3 Simple Rules for Visits from BF/GF When You Have a Roommate.

There are three issues that can turn a roommate relationship ugly:  splitting expenses, housekeeping chores and roommate’s BF/GB overstaying their welcome.  I have already covered how to handle splitting expenses and housekeeping,  it’s now time to tackle the biggie that has brought an end to many a beautiful roommate relationship -how to hang out with the BF/GF without breaking up with your roommate.

Image from Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, we’ve all been there. You’re at the end of a date (or a raging party) and you’d like to say “Wanna come up?” Or you’ve gone over to your boyfriend’s house so many time this past week they’re gonna start charging you rent. But before you invite your significant other over (potentially for hours and days) you just have to check with the roommate first.

And how long is too long to have them over? Like, can you watch the entire first season of Breaking Bad? Or do you have to keep it to one episode of New Girl? Does that candlelit home-cooked dinner for two have to be at 4:30p.m, so as to not disturb your fellow apartment dweller.

Here are three simple rules to maintain a healthy relationship on both ends:

1. Plan Plan Plan. If you want your boyfriend to come over on Saturday so you two can be super cute and cook dinner and then watch Julie & Julia, be polite and ask your roommate a week in advance. Yep, a week. Sorry, there’s no real spontaneity when you share a house. (Really the amount of notice you give your roommate depends on what you talked about when you made a roommate agreement. You did make one of those, didn’t you?)

2. It’s okay to say no. Let me repeat that: It’s okay to say NO. When your ladyfriend assumes that she can lounge on your couch and watch reruns of The Bachelor while painting her toenails, you can gently let her know that’s not cool with your roommate. This is great because you have someone to blame it on and you can just shrug your shoulder and give her sad eyes and then she will just have to forgive you. And um, while she’s at it, can she just get all her hair removal devices out of the bathroom? Just remember, it is NOT okay for your SO to take over your space. Unless he or she is paying rent, you must constantly remind yourself, she doesn’t live there. Therefore, she may not, ever, use the space as her own.

3. Use your head. I know you’ve got one, so use it. Put yourself in your roommate’s position before asking him or her something silly, like “Can my boyfriend and his friends do their annual PONG tournament here next Saturday?” That’s just silly. Come on people, have a little decency. Plus your roommate probably does not want hang out with your boyfriend. So don’t invite him on all your outings. That’s weird. I can’t repeat this enough: RESPECT YOUR ROOMMATE. If you don’t, you can bet your ass when they get a boyfriend or girlfriend, they won’t respect your privacy either.

Anybody have any stories of roommate/significant other screws ups? Please share!

Photo credit:Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Author My First Apartment
Katherine

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Katherine currently resides in sunny LA where she is trying to reconcile the constant onslaught of those warm golden rays with the pale-as-the-grave complexion she inherited from the Scotts. She and her roommate are mimicking married life by hosting dinner parties in their new apartment and spending Saturday nights watching the entire 3rd season of "The Shield" while learning what it means to have the Martha Stewart of landlords. Also, the not-so-secret pleasure she gets from a Home Depot visit terrifies her.

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Comments (10)

  1. Elle

    I really need help with this. My one roommate has her boyfriend at our apartment 3 weekends of the month for maybe 3-4 nights at a time. Sometimes it’s 2 weekends of the month. I think that this is quite frequent. There are three people living in our apartment and I talked to my other roommate about it and we both agreed that he was here way too often. I mean, I want to feel comfortable around my apartment and walk to my room in a towel from the bathroom instead of having to get dressed in the bathroom for instance, but with a guy around, I can’t. So I talked to that roommate about it and told her how I felt and she said that she can’t do anything about it. She says that she has to make prior housing arrangements when she goes to see him, and if he comes down he can just stay with us. I explained to her that we all live here and have to be willing to compromise, but she still refuses to hear me and my other roommate out. Also, her boyfriend practically thinks that he lives with us. He will walk around without a shirt on and I don’t feel comfortable about that. Also my one roommate can hear them having sex, which is definitely not okay!! Also he’ll try to make rules for us, like how roommates will make rules for the apartment. For example, he didn’t like that I put my feet up on the coffee table, but my roommates and I didn’t care, but now that’s a rule in our apartment. Also my one roommate forgot to lock the door once when she left and he stopped her and then lectured her on why she has to lock the door, then he even asked her where she was and what she was doing….no one but my parents asked me that, and only when I was a teenager. What should I do?

