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Harriette Cole: Why shouldn’t I live with my friend’s ex?

Harriette Cole: Why shouldn’t I live with my friend’s ex?

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been looking for a roommate for some time now, but it’s been challenging to find someone who fits my criteria.

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Recently, a girl who used to date a friend of mine saw my ad on social media and reached out to me. She is also looking for a roommate, and I thought this could be a perfect opportunity. However, when I mentioned it to my friend, he said he’s not comfortable with it.

I understand his concern, but he’s not providing me with any alternative solutions.

What should I do in this situation? Is it really necessary to give up on the possibility of a great roommate just because of my friend’s discomfort?

— Conflict of Interest

DEAR CONFLICT OF INTEREST: What do you actually understand about your friend’s concern about his ex living with you? Go back to your friend and find out why he is against you rooming with this woman.

Tell him you respect him and need to know if there is something about her that he thinks would be unsafe or unhealthy for you as a roommate, if it’s because he just doesn’t want you in his business, or if there is something else you should know. Assure him that you don’t care about their previous relationship.

You need a trustworthy roommate. Ask him if he thinks she is that. You can also ask her if she would have an issue rooming with you considering you are friends with her ex. Listen to what each of them has to say, then make your decision.

While it is true that people have an unusual hold over their exes when it comes to other friends, this may not be a time when you have to side with him and follow the unwritten honor code that keeps exes off-limits in perpetuity.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been struggling with family conflicts, and I feel like my efforts to reconcile have fallen flat.

Recently, I took the initiative to offer peace and express my love for my family members through a heartfelt written message. However, I received little to no response, particularly from the family members who were directly involved in the conflict.

What should I do to move forward and repair our relationships?

— Peace Offering

DEAR PEACE OFFERING: You have to accept the reality that your family members and you are not in accord, at least not now.

You cannot push them, intimidate them, bribe them, apologize to them or anything else to heal the wound until they are ready. Yes, that can be frustrating. More than anything, it is real.

Do your best to accept the situation you are in right now. You can continue to reach out at different moments that you find important or pivotal. Don’t beg them to rejoin you. Instead, keep them informed about your life and your interests.

Make the communications sweet and light. Avoid sensitive topics for now. Consider this to be a healing zone. Invite your family members to join you in the space of just being together without any judgment. See if that lures anyone in. Don’t give up!

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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