DEAR ABBY: I'm 55 and own my home. "Randall," 53, lives with me and pays me rent. We used to be a couple, but COVID caused too much togetherness. He's in the spare bedroom now. My house is cheaper for him than anywhere else he could go. I was trying to be nice.
The problem is, he talks down to me. I want to have the interior of the house professionally painted, and he insists we should paint it ourselves. "It'll be fun!" We were testing paint samples on the wall and disagreed over which shade of white to choose. He tells me I should "defer to him" and ends up swearing, and when I ask him to stop, he says I'm overreacting. This is why we are not a couple.
I arranged to have the house painted, and he's continuing to chastise me for it. It's MY house! I want to ask him to move. I feel like he's taking advantage of me. He has more stuff in my house and garage than I do. I'm a minimalist, and all his stuff drives me crazy. How did I get into this situation, how do I get out of it, and how do I avoid it in the future? -- FEELING CONTROLLED IN COLORADO
DEAR FEELING CONTROLLED: This man moved in when you were a couple. The circumstances have changed radically. You allowed it to continue because it suited both of you. Because it no longer does, tell him you want him out of there because your relationship "is no longer working." Then set a date for it to happen. This scenario won't repeat itself if you set boundaries and assert them when they are encroached upon.
P.S. If your renter is not cooperative, you may have to enlist the services of an attorney to get him out of there, so be prepared.