Ask a cat is an advice column featured in the Alaska Landmine. Have a question for the Cat? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to submit via a form (anonymous) to get the answers to any of life’s problems.
Late last year I had an emotional affair with my coworker. I ended it even though I still had feelings for him. He’s married, and I knew it was getting out of hand when things started to get overtly sexual in our texts. I’m struggling with the idea of telling some of my close friends. Part of me feels like I need to confess and get it off my chest because I feel guilty, and because I usually share everything with them. It feels like there’s a disconnect now. The guy is someone we all know. On one hand, I don’t want to relieve it all and risk his wife finding out, on the other hand I want to be able to talk it out with my friends, but I’m worried about them losing respect for me.
What a sad and sticky situation you have gotten yourself in to. Cat would like to offer the perspective that it would be in everyone’s best interest for you to furever hold your peace. It sounds like you have put a hard stop to the affair and do not have intentions of restarting it. Cat understands that you are used to sharing with your friends, but the fact that you haven’t for the better part of a year suggests that you know there would be great consequences. Cat suggests that “confessing” to your friends will not actually provide any relief. As you stated, it will put your friends in the position of questioning their respect for you and create a host of new problems.
As long as you practice your silence with discernment, sometimes keeping quiet is the way to create the least harm. Cat would like to be very clear that purrhaps silence is the best option here because no one is in harms way and no vulnerable person is being hurt. Sometimes the burden of silence can strengthen your character and be the best choice. If you absolutely must confess, Cat suggests choosing a safe space like a therapist or a trusted family member.
My roommate stinks. TBH I’m hoping he just reads this and figures out I’m talking about him because I know he reads Landmine. We decided to rent an apartment together three months ago and he never cleans up after himself. He leaves dishes with half eaten food in his room for weeks and you can smell it everywhere now. I feel weird about going in another dudes room and cleaning up after him. I made jokes about it hoping he’d get it and stop being gross, but nothing has changed.
Dear Human’s Roommate,
If you’re reading this, stop being stinky and clean up your act (and your room.)
Well, best of luck in your roommate reading that and getting the message. Since you submitted to cat anonymously, my paws are tied as far as calling out roomie by name. Cat understands that having a straightforward conversation with your roommate might be intimidating, but it sounds like your attempts at resolving the issue with humor have failed. Cat thinks this is tricky depending on your lease situation. Are you willing and able to move if things don’t improve? Are you the only one on the lease?
Consider your options before you decide how to approach the situation. Rent prices are high and no one wants to move back in with their parents if it can be helped. You don’t specify if you and your roommate were good friends prior to moving in. If you two have more of a business relationship based on your lease, you can probably get away with expressing yourself via text. You can be clear and concise and outline that his inability to clean up is messing with the aroma of the whole place. Let him know that he needs to keep his chaos confined to his own room, and depending on your situation, you can communicate if this is a dealbreaker for you.
If roommate is a long-time friend and someone you have more history with, you might need to have this conversation in person. Be prepared for roommate to be offended and defensive. Chances are, he is aware he is a slob and has justified it to himself. He may be experiencing some depression or there is some other reason why his home hygiene has lapsed. Most importantly, Cat encourages you not to pick up the slack for another grown up who has the same amount of responsibility as you to upkeep your mutual home. You deserve to cohabitate with someone who respects not only your home, but you as well.
Can I (or should I) stay friends with my ex?
The answer depends. Cat thinks there are two important factors to consider. Initially, you should consider how much time has passed. Cat does not advocate trying to transition into friendship immediately after a relationship ends. You and your former partner need to take time apart after that decision has been solidified to rediscover yourselves as individuals. Trying to spark a friendship too hastily will likely confuse the attachment and you may find yourself having a much harder time moving on romantically. The second thing to consider is if both humans want the same thing. If you are secretly hoping your ex will change their mind and want to get back together, just walk away because a friendship will only leave you feeling hurt.
As to your question if you should stay friends with an ex, Cat says every individual needs to discern that on their own. You may say yes, and ex may not feel comfortable with it. Just remember to not try and stay friends out of obligation. Give adequate time for the dust to settle and see if you two can land on a comfortable friendship. Finally, Cat implores you to know that the ability to be friends after romance ends does not necessarily speak to the depth and quality of love and connection that existed in a relationship. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be.
Cat got a particularly hissy letter this week regarding Cat’s thoughts on the upcoming mayoral race. Cat reminds all you cool cats and kittens that you are welcome to exercise your political prowess by voting. Harassing a Cat will get you nowhere. Political differences are a fact of life, and you are unlikely to forcibly sway anyone to your side with scratching and biting. 🐾