How do you love someone when someone annoys you all the time? (Sorry Long)


This is concerning people who board in my house.

When my young brother who is my 3rd child’s age, moved in with my family I had troubles with developing a relationship with him. We’d not been raised together, as a matter of fact, my parents only had 2 children and he was born as a turn of life child when I was 26 yrs old and I had just had my 3rd son. There was really no bond on my end since my family and I were living in separate areas of the country while my parents were raising him.

Now, when my mother became ill with cancer, my husband promised to take care of my 19 yr old brother because it was a big worry for her. He moved to our city and moved in. I feel more like his aunt than his sister and he’s a button pusher. I had my then 14 yr old daughter living there and little brother would have no qualms about talking crudely and sexually (demeaning to women) in front of her. Anyway, this living arrangment lasted 2 yrs, with my nerves on end and with no loving feelings toward him.

After he moved out my husband’s 18 yr old nephew came to live with us. Once again, he came from our hometown to live in the “big city” with us. This young man was a dream to live with! Yes, he ate a ton, and took long showers, but he was respectful, helpful and heeded the house rules completely. He actually behaved as a more like a houseguest with extra priviledges. I was sad to see him leave after 2 years.

Now that you have some history, here’s the present situation.

We now have a boarder who is also my husband’s long time employee. This fellow is a funny and actually a nice guy, but I can’t “love” him as much as I try to. He’s an alcoholic and has never had it so good in terms of being able to get to the end of the month with money still in his pocket. We basically babysit him and dole out his pay at intervals for him, make sure he doesn’t drink so much that he won’t be able to make it to work the next day… stuff like that

He’s been living with us for 6 or 7 months now and has been told the house rules and the little rules that come along as we live our lives. He keeps “forgetting them”. What I feel he does is go against the rule then when he’s caught, he appologizes. I keep feeling that he does these things in a passive-aggressive way… his way of rebelling against our “little rules”.

Examples of the little rules are:
Wash the clothes in cold water (we buy cold water detergent)
No cooking after 9:30 (he used to come upstairs when we would be in bed and start cooking during the night)

The big rules are:
No friends visiting, you must go to your friends’ home instead
No smoking in the house
No drugs in the house, and if you’re going to smoke up, don’t do it on my property
Go to work unless you’re sick

He’s broken all of them at one time or another, and we’ve threatened to kick him out.

Now, I know I have reason to be “unloving” and suspicious toward him, not so much in words, but at least in thought due to how he’s proven himself, but I can’t help but think that I’m too hard on him.

It’s almost as if I’m LOOKING for him to screw up, I always seem to be nagging him or getting mad at him, For example, today, he was digging in the “sock bag” for socks. These are not his socks, these are the family’s odd socks that I haven’t paired up. This annoyed me because this stuff is OURS, and instead of shutting my mouth, I took the opportunity to say " Are you done digging in our personal things?" to which he replied " Some of these socks are mine". He does his own laundry, his socks should not be mixed in with ours.

These are the kind of things that keep nagging about. I don’t ignore the breaking of the rules (no matter how trivial). I want to “lighten up”, I want to show Christ’s love toward him, but my stupid character get’s the best of me each time. If I had my choice, I’d still choose this fellow over my brother anyday, but by golly! My nagging, critical character is keeping from growing in my faith.

It’s easy to love those that don’t push your buttons, but I need to learn to love those that do!

Any practical and spiritual advice will be greatly appreciated


I don't know why you are framing a landlord-tenant arrangement in terms of "loving" or "not loving" someone. It's a business arrangement.

If he is not abiding by the terms of the rental agreement, he goes. Hopefully you had a written tenant agreement, but if not you will have to hope he doesn't try any legal action. These types often know how to game the system.

Also, it is a **bad **idea for your spouse to rent to an employee. Things he does outside of work could influence employment decisions and the employee might have grounds for some sort of discrimination or wrongful termination suit. You state he is an alcoholic and has "called in" to work when not sick. These are the types of things that could overlap into employment decisions that could get your husband in a bad situation.

Don't mix business and friendship or business and personal life.

I'd give him 30 days notice to find another living arrangement, in writing. If he's still there in 30 days, change the locks and give him a written eviction notice.

You don't owe him anything, and I really don't get why you are trying to frame this person in the same context as a brother and a nephew.


