful for isn’t so much saving time as rearranging it. My use is typically along the lines of chop everything the night before, put it in the fridge, possibly in the pot, and then in the morning add any liquid needed and turn it on to cook while I’m at work. The biggest advantage is that dinner is ready immediately when I get home, which can be useful if it’s a late night or just a night when I’m really hungry and would be scavenging otherwise because I’m too hungry to cook (though that’s not something I can exactly plan on). The disadvantage, and the reason I don’t use mine more, is that the pot is a bit of a pain to clean.

          • KellyK said:

            I don’t think you’re unusual, and it really depends on the recipe. Recipes with lots of chopped vegetables or that require you to brown the meat first, or add a roux or cheese or something after cooking don’t save a whole lot of time. (Like Kacienna said, they mostly rearrange it.) But there are also recipes where you just dump everything in the pot and go. A lot of these are very meat-focused and involve dumping a large chunk of meat, a bottle of sauce or salad dressing, and maybe some spices, into the pot. But there are probably also bean or lentil “dump and go” recipes.

            It might also vary depending on how good you are at paying attention to things as they’re cooking. I have a habit of getting distracted, and often have to set a timer for things that I really could just eyeball, so a slow method of cooking that I can ignore completely is nice.

            I use my crock-pot pretty religiously one day a week because I have a volunteer shift that starts at 5:15, and I get home at 4ish. It’s a little bit of a pain the night before, but the ability to get home from work and have dinner finished or practically finished is magical.

            The thing I find annoying about crock-pot recipes is that there are a lot of them that take less than 8 hours, which makes them totally useless for workdays.

          • JenniferP said:

            Hi! Let’s take continued crockpot talk to the forums at friendsofcaptainawkward.com please.

  8. Allison said:

    Gahh I feel your pain. I’ve definitely come home after a long day or long night only to find that, surprise, my roommate had friends over, and they were raring to party all night, and even if I didn’t have to entertain them, it kinda sucked having them there when all I wanted to do was shower and go to bed!

    It bothers me that he expects you to play hostess for him whenever he has friends over, whether or not he’s asked you or given you a heads-up. Does he think women are always primed and ready to entertain guests? Or maybe he’s an extrovert who thinks people around people is better than being alone, and assumed everyone feels that same way, so he views choosing to be alone as an act of rejection rather than self care.

    It also bothers me that he relies on you for dinner even though he gets home much earlier. Spending more time at home than your partner doesn’t necessarily mean you do all of the domestic stuff, but it does mean that he should at least get things started most of the time, or take care of dinner for himself and his friend – that’s part of being a good host, and it seems like he doesn’t care about that, he expects you to take care of hosting.

    If you’re not familiar with the term emotional labor, you should learn it, use it, love it. Because what’s happening here is, like many men unfortunately, he’s expecting you to take care of most of the emotional labor in the home.

    Captain’s scripts are great! Asking for a heads-up when there are gonna be people, or even one person, there when you get home is reasonable. It may also be reasonable to say that on certain nights, the place needs to be guest-free by a certain time

      • firewhiskeybomb said:

        I have no useful comment besides that I love that, even years later, people still point to that thread. It’s really enlightening.

        On topic, my family has gradually come to understand that I can only take a certain amount of noise and socializing before I need to isolate for a bit and recharge. Whether that means hiding in a back room with the dog listening to a podcast, or a nap, or a walk alone, I’m gonna peace out and it’s not about them.

        I used to get a lot of grief for this when I was younger, but as an adult I’ve been polite but firm about it and people have just moved on and it’s been fine. I think it was more a reflection of the person who got upset’s gendered expectations about socializing and everyone’s desire to keep that person happy.

        So, OP, your boyfriend’s anger isn’t about you, it’s about his expectations around this stuff, and he can either accept that you’re gonna do you, or he can be a dick about it. But yes- peacing out from a social interaction because you’re tired isn’t rude or weird. Your boyfriend’s reaction to it is.

    • VG said:

      The dinner thing got to me too. When he doesn’t have his friend over, does he just sit there, hungry, until LW comes home and feeds him? When my now-college-age daughter was in high school and got home hours earlier than I did, she’d text me “I’m hungry” and I’d text back “well, it’s a good thing you’re 15 years old so you can go in the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich.” I’d be super tempted to say that same thing to a stoner boyfriend and his buddy.

      • Allison said:

        And did this guy come straight from home where Mommy and/or Daddy took care of dinner most nights, or did he at one point live alone or with roommates and more-than-occasionally need to feed himself? It’s 2017, the fact there are still men who rely on female partners for their evening mealy is baffling to me! I once read a thread in the relationships subreddit about a guy who would look at his girlfriend, point to his tummy and say “hungry” when he wanted her to feed him. It made me WTF all over the place, that someone would even jokingly be that infantile.

        • VG said:

          Right?! When I was married, I did most of the cooking because my husband didn’t really enjoy it (he did most of the cleaning and laundry, so it was fair), but if I wasn’t home at dinnertime for some reason, he made some damn spaghetti like an adult. Or he hit up a drive-thru, but either way he fed himself instead of just sitting there and starving.

        • I mean…couples have weird things, random quirks that look bizarre to outsiders. Maybe that’s their in-relationship shorthand for, “Hey, I’m thinking about food, how about you?”, and the girlfriend thinks it’s cute. Maybe. I sincerely hope so, because otherwise I too am WTFing a lot. 😦

          • Allison said:

            No, it wasn’t an agreed-upon shorthand or an inside joke, the girlfriend hated it.

            Sorry, guess I should have included all the details to prove I wasn’t overreacting. You’d think I’d have learned by now.

          • Okay, yeah, then that’s super messed up.

        • Leonine said:

          I…cannot even imagine what it might be like to feel that entitled to other people’s work. I picture them sitting on the couch, and in my mind, he expects her to get up, prepare food, and bring it to him while he relaxes on said couch. What must it be like to make such an ass of yourself but to see it as the natural order of things? How do all these dudes grow up thinking they’re damn Louis Quatorze? Also, is it wrong that I’d sort of like to try it?

      • This letter made me so mad because one of the two things I’ll never forgive my ex for was something like this. He worked the night shift and the buses didn’t run that late, so he would take our one car. Which left me with an hour bus ride to work, 8 hours with small children, and an hour bus ride home. And I’d walk in the door and he’d roll out of bed and say “What’s for dinner?”

        When I suggested he might cook, sometimes, because he was just getting up and I was just getting home, he said it was “unfair” that he had to cook just because his schedule was different. But apparently it was totally “fair” that I cook. Every night. Forever.

    • Anon, Goodnight said:

      “It bothers me that he expects you to play hostess for him whenever he has friends over, whether or not he’s asked you or given you a heads-up.”

      This bothered me about the letter as well. I’ve dated guys with that expectation far too many times, and I am just DONE WITH THAT SHIT. If someone wants to ask me to do hostess-y things, that’s one thing, but NO ONE gets to volunteer me for that work (and it IS work.) I’m at the point in my life where I consider that a hard deal breaker. Anyone who can’t respect that boundary is getting dumped.

      • My husband will occasionally have a friend over at the spur of the moment. And I will grab my laptop and go in the bedroom. I love our friends, but if they’re going to be blowing stuff up on the Xbox I don’t need to be there thanks bye.

  9. Katia said:

    LW I feel for you. Part of the thing that exacerbated my leaving my live-in partner was the tension of him working at home and me commuting an hour each way (on a good day, if the trains were running). It is not sustainable for you to have to commute that much. Maybe it’s not a trafficky commute so it’s not like a 2 hour commute would be around me, but that cannot be good for you. And coming home to someone who has been home for hours and never does any adulting to make your life easier is also not sustainable. I just want to send you hugs because I was SO miserable when I was just riding the train for an hour, not dodging cars when I had to be “on” and paying attention for DOUBLE that time. I ended up moving out to a tiny place 5 minutes from work and it was so much better. I wish you luck.

  10. Sarah said:

    So, most Sunday nights I go to my friends’ house and we chat for a few hours about whatever book we happen to be reading. It’s lovely! It’s fun! It sometimes drags on for a while and the husband in the husband-and-wife pair that hosts this gets tired. The first time it happened, he got up, said, “Please feel free to stay and continue the conversation, but I’m done and I need to go to bed. Night, babe!” gave his wife a kiss, and went to bed.

    After he walked off, his wife looked at me and said, “Yeah, sometimes he’s done.” That’s it. That’s all the explanation needed. We kept talking for another hour until we, too, were done, and then I went home.

    If somebody is in your house and knows about your commute and sees you regularly getting home late, they’re not really going to think twice about you needing your time. Your partner is currently wrapped up in that weird mentality where you are a reflection of him, but really, you’re a reflection of you and your needs and your needs right now are food and rest. Let your actions show that! Let your partner accept that you are a human with needs who knows what she has to do to maintain her mental and physical health.

    Also, I really hope he starts cooking soon. I imagine that there are days when even eating burnt Kraft mac & cheese would be preferable to coming home after that commute and cooking.

    • Leilah said:

      Sarah – I do this exact thing. =) I love it when my partner has friends over, because they really need that connection. I will quite literally always crash before they’re done. My part in the plan is to say “Hey, folks – it was awesome to see you all, but I have to tap out. Don’t worry about noise or anything – I’ll be asleep in 5 minutes, and I can sleep through an air raid siren.” My partner’s part is to give me a kiss and after I go to bed to say “She’s all good, please stay, she really won’t hear a thing. No, seriously, let me tell you about the time she slept through…”

      • Sarah said:

        It’s my favourite thing! It makes me feel like a really valued friend – like our friendship is comfortable enough that they don’t feel like they need to pretend or entertain. It’s like the self-care version of letting somebody help themselves to your food.

  11. CommanderBanana said:

    Oh man……..I’m an introvert who needs to decompress after work and this gives me SO much agita. And I don’t even have a four (FOUR!!!! – second looking at finding a place to live closer to your work/can you telecommute/dear god, four hours, and I live in an area where hellish commutes are the norm and not the exception) hour commute!

    I do the whole curlers/hair scarf/cold cream routine at night, so I’m imagining shuffling around like that with a guest in the house, and it’s hilarious in my mind but would not be so in real life.

    Duder is your partner’s friend. Your partner can entertain him. You are under no obligation to “sit, smile, and socialize” (seriously?) and it’s not selfish of you to want some peace, quiet, and time to decompress in your own home. Your partner’s handling of this makes me give him ALL THE SIDE EYE.

  12. KStanley said:

    The internet ate my earlier attempt…

    Perhaps voicing it as a time zone might help the thick (stoned) mate have a clue?

