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

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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 (24)

  1. Valarie

    So heres the problem. I’m the parent of a college student. She shares an apt with 2 other girls who she thought were her friends. I’ll call them roommate A and roommate B. She had lived in a dorm with roommate A prior. Shes the only one with a BF and they knew it before signing on. They all have their own leases and pays their own rent individually. Apparently roommate B has decided that she doesnt like the BF. After only a month or so roommate A has sided with roommate B even though for a whole year in the dorm roommate A never had a problem and they were in the Same room at the time. Not individual rooms with individual baths like they are now. Now collectively they have decided that since they dont like him, they tell her hes not to come over anymore. This upsets her. Its not their right to say that unless theyre paying her rent which theyre not. I am.
    SO heres some more info….Most times he comes over he spends in her room mainly because they dont like him. Even though the living room furniture is hers. They really have no reason to not like him. He doesnt leave messes around, he doesnt take showers there or do laundry or anything that would cause problems, he doesnt bring friends with him, he doesnt drink, smoke or party (which, come to think of it may be a reason they dont like him), neither does my daughter do these things but both roommates do, even though theyre underage. Theres a guy from another apt and his friends who come over quite frequently and they bring alcohol as they are of age and they share it frequently with the roommates, partying nearly once a week. My daughter doesnt participate in this. Sadly the roommates tell her she isnt “allowed” to have her BF over in own room.
    What got her recently so upset was that while her BF was over IN her room eating pizza both roommates group texted her and told her they didnt want the BF there. This apparently is how it always goes down. They dont actually talk to her. Its all done through group messaging. Both of them basically bullying her to get her to do what they want.
    Im pretty pissed off at the whole situation. My advice to her was to ask to be moved to a different apt within the complex or stand up to them individually and tell them where to go. I also suggested that she block them from her phone so that they could not text again. If they have something to say they will have to say it to her face. Which they wont do because, like all bullies, theyre cowards in disguise and when they can no longer hide behind technology they Will back down.
    What do you think?

    • MFA Editors

      Hi Valarie,
      Your daughter is in a very toxic living situation. Nothing creates as deep friction in roommate living that roommate’s guests. Read the
      comments to this post and you’ll see the depth of frustration, anger, even rage, these situation can provoke.
      It does not matter that the old roommate did not care about the BF staying over, now things have changed and either your daughter has to tough it out, or, more likely, change roommates. Blocking texts from the mean girls is not going to be enough.
      Let us know how things work out. Our readers would be interested to know. Good luck!

  2. Emily

    HI! So I am a senior in college and I have had the same roommates for the past three years. My one roommate has a boyfriend and at every chance she gets, she has him stay over. I am totally fine with him staying over but she never asks me anymore if it is ok. I would always say yes if she asked because it is her dorm too, however, whenever I ask for my boyfriend to come over she says no because she “misses her boyfriend too much.” I don’t understand why she thinks it is ok to always say my boyfriend can’t come over but hers can and she doesn’t realize that hearing her and her boyfriend being all “cute” and whatnot makes me miss my boyfriend as well but I still never say no to her. My boyfriend has done no harm and keeps to himself when he is here meanwhile her boyfriend has almost crashed my car before. I don’t know how to go about explaining my feelings to her without causing drama and none of our other roommates notice it or they just don’t say anything. Part of me just wants to suck it up and deal with it for our final year but it is so frustrating that she acts like she is entitled to control the dorm and who she wants to be here or not. By the way, my boyfriend is not a delinquent, does not smoke or do drugs, nothing like that. Just in general everything that goes on has to be okay’ed by her, including whether or not I can hang out with a roommate without her outside of school. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Carrie Cameron

    Hello! I have a roommate miscommunication issue. Was hoping to get an opinion or advice on this situation. I did what I thought to be the more reasonable action, and talking about things like a normal adult, but it turns out people are extremely sensitive when it comes to significant others. Sorry it is so long, but here’s the deal-

