Ask Erin: What Should I Do About My Toxic Living Situation With My Boyfriend?

It's time to break up, move out, and move on.

It's time to break up, move out, and move on.

She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all. 


I have been dating the same man for a year and a half now. A year ago, my unstable roommate kicked me out because of my relationship with this man — basically, because he has PTSD and a locked gun cabinet, she was concerned he might shoot up her home. She conveniently forgot I also have PTSD and access to the same gun cabinet.

Anyway, I have been living with him ever since. Due to his anxiety issues, he was removed from his school and has been out of school and work for a year. He is deep in debt, and even his mother sending him thousands of dollars hasn't put a dent into his bills. This has obviously put a financial strain on our relationship because I have been working three jobs and going to school full time.

There was one point when he stole my back medication to take the edge off his anxiety. He promised me he would receive counseling and refrain from abusing meds, but that only lasted maybe a month.

While he has been at home during this year, he has spent most of his time playing online games or going out and drinking or smoking pot with his friends. He rarely does anything around the house unless I leave it on a list for him and nag him often.

We no longer have any intimacy because when he is in the same room with me, he has his nose stuck to his cell phone or iPad.

I’ve spoken ad nauseam with him about why I'm concerned, and he promises to do something, but then he never does.

I'm stuck in this lease with him for six more months, and I can't financially afford to live alone.

And the worst thing is, he knows I was violently sexually assaulted, and he has made rape jokes multiple times. He uses a patronizing voice with me, the same way he speaks to his cat. I don't think he respects me as a person at all, but I don't know where I can go from here.

What can I do?


Ummmm, there are about a thousand reasons to get out of both this relationship and this living situation. 

First, considering what you’ve revealed about this man, your roommate (who might not be that unstable if she could see that this unstable guy with access to loaded guns could be problematic) did not have unfounded concerns about him. Her stability and decision to kick you out is a side note and not the real issue. 

He sounds like a person who has multiple issues: debt, mental illness, addiction, and abusive behavior. And it doesn't seem like he is taking steps to address any of that

You’ve been living together for a year. In that year, he has broken promises, ignored you, not satisfied you emotionally or sexually, and has been an all-around ass. 

The kicker to this — he is so insensitive that he talks down to you and jokes about rape. 

He needs to GTFO. Kick him out. 

I understand he is on the lease. You will need a plan. Taking steps to put this plan into action will give you back a sense of control over your situation and help you get to where you need to be, free of this albatross. 

First, put your finances on paper. Is he even paying rent? If he is not, you can jump to step two. If he is, figure out how much money you will need to cover your rent and your basics. Remember, if he is out of the picture, you will have one less mouth to feed and take care of (since it sounds like you have been paying all the bills). You may find that not having to pick up his slack leaves you with enough cash to make ends meet, at least temporarily. 

Second, contact your landlord. See what he can do to get the guy off your lease. The simplest way would be for him to agree. I am unsure of the legalities involved with where you live. But, if you feel unsafe living with him, you may be able to get legal help with this. Once he is out, cut the contact. If he is uncooperative or shows any signs of being a danger, look into getting a restraining order. 

Next, look for a roommate. If you have friends or family you trust, have them help you with this task. Your picker may be a little off if you have a pattern of surrounding yourself with unstable people (cases in point: former roommate [maybe] and this jerk you've been living with). 

Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, please, please, please get some help for yourself.

Whether you find that help in a therapist (contact me for local resources for low or no cost options), 12 step meetings (à la Al-Anon, CODA, SASA, etc.), or some other type of support group — just do it. You need to access some guidance so that you do not repeat this in your next relationship. 

Good luck and please reach out if I can help you with any local resources. XOXO

If you have a question for me about relationships, breakups, friendship, boundaries, sex, Green Prehnite, reproductive issues, Scott and Bailey, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me at As always, your anonymity is golden. xoxo

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