Living with people is hard, especially if you are in your late 20s and used to doing things your way. I bought a house at 27 and after living harmoniously with roommates most of my 20s, I thought everything would be OK when a “good friend,” Shane, was in dire need of a place to stay.
Things just didn’t seem to be going his way lately. His father had passed away, the bar he worked at mysteriously burned down overnight and he was now being evicted from his place.
Since I had an extra bedroom available, I thought that it was selfish of me not to offer him a place to stay for a little while. Things would be hectic, as I had another wayward friend (that’s a whole different story) and my boyfriend living with me at the time, but I was certain that it would work, as I have a life full of interesting characters and am used to an unusual lifestyle.
Shane was good at hiding things from most people, but once I lived with him, I started to notice the issues at hand. He claimed to like to have a glass of wine each night, but I would always see what I called “the rabid cat” look in his eye after finding bottles of empty (cheap and excessively sweet) wine hidden in the trash.
He seemed to be just fine not pursuing another job, and I would come home from work each day to find him drunk, claiming to have done this and that all day, always making his life seem more productive than it truly was.
When the issue of rent money came up, he would quickly make up an excuse and tell me he would have the money soon, then offer to do something around the house. I brushed it off for a good while until I realized it was a pattern.
Every two weeks, I would have to beg for rent money and then threaten to send him packing to his mother’s house. He would magically show up with rent money that night.
When the first of the month came around again, I would ask him where the money was and he would say “I just paid you last week." But that was for LAST month, Shane.
He was constantly drunk and throwing things around the house in the middle of the night. His disrespect was growing more and more apparent. Every time I would say that I had had enough, he would apologize, clean around the house and things would be fine for a week or so.
He was always sneaking men in and out of the house. It is not an exaggeration to say that he had 3-4 each week, never the same face twice. I am an advocate for sleeping with whomever you please, but the amount of strangers was becoming unsafe and also unsettling.
Three months into his stay, I found out I was pregnant and my boyfriend and I began planning for the big change coming to our lives. We knew that this house was no type of environment for a baby. We thought that Shane understood that things would be changing very soon, after we discussed with him many times that his lack of hygiene, general drug and alcohol abuse and excessive promiscuity would have to be tamed.
Shane believed himself when he said that he didn’t have a problem or that he was getting his life together. Only when I was threatening to make him leave would he own up to any of his own faults. He clearly wasn’t going to get his life together enough in order to stay in a home with a baby on the way.
One day, he got a DUI (after hitting two vehicles), of which he completely lied about the circumstances. I knew the truth based on what the officer had told his brother who had been communicating with me about Sean’s issues for quite some time.
This left him without a license, pulled on my bleeding heart strings and kept me from kicking him out. Living in the city and being close to public transportation, my home was the best living option for him to get to his new job. With his late hours, I hardly saw him anyway.
Then, he began to neglect his cat, who seemed to cause an odor from anywhere in the house. I eventually ripped out the carpet in the room that he stayed in, after shampooing them didn't work. Any time I tried to bring up the issues with paying me on time or the disgusting cat urine smell, Shane would blame my pregnancy hormones.
The police were at my house multiple times because of Shane. Once, he started a fight with a neighbor. Another time, he was in an argument with one of his late-night flings. Another time, the sheriff showed up because his previous landlord was suing him for never once paying rent the entire time he had lived there—no wonder he had to leave his other place so quickly.
The entire time, Shane remained the victim. He even said to me “[that landlord] makes plenty of money, I don’t think I should have to pay this at all.” His sense of entitlement was unbelievable.
I started to notice that he had no real friends to count on aside from me. I should have taken this as a warning sign.
It all came to a head when he had lied to me for a week about his employment status. No one in the restaurant industry is off 4 days in a row and excused from working on Father’s Day. Something was up and I knew it.
Shane continued to lie until he no longer could (I had called his restaurant and was told he had quit). When I asked him why he could never just be honest with me or anyone else, his response was simple: “No one knows everything about me, I keep my business to myself.”
In that moment, I truly felt bad for him, but I also realized that no one would ever really know this person because he lies and portrays only what he wishes for other people to see. No wonder he had no real friends.
At this point, rent was due in a week. I asked him how he planned to pay it with no income. In a drunken stupor (at 3 pm), he yelled “I can pay you rent tomorrow if I really want to!”
I waited until the first… no sign of rent. He claimed he just needed to go to his mother’s house and have her cash his check (you know, since he didn’t possess a valid driver’s license, much less have a bank account).
I knew deep down that he really didn’t have any money. He avoided me as best he could. Whenever I brought it up, he would get increasingly disrespectful and it usually led to a shouting match.
According to him, my feelings were never valid, I was just pregnant. No way could someone possibly be sick of having to beg for rent money for six months straight or have grown tired of being subjected to someone else’s dangerous and sad lifestyle. He continued to believe he was fine.
I eventually began asking him “When do you plan to leave?” instead of “When will you have rent money?” He would often yell at me “I WILL live here!” or “I am not going anywhere!”
Things ended when we had such a heated argument that I became outraged and threw a box fan at him. The next day, under the advice of his family and (former) friends, I changed the locks and arranged for his family to come get his things.
In retrospect, this was a horrible and dangerous way to go about making him leave, but I do not regret it. It was the only way to get him out. He then began to make up lies about me, threaten me and of course, left a huge mess to be cleaned (over 20 trashbags of garbage and a cat-pee-infested room).
In the 7 months that Shane lived in my house, he went through four jobs, a DUI, cases and cases of wine and many Popov vodka pints, god-knows-what type of drugs, about 50 men and a whole slew of delusional lies.
He burned many bridges and lost everything, winding up back at his mother’s house at 30 years old. However, his delusion has not subsided. He claims his life is certainly falling back into place. He has a driver’s license again and a paycheck coming to him! His lies and deceit continue to stack up while his friends drop like flies.
Luckily for me, I had these same friends to back me up and support me when things got out of control.
I learned a valuable lesson here. You cannot help someone who does not want to be helped (the oldest cliché in the book) and enabling someone is not helping them. By continuing to let him live in my house and not holding him responsible for himself or his cat, he got away with excessive drinking and drug abuse, not to mention complete disrespect.
I have now washed my hands of it all -- perhaps he will respect his mother enough to behave like a decent human being in her home, but then again, you can’t believe a word he says.