    Would he expect someone 4 hours ahead to take calls and be emotionally available (much less to do effort of cook/serve/clean up that dinner requires) at 8:00p.m. for him, but midnight for the other party?

    You ARE 4 hours ahead.

    • SIlamy said:

      I love this one, because it’s such a good way of putting it. LW is presumably leaving the house and waking up earlier than boyfriend as well. Even if she felt like being sociable, she needs the sleep -it’s fairly important, health-wise (not that LW NEEDS a reason beyond ‘I don’t want to’/’I don’t feel like it’, but sometimes providing one can help with that ‘she-devil’ crap -both from outside and from internalized guilt-bullshit). Boyfriend can presumably have an extra couple hours in the morning, as well as whatever decompression time he likes after work -hell, the socializing and getting stoned probably IS his decompression, but LW doesn’t have time for anything before bed.

      • TootsNYC said:

        To me it would not even be about sleep. It would be about not having anyone in my home who isn’t my CHOSEN family, not on a “school night.”

        I would not be happy to walk in the door to this friend most nights. Maybe two nights a week. The other nights? I would want him to NOT be there from shortly before I got home. Yes, I would want him to leave before I get there. And I wouldn’t want to have to make that happen.

        Maybe that’s selfish of me–I guess my partner is sitting there for two hours waiting for me to come home, so having company seems like a reasonable thing. But I also don’t want to feel like this guy lives with us.

        And I would want my partner’s undivided attention when I got home. And I would want to GIVE my partner my undivided attention, and not have to devote some mental/emotional energy toward some other person.

        I think I might just start saying, “Charlie, I’m going to send you home now; it’s great you guys got time together. But I need my space back, and my sweetheart back. Where did your jacket go? Oh, here it is–see you later!”

        • flrpwll said:

          If her partner is sitting around for two hours, waiting her to get home, I’m sure he could find something productive to do.
          Like making dinner.

          • Emily said:

            *looks for “like” button*


    • Spud trooper said:

      This is one of the ways I finally got thorugh to my mother you can’t call someone who works 3pm-11:30pm at 8am.

      I had a similar commuter to LW’s and I would tell people I worked 13-14 hours a day, because just getting to/from work was a literal part-time job.

      • Amber Fox said:

        My sister and I have a phrase: “temporal morality”, the belief that getting up at 6am and working 9-5 is inherently superior to getting up at noon and working 3-11.

        • That is a beautiful term. My family mostly doesn’t do food-shaming, thank goodness, but there is a tendency toward sleep-shaming.

          • I used to work the 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift at a place that was ~30 minutes from home when I was living there; I often wouldn’t get home until 2:45 of later (shift end at 2, walk to the car at ~10 minutes, no I’m not kidding, then the drive home).

            And if I wasn’t up by 10 a.m.? My mother would run our exceedingly loud vacuum directly next to my bedroom door until I got up. And yes — I’m sure it was deliberate and about waking me up because she TOLD me “no one should ever sleep that late.”

            I have no idea how my father survived 30+ years of rotating shifts.

        • Clarry said:

          I’ve also found this idea that the time you spend at work during odd hours somehow don’t really count. I was once attending school that was in session from 7am-2pm, sometimes 6am-2pm with all of that time assigned, none of it free. My housemates were in school regular college hours with classes 4 or 5 hours a day starting at a reasonable 10am with time between for study, socializing, whatever. At one point one of them told me that I had all that free time. They saw me coming home at 3 and decided I must not have anything to do. It was very much the same when I ran my own business. I was busy round the clock, but I had one friend who decided she could call just to chat throughout the day. She figured that because I didn’t have a boss standing over me making me work that I must not actually be working. (I did disabuse her of the notion. It’s interesting to me that she ever had it.)

          • Kacienna said:

            I’m a morning person; 7 to 2 would be the best schedule ever! But at the same time, I wish our society was not so geared only towards the needs of morning people. I feel like things could be a lot more flexible and still allow for needed work to get done.

        • Spud trooper said:

          I live this term!!! My mother very much believed I was just incredibly lazy and “wasiting the whole day” because I didn’t get up when she did.

          I once waited until it was about 6 hours before she had to get up (making it about 1am) called her, and in my most chipper voice asked “what do you mean you’re not up yet? Why didn’t you go to bed right after you got out of work?”

          A bit evil, but the 8am calls stopped after that. Sometimes, parallel behavior back to the offender works. But isn’t a tactic I recommend.

          • erika said:

            My husband does this at work. He is in Ohio and works with people on the West Coast. They’ll schedule meetings at what, for him, is 7pm. The automatic meeting scheduler thingy lets you say you can’t attend and suggest an alternate time. He always suggests 8am Eastern time, which is 4am Pacific.

  13. attica said:

    I dunno. if it’s good enough for Jay Gatsby to let the partying happen in his house while he’s absent, it ought to be good enough for LW. (Of course, Jay had an entire staff to do the food prep. And was fictional.)

    • Yolanda B. Cool said:

      I just want to say that I heart this comment so much.

  14. peeta8 said:

    I have a (straight male) partner with a more exhausting workday than mine. If I’m having a friend over, (1) I check in with him beforehand and (2) he knows he is under NO obligation to hang out with us. Oh and (3) I’m the one fixing dinner, or else Friend & I will eat out and then I text Partner to see if he wants us to bring him something back. Sometimes he joins us for dinner and then retreats to another room. (If I was the one who had the exhausting day job, Partner would almost never cook dinner, which does bum me out as an overall dynamic, but he would order in something or thaw a pizza.)

    • whereibelongsf said:

      Ditto. I would be so irritated if my wife expected me to cook for and entertain her buddies. I definitely want to encourage her to maintain her friendships and spend time with her friends, and I like socializing with her friends when it makes sense to do so, but man, after I’ve worked all day and spent a long time commuting? nuh-uh.

      LW, the fact that he doesn’t have dinner prepared is irritating enough. The fact that he has a friend over and expects you to feed them AND talk to them is doubly so. If dudebro wants to come over and smoke bowls after work, whatever, but they need to get food together and be totally fine with you peacing out and not doing more than a cursory polite “hi dudebro. I’m going to take a shower and watch The Crown on my phone in the bedroom.”

      Your partner is expecting way too much from you, and not giving nearly enough.

  15. You say “this might sound silly” but as an introvert, this whole scenario horrifies me!

    Having people over unexpectedly in the evening is bad enough for me – much less being expected to make dinner after an absurd commute (what??) and act as a Good Host (what????) to a guest who doesn’t even talk to you all that much (what???????) unless you want to be considered a she-devil (WHAT???????????)

    It annoys me that you’re here seeking permission to be mad about this and confirmation that your needs matter, while your partner is cheerfully taking advantage of both the social contract and your fears of being a ‘she-devil’ to leverage a bunch of emotional work out of you. Dude needs a talking-to.

    • Just want to add – it’s unclear from the letter whether “she-devil” has ever been actually, literally said by your partner (I assumed you were paraphrasing/making light, though I see other readers are taking it more literally), but either way, it’s BAD. You shouldn’t ever feel like a she-devil for setting these sorts of boundaries (and you sure as hell should never be called one).

    • Thistledown said:

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure I would fall over laughing if someone asked to me to play unexpected hostess to his stoned friend after a day that long.

    • apricity said:

      As an extrovert this horrifies me. There are very few people who like hanging out with *other people’s* friends after a long day at work, let alone anyone who wants to host them.

      • viva said:

        Fucking ditto! I’m highly extroverted but my home is my sanctuary. I do NOT like unexpected company, even if they’re my own friends or family. If I ever had to have roommates, this would be a big, big problem for me.

        • TO_Ont said:

          Yeah, for me the discussion would be about how much I can handle the friend being over when I’m home. Me staying in the living room with them if I don’t actually feel like it would be unlikely to even enter into it, and me making dinner for them would sound like a joke.

  16. GreenDoor said:

    Wait, so if Boyfriend and Duder come back to the house EVERY DAY after work and sit around getting high…who on earth does all the cleaning, cooking, errand running, and other household whatnot? Because, LW, if that all falls to you, on top of a four hour daily commute, that is total BS. Do you have a partner….or a manchild? Please start putting your foot down. Or, in the alternative, feel free to pick your feet up – and walk yourself to bed or to a back room for some downtime by yourself. Your boyfriend is being ridiculous.

    • Allison said:

      Some people do most of the cleaning and errand running on the weekends, it’s not absurd to think he might do them on Saturday morning.

      • watchthetoes said:

        While that is true, Allison, it’s also not a far leap to imagine a guy thinking all that work is “woman’s work” that falls on their partners regardless of how busy their day is. Things are getting better and lots of guys don’t pull that crap, but enough still do…

        • Allison said:

          Yeah, it’s fair to think that might be the case, it’s definitely been the case with the succession of male roommates I dealt with after college, I just don’t think it’s fair to assume it’s the case just because he spends his weeknights socializing.

      • winter said:

        Somehow I don’t see boyfriend doing that after all the self-centered behavior that’s been described here.

        • It is possible to be considerate in some areas and not others. I don’t think we have enough information to declare the boyfriend self-centered across the board.

  17. Schmoopboop said:

    I’m kind flashing back to my now defunct marriage.

    On more than one occasion a week, I would come home from work (8 hour day with 3 hour round trip commute) and find him and his buddies listening to 70s prog rock, getting high, and talking about the good old days. I had heard all of these stories on multiple occasions, I hate 70s prog rock, and am exceedingly introverted, and am straight edge (no drugs, no drinking (also, no judgement)). I’d make dinner for everyone, mostly sit in silence because I couldn’t contribute to the conversation, go to bed and read, and get a reasonable night’s sleep.

    After a while, I found out that this was completely selfish and unacceptable. His friend’s wives stayed and hung out. They served everyone drinks. They joined the conversation. I made ex-husband look bad because I was stuck up, I was boring, I was a stick in the mud, I was a snob. I was lazy.

    The name calling and raging eventually ended up with me curled up in a blanket, on the floor of my living room falling asleep whilst they carried on because it was easier… because he was an emotionally abusive turdmaster that I’m well rid of.

    Dear LW, please live your boundaries better than I did. Don’t be a floor sleeper to keep the peace.

    • The “no drugs, no drinking, no judgement” part of your comment reminded me of the stunning insight I eventually had that one can be non-judgemental in general and still prefer a similar level of drug use/ non-use in a romantic partner. “I prefer/need X in a romantic partner” and “people who do Y are horrible excuses for human beings” are not equivalent. Wish I’d figured that out earlier.

      • Nanani said:

        This. Plus, “no judgement” MUST go both ways. It’s not “judgemental” to decline socializing with people who call you names for not partaking.