    Almost 2 years ago, me and my boyfriend(Jake) moved out of the state to take our careers a little more seriously and to begin our lives on our own. We moved into a 2 bedroom apartment that the spare room was for work, but could comfortably fit guests if they’d like to stay for the weekend. the apartment is basically 2 master bedrooms, when the bedroom door and bathroom door are closed, that half of the apartment is completely closed off. So John, my bf’s friend of 10 years, decided to move to the same area with his online gf. He was staying with us temporarily till they found a place. They weren’t working out as planned,so he was with us on and off for about 8 months. finally he moved in with us for good. He is paying us rent, but we let him in temporarily so he could get back on his feet after depleting his 10k savings on helping this chick get a house. About 4 days after them breaking up, John met a new girl online(Layla) and was gone for about 5 days. He asked us if we would mind if we had company for a night, we said sure, that’d be great. Since that night, she has stayed over every single night. Its been about 3 months at this point.The only time she is at her own house is when John is at work. She sleeps, eats, showers, does laundry. During this 3 month span, they were on and off. Some days Layla was his gf, others she was just around because she’s filling the void that didn’t work out with he first girl, it was weird for us to be around. He asked us if she could move in with us so she didn’t have to move out of state with family due to finances. Me and Jake decided it is too cramped as it is with her “not living with us”, and we really can’t have another person with us. We explained how we felt she was over too much and using too much of our space as it is. We did give up our workspace, which is now spread across our living room and bedroom to help a friend out. We didn’t plan on having one person with us let alone two. John ignored us for about a week, when him and Layla would come home, we would greet them and they would make a grunt noise and go into their room and we either wouldn’t see them for the rest of the day/night, or if we were on the porch, they’d come out and smoke and stand away in their own corner and go back in. They really just ignored us. We figured, whatever, it’ll blow over. Layla ended up finding her own new apartment, about 10 mins from us. Communication eventually went back to normal. She is still over every night, showering, making food, using the fridge, doing laundry. Yesterday, me and Jake had a day off together, apartment to ourselves once John is off too work. He was surprised to find out we were off and home that day so he informed us Layla would be staying in his room that day, she was crying and could barely move because of endometriosis, we wouldn’t even know she’d be here. I was a little irritated because i heard them laughing and having a great morning. So I said ok, thats fine if she can’t get home. John went to work. About every half hour, Layla would go outside to smoke and talk on the phone. Then she left to grab food about 10 mins away, and came back. Then got dressed in jean shorts, left to get cigarettes and came back. She seemed totally fine. I was thinking if she could get dressed in jean shorts with an endometriosis fit, and leave multiple times, why couldn’t she drive home and relax?! Just knowing somebody else that didn’t live with me was in my home was so weird to me. So this morning I asked John if it would be ok if she wasn’t here during the day when he wasn’t home would be an issue, just because I’d like some alone relax time on my day off. He was immediately offended and we argued for about 15 mins. All it came to was me and Jake being ungrateful and inconsiderate. He is under the impression since he pays for that room, they both can do whatever they want whenever they want in it, when the agreement was HE can liver there. Not both of them. All of the signs of her living with us are they’re, the only reason she “doesn’t live with us” is because we haven’t said hey live with us. I don’t feel like I am not completely wrong for trying to talk about it, and I don’t think it is uncommon for me to feel uncomfortable with somebody who isn’t my company in my home with me. Any opinions, advice or other stories would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time.

    • Renee Ribeiro

      Me and my wife are trying to help out a friend who she is staying rent free and was told that we dont want her people here that she would have to go see them outside the house. She buys her own food, but doesnt help with household chores because she says she doesnt clean. ok, well, now she has this guy who mind you has gotten kicked out of every drug rehab program he has entered and she brings him to stay for weeks at a time until he gets into a new program. We are all women in our house, and my wife doesnt feel comfortable with him here when i am at work. I am trying to help my friend not her friends as well. She figures if he stays in her room then he isnt accuring any additional costs to us since we do pay all bills and all rent. The other morning i went to my bathroom and i was barefooted and stepped in pee on the floor..being we are all women, we dont pee on floor. lol well when i brought it to her attention and told her if he cant pee in toilet then he needs to clean it up after he is done .. she got defensive and talked alot of stuff to me..she then posted on social media that i was talking and lying about her boyfriend when actually it was my family i had confided in and she went over to their house to complain about me..well my mother told her we dont feel comfortable with men in our house and she knew this and asked her to not bring people to our house.. and since this was our house she needs to respect it…once again she was mad and got back on social media and slammed me on there.. Being adults and she’s getting a free ride, i tryed to ask her about her postings on social media and asked her why? she started calling me a liar and yelling at me ..I told her i wanted him out immediately that evening..of course she didnt do it..she dont have to make this ugly, she was a good friend of mine, but im willing to let that go and just get them both out…is that the right thing to do? or how do i get these disrespectful free loaders out.?

