Dear Co-it-all,

My roommate has turned our living room into a locker room: We live in Toronto and between the Raptors, the Blue Jays, TFC, the Stanley Cup and (yes) the English football, it’s nearly impossible to get tube time for myself. I think my roomie thinks that his precious games are more important than my soaps, and reality shows, but my take is: we split the cable bill, so we should both get equal time. Any tips for taking back the remote?

This is a tough one only in that, yes, your roomie is clearly behaving selfishly and unfairly. And yet—I would have popped the fool who tried to change the channel during last night’s basketball game. Given that our country’s only basketball team has never made it this far in the playoffs (#WeTheNorth), a Raptors fan, at this particular moment in time, does deserves a bit of special consideration.

Have you tried getting into it? I know you say you’re not a sports fan, but this is more than sports: it’s competition, intrigue, backstabbing and so, so many hot dudes. It’s basically The Bachelor with slam dunks instead of solo dates…and more revealing outfits. Not sold? Fair enough.

I mention The Bachelor because it (or rather, The Bachelorette) premiers on Monday night (!!!!!!!!!!!), at almost the exact same time as the Raps will play Cleveland in Game Four. (I know you didn’t specifically say that you’re into the Bachelor, but I think it’s a safe assumption given your stated TV preference.) So basically what we’ve got here is the ultimate standoff—the Sophie’s Choice of television engagements. Here’s how I would handle it:

Send a text asap, letting your roomie know that you need (not want or would like, but need) the TV on Monday night because there is a show you want to watch. And then see what happens. Of course he’ll be annoyed given the aforementioned Game 4, but is he so clueless as to not recognize that you have just as much right to the TV as he does? I don’t think so.

My guess is that roomie isn’t clueless, but rather he is a passive aggressive bully. By this I mean that he knows he’s hogging, he knows he’s not being fair and he also knows (or at least he thinks) that you aren’t going to call him out on it.

No doubt he will have a laundry list of reasons why his show (Game 4) should take priority over yours: It’s the playoffs, sports are better on your HD set, he doesn’t want to watch the game at a bar because it’s too loud, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I’m not saying his points won’t have merit. Only that this is your take back the night moment, which means it’s not about his wants and needs. Kowtowing to his wants and needs is what got you into this mess.

You say your roomie watches whatever he wants as if it’s all on him. Really though, he’s only able to behave this way because you aren’t comfortable standing up for yourself. Sure, this might make you a kind and considerate person, but it also makes you an enabler. And the enabling ends today.

That means you must continue to assert your will on a regular basis. By that I mean, when you get home and he’s lying on the couch watching highlight reruns, ask him when he’s going to be finished, because you want to watch something. Or leave a sticky on the TV saying, “Need the TV 8-9.” Yeah, it’s a little obnoxious, before long roomie will understand that his reign of TV terror is over. After that it’s just a matter of figuring out how to effectively and reasonably share.

Some people might suggest a schedule, but personally, I have always found that schedules lead to more fights than the thing they were supposed to be scheduling ever did. My suggestions: invest in a PVR package so that you can both tape shows and avoid future Bachelorette vs. basketball dramas.