        • TO_Ont said:

          Yes. I am ‘judgmental’ of people who act like jerks when they drink, or insult me if I don’t.

        • That doesn’t even make sense, from the partaker’s point of view. Wouldn’t that mean more of (insert substance here) for them?

          • Nanani said:

            That sort of logic is not as common as one would like.

          • johann7 said:

            It’s a human tribal tendency – apes that are part of my tribe, identified by shared cultural practices, are safe, while apes that are not, identified by different cultural practices, may be hostile – often combined with internalized shame about one’s drug use in cases like this, possibly enhanced by a suspicion one may have problems related to the use of that drug that one then projects onto others even when they don’t display any signs of negative judgement.

            In my experience, people can get REALLY aggressive about other people drinking alcohol in particular, though I’ve seen it most often with food – trying to coerce people to eat things they don’t eat for preferential (e.g. “I don’t like [food].” “Just TRYYYYYYYYYY it.”), ethical (e.g. people trying to convince vegetarians/vegans to eat dead animal parts), or even medical reasons (e.g. disbelieving allergies, sometimes to the point of secretly trying to poison people with foods to which they’re allergic in order to prove that the allergy is fake).

          • People who do that last thing should have the cops called on them and experience the full justice of the law/

      • I’ve been accused of bigotry for saying that I don’t really want to be in a relationship with someone who’s more religious than “vaguely deist” or “sort of a pantheist”. Even though my reasoning on that is rooted in “I think people should be able to discuss their spiritual beliefs with their partners in a way that is based on sympathy and mutual understanding and I don’t think I can really offer that”.

        • TO_Ont said:

          Yeah, I totally get this, from the other direction. I am fairly religious and have only really ever dated atheists, and occasionally I feel like it would be so awesome to date someone with some kind of faith. It’s hard to explain that I don’t care in the sense of not liking or respecting people or wanting them to change what works for them, but it does sometimes feel very lonely. I doubt I will start actively seeking that, because it’s too rare in my demographic to feel realistic, but I do think whistfully sometimes of being able to chat about faith or spirituality with someone, or sing hymns together.

          Basically what works great in one kind of friendship can be different from what works in a different or closer kind, and wanting or not wanting to date or live with someone is not a referendum on the person’s value.

      • viva said:

        Very true. It’s about basic daily compatibility.

  18. You’re way more optimistic than I am, Allison.

    • KayEss said:

      Yeah, my first thought was “Boyfriend wants a performance of feminine service labor he can show off as a trophy.” Just another variant of the guy who wants his girlfriend to dress nicer, be thinner, etc. because it raises his perceived status…

      • Allison said:

        Yeah, that definitely came to mind for me as well, that he wanted her to act as a status symbol. “Come hang with my friend and I so he can see what a great girlfriend I have!”

        There’s definitely a part of me who, after some bad experiences with male roommates, is angry at how many men are helpless, entitled manbabies who expect women to take care of everything so they can just enjoy life, and don’t realize that said women are humans with limited energy, and there’s the other part of me that doesn’t want to harshly judge people I’ve only read about online. Threads like this are definitely cathartic, but I try not to go overboard.

        • KayEss said:

          If this is one weird quirk he has about the way he imagines things Should Be(tm) when someone is a guest in their shared home (does he reciprocate with engagement and hosting manners when the LW has a friend over?) that’s something that can definitely be negotiated within the relationship. I inherited a lot of wacky ideas about what Must Be Done(tm) when I host someone from my mother, but I’ve largely gotten over them because that shit is exhausting. (Who has two thumbs and no longer scrubs the tile grout in the shower with a toothbrush at 1AM the night before having guests over for dinner? This lady!)

          However, if it’s part of a pattern of him expecting certain levels of performance from the LW and being angry about noncompliance, particularly fixating on how the failure of the LW to perform adequately reflects poorly on them (i.e. him)… it might be time for a Come-To-Jesus reevaluation of the relationship

          • Allison said:

            My mom was the same way, she made having parties a stressful nightmare and it made me not want to have parties. It’s probably part of why I didn’t bother to have a sweet 16 or any major graduation party (wedding planning would be so much fun . . .). Now I’m warming up to it, figuring out how to be hospitable and considerate of my guests while maintaining my sanity – thanks in large part to Awesome Etiquette!

            Honestly, just having a place for people to hang their coats and put their shoes, liquid hand soap by the sink and a clean, dry hand towel for them to use makes a huge difference!

      • Indie said:

        Ding ding ding jackpot…

  19. Cherries in the Snow said:

    I am completely gobsmacked by this story. You commute four hours every day (FOUR. HOURS. ?!), you make dinner every night because your boyfriend and his BFF are too stoned to bother (WHAT), and you get called SheDevil (!!) for not wanting to play hostess (more !!!). FWIW the first time my husband called me a SheDevil for any reason, let alone a reason like this, would be the last time he got a chance—he would find his ass and a suitcase on our doorstep faster than he could blink.

    I feel like this is such an untenable situation that you’re maybe not even seeing how truly awful it is. It’s not just the hosting, LW. It’s all of it, the lack of respect, the disregard for your basic needs, the emotional labour, the unwillingness to do equal household work, the name calling—this is all just so not okay.

    • Let us consider the fact that LW’s part-time, unpaid job is commuting. She is spending 20 hours per week commuting, on top of her regular 40 hour per week job. Her “second shift” is already spoken for. It cannot and should not be expected to turn into another full-time job by adding cooking, cleaning, and hostessing.

    • Skada said:

      This. Seriously.

      If I were dating someone and they called me a SheDevil and it was for ANY reason other than, we were having adult roleplay funtime and I was wearing devil horns and a tail, he’d be out the door on his ass so fast it would leave a hole in the space-time continuum.

      LW, while you are figuring out what you want to do next in this relationship, may I suggest once-a-week or once-a-month crock pot cooking as a way to buy yourself some time? It won’t make the problems you describe here go away, but it might mean you have an extra 20 minutes of downtime each night, and it will deal with a fairly simple problem which frees up your emotional energy to deal with other, more complicated problems.

    • TootsNYC said:

      I don’t think she said she gets called SheDevil.

  20. emilynicaoidh said:

    omg break up with him. this guy sucks.

  21. Yolanda B. Cool said:

    LW, is this the _only_ instance in which your boyfriend behaves like an inconsiderate jerk? Because in my experience being married to a man who wanted a Sex Mommy and not a partner, this mentality is usually not isolated. I think it’s worth examining his behavior and attitudes in other areas to see if you are getting anything near the work you are putting into this relationship.

    The fact that he can’t be bothered to throw a frozen lasagna in the oven, or order a pizza, when you have a _four hour commute_ really burns me up.

    Sometimes it’s worth stepping back to take a look at the bigger picture. I wish you luck, LW.

    • subliminalflicker said:

      Sex Mommy – that is gold and accurate. I’m now trying to decide how many relationships I’ve fallen into that category in… Far too many methinks.

    • Rana said:

      I have to admit I’m wondering about how they ended up sharing a place that’s 15 minutes from the boyfriend’s work, and two hours from the LW’s. And whether there have been any conversations about moving somewhere such that the commutes are more equitable.

      (I mean, my husband and I have done the unequal commuting thing – he, valiant soul, actually managed a cross-state commute for about a year while we were preparing to move somewhere else, while I stayed behind with the cat. But we were both agreed that this was (a) temporary and (b) a heroic sacrifice on his part.)

    • Thanksforallthefish said:

      Sex Mommy is a perfect term

  22. Sheelzebub said:

    I have a long commute (4-hour round trip), and my response to your letter is that you should feel free to show your boyfriend how much of a She-Devil you can be when you’re tired and not only left with dinner duty but expected to be the social hostess.

    I’m hella pissed at your boyfriend. Why? Well, let’s count the ways:

    1) You get back home at 7:30 and he leaves all aspects of dinner up to you. Buying the food, cooking the food, cleaning up. Really? Your boyfriend–who gets back LONG before you do–doesn’t make something and leave some for you to heat up when you get home? REALLY.

    2) You get back home at 7:30 and your boyfriend his bro are stoned, and expect you to entertain them. When you’re tired and cranky from a long ass commute, and your boyfriend has acted like he’s 12 and you’re his mom and you’ll get dinner for his childish ass.

    3) Your boyfriend gets angry when you leave the room so you can, oh, SLEEP. Since you have to get up early (see: long-ass commute).

    Your boyfriend is not a fucking child, and you are not his parent. He is lacking basic courtesy and respect for your feelings. You can communicate with him but to be honest, I don’t think it will change much. If someone cannot be arsed to think “Hey, I just got home, I’m going to get dinner ready” or “Hey, my partner is tired and wants to relax after their long-ass commute, not entertain me and my friends when we’re high as fuck” I have nothing civil to say about them.

    This is not going to change, how long can you live with this assuming this never changes, etc. etc. Because here’s the thing: You’re tired, and scrambling to make your boyfriend, yourself, and his friend dinner (!) and then be the hostess is not helping. And if you think that somehow shortening your commute will solve the problem, well, it will solve the commuting problem, but not the entitled attitude of your boyfriend.

    Be a fucking She-Devil.

    • Stephanie said:

      I’m not going to lie, I kind of want “Be a Fucking She-Devil” embossed, embroidered, tattooed, whatever, on a few things.

      • Jarissa said:

        I would like to suggest “Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen” for our visual representation of our She-Devil lifestyle?

        • Freya said:

          OMG so much yes

      • Leonine said:

        On The Simpons once, Homer referred to Marge’s sisters as “penis-curling she-devils,” which. #goals

    • Fontaine said:

      Yeah, this whole pattern seems pretty immature on the boyfriend’s part. Others may be more optimistic but it doesn’t sound promising to me. It’s sounds like a basic lack of consideration for your well being.

    • Emily said:

      *claps, cheers, waves pom-poms etc*

      Woo! Yea!

  23. Clarry said:

    A little off topic, but since when does being stoned mean you’re not thinking about dinner? In my experience, being stoned means you’re thinking about any food you can find and eating it including the stale crackers on the bottom of the box in the back of the shelf with the expiry date some time in 2013.

    Who’s casting LW as she-devil, Boyfriend or Steve?

    I know the question is about getting down time after a long commute, and I think the Captain’s scripts are good, but are we sure everything would be rosy in an instance where Steve wasn’t hanging out on any particular night? LW comes home after a long day and a long commute. Steve isn’t there, but Boyfriend is stoned as usual, and he’s done nothing about dinner. LW is able to make dinner and change into jammies to decompress. And then everything is okay?