    • MFA Editors

      Hi Carrie, this reply was written by our blogger J who has a lot of experience with roommates. Hope it helps.

      Dear Carrie;
      First of all, thanks for taking the time to leave a question, and our dearest, most sincere sympathies for having to deal with a very unfortunate circumstances. Having SOs stay over is a tricky situation at the best of times, but it gets downright diabolical when you’re helping somebody out.

      Have you ever heard the parable of the frog in a pot of boiling water? If you drop a frog in hot water, they’ll jump right out, but if you slowly heat the water over time, they get used to the temperature, much to the detriment of their health.

      The thing is, we grow accustomed to the situations that we’re living in, and it is a human tendency to keep pushing and trying to get anything they want. It sounds like your boyfriend’s friend is in denial that you’re helping him out. It’s such a blurry line, when exchanging money for a service, but you guys weren’t looking to take on roommates. You were just trying to help somebody out. And he got a little too comfortable. It’s understandable – times are tough all over and when you get into a cushy nice situation, you don’t want to leave.

      Unfortunately, in my experience, the best way to be on good terms when people are letting you stay is to make as little waves as possible. Make yourself invisible and, if you make any kind of impact, make it a positive one.

      When people are helping you out of the goodness of their hearts, you basically don’t have any rights and you should do everything in your power to oblige the people you’re staying with.

      It sounds like your boyfriend’s friend might’ve worked out, had it only been him, but having not one but two different SOs staying over consistently, he has essentially overstayed his welcome. He may’ve been trying to help out his partners, but now it seems that either they need to help him out, or they need to work something out together.

      Sounds like you’re going to have to have The Talk. You can possible phrase it in the context of you guys needing to focus on your careers, needing your workspace back, or that you need to get back to just the two of you. After all, you two did everything to get your lives together, to be able to move your lives forward. That doesn’t make you bad people – quite the opposite, in fact! And the little push might be good for both of them, ultimately. My girlfriend and I started off couchsurfing and in makeshift bedrooms, and, you know what? We didn’t get a lot of say in how things went. We didn’t pay as much money as other people, and they were helping us out. It got pretty old, pretty fast, and it lit a fire under us to get our stuff together and get our own place. We’re now living in our own place, with just one other roommate, and we get to have the home and the space we’ve always dreamed of!

      Hopefully it’ll work out similarly for your friend and his loves.

      Good luck! Let us know how it works out!

      • Carrie Cameron

        Thank you for your response! I think all of us end up on couches or empty rooms at one point or another. its just a matter of how you appreciate it and end up on your own. Everything ended up working itself out. Not as I would have chose, but you can’t force people to understand, I guess. The day after the huge argument, lol, me and Jake were completely ignored by John when we would say hello to him. He removed about 90% of his belongings out of the apartment, without paying his late portion of September’s rent of 2 weeks, left us a sink full of dirty dishes that were piled up in his room, leftover garbage and random belongings he did not want anymore. He didn’t return our key also. Jake had our lock replaced, and we have our place all to ourselves again, so I couldn’t ask for anything more. Its just unfortunate having to let such a long time friendship go, but good luck to them! Thanks again!

