Not coping with new housemate
Hey, so this is my first time on a forum like this.. I’ve been reading some of the other posts on here and it’s so comforting to know so many other people are feeling the same way I do, and the replies are all so helpful and supportive.. I feel like it’s a safe place for me to vent a bit..
Anyway, I’ve been suffering with anxiety for about 7 years now – GAD, panic attacks, emetophobia… It was really bad the first few years til I got a diagnoses, then I had it under control for a couple of years and it was great, but in the last year and a half I’ve gone through a few big events (moving in with my partner, unemployed and couldn’t find work, don’t know what I’m doing with my life..) that have made it all come back. I thought I was dealing with it OK, not as well as I could be but my partner and I were doing well and I was happy enough, thinking if I keep working on it I’ll be fine.. then my partner’s best mate moved in with us last week and I’m just NOT coping with it. I mean, he’s lived with us before – the 3 of us moved into our house together at the start and he was here for 6 months and it was fine. But my partner and I have been alone for the past year and we have our routines and things have been working well and stuff.. then another person comes into the house and I lose it. It should be a minor inconvenience for me – I shouldn’t be hating it this much. I’m cranky and frustrated and stressed out and I just want him gone so our life can go back to how it was. I know I have control issues – it’s how I keep my anxiety under control. I plan every minute of every day and have to know what’s happening and when and I can’t do spontaneous – I need plans and routine and things have to be done my way or else I get really stressed out. Even right down to how the dishwasher is packed. It drives me crazy, and I’m sure it annoys my partner, but I think he just learnt how I like things done and I learnt I could trust him to do things and it was OK. But having another person around, not sticking to my schedule and not doing things how I like them done and changing our routine.. I just don’t know how to cope with it. It scares me that I’ve become this rigid and controlling – I hadn’t realised it until now. Anyway, I don’t really know if anyone has any advice, or has gone through something similar.. I just wanted to put it out there, to be able to tell people all this who won’t judge me or think I’m neurotic or stupid. So thanks
Re: Not coping with new housemate
I think I can relate a bit. I've lived with housemates and I've lived with partners and I find I definitely behave differently towards each.
If I plan to do laundry on a particular day and one of my housemates uses the washing machine 5 minutes before I get to it, it completely disrupts my entire day — sometimes my whole week if I don't have time later in the week to "schedule" my washing into my routine! Sometimes I just want to grab a burger from the local takeaway for dinner while I watch a movie but my housemates all eat relatively healthily and I worry about being judged or questioned about what I'm eating, so I hide it from them instead — which is really silly of me! The human condition is amazing in how, if the wrong thing happens at the right time, it can disproportionately affect you for so long. Perhaps I'm a little neurotic.
Living with my ex-girlfriend (when we were still dating), she liked things a very particular way and that didn't really bother me as it encouraged better behaviour in me. Sometimes she was a bit over the top about how things had to be done and those habits became ingrained into me, too. So much so that my current girlfriend rolls her eyes at me when I insist on something being done in a certain way — I've turned into my ex!
But I'm working my way down through some of these by doing a lot of thinking and a lot of communicating. A lot of the time I'm just not letting myself get carried away with my own thoughts. Sometimes I talk to my girlfriend about it (we don't live together yet).
Now, that may not be exactly the same for you but my advice is to communicate. Don't be afraid to talk to others about it. it's much harder to fix something if you're trying to fix it on your own.
Re: Not coping with new housemate
Its great to hear you feel comfortable and safe to vent here on the reach out community.
I think that living with anyone new is difficult or even when your living conditions change it can hard. When I was at university I lived with 40 people for 9 months of the year and then would move home every summer to lived with my parents. It was funny how it was hard to get used to how 40 people worked in and around each other. But then ironically I would the transition living back at home just as hard. I guess my experience taught me that you need to give yourself time to adjust to something you aren't used to. Maybe you can give it abit more time to see how it goes?
What is your new housemate doing that you find difficult? If there is a list of things, maybe you could write all these down. Once you have them on paper you could determine what you are finding most difficult. This would also give you the option of raising these concerns with your partner firstly and then maybe the housemate...if you felt like you could do that without being too anxious.
hope things start to get easier for you.
Re: Not coping with new housemate
Sorry to hear you're having a hard time at the moment. I'm very similar about living with people - I'm a pretty particular person, and like you I tend to plan and get stressed out very easily when things aren't predictable. At the moment I'm living on my own, but before that I've lived with friends, people from uni, and my sister… and at times with all of them, I really struggled to adjust to their routines and way of doing things, and work out how to 'let go' of my way of doing things a bit.
The others have given you some really good advice - I think communication is key when living with anyone. Maybe that means talking to your housemate about what's bothering you, or talking to your partner about how you're reacting to the change, or talking to someone completely removed about the anxiety and perhaps trying to work out some strategies to manage that. You sound like quite a self-aware person, and it sounds like you care about the relationship with your housemate, so I'm sure you can find some kind of solution… you might just need help with it. Which is totally fine.
I also just wanted to let you know about some of the factsheets we have on Reachout about managing anxiety - it's not a solution to the problem, but if your'e finding yourself getting particularly anxious it might be good to have some techniques you can use to help calm yourself down. Ways to relax, relaxation training and how to manage anxiety are a few good ones.
Anyway, I don't want to bombard you but basically I just wanted to say that you're definitely not alone in struggling to adjust to new housemates! I think it's a really normal experience, it just means that you might need to talk to them about what is going on in order to work out a solution.
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