    • Allison said:

      That stood out to me as well, and makes me think “no, he’s totally been thinking about food, he’s just not motivated to put any mental or physical work into getting himself a meal.” Dinner means figuring out what you want to eat and getting the ingredients, or coming up with something that uses what you have, and making it into a meal – or, it means finding a pizza in the freezer and baking it. But when you’re stoned and hanging with your bro, finding the motivation to do any of that might be tough, especially when you know your mom- I mean girlfriend will be home soon.

      • the815 said:

        I’d think even a not very nice or considerate person, someone with no concept of emotional labor….would be motivated by just plain HUNGER to get off their ass and find some dinner before 7:30! Maybe being stoned does mess with the motivation.

        Sheesh, I could maybe see this as an occasional annoying “incident” if a particular friend was visiting from out of town or something, but every single night?? In your own home, after that hellish commute? Eh, I don’t see much hope for the relationship, either (although yes, she did ask how to cope with the situation, not if he was worth it all).

        • A stoner who was thinking things through clearly and considerately would prepare food before getting blitzed, so it was ready for munchie o’clock. And (not incidentally) ready for the person with the extra-long commute.

    • Katia said:

      Hahaha I forgot about that.

    • Aw Thanks, Sheelzebub, I have never seen that before!
      I am currently drafting an e-mail to a student documenting lack of work –> failing grade, and I really need the laugh.

      Also as per LW’s letter – aw, you she-devil, you, I don’t think I ever mentioned that I like your name 🙂

    • viva said:

      OMG I’ve never seen that, so than you for posting!! LOLOLOL

  24. Marthooh said:

    — Consider: “I need us to find a place closer to my work. Four hours is too long for me to commute every day.”

    — I hope your partner is cool about this and you continue to be mostly happy together.

    If your partner is not cool, consider leaving out the “us”.

    • Sheelzebub said:

      — Consider: “I need us to find a place closer to my work. Four hours is too long for me to commute every day.”

      OK, look. I moved to shorten my commute, and three weeks after I passed papers on my house, got laid off. So now I have a four hour round trip commute. Best laid plans, etc. LW might have family nearby or like the area, etc. There are a whole host of reasons why moving isn’t possible for LW, and besides which (more important IMO) . . .the problem is the LW’s boyfriend.

      If LW’s partner was cool about moving, it wouldn’t change the fact that LW’s partner is OK with expecting them to cook dinner after a two hour commute home AND entertain him and his friend when they’re both high. That level of entitlement and selfishness isn’t going to disappear.

      • Marthooh said:

        I assume that’s why Capt. A. used the word “consider”. I’m just quoting!

      • Sheelzebub said:

        Yikes this is misplaced.

      • flrpwll said:

        You’re not wrong. But I can almost guarantee stoner-mate won’t be as much of a problem.

  25. MJ said:

    It’s always painful when an LW prefaces a question with “this is silly” and then proceeds to outline a series of completely selfish and entitled behaviors on the part of their partner.

    LW, it’s not normal for anyone to expect you to be up and sparkling and cooking after a twelve-hour day. Like THREE seconds of giving a fuck about your opinions/well-being should make that clear to your partner. Normal humans who are over the age of like 22 do this on a regular basis. It’s not a silly deviance, and you can be confident that it’s okay to be pissed and/or miserable about it.

  26. Sheelzebub said:

    — Consider: “I need us to find a place closer to my work. Four hours is too long for me to commute every day.”

    OK, look. I moved to shorten my commute, and three weeks after I passed papers on my house, got laid off. So now I have a four hour round trip commute. Best laid plans, etc. LW might have family nearby or like the area, etc. There are a whole host of reasons why moving isn’t possible for LW, and besides which (more important IMO) . . .the problem is the LW’s boyfriend.

    If LW’s partner was cool about moving, it wouldn’t change the fact that LW’s partner is OK with expecting them to cook dinner after a two hour commute home AND entertain him and his friend when they’re both high. That level of entitlement and selfishness isn’t going to disappear.

    • Sheelzebub said:

      Also, want to say, I know the spirit in which this was intended. I just. . . I don’t think that’s actually the problem here.

      • None of us do. Boyfriend’s response though could be telling.

  27. Rose said:

    I have a commute that ranges from an hour to an hour and a half depending on traffic.

    I also have a boyfriend who is way more into having people over than I am.

    We have solved this by
    —making sure he informs me well in advance
    —Making it so only friends of both of ours (as opposed to friends + random people in our hobby community who are friends of those friends) come over to our place on the regular.

    He has never expected me to entertain company that he invited over or play hostess unless he is actively doing something like making dinner for all of us (which means he can’t play host while he’s doing that).

    This setup where you arrive home after a long day to SURPRISE BOYFRIENDS BUDDY and are then expected to entertain them and take care of dinner for you and your boyfriend and presumably his buddy as well sucks, and any “meanness” you are showing is more than justified, imo.

    Your boyfriends buddy is being entertained and hosted. By your boyfriend, who is the one who invited him and the one who is friends with him. There is no reason you should be expected to help.

    • Kacienna said:

      “actively doing something like making dinner for all of us (which means he can’t play host while he’s doing that).”

      Of course people vary, and if this is a system that works for you, there’s no need to change it. On the other hand, I routinely invite people over during my holiday baking season with the agreement of “You keep me company and chat away while I bake, I send you home with cookies” and have received no complaints about my hosting 🙂

    • Allison said:

      “Making it so only friends of both of ours (as opposed to friends + random people in our hobby community who are friends of those friends) come over to our place on the regular.”

      This is an awesome ground rule, and I may suggest it when my guy and I move in. He’s way more social than I am so I am worried about coming home in the evening and finding surprise company hanging out in the living room. If it’s people I know, it won’t bother me as much.

      • Setting a policy where he texts you if he has company over might also help with the “surprise” part of “surprise company.”

  28. Nanani said:

    I’d skip straight ahead to “break up and move somewhere with a shorter commute,” tbh.

    Although LW did say she’s “otherwise pretty happy” all of this postively reeks of the dynamics we’ve seen before concerning household chore dynamics. Even though the question was about guest behaviour and not directly about chores, it’s still about chores because *BF isn’t doing the work required for HIS guests*

    It’s not LW inviting people for dinner and being pressed for time to prepare it, it’s BF inviting friend with no notice to LW and then magically expecting her to fix food and be a host and all the gendered bullshit.

    LW, you deserve better. Maybe with the same bf, but also maybe it would be nice to have your own space where no one is stoned on your couch expecting you to satisfy their munchies when you just want to unwind and go to bed.

    • TootsNYC said:

      I think I’d at -least- move somewhere with a shorter commute. You don’t have to break up to move out.

      I would not be happy to have someone in my home when I come home every night.
      Maybe that’s not fair to my partner, for him to sit home alone every night waiting for me. OK. But then, when I get home, I’d like this guy to leave.

      Because I want my evenings to be spent with the people I have CHOSEN. And because I want to talk with my partner, without an audience. I want us to be together.

      I’m with the idea of saying, “two nights a week, you can have company. The other nights, I want them to leave when I get home, or—ideally—just before. Use the alarm on your cell phone.”

  29. S said:

    LW – Have you considered getting yourself a delicious dinner on the way home? Perhaps to break up your commute? Perhaps find a gym halfway between home and work or a yoga class or something else fun you’ve always wanted to try? I know it makes the time between work and home longer, but sometimes it is nice to break up that long trip with something to look forward to. (My commute ranges from an hour to an hour and a half, so I feel you.)

    I also love my audible subscription, and they recently added a romance package that lets you listen to unlimited terrible romance novels. You could probably clear some serious reading if that interested you/you aren’t already.

    These are just some tips to help with your crazy commute. Notice now I didn’t include anything about how to manage your boyfriend’s feelings around the that you’re not going to be home for dinner? or you’ll be home late after your amazing yogalatispolesque class? Because you shouldn’t have to. You shouldn’t have to do all this work, and he shouldn’t be making you feel bad for wanting to get some sleep.

    Start spending your free time at home the way you want to spend it, and let your boyfriend be mad.

    • Strongly seconding getting dinner for yourself on the way home, at least for a little while after breaking out the Cap’s scripts. Nothing like being totally unavailable and already fed to nip any push back in the bud and train them to at least feed themselves. (! If he’s getting stoned it’s just common sense for him to plan for future munchies by surrounding himself with chip bags or getting an uber eats order in BEFORE he lights up) Plus you’ll be out. Your phone will be off.

      Strength to you, LW. You shouldn’t have to be doing this emotional labour either way. But with the Cap’s advice and some serious reflection on his part, I think this might just be fixable.

      • Anonyish said:

        Dinner on the way home is a great idea. If there is time in the working day, you could also consider the option of a more substantial meal at lunchtime, so that you dinner on the way home can be a quick sandwich. Either way, you come back having already eaten and maybe just wanting a light snack a lot later in the evening…

    • Runaway Shinobi said:

      They recently added a romance package that let’s you listen to unlimited romance novels. If you enjoy them, they are not terrible!

      And think about whether you want to stay with someone selfish, LW.

      • S said:

        Ehhh I would argue the ones in the free package are not of the same quality as the ones that I have actually paid for. Not everyone can be Kresley Cole. But i also see your point.

  30. Amy said:

    You are not a she-monster for having some semblance of personal needs.

    Your boyfriend is being an inconsiderate jerk, and then trying to blame you for the effects of his assholery. (Seriously, he not only leaves ALL the dinner-cooking/household labor to you, but ALSO expects you to be in hostess mode for hours on end with no notice or say in whether someone comes over? What sheer blatant jerkishness.)

    Possible solutions: 1) You talk to your boyfriend and he shapes up. 2) Your boyfriend doesn’t shape up, you enforce your boundaries anyways (don’t play hostess anymore, don’t make dinner for him anymore even if you’re cooking for yourself, don’t give a shit if he complains).
    3) You ditch your boyfriend, because a pet fish would be a significantly better living companion than this nonsense.

  31. I had a lot of this “second shift” problem. I’ve always had a lot of commuting by the nature of my work and, being socialized as a cis woman, welp. I think as someone who works a lot, it’s easy to fall into “yep, I’ll handle it” when others aren’t because you’re so scheduled that you just don’t have the energy for spontaneity because you literally have 1-2 hours to yourself per day. So you do the thing because it’s easier to do it and everyone around you starts assuming this is all easy for you because you are making it look really easy.

