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ASK THE EXPERTS 'Dear Maura, sharing a house with my friend has turned into disaster'

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Dear Maura,

Sharing a house with my friend has turned into disaster. The place is my family's and he moved in two years ago. Then he asked if his girlfriend could share with us and I said yes, thinking there'd be no issue as I know her. But the last two months have been an absolute mess. No matter what I do, there's something up. I'm making too much noise in the loo; if I play a game on my laptop, it's too loud. They seem to have forgotten that they're getting a pretty good deal on the rent.

I've tried to talk to them, but they're having none of it. The latest was the girlfriend giving out because I had slammed down the toilet seat!

I'm a good person to live with, so I don't get where this is coming from. Most weekends. I head to my girlfriend's to get away which is ridiculous because I part own the house.

If I say anything there'll be a huge row and that's the end of my friendship with a guy I've known since school. I'm not good with confrontation. What can I do? Everything has changed and I haven't a clue why.

MAURA SAYS: I can't understand why they're acting like this. They've the run of the house and a great rent, so why cause all this bad feeling? It makes no sense at all, so your focus needs to be on sorting this arrangement out, or changing it completely. Why should you have to live with such tension in your own home, not to mention the lack of respect? You need a plan.

Tell them that you have to make some extra money and you're putting the rent up. Give them time to either pay it or you will look for new people to rent the room.

It's a bit of a risk, but they won't pay extra and you're giving them time to find another place. While it could get a bit messy, you need to take a stand and get control of your house.

Dear Maura,

I love my boyfriend - except when he's with his mates drinking. He only does it every few weeks when he goes off with them for a couple of days. I get the odd weird text when he's out of it. It drives me mad as he's so different when he's this way; a total personality change. I find myself counting the weeks and dreading him hanging out with these friends. He's got other good lads he likes, if only he'd hang out with them.

MAURA SAYS: Love may be blind, but not enough to block out your boyfriend's monthly binge. You've got to the stage where you're already psyching yourself up for the next time. There doesn't seem to be any possibility that he will stop this routine and it's interesting you don't mention that in your letter.

Let this relationship go. Be good to yourself and make this decision for your mental and emotional stability. Why put yourself through this anxiety when he's not even considering change?

Focus on your life, which you can control, instead of worrying about things you can't.

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