Sharing Space with Your Roommate’s Significant Other

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Sharing Space with Your Roommate’s Significant Other

Rachael Weiner · Aug 25, 2009

If you’re living with a roommate in a relationship, be prepared to start sharing space with his or her significant other. Your attitude about having that person around will have a big impact on how things turn out. For the purpose of this article, we’ll call the significant other “Dave.”

What to Do When Significant Other Is Always Around

The first thing you need to do is choose to make the best of the situation. Maybe you could care less about Dave spending five days a week at the apartment. Maybe you wish he would leave. Whatever the case, keep in mind that while you cannot control the situation entirely, you can only control how you react to it. It’s best to react nicely, or in a civil manner at the very least, to begin with. If you don’t already know Dave very well, try to get to know him better. Show some respect and he will likely reciprocate it. Difficult situations that may occur in the future will be much easier to handle if a friendly and respectful relationship has already already been formed.

Be Upfront With Your Roommate

Ultimately, if there is a problem, it will boil down to you and your roommate. Before a problem escalates, make sure your roommate is fully aware of the situation. He or she may not know that you’re not okay with Dave spending so much time at your shared space. Put the fear of hurting feelings aside. Remember, this is your place too. It’s unfair for you to have to hold in your grievances, but it’s also unfair for your roommate to cater to your every wish. However, if you’re unhappy with the living arrangement, your roommate should know. Just remember to be nice about how you present your issues, and to listen and take into consideration everything your roommate has to say.

Communicate To Set Unwritten Rules

Communicate with your roommate and with Dave to ensure everyone gets what they want. Some unwritten rules may form. For example, if there is a television show you like to watch on Wednesday nights, say so. Your roommate and Dave will learn to give you your space. Be ready to compromise, though, and allow them a night or time slot for use of the television, kitchen, etc. Communication and compromise are the solutions to virtually all problems.

Don’t Be a Doormat

Compromising and being nice is normally the best policy, but only when everyone is playing fair. If Dave’s behavior is completely unacceptable even after you’ve spoken with your roommate or directly to him about it (i.e. he is constantly stealing or eating your food, is downright rude, etc.) you have every right to speak up and take further action. Unfortunately, aside from pleading your case, there may not be much else you can do. If you and your roommate have a good relationship, work with him or her to serve as the middle man to smooth things out.

The potential for personality clashes serves as a good reminder as to why it’s very important to know exactly what you’re signing on for when choosing a roommate.

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Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.

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