    It’s always helpful to take inventory of how much of this you are genuinely being asked to do (which might be all of it, might not) and how much you are doing because others are just not taking initiative (which is the same thing in practice but in *theory* the distinction matters). What would boyfriend do if you weren’t there to make dinner? Order takeout? Shop for groceries? Go out? I’m willing to bet that he wouldn’t starve, so presumably he has the rudimentary skills to make this work, he just hasn’t exercised them in awhile. So, try the following:

    1. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and resentful and dreading a specific chore, text boyfriend and say “Hey, I’m really beat today – can you [chore]?” If he says no, that’s valuable information. If he says yes, let him. And while it might be wonky bc learned helplessness, resist the urge to jump in and help and fix it yourself because that only teaches him that if he does it badly enough, you’ll do it. Let his efforts be what they are while he re-learns to do things.

    2. Meal plan as a couple for the week. Everyone gets [x] nights to figure out dinner, within set price and nutrition parameters. Maybe it makes sense that he has more of these. If he has a bad reaction to a suggestion that you do this, that’s also valuable information. If he needs some help brainstorming simple recipes, direct him to the internet.

    3. Make a nighttime routine. Maybe when you get home, you shower, lay out your clothes, whatever. Get yourself totally scheduled and set for the next day before you do any hanging out. That can help alleviate some of the “omg will Friend ever leave, I’m tired” and will make you feel a little more charitable if you do sit down for 10-20 min of polite conversation because it’s not keeping you from what you need to do. Get home and Do You.

    I second all the rest about boundaries. Just adding that if you’re anything like me, maybe PART of this is your boyfriend being clueless (still not great tbh) or assuming that you don’t mind/like/prefer doing XYZ. Ask for help. Ask ask ask. Only the jerkiest folks will give an unqualified no to someone commuting that far.

    • CommanderBanana said:

      This might have come from an earlier CA column but it suggested counting back from free time so each partner is contributing an PROPORTIONATELY equal amount of free time to running the household. If I only have 2 hours of free time at home in the evening and my partner has 4, they need to be contributing double the amount of time to running the household, because then we’re both contributing an equal percentage.

    • Boyfriend may agree to do it and then either forget or “forget,” leaving the work to the LW.

      • I feel this. Although, if that happens, probably it’s time to break up? Ultimately, learned helplessness is a think. Maybe make a back-up plan for a bit, but if he can’t handle pulling his weight some of the time and it comes to the point where he is willing to risk scorn, etc. not to do it because he’s that invested in not helping, well. Does LW wanna be his parent forever? Like I said, valuable info.

    • I disagree with 2. Short term, I think the LW would be better off announcing her dinner plans for the week than engaging in planning with her boyfriend. Something like Monday and Thursday I’ll be out for dinner. Tuesday and Friday, if you don’t cook, I’ll make myself a sandwich. Wednesday is our date night, where do you want to go?

      • I think that is a good point, but ultimately it sounds like what LW is after is a sense of shared responsibility for these things. Sure, make a back-up plan for a bit while he adjusts but I don’t think the solution is “I bitterly shop, meal plan, and make dinner for one while you skulk around the kitchen pestering me for leftovers.”

        If all LW wants is not to cook for *him* then revise, but I think LW would also occasionally like for something to be done for them without them having to do it, you know?

        • I agree that she wants shared responsibility. It’s just that if she does all the work of setting the parameters for how shared life can happen, the responsibility is still on her.

          I would like her to get a break.

          I’m thinking of the announcement as a hard reset.

    • TO_Ont said:

      Making dinner for another person is not something I would ask for permission not to do. The very question creates a disturb dynamic. I would try to let them know a bit ahead of time so they have time to do any preparation they need to do, but that’s it.

      Asking ‘would you mind feeding yourself’ is not, to me, a reasonable question (unless the person you are asking is a small child, perhaps), because by its very nature it implies that the other person has a right to say no!

      • johann7 said:

        Agreed; social dynamics around guests, alone/together time, etc. can have neutral differences in preferences, but entitlement to another’s labor for one’s own benefit is not okay.

  32. Marna Nightingale said:

    You know, the Captain and the Akwardeers are completely awesome at coming up with useful scripts for difficult situations, but am I the only one who sometimes wonders if we might be neglecting the classics a little?

    Such as “Are you FUCKING serious right now?”

    (I was gonna offer “are you FUCKING HIGH” but a) yes they are b) that’s not the problem.)

    Anyway, LW, he expects you to stay up after a day like that and play gracious host? Is he FUCKING serious right now?

    • BigDogLittleCat said:

      “Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?” is good too.

      • S said:

        I like these. Also if he calls you a she devil again you could try –

        “Don’t get so emotional honey. I am just going to bed.”

        (SOrry this makes me so mad I don’t want to fight fair.)

        • the815 said:

          **“Don’t get so emotional honey. I am just going to bed.”**

          OMG, that’s gold! Turning the whole “women are so emotional” thing back on him – hell yes. Of course, the urge to “score points” and hurl bitchy lines at your partner means the relationship has probably run its course (at least if you feel that way on a regular basis). But even if the LW does decide to leave, there will probably be some discussion involved. If you live together, then ending the relationship isn’t as simple as just pushing a button and being done.

      • Anon, Goodnight said:

        I’m pretty much at “Fuck this shit, I’m out.”

  33. UGH. On the two days a week I have my one hour commute/ 11 hour workday, I can barely talk to my husband. We used to have an issue because he’d been home alone all day so he was Ready! To! Talk! and I had been peopling all day already. He got it, when I explained, now we catch up the next day.
    All that is to say, I feel ya, LW. You are in the right about this.

    • Stishovite said:

      This was a problem in my household when I was growing up. Dad worked in a quiet office, and rarely interacted with people. Mom was a middle-school teacher. He’d come home, want to turn on music and interact. She wanted QUIET AND NO MORE PEOPLE. They usually retreated to opposite corners of the house. They were married for 50 years, so it seemed to work OK.

  34. I like the one where LW goes out for her own dinner and lets the stoned apes deal with their own bananas.

  35. Hj said:

    So I asked my cis het, occasional joint smoking partner if there is some arcane, mystical dude-xcuse why you should be expected to cook and hang out in this scenario. He says no, It’s obvious to him that your guy should get his act together to make you a meal and give you quiet time. He was pretty disgusted that you were being guilted about it.

    When I asked him why your partner ought to step up, he said that

    *this kind of courtesy is a basic given when you love someone, It’s not hard to do.*

    And that everyone deserves that courtesy. So if it helps, know that there are all kinds of people who would cook for you and nurture you and you absolutely don’t have to earn that. And their willingness won’t depend on their gender, but on reciprocity and love, It’s not a Herculean task you’re requiring here.

    You really do deserve a partner who lives their life with you as a team vs a competition of whose needs get met first.

  36. Script #1: “Partner, can you take care of getting dinner on the table x days/week? It’s not sustainable for me to keep doing that every night after I commute. Cool, thanks.”

    I used to ask my former husband/son’s father that, and he’d agree, and it would last that one week. Hence the former. Present husband doesn’t cook, but if I cannot, or don’t want to, cook, he makes sure we have dinner.

    My son, now 33, works as a cook, at a well-known New Orleans restaurant, and was raised in my Cajun family. His partner, a woman, likes her food very plain. I don’t know their cooking arrangements, but I know he makes sure she has her less-exotic options available.

  37. Traffic_Spiral said:

    OMG LW, this is not ok! I was listening to “this is silly, but he’s always inviting his friends home,” and just right there thinking that’s a legit complaint. You need some peace and quiet in your house when you come home, and so he needs to stagger the days he brings his friends home. Then you went “… and he expects me to host them and hang out,” and I was like “da fuq?”

    Seriously, you need to have a serious talk to that guy about how he can’t just volunteer you to entertain his friends after a long day. Also about how he needs to hang out at their place some times, but also about just what the hell is his malfunction. That’s not cool.

  38. Emily said:

    Oh my god please break up with this dude and move closer to your work. You’re doing so much to accommodate his needs and he can’t even make you dinner. Can you imagine if he commuted 2 hours and you had fifteen minutes? I think not only would you have dinner ready, he would expect it, and then find some reason to whine about it.

    I know it sucks to break up, especially when there’s a lease and he’s so cute in that one special way. But these guys never get better and the purpose they serve in our lives is to teach us to learn how to be happy alone so we never relive the misery of an unfulfilling partnership. Please leave him, get a sweet place closer to your job, and enjoy the serenity of only doing what you want to do in your own home.

  39. Kitty said:

    OMG no. My commute is only 45 minutes and I still feel blessed relief when I get home after work to my one bedroom apartment and close the door and do not open it again for anyone.

    What the actual fuck is wrong with this dude that he expects you to cook dinner and hostess every night after such a long day?!

    • subliminalflicker said:

      I have a five minute commute (each way, I know, I’m super lucky) and I _still_ refuse to do things on a weeknight that require socialising without advance preparation. Granted, I also have an auto immune disease that saps every ounce of spare energy I have, but I’m so flabbergasted by this LWs bf that I kind of want to cry for her.

  40. Friendly Hipposcriff said:

    LW, your issue is not silly, and your ‘happy twosome’ seems to be an unwilling threesome far too often. It’s not just ‘a mate comes over and I’d rather not’; it’s that your partner expects you to do the greater share of the work on behalf of a third party and then gets angry at you when you want to do what is your right in your own home: decide what to do with your scarce spare time, and go to bed when you need to sleep like a responsible adult. Your demands – that you both work an equal amount of hours (this means that he should put in at least an hour in the home per day to make up for your long commute) and that you get your immediate needs met (food, quiet time, sufficient sleep) are so reasonable that they look like baseline to me. That’s the _minimum_ you should expect from a partnership.

  41. TootsNYC said:

    For me, it wouldn’t even be the “expected to play hostess” thing. It would be the “coming into my home, my refuge, and finding that someone whom I didn’t choose to be part of my intimate family is in my space.”

    It would not be enough to be given permission to ignore the “company” and do my own thing, and go to bed, etc. I would be in an instant funk that he was even there; if he was there all the time, it might be an instant rage.

    Probably it’s selfish of me, in that my partner is there for two hours waiting for me, by himself. So OK, I get that, and I realize I’m going to have to compromise. My partner is entitled to have friends over.

    But I would want them to leave pretty much as soon as I came home. Maybe one night a week, they can hang around for an hour, but that’s IT.

    Partly–I want the TIME with my partner. I want to have no one there diluting or distracting the conversation or the time together. We get so little of that time together; I get home at 7:30 and am tired, and there are chores and stuff, and I need to be in bed by 10. That’s 2.5 hours–that’s ALL the time we get to have our relationship in.

    I’d want him out.

    Frankly, there’d be one conversation w/ partner in which I laid this out. The compromise is, one night a week, you can have a friend over who stays after I get home. You need to be the one to explain this to your friend, and you can’t make me out to be the bad guy here. This is my home, this is OUR relationship, it’s a school night. You tell him in advance, and you remind him.