    Reply
    • Audra Audra

      Hi Elle,

      Thanks so much for reaching out. As you’ve probably noticed from the many comments we’ve gotten on this blog, the problem you have is common when living with roommates. That said, from what you’ve shared, it seems to me that you have every right to feel uncomfortable with your roommate and her boyfriend and their behavior. In fact, I it’s incredibly in your favor the other roommate feels that same way that you do because it helps makes it clear that you aren’t just the only one who have a problem with this situation. It’s great to hear that you’ve already talked to the roommate in the past, but it seems to me that you and your roommate need to have another go at it. This time, provide solutions in addition to explaining your feelings. For example, maybe compromise that he stay over only a certain amount of days per month, etc. I’m sure you and your roommates can come up with some ideas that will make the living situation better for everyone.

      There are tons of ways to tackle this, many of which we’ve detailed in past comments below. I recommend checking those out, having a chat with your other unhappy roommate, and then setting up a time to sit down and talk with the other roommate and her boyfriend as a group.

      Also, we just happen to have a blog post dedicated to this coming up next week — so keep your eyes peeled for that. I think it will also be great for helping you resolve this sticky situation!

      Best of luck!
      Audra & The My First Apartment Team

      Reply
  2. Theresa

    The first part of the year, my cousin (14 years younger than I) moved in with me because she & her boyfriend broke up (He was cheating on her). I thought it would be for a couple of months while she got back on her feet and found a roommate. She is a full-time student and works full-time (or at least until next week because she put in her two weeks because she doesn’t need to work full-time because her expenses are so low). My house is small, and because she is rarely here, I felt $250/mo was a fair rent. She has a full bedroom (the smallest in the house), her own bathroom (which I just remodeled) and has also expanded out to the hall closet & has taken over half of my sons bedroom & closet (he’s away to college). There are the normal annoyances, like chores/cleaning up, noise, lack of consideration (she went on a 4 day trip to NYC – didn’t tell me when she was leaving, or returning…yet I was supposed to “know” to feed her dog. Thankfully her mom had told me or it might have been a few days before I realized her dog wasn’t been fed!) and has been late on her rent every month, except for the first month she moved in. While all of these things are grating on my nerves, the biggest issue I have is her overnight visitor – who happens to be the ex-boyfriend.

    She started inviting him in to the house about 3 months after they broke up, but it was a week before she went away for 6 weeks for basic, so I didn’t address it at the time. She has since had him over more and more, and started overnight visits the past 3 months. What bothers me even more, is that she has been telling her mom that “he just won’t stop calling/texting”, blah, blah, blah. And I feel caught in the middle. I know its her personal life, but 1) I am not comfortable w/any guys staying at the house, let alone the guy who is the whole reason she is at my house to begin with. 2) I am no longer going to pretend/ignore/not bring up that she IS leading him on/still in a relationship. I shouldn’t have to pretend I don’t know anything about him to help cover her lies, such as when she tells her mom she is on a “date” with some guy names XXXXX, but its actually HIM, I will no longer be silent.

    My question is….how should I tactfully handle this? I don’t want to cause a rift with family, but I really don’t care if she lives here or not. I don’t feel I should have to be uncomfortable in my own home, especially when I am trying to help her out. With the increase in utilities, I am only coming ahead 50-100/mo, so the money is not a factor. If she was paying 1/2, than I would feel she more of an equal partnership in this living arrangement.

    Advice how I should handle?

    Reply
    • Audra Jones Audra Jones

      Hi Theresa,

      Based on what you’ve shared, it’s VERY apparent that your cousin is taking advantage of you and your generosity. It sounds like you have your head on straight about the fact that you need to tackle this situation head on and stop putting up with her complete lack of respect of you, your home, and the lending hand you’ve offered her. Due to the way you’ve described your cousin, it seems to me that she not going to handle your comments with grace no matter how you approach this situation, but what I would do is sit her down and explain what’s going to change, tell her that you will not lie to her mother for her, and make it clear that if she doesn’t get it together (start paying on time, not having her ex over, etc.) and realize how generous you’ve been to let her live with you for next to nothing that it’s time for her to leave. Of course, this doesn’t have be approached with drama and anger. I would explain that I’m speaking to her like the adult she is and that she is beginning to overstay her welcome, especially since she clearly no longer has a problem with her ex. If her mother gets involved, I would explain it in the very same manner — that you were being taken advantage of and disrespected in your own home. I think once the mother finds out about the lies her daughter has been telling that nobody in the family will find fault with you. But, if they do, keep in mind that you are in the right to feel the way you do… no matter how the family responds. Anger from them is definitely no reason to keep an ungrateful, disrespectful family member in your home.