From the saint who wrote "Love is patient, love is kind..." just a few chapters after this advice:

"I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people, not at all referring to the immoral of this world or the greedy and robbers or idolaters; for you would then have to leave the world. But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person. For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to judge those within? God will judge those outside. "Purge the evil person from your midst."
1 Corinthians 5:9-13

If your husband wants to play co-dependent to his employee, then let him handle this guy's money at work. If he thinks he's saving him from himself, though, he's mistaken.

It is time to patiently, kindly, and truthfully ask your boarder to leave. It is in no way unloving to allow him to finally experience the consequences of self-destructive behavior that he has made no effort to give up. You're not judging him as a human being; you're just judging whether it is working out for him to live with you. It's not.


This is true, but this arrangement was made not as an act of tenant but as an act of being helpful to him. My husband is a soft hearted person who can’t seem to say no.

He’s been employed by my husband for 15 yrs off and on. This fellow has lived on friends’ couches for years. He’s been taken advantage of by friends for all this time. The last place he lived in was a friend who is also alcoholic, and was being charged 300.00 per month to sleep on the couch and not including food. These people have 5 kids living there and would watch TV til all hours of the night making it impossible to sleep. This fellow is a 38 yr old man living in a 20 year old’s mentality.

It was hard for my husband not to beg me to allow him to live here with us. His character is not one who is spiteful at all, if anything, it’s too innocent in the way people treat him. Heck, he’s still friends with all the people who stole from him and who took advantage of him. So if it were to come to having to tell him to leave, I’m positive that he’d just gather up his things and live on someone else’s couch, as he’s always done with every other situations.

Living here allowed him to actually accumulate possessions which he’d never had. He now has a computer, we gave him his own TV to use, He can buy things that he can keep. He’s never had it so good!

This man-boy deserves Christ’s love as much as if he was a nephew or a brother, and my husband is able to give it, but I am unable/unwilling to. He’s living in a family setting, should he not be treated as family?


[quote="EasterJoy, post:3, topic:202109"]
If your husband wants to play co-dependent to his employee, then let him handle this guy's money at work. If he thinks he's saving him from himself, though, he's mistaken.


This is my husband to a tee! He's been doing this since I've known him with people. He likes to save the "lost puppies" and always feels horrible when the puppy doesn't get saved.

Edited to Add:

Now concerning my problem of being critical of certain people and feeling unloving such as how I feel about my brother, how do I change that part of me? I pray to the Holy Spirit to soften my heart, to help me see people as Christ sees them, to see them with Christ's eyes and not my own. It's easy to love these people and see these people when they're not around. It's easy to pray lovingly for them and myself, and to make a vow to change while I sit here alone in the house all day long. But when it's time to act on my promise of change, it's a different story.


You need to tell your husband that what he is doing is NOT helping this alcoholic. It is enabling him. The man will never recover until he wants to reach out for help. He's not doing that. He's using your husband's charity. He may not even realize it.

I'm an alcoholic. There is a chapter in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous entitled "To the Employer". It's online at . Print it out and have your husband read it. As hard as it is, your husband MUST, if he cares about this man at all, cut the strings. The employee/tenant may very well die of alcoholism if your husband doesn't. If that does happen, it is not your husband's fault, but he very well may be helping this man along.

Sorry to sound harsh, but I know for myself, without hitting my own "bottom" I wouldn't be in recovery. Each of us has our own bottom, and this man's may very well be that he has to be homeless.


EDIT--- your original question is valid. You and your husband can best love this man by letting him have the consequences of his own actions. "rescuing" someone from these consequences is akin to playing God. Guess what? Only God can rescue someone from the chains of addiction in any form. It's not your husband's place to do it. He may be getting in the way of God, in fact.


Keep in mind that love is not a mere feeling, but a decision to do what is best for the beloved.

The ultimate act of love was Jesus dying on the Cross for us. No good feeling there!

On the other hand, we can love others by suffering for them, too. Offer up your suffering (aggravation) in reparation for sins, theirs as well as yours. Do what you can to convert them (prayer, sacrifice, etc.) If they need some sort of treatment program, get them into it. Intervention or whatever is required. That’s not lack of love. That’s love. :slight_smile:


[quote="Loboto-Me, post:5, topic:202109"]
Now concerning my problem of being critical of certain people and feeling unloving such as how I feel about my brother, how do I change that part of me? I pray to the Holy Spirit to soften my heart, to help me see people as Christ sees them, to see them with Christ's eyes and not my own. It's easy to love these people and see these people when they're not around. It's easy to pray lovingly for them and myself, and to make a vow to change while I sit here alone in the house all day long. But when it's time to act on my promise of change, it's a different story.