    On the other nights, set a timer on your phone, and try to get him out before I come home.

    And if that wasn’t happening reliably, then it would be me saying, about 10 minutes after I came in the door, “Well, Steve, I’m going to have to send you home–this is my only time to relax at home, and I want my boyfriend to myself. Where’s your jacket? It’s good to see you, thanks for understanding–see you on some other day!”

  42. storyranger said:

    My partner is much more sociable then I am, and I’m very much a creature of habit. I don’t actually mind if he has guests over for impromptu social events, but that’s because we have the agreement that the onus is on him to entertain them. If I want to say hi, cool. If I want to just go hide in my room, also cool. And if it’s Monday or Tuesday, if you’re still here by 8pm, I will emerge from my Fortress of Solitude to commandeer the TV because it’s Wrestling O’Clock up in this place. I have a small but close circle of friends and whenever they need to talk/rant/vent or write an essay or just be in a room with another person because being alone is too much, I have no problem with them coming over and hanging out, for an hour or a day, as they need it. But if it’s Monday or Tuesday, if you’re still here by 8pm, we’re watching wrestling.

    LW, you are 100% within your rights to ask for these dudes to not be in your house at all and your BF can visit them at theirs. You are well within your rights to say “Your friends can come over but I don’t have to hang out with them if I’m tired and you do not get to whine at me about it, ever.” And you are well within your rights to designate certain days of the week as “yours” where you get control of the TV and anyone who’s there will watch your show and DEAL with it because it’s your night. I work security and when I get home I need to crash out immediately because some nights I start my shift after most people are already in bed. If I had to come home and be social, I would spontaneously combust.

  43. Extroverted person who LOVES entertaining who lives with an introvert here – I would not dream of inviting someone over, even if they were just dropping off a book and looking for a 5 minute chat on the front porch, without notifying my partner. It takes .001% effort to type a text that says “hey, Cheech is stopping by, is that cool?”

    • S said:

      Yeah, but they you might say NO. And I have a feeling that the LW’s partner would not find “No” an acceptable option.

  44. Cyberwulf said:

    I – I’m sorry – you spend two hours in a car/train/bus/subway after a day of working and he spends x hours getting stoned with his buddy and then expects dinner and entertainment?

    Is this friend of his an enchanted teddy bear that came to life as a result of Boyfriend’s childhood wish?

    Because not in my fucking house would this happen. Consider – he can get his act together when it comes to buy weed but he can’t be bothered to buy some groceries and he’s not organised enough to either start dinner or fix his mate some snacks. Boyfriend is the selfish one here, LW, not you.

    • the815 said:

      OMG, I legit laughed out loud at “enchanted teddy bear”…

      Ugh, seriously, tho. Couldn’t he just hang out with this friend at a bar/coffee shop/arcade/whatever? I know, it’s really just the symptom of a larger problem, but might improve the LW’s immediate reality.

    • Indie said:


  45. Hitoride said:

    I did a quick back of the envelope calculation: if you’re driving 2 hours each way, 5 days a week, you’re putting 300,000 to 400,000 miles per year on your car. How much is your daily gas cost, about $20? The sites I checked figured gas as being about 20% of the actual cost to operate a vehicle (tires, repairs, insurance, stuff like that). Depending on how much of your commute is highway driving, you could grab an AirBNB for a few nights a week and actually SAVE money.

  46. Angle-a said:

    Hey She-devil.

    Come 7:30/8am every night, after my 6:30am start, I start to unravel. It’s not pretty & it happens quickly. I have four children & I can seriously say, they’re always more loveable when they’re asleep. But they’re children. Not independent bf & dudebro stoned on the couch. I hope the Captain’s scripts work for you. A partner should complement your life… Children grow up.

    Off topic – it’s great to see the comment section being more supportive & having a robust conversation tone. I love all the varied ideas & input I’ve been reading over the last few posts. Thanks for sharing everyone & your awesome moderation Captain.

  47. d___ said:

    I think its worth remembering that some families (and some cultures) have very high expectations for how guests should be treated. If lw’s boyfriend grew up with these expectations, he might be disregarding lw’s feelings and needs because he was taught that “guests come first.” This is pretty inconsiderate and unnaceptable under the circumstances that lw describes – but it’s also the type of problem that often comes up in a relationship: one person has one set of elections, while the other has another set of expectations. This type of issue is frustrating but it can be worked through if both people in the relationship have good intentions and make an effort to communicate with each other. It seems like the captain’s scripts would work regardless of why lw’s boyfriend is acting the way that he is.

    • Anon, Goodnight said:

      Then BF should take care of the needs of HIS guest. Duder isn’t the LW’s guest – she didn’t invite him, and he barely even acknowledges her presence.

      • Anonyish said:

        + 1 If taking care of a guest is so important, why isn’t BF cooking dinner himself earlier in the evening?

        • TootsNYC said:

          yeah, if a guest is a jewel, a 2-hour delay is not acceptable.

      • Kacienna said:

        And if the household culture is such that hosting guests needs to involve both members of the couple, then deciding to host guests also needs to involve both members of the couple.

        • Allison said:

          Absolutely! If my guy said “hey we should invite so-and-so over for dinner!” and I agree to that plan I would of course agree to share hosting duties, whether that means cleaning up before, cooking, or entertaining while he grills. If he says “so-and-so is coming over after work, he’ll probably still be here when you get home” I would expect him to take care of that guest’s needs for the most part.

      • johann7 said:

        Yup, if this is the case, then Boyfriend is perfectly capable of doing that himself and also NOT demanding LW do domestic labor that he could be doing for his guest and the partner he supposedly cares for. Not all cultural variations are ethically neutral; that Boyfriend may come from a sexist culture (a whole lot of them, including mine) that expects women to cook doesn’t make his expectation okay, and neither does HIS cultural expectation make demanding additional emotional labor from LW okay.

        Cultural relativism works in both directions, and considerations for divergent cultural practices need to be reciprocated, else they’re just a demand for cultural privilege. People with opposition to birth control are welcome to not use birth control, but it’s not okay for them to block others’ access.

    • aebhel said:

      Sure, but if you’re from a culture like that, then you should be a lot more thoughtful about making plans with guests. If you’re going to expect your SO to go to a lot of effort to be Hospitality Lady, then it’s respectful to solicit her input on whether or not the guests are there in the first place, not just make plans as you like and then dump all these expectations in her lap. You can’t have it both ways.

  48. Branwen said:

    I love the Captain’s advice. Don’t feel obliged to make dinner! “I’m exhausted sweetheart, would you mind cooking dinner tonight?/fend for yourself tonight, I have leftovers from lunch (Every weeknight?!)” “Hey bro-friend, nice to see to you see, I’m beat, gonna go read, watch Netflix, cross-stitch by candlelight in the other room, have a good one.” And let the cards fall where they will. Partnership involves taking care or at least concern for each other’s needs. I hope your partner can move into a headspace where he can acknowledge what you need and meet you there.

  49. cchrissyy said:

    LW, it sounds like you’re a cool person who is working hard and rising in a career you love. That’s great!
    I really do wonder about if this boyfriend supports you enough. It sounds like he is getting 2 hours each day more sleep than you and 2 hours each day more stoned-unwinding-social time than you, and that would cause almost anybody to feel unbalanced and resentful. I say that even before accounting for the friend in the house or the fact you’re making food for them and not vice versa. Just the part where you have the long hours and he isn’t pulling the large majority of weight at home is a problem in its own right, and I hope you feel able to recognize it and demand whatever changes you need. Even if the friend wasn’t a factor the rest of the picture is very troubling.

    – signed somebody who pulled all the weight and it was “fine” for way too long

  50. megpie71 said:

    Two hours of transit time is excessive (I’m on the dole in Australia. I’m allowed to turn down an offered job if it requires more than ninety minutes of transit time. To put things in perspective, the only other reasons I’m allowed to refuse any paid work while on the dole are: if they’re offering me a job I physically can’t do; if the work they’re offering isn’t being paid at the legal minimum rate; or if the work I’m being offered is illegal). I’d definitely second all the people pointing out you may be better off moving closer to work, if you can afford to do so.

    With regards to the problem of your boyfriend’s attitude, he needs to pull his head out of his arse and get some perspective. You’re effectively doing an extra four hours work per day, unpaid – which means you’re basically out of the house, in public, with your “public face” on for twelve hours straight, more or less. He’s basically demanding you extend that to thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen hours a day. He is being unreasonable.

    You’re also being expected to literally cater to his friends and himself. Is he capable of cooking? Even if only of the “pull out a foodsicle from the freezer and follow the directions on the box” variety? If so, he’s capable of doing the catering for himself and his mates. Start pushing back on that one – and start breaking your commute on the way home to grab yourself some dinner on the way.

    Here’s a suggestion: one night in the next month or two, hire yourself a cheap hotel room for the night (or make arrangements to stay over at a friend’s place, if you have someone who is closer to your workplace), so you can get away with sleeping in on a workday morning, and not having to travel two hours home to get some rest the night before. If you choose to do this, consider how you feel the next morning, and whether you really want to go home to your boyfriend. I get the feeling you may have fallen into a rut here, and may have forgotten some other options which are available to you.

    • Starbuck said:

      In certain urban areas, a 2 hour commute is just what you gotta do sometimes. When I lived in the Bay Area, I knew a lot of people in similar situations because housing is just so ridiculous there, especially if you’re not in tech or some other high paying profession.

  51. Indie said:

    He’s no good to you mid-week at least. I would just be done with someone this thoughtless (once you get the considerate boyfriend upgrade it’s hard to go without) but you don’t necessarily have to DTMFA to end an unworkable midweek arrangement. Which appears to be living together. Maybe you two would be more compatible roomies in a year or so, but right now? Maybe say: “Hey I found a roomie closer to work so you’ll have the place to yourself midweek for friends stuff . Maybe potdude would like to stay and help you make rent? If you want, we can have date night on Saturday and socialise with friends on Sunday?” If you guys aren’t having fun/romance/mutual support at weekends either = your answer.

    But my overall feeling is he wants one of those always on-call for girlfriend-duty girlfriends who live in a powder pink room, don’t work and have a flashing ‘he needs me’ hotline telephone. They get manicures and smiling props inserted into their face when not out on a call. They never know when the ‘man summons’ will shine in the sky because their men dont need to make plans with them in advance, or get their prior agreement for social engagements (their guys dont plan dates).

    Also: these women don’t exist. So it’s not surprising you’re not one.

  52. Lapis Lazuli said:

    OP sounds like she has a boyfriend problem.