      Basically, what I’m boiling this down to is that I think you have the right of it and that, based on what you’ve shared, I think you can easily handle this with tact. It’s your home and you aren’t being unreasonable, so I say do whatever you need to do to remedy this situation, even if that means telling her it’s time to go.

      I hope this helps!

      Audra & The MFA Team

      Reply
  3. Laura

    I do not have a steady SO but i do occasionally like to have people spend the night. I don’t have a revolving door or anything but someone does stay with me for a night once a month. My roommate say she is not comfortable with this but her long-term bf practically lives in our apartment. I don’t understand how to show her that my monthly visitor is nothing compared to her bf who is hover 4-5 times a week.

    Reply
    • Admin

      Hi Laura,
      You need to have the talk that you should have had when you moved in together with your roommate. Discuss candidly how you feel about her BF staying over so often and you need to hear in turn why your overnight guests bother your roommate. Having someone spend the night once a month is not excessive, but there is a difference between having a long-term BF staying over vs. someone your roommate knows nothing about. That difference is safety. Maybe she does not totally trust your judgment about these visitors. Maybe she is afraid that the silverware or the toaster will leave with your guest in the morning. Maybe she is afraid that her personal safety is at risk. These would be legitimate concerns. But you don’t know what it is until your have that talk.

      Reply
  4. Veronica

    Hi Amber,
    I am in a very similar position. When I first moved into my apartment, I made it very explicit that I had a long term boyfriend who lived 2 hours away and who would visit on weekends. It has been a couple years of him visiting every other weekend, and then all of a sudden my apartmentmate says they are not comfortable with this frequency.

    I am left dejected and perplexed, and understand your frustration. Having discussed this with friends and reviewing forums, every other weekend is definitely on the lower end of the tolerance spectrum, so I think your frustration is fair and grounded in reasonable expectation (I think few people would consider every other weekend as a live-in SO):
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonbittner/2011/08/16/how-much-to-charge-your-roommates-girlfriend/

    But I do think Alex has a point. Over-night-guest is different from a standing commitment over-night-guest. Given that, I would speak with your apartmentmate about the situation, and perhaps come up with a roommate agreement with more explicit wording, with quantitative values(days/hours) instead of qualitative values(over-night-guest and live-in-SO are such vague terms which can mean a lot of things to different people depending on their tolerance levels).

    Best,
    Veronica

    Reply
  5. Amber

    So,I have found myself in a bit of a predicament. I moved almost 4 hours away from my hometown to go to university. While searching for a place to stay, I had given my future dwelling place a few prerequistites, one of which would be the agreement of overnight out of town guests.

    My boyfriend and I have been together for over 5 months and of course he wants to see me as often as phsically possible. However, being almost a 4 hour drive away, that isn’t exactly practical. So my bf & I agreed on him driving up (cause I no longer have my car) every second weekend, where I feel he should be able to stay a few nights.

    My roommate claims not to be comfortable with this situation, and makes me feel like I’m being very inconsiderate of her feelings. However, countless nights (during the week no less) she’s hardly home & it’s not like I share a room with her. Am I justified in saying I should be able to do what I want? I am, after all, paying for half..

    I don’t know if I should start looking for another place or not.

    Reply
    • Alex Alex

      Hi Amber,

      Thanks for writing. Me and my colleagues at My First Apartment feel like it’s a far different thing to tell a potential roommate to expect some overnight out-of-town guests than to have a standing commitment with a regular overnight guest who’s also (for the time he’s there) a live-in Significant Other. So, unless you specifically said the latter, I sympathize with your roommate — you’re in a tough position, but your roommate has a right to be angry. I would try to talk it out, or explore other options, including you paying more, or one of you moving.

      Reply
  6. Danica

    This is fantastic! My roommate’s boyfriend has become our unofficial fourth roommate, so Friday night romantic dinners have become routine (thus awkwardness and displacement have become routine for us single roommates). I finally realized we need a house agreement when my roommate began letting her friends and family crash without any or much notice. You’re right. When you have roommates planning and communication is key.

    Reply