Home US DEAR CAROLINE: My lodger is so boring I have to hide from her. How can I make her move out?

DEAR CAROLINE: My lodger is so boring I have to hide from her. How can I make her move out?

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DEAR CAROLINE: My lodger is so boring I have to hide from her. How can I make her move out?

Q I am in my late 50s and have been divorced for eight years. The family’s home had to be sold and yet I bought a much smaller place, money is still a struggle. Because my now grown children no longer live with me, eight months ago I moved into a boarding house – a friend of a friend – for extra income.

Big mistake.

She is a few years younger than me, and although she is nice enough, I find her very boring. That would be OK, but she seems to think she is my best friend and will always talk to me when I need space after a long day of work. I lurk in my room to avoid her. I have to ask her to move out, but I don’t want to upset her.

ONE I feel for you because it’s miserable to have to disappoint someone who you like and maybe feel sorry for, but just don’t want to see as much as they do you.

It’s not okay that you don’t feel able to leave your own home

Assertiveness is not easy for most people, and even if your tenant is upset, you have to act because ultimately you have to put your own needs first. It is not right that you feel unable to leave your room in your own home!

Some people may be tempted to tell little white lies to smooth over this difficult situation, such as needing space for one of your children or someone else, but a straightforward approach is best.

Do it based on your needs and not because it’s her fault. Tell her that while it’s been great having her stay, you’ll find that you’re just too old to share your place, and when her year’s rent is up (only four more months), you’ll would like her to find another place to live.

Good luck – it’s not easy.

Q I am becoming more and more concerned about my brother’s mental and physical health. He has always struggled with low mood and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), but since losing both of our parents within the last few years, these issues have gotten worse.

He stayed at home when our mom got sick and nursed her through lung cancer. We are both in our early 50’s and although I have a lovely husband and daughter, he is still single and lives alone.

I try to be there for him as much as possible. He has only recently confided in me that he is really struggling.

He says he now finds it difficult to force himself to socialize and that it becomes difficult to face the day – he is in constant agitation and also drinks a lot, which I’m sure is exacerbating his problems. I have encouraged him to contact our doctor. but he is reluctant. He was set on medicine in 2019, but said it wasn’t much help.

I am so worried about him and I really don’t know which way to turn.

DEAR CAROLINE My lodger is so boring I have to

ONE I am sorry to hear this. It’s so hard to watch someone you love struggle. I am delighted to have the chance to highlight OCD, a much misunderstood condition where patients are often assumed to only have behavioral problems such as excessive tidiness or hand washing.

But it is often debilitating and can involve intrusive and negative thoughts.

They may think they are not good enough (hence the social anxiety and withdrawal) or feel a sense of foreboding. Sufferers may develop rituals to distract from their anxiety.

Breastfeeding your mother will have been incredibly upsetting for him and will have amplified these feelings. Unfortunately, sufferers are often reluctant to seek help because of either a perceived sense of stigma or a belief that they cannot be helped.

Breastfeeding your mother will have heightened his anxiety

Charity OCD Action says it can take up to 12 years from the onset of symptoms to a patient seeking help. However, it insists that the condition is almost always treatable with therapy and medication, so please contact them at ocdaction.org.uk for support.

It’s good that your brother reached out to you, so build on this. His drinking complicates things and he will probably be more defensive about this issue, so also contact Al-Anon (for families and friends of alcoholics) at al-anonuk.org.uk.

Since he is reluctant to get professional help, it might be worth trying an app like Reveri that uses self-hypnosis for issues like anxiety, OCD and depression to give him some peace of mind and the courage to get the help he needs .

Meanwhile, in your longer letter, it sounds as if you haven’t had the time and space to properly mourn your parents. Then also consider grief counseling for both of you (see cruse.org.uk or mariecurie.org.uk) and remember to take care of yourself and your marriage.

If you have a problem, write to Caroline West-Meads at YOU, 9 Derry Street, London W8 5HY, or email c.west-meads@mailonsunday.co.uk. You can follow Caroline on X/Twitter @Ask_Caroline_

Caroline reads all your letters, but regrets that she cannot answer them personally.

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