    OP needs to talk to boyfriend when he is sober and ask him to play the host while She is trying to relax and unwind. If the boyfriend can’t be bothered to lift a finger to help, even after hearing how much OP needs to unwind, then we have an evil bee problem. Dump his pot-smelling butt.

    In addition, would it be possible to move to a closer commute. And if not, is it. Ecause the boyfriend wants to be with his friend or factors that are just beyond control (finances, etc)? Cause if you do so happen to dump him, maybe you will be anle to move easier.

  53. Indie said:

    Ok so I’ve just reread the Toasts emotional labour piece for the first time in ages and I want LW to write a price list (even if just for fun)

    Hour of midweek hostessing (presence only; bored expression) $x

    Hour of midweek hostessing (listening, expressionless) $xx

    Making dinner stretch to three with only a minimum of exclamations about your helplessness $xxx

    Hour of midweek hostessing (listening, smiling, pretending not to care) $xxxx

    Hour of midweek hostessing (listening, smiling, responding) $xxxxx

    Hours of midweek hostessing (charm package with conversation and admiration) $xxxxxx

    Premium for springing this on me without asking or advance booking $infinity.

    • Thanksforallthefish said:

      This is gold. Also all this to people who won’t even talk to me really? ugh

  54. ctruex said:

    I have several friends who are married, and I don’t think it’s that tough of a dynamic. We figure out food and ask if SO wants to join us. If the SO is coming home late, they will be polite but do their own thing, because they are an adult. I am my friend’s guest, which implies it’s THEIR issue, and mine of course (I am horrifically anxious about being a bad guest), not their SO’s.

    Also, the dynamic of a TWO HOUR COMMUTE, followed by full dinner prep and having “company”, while your SO has spent several hours getting stones and chilling… that seems completely untenable.

    All else aside, if the phrase “I’m sorry, but I’m tired after a very long commute, I’m not going to cook a group dinner or hang out with friends tonight” brings on whining or accusations from your BF, I don’t think he deserves much more consideration on the topic, and you should think about moving into DTMFA territory.

  55. Lapis Lazuli said:

    On some nights, I hang out with Roxy (formally Jasper if you guys recall my letter. We made up).

    She lives with her mom and grandma. our buddies and I say our hellos to those ladies, maybe converse, and even give them a hand with chores and groceries… and then they go upstairs and sleep. We don’t expect them to host or feed us, we will deal with sinner ouraelves.

    And on the rare event they do make a meal for us, we guests tend to go last (the family gets first bite), wait till everyone has a meal, and then ask for seconds and back off if we get a no.

    That has worked wonders.

    Your boyfriend and his buddy should give you the same courtesy, and certainly shouldn’t harp on you for attention/a meal. It is 2017, make your own damn lunch. Or go to McD’s. Or buy a microwave dinner. Grown ass men should be able to provide their own meals and know how to cook the basics.

  56. Rhoda said:

    From now on, just buy enough food for your dinner. Not his. If he refuses to do anything about dinner, that is.
    I wonder if this LW is reconsidering this relationship. I certainly would be.
    Here’s a secret, LW. If he isn’t considerate of your needs, you don’t have to jump through hoops and do unreasonable things to try to please him. Women are often brought up with the idea that they must always be “nice” and never say no. You can say no any time you want to, LW.

  57. Katie said:

    LW, I’m so upset for you. You have every right to a quiet and restful evening after having worked and commuted for that long.

    I’m your boyfriend in this scenario – I have an extraordinarily short commute for a major city, plus I’m far more social than my boyfriend is. I’m likely to bring an impromptu guest over or have a group hangout at our apartment on short notice. I’ve never expected him to cook for me or entertain my guests, and he ducks out and goes to bed/plays video games whenever he feels like it. That’s exactly as it should be!

    I don’t know what will happen when you put your foot down, but anything seems better than being steamrolled by a boyfriend that doesn’t seem to have your interests at heart.

  58. perlhaqr said:

    LW: I have nothing useful to say other than wow, I’m sympathetic about that commute. That sucks. 😦

  59. S.H. said:

    LW, is there any way to eat before you get home on weeknights? You don’t mention whether your 2 hours is by car or public transit. If it’s by car, can you stop somewhere to pick up a deli sandwich just for yourself? Or if you’re taking the bus, is there somewhere near work that you can buy something satiating? I my suggestion requires extra monetary effort from you. So, I would suggest creating a joint account, if you don’t already have one, for grocery and joint expenses, so that you’re not under an unfair burden.

    That way, you don’t have to worry about anybody else’s supper. If they ask, you can say, “Don’t worry about me.” And if your boyfriend asks you why you’ve eaten without him, you can say it’s because you realized that he wouldn’t cook for you.

  60. thebewilderness said:

    Since you say you are happy with your BF, Letter Writer, I think it makes sense to keep the relationship but give up on the house sharing. It is pretty clearly not working out at all. Being called selfish when you do not serve the desires of the BF and his friend is too high a price for any relationship. He may be your boyfriend but he is pretty clearly not your friend.

  61. Cyberwulf said:

    LW, how often are you coming home to a stoned boyfriend? And is he stoned when he tells you what a terrible hostess you are? I know that weed isn’t addictive in the same way alcohol and narcotics are addictive, but if he’s getting fucked up 5/7ths of the week and is mean to you while fucked up, that might be a problem.

    • Scarlet said:

      Weed doesn’t change people’s personalities. If you’re an arsehole on weed, you’re an arsehole, period. This is a boyfriend problem, the weed is just a red herring.

      • Cyberwulf said:

        Fair enough.

    • In my experience, weed doesn’t make people nastier. Sounds like you’re thinking about meth or booze.

  62. jmm said:


  63. F W Bristow said:

    I know this doesn’t solve the problem, for which I apologise, but it might make it easier… Could you batch cook food at the weekends, then freeze, so when you get home of an evening all you’ve got to do is chuck some soup in a microwave and bread in the toaster, or throw a pie in the oven and grab a handful of mixed salad leaves? And then you can decompress for a short time while the food heats, rather than having to stand and stir, or whatever. Just a thought, because I’m often surprised at how well my home made stuff freezes and re-heats.

    I do realise that doesn’t fix the underlying issue, and I hope other readers are wise on that point and can help you, but if this works for you then it might ease some of the immediate stress that is waiting for you at home after work, and when you inevitably discuss the issue of partner’s friend hanging out so often, the conversation won’t get detailed by dinner options (as opposed to “when I get home tired I don’t want ANYONE in my space”, which I hope your partner will come to understand).

    Sympathies, by the way! I have a good friend who hangs out often, but he is good at leaving as soon as my husband arrives. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for your partner’s friend to do that too (as a decent human being, regardless of whether you and he get along). It’s not like your partner and friend will never see each other again.

    Maybe you also need to practice phrases like “well, friend, we are about to get dinner now so I’ll see you another time. Did you have a coat to fetch?”

    I’m sorry that your partner isn’t seeing how draining this is on you. Your home is the one place you should feel safe, relaxed, comfortable… I wonder if there’s something in partner’s background or nature that means he just doesn’t twig that some people need space to sort themselves out in the limited time they have after a long day.

    This might sound odd, but final thought : I’m glad you do have a job you love. The commute might be horrible, but so many people dislike their work – at least the reason that you are working and traveling so long is something rewarding in its own way. At least part of your day is something to look forward to – now I hope you can find a way to make the evenings enjoyable too.

    • Scarlet said:

      Like other people said above, cooking large batches of food over the weekend (or similar cooking workarounds) is just additional work for the LW. For the dinner issue alone, it’s way easier for LW to just grab food for themselves on the way/fix themselves a sandwich when they come home/etc and let the BF and his friend fend for themselves. They’re not kids, FFS.

      Honestly, I think LW should DTMFA. The BF sounds like a self-centered douchebag. Whatever his background or nature is, if he’s seriously expecting LW to fix dinner for everybody and play hostess after a 4 hour long commute while he and his friend sit on their arses and get stoned, he’s a dick.

      • JenniferP said:

        The cooking suggestions fascinate me on every level – It is so tempting to think that we can tech support our way out of structural issues and power imbalances.

        • TO_Ont said:

          Well, if she decides to move out or kick him out, the cooking suggestions are great for a single person :).

          For someone whose partner gets home hours before them, he cooks a nice meal for both of them is to me the obvious solution…

      • TO_Ont said:

        Take out is obviously an option, but I assume if someone isn’t getting takeout _already_, there’s a reason. Usually either a financial one, or a strong preference for home cooked food.

        For me if my commute was so long I couldn’t somehow fit in a home cooked meal, I would not last long at that job as I would find that way too depressing. Takeout or grabbing a sandwich is not to everyone’s taste.

        • JenniferP said:

          The letter writer knows how to eat.

          • TO_Ont said:

            I don’t think I understand. Are you saying enough food talk, basically?

          • TO_Ont said:

            I’m not sure if you’re agreeing, disagreeing, or asking for the conversation to change…

        • TO_Ont said:

          And if I had a partner waiting at home for hours and I got home and they knew I needed to get to bed early to get up early the next morning, and they didn’t make dinner for me most days, I would probably at least kind of question the relationship.

          • TO_Ont said:

            And if I needed to eat takeout to avoid being harassed by a partner when I got home and wanted to quietly cook myself a meal, that would suck.

            The LW shouldn’t have to fit her eating and the foods she eats around avoiding her partner any more than she should have to fit it around entertaining his guests. She should get to eat how and what she likes to eat. If she would rather get takeout she shouldn’t need to cook late at night to placate her partner, likewise if she would rather end her day with a quiet meal at home she shouldn’t have to eat takeout so she can avoid a conflict at home.

    • Sheelzebub said:

      The actual problem here is LW’s boyfriend’s behavior. And weekend cooking isn’t a breeze–it takes a lot of time. So she’s taking time out of her weekend to do something that will benefit her boyfriend (who has been entiled as fuck). Nah.

      I’ve been a surly bitch about this elsewhere in the comments, but I’m telling you as someone who has a commute that takes the same amount of time that “push this off to the weekend” will just increase the stress level. ESPECIALLY if there is someone who is there a good hour and 45 minutes before you are on weeknights. (And TBH, getting home by 7:30 when I’ll be in bed in an hour and a half that my meal skews towards scrambled eggs and greens or maybe an omelette.)

      This isn’t a problem life hacks can solve. This isn’t a problem that more emotional labor can solve since the problem is unreasonable demands for emotional labor from the LW.

      • This isn’t a problem life hacks can solve.