I'd read the work of our Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul. In it, she talks about making the sacrifice of being kind to an older sister in her convent who was very difficult. St. Therese didn't try to pretend that this sister was easy. She took on the sister's difficult nature as a penance, out of love for the Lord.

Being loving does not mean convincing yourself that the impolite are polite or that the cranky are pleasant. It doesn't mean pretending that mistreatment or bad behavior is acceptable. It means being patient and kind to the offenders, all the same. That is a very different thing, I think, than what you are asking of yourself. Also, keep in mind that being patient and kind is not the same as giving someone else carte blanche to sin.

You can teach yourself to have compassion for difficult people, that is a help, but you don't have to imagine that Christ finds their sinfulness to be any less ugly than it is. It does help to think that this is the way they are today, and that perhaps the Lord will improve us all tomorrow, until we are all fit for Heaven.

I agree with Tundramom. This man your husband is trying to help is doing more damage to his liver and his soul by the day. Furthermore, he is very likely endangering other people with his bad judgement every time he drinks. If your husband helps him to do it more and longer, he is greasing the wheels toward his employee's premature spiritual and physical death, and maybe the deaths or ruined lives of others, as well.


Thank you guys so much for the advice, I'll speak to my husband and first try to see if we can possibly get this fellow some professional help. I think I'll just have to give him a time-line or he'll have to go. I know we were discussing his biggest problem being alcohol and sometimes missing work because of it, but it's funny to see that the alcoholism isn't what was annoying me the most. It took reading my post and the answers to see that! The alcoholism SHOULD bother me the most, but I guess that because he's not a "falling down drunk" it didn't hit me until reading along. Thank you guys for opening my eyes to myself.

The problem is that I feel that I'M the one who's being the "difficult nun"! Do you know what I mean? I hate that character flaw of mine, I'm don't mean that I go out of my way to cause gossip or make people's lives difficult, that's not me. But there are situations and people that create in me "a sharp tongue" or sometimes just thoughts of critism if people don't think as I do. I'm doing my best to explain something that seems so hard to put into words for me.


Untreated alcoholism causes soooo many layers of dysfunction. It's just not about putting a cork in the bottle. ;)

Being an alcoholic doesn't mean you are falling down drunk all the time. It means a whole lot more than that.



Why in this world would you put up with all this?:confused:


Sometimes love means tough love.

Some of the things this guy is doing is harmful, and some of it can land you in legal trouble. If he is bringing drugs into your home, there can be some serious repercussions. All he has to do is say “It doesn’t belong to me. It’s here for the people who own this home.” It then becomes your word against his.

The sad truth is, sometimes people need to hit bottom before they can get their lives back of track. We call it “the holy 2 by 4 of justice.” Where God smacks us upside the head with the 2 by 4 of life to get us back on track.

If you keep bending over backwards to this guy, it’s actually not helping him - is it, as another poster stated - enabling. If he is coming to work drunk, or skipping work altogether he needs to lose his job. If he is bringing drugs into the house, he needs to be evicted. I would NOT fault my landlord for kicking us out if he found drugs in our house (we don’t use drugs, but you get the idea).

You guys are wonderful, kind, and compassionate people. The fact that you came here to learn how to LOVE this man who seems to be taking advantage of you speaks volumes about your christian love and charity. I envy the amount of love you have for your fellow man. Many, many kudos to you and your husband. Just be sure that you are not being taken advantage of or enabling. It seems in this case that this is what is going on. Maybe when he realizes that he has lost his job and home because of his problem he’ll finally get help. If he comes to you for help to get clean, then by all means help him get clean. That is what he needs to do right now.

I wish the best for you and your husband. You two are clearly gems in this world!


You are *not *the one who’s being difficult here. It is perfectly normal to want some privacy in your own home! I agree with those who have said that your husband is enabling this guy: if he was able to start accumulating “stuff,” then he could have been accumulating the deposit for an apartment, no?

I would suggest that you read a book called Feeling Good (2nd ed!) by David Burns. It really helps separate unrealistic thinking from realistic. I got it from the library; if yours doesn’t have a copy, then you can get it through inter-library loan.

Good luck :slight_smile:


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