        Thiiiiis! A crock pot would be a great solution if LW lived alone, but when there’s somebody home at least an hour and 45 minutes earlier than LW…

        It’s worth thinking about the many ways in which a crock pot would potentially be a superior partner, though. The crock pot has a lot of pros: it has dinner ready when you get home, doesn’t invite friends over and expect you to entertain them, doesn’t make you feel like a she devil for having needs.

        • TO_Ont said:

          “It’s worth thinking about the many ways in which a crock pot would potentially be a superior partner, though. ”


        • Sheelzebub said:

          I mean, if you want to make tasty dals, the crockpot can’t be beat! At the very least, even if you are anti-crockpot, it doesn’t take up as much room and it doesn’t yell at you when you are not entertaining it.

  64. Shakti said:

    Fuck crockpotting and freezing ahead.

    BF with the 15 minute commute and time to sit at home five days a week entertaining should be responsible for all dinner arrangements for himself, OP & whatever friends come over.
    Why should she be making dinner for any of them? Or cleaning up after them? Or spending any of her free time in the weekend cooking for three people?

    “But babe, I want hot food, not leftovers!”
    “But we have guests!”
    “But we need your money to fund this apartment and I expect you to wait on me like I make all the money!”‘
    “Oops, we ate all the frozen food and now there’s nothing left so you have to make us fresh food right now because we’re hungry!”

    Look, with that kind of commute and work life all I do is a fried egg because it takes 10 minutes to make, consume and clean up.

    • Shakti said:

      Also fuck entertaining some dude who treats you as the maid in your own house and doesn’t even try to act like a proper guest.

      Don’t make them food. Only make food for yourself. Your lazy ass boyfriend doesn’t deserve your cooking and neither does his terrible guest.
      Don’t entertain them.
      Kick both of them out so you can get some rest.

    • Sheelzebub said:

      Yep. My go to is scrambled eggs and greens. My kitchen is a horror show by Friday and I am typically cleaning it Friday night or Saturday morning before I run errands. If I had a partner who got in an hour and 45 minutes before me during the week and didn’t say, cook dinner or clean up during that time? I’d make damn sure I was living in blissful solitude. I’d still have a mess during part of the week, still would have a long ass commute, but would not have to hear dudely whining about dinner or being entertaining to his stoner friends.

  65. IrishEm said:

    I’m curious why Boyfriend and Duder spend so much more time at LW’s place than at Duder’s place. Could it be that… Duder has a room-mate/life partner that gets home from work at the same time as Duder and *gasps and clutches pearls* DOESN’T LIKE Duder and Boyfriend getting stoned in their place?
    Like, if the guys want to get stoned (and it’s legal and safe to do so and that aspect LW has no problem with) then yeah, logic says they have 2 hours or thereabouts of stoner/bro time, but also, does Boyfriend want to display how Cool LW is compared to Duder’s Room Person/SO because he likes when she makes a show of hostessing? Again it sucks, and is IN NO WAY LW’s problem to solve, but I do wonder how much of Boyfriend’s issue is “My Person is so much cooler than yous! Look! See how cool she is about us getting stoned!”
    Also, does getting stoned not make you super hungry? Why hasn’t boyfriend and Duder got food themselves before LW gets home? Is it because Cool LW is also Chef LW in his eyes or is he simply too incompetent to whack a frozen pizza in the oven or tap an app?

    Honestly, Boyfriend needs to grow up. LW I don’t know if there’s an app like JustEat.ie where you are, but I would totally look after my own needs and just straight out say to Boyfriend, “I’m getting a take away, you can eat whatever you like.” And just keep doing that. It’s not your job to be Cool Chef Girlfriend, and if he keeps pushing back on it, then Duder needs to stop appearing in your house, like, ever. And possibly Boyfriend, too.

    And I speak as someone who lives alone (save for my dog) and who has so little energy to socialise that even my Chosen Family know to text and say they’ll be around my area if I want to hang/eat and if I say no, or yes but only for an hour or yes let’s play cards against humanity all evening until the last bus they are cool with it. And I often have so little energy for my own food prep that I’ll tap the app rather than whack a frozen pizza in the oven, and I feel zero guilt about it because I need food and I’ll look after myself. If a friend is over I’ll ask do they want something from the same restaurant that I’m ordering from or will they look after themselves. And everybody is chill about it. I cannot fathom Boyfriend and Duder’s issue with you needing to decompress except as a performance of Coolness or Chefness.

  66. Mod said:

    You’re not a she-devil, you’re a doormat. Grab yourself take-out after work, eat it in the car/train on the way home. Take a shower and go to bed with a book when you get there. If you ignore that lump you live with for long enough, hopefully he will go away and take his friends with him.

    • Sheelzebub said:

      “You’re not a she-devil, you’re a doormat.”

      I’m just as disgusted by the LW’s boyfriend as you are but can we please refrain from calling the LW names? It’s easy to assume you’d do something super awesome in every situation, but this kind of stuff can sneak up on you. I’ve dealt with a similar dynamic and I assure you, I didn’t put up with it because I was a “doormat.” I put up with it because it didn’t happen overnight AND because I was exhorted by the peanut gallery to just lifehack my way out of it and do more emotional labor to make it better.

      • I agree–I always thought I’d be the strong assertive one if someone treated me poorly, but that dynamic does sneak up on you, and very slowly, and with the additional knot of you already trusting the person in question (therefore being subject to their manipulation). And the initial advice from friends, while encouraging me to state my needs, also gave my abuser the benefit of the doubt, because at the time none of us really knew he was a shitty dude to begin with. In fact, it wasn’t until more than a year out that I got confirmation that there’d been abuse to begin with*.

        *not to say that LW is being abused here, but just to agree with Sheelzebub that this stuff really is slow and subtle.

        • Friendly Hipposcriff said:

          People who push your buttons push YOUR buttons. If anyone thinks they will never be at the receiving end of an abusive partnership, they just haven’t met the ‘right’ abuser yet: I, too, am assertive etc etc, and it didn’t help me much. It helped me to get out; but it didn’t stop me from starting a relationship with someone who seemed supportive and trustworthy.

          • That’s a REALLY good point, because now that I think about it, that’s what happened–as things escalated, my abuser found and exploited those buttons, pressing on them hard, right up to the grand dumping finale where he really pressed one until it stuck.

      • Cyberwulf said:


        It’s not like this is the first letter ever sent in that goes “Dear Captain Awkward, I’m probably being very silly and my boyfriend (it’s almost always a boyfriend) certainly says I am, but there’s this tiny little issue in my relationship. You see, [description of unworkable situation and partner who is somewhere on a scale of unreasonable to abusive which is much, much more of a problem than the LW is willing to admit]. What are the magic words I can use to make my boyfriend be reasonable about this?”

        The number of women (it’s nearly always women) who write letters like this means there’s something going on at a societal level that makes so many women feel like they deserve zero consideration from lazy entitled male partners, and that they’re being silly or making a fuss if they bring up the issues they’re having.

    • Sheelzebub said:

      Uh, let’s refrain from calling the LW names. It’s not helpful. I’ve been in situations with a similar dynamic, and I put up with it not because I was a doormat but because a) it sneaks up on you and b) the peanut gallery is great at advising you to lifehack your way out of this and exhorting you to expend more emotional labor.

  67. thebewilderness said:

    LW, We are all very pissed at your BF for the way he is treating you.

  68. jp said:

    To me there is a weirdness about Duder always being at the LW’s home. Didn’t she say that BF & Duder work together? So all day long, and then two hours post- work stoned couch time is somehow not enough? Duder STILL has to stick around for another two hours after LW comes home? It’s weird to me that instead of being like, “Hey, my tired girlfriend with the 12-hour work day just got in, get out of here so we can have some quality time together before she zonks for the night!” BF is all “No, really, stick around and let’s annoy my girlfriend!”

    What IS the deal with Steve? Why is his presence a constant irritant and intrusion on this marriage?

    To me there is some kind of avoidant behavior going on here. I am def leaning towards the DTMFA camp.

    My brother’s marriage developed a dynamic like this, and it was not a good thing. His wife worked for her parents a few blocks away. He rode NJ transit in and out of NYC every day. He’d get home to find wife and the same two friends (1 woman, 1 guy, their old high school buddies) on the couch, Every day. EVERY DAY. And though all of them had to drive past an array of fast food joints and takeout possibilities to get to my brother’s, for some inexplicable reason it was up to him to run out again after getting home to pick up dinner for the four of them. Friends would then stick around watching telly til 10, 11 pm before finally going home.

    I’m pretty sure they congregated at my bro’s because both the friends still lived with their parents, so the weed-smoking had to take place on his couch. It was weird— like finding you have mysteriously acquired two grown children (3 if you count his wife). It intruded upon his marriage in a really screwed up way. I even wondered if wife was having an affair with one or even both of them, but it was more like a weird loyalty to her high school friends and a defiance of “adulting”– “we may be 5 yrs out of high school and have jobs, but we still hang around getting stoned together all the time! Yay us?”

    This had gone on, seriously, for years, and my bro became more and more fed up with the whole scenario. Finally, he used his words, told his wife explicitly that he would like to come home to his own house sometime and have peace and privacy. Could she tell the friends to knock it back to a night or so a week? And while at it, couldn’t she pick up the takeout now and then? (She did not cook).

    Annnnnnnd…she pretty much told him no. For some reason it was more important to her to have a never-ending daily open door policy for their friends than to…endeavor to see that her husband felt comfortable and welcome in his own home? To see that his needs were being met? Clearly she wasn’t missing the alone-time.

    So forgive me, dear LW, if I think something is deeply screwed up in your Bf’s behavior and priorities.

    Anyway, my bro did finally leave the marriage. I do remember the one day she scream-sobbed at me, “I was blindsided! I had no idea he was unhappy!”…and it took all my self-control not to just laugh in her face.

  69. Speaking as an introvert, I instantly dislike your boyfriend for pressuring you into social interactions after a long day of working and commuting. He’s being a dick and I think you should tell him so. I also like the script where you dump his ass immediately because he obviously doesn’t give a shit about your needs.

    …ugh. sorry, I’m kinda cranky this week. It’s finals, I’m sick, and I’ve got family crap going on. But I still stand by what I said.

  70. Chris Byron said:

    Move! Your current situation is unbearable. Think about spending your commute time doing anything else – you’d have a masters in a couple of years, a side career in writing, get your black belt in BJJ in 5 years, etc. This is seriously wasted time.

    By moving cycling distance from work you’ll lower your stress, improve your health and it’ll give you a reason to dump your live-in border.

  71. donna said:

    I love your directness and excellent advice, always. You’re frequently very funny, but for some reason this: ‘I don’t want to see that fucking dude’s face on my couch again which should be easy because we’re broken up now byeeeeeee.”’ — killed me today. >..<

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