  4. Dani

    Yikes! I just had an ah-ha moment. I was actually looking to see if there was a appropriate way to ask for a key when your SO has a roomie and realized I was the girlfriend that roommates are annoyed by! I’m there a lot, and while we don’t share a bathroom and rarely go into the living room, I am still in another persons space. I don’t invite myself over, but I’m wondering if my boyfriend has bothered to ask his roommate (who is also his sibling) if the frequency of my visits is ok. While I still want a key for emergencies, I think I will probably limit my visiting to weekends and when his roommate is out if town.

  5. JP

    This past summer one of my high school friends came back to my state from being stationed basically on the other side of the country. Upon returning is wife promptly said she wanted to parts ways with him and he was left homeless as he really had no family left in the area and was previously staying with his inlaws. So being the nice guy I am, agreed to let him TEMPORARILY stay with me for a couple months while he looked for a place of his own. I should also mention at this point he had a job that he brought home double what I make. Now the space I currently have is a one bedroom apartment. To access the bathroom, one would have to go through the only bedroom. I currently am setting up camp in the ‘living room’ space. No door or any way to have my own privacy. Honestly, It was totally do able for a couple months. About a month in he had his 3yo daughter stay over 2-3 nights a week because his now exwife and boyfriend “work” on a third shift schedule (they deliver papers…. THATS ALL THEY DO!) So the child would be dropped off at 9pm and if I was lucky she would be picked up at 4am ( anyone else think thats a bit much for such a young child?) And she would always say that she didnt have anything to feed her at home so we would have to give her something. (that’s neglect, right?) Now on the days that she would “fall asleep” and not pick her up I would be left with figuring out what to do with the child so I could go to work on time because my “roommate” went into work for 6am. Now, that isnt even the breaking point for me. I like to be alone…. A LOT! The days he doesnt have his daughter, he has the girl of the week over. This probably wouldnt be a problem if I didn’t have to travel through the room to use the bathroom. Let’s just say I’ve gotten some side eye that made me want to drag the bitch out the house by her hair!( oh and side note he’s straight and I am VERY not.) A larger apartment opened up next door and I got the go ahead for moving into it as soon as it is vacant. I discussed with him about the rent moving up a little and he would have to pay half of everything. All he is “capable” of paying is 75/wk. So now I’m afraid of being stuck paying 65% of the rent and only being able to use MAYBE 25% of the space. As of right now I am the only one that cleans, does dished, and now have been making sure my laundry is separated from his. I am really at my breaking point with the situation and don’t know how to bring it up without making it into an argument with him. HELP!

    P.S. His ex is bipolar and sadly doesn’t take her medication any more because “she’s not bipolar anymore” Yet she has showed up at 3am numerous times screaming while her boyfriend blares his music in the car. My landlord who live above me has complained several times about her.

    • Admin

      Dear JP,
      There are so many serious issues in your post, including the obvious neglect of a young child, that we here at MFA are totally out of our depth to give you any meaningful advice. You may even need to contact your local social services about the child.
      As far as moving into a bigger apartment and more permanent arrangement with your deadbeat friend, why would you do it? He has a job so he should be able to find a place for himself by now. It sounds like he is just using and abusing your kindness.
      Hope you find your way out of this bad situation. Good luck from The MFA Blogger Team.

  6. Summar


    I’ve been living with roommates since my college days through my mid 20s to cut down on the costs of living. I’ve found that it’s always important to lay out the ground rules from the beginning to maintain a healthy and respectful relationship with the roommates I’ve had. When my most recent roommate moved in, we laid the ground rules. Unfortunately, little by little she hasn’t been keeping her end of the bargain. I’ve addressed issues right away, she complies for about a month and slowly disrespects the ground rules.

    She’s been dating a guy now for about a month or so. During his first, unannounced visit here, I addressed this ground rule and asked her to be respectful. Shortly afterward, I was out of town for about 3 weeks. My hunch is that during that time, she brought him over more regularly. Now that I’m back, it’s as though he is completely comfortable spending time at the apartment. I came home this past Friday to find him here with her. All she said to me when I walked in the door was, oh by the way my boyfriend his here for the weekend and in that moment, I had no choice to but say “that’s cool”. I was caught off guard. On Saturday, she arranged a get together with friends. When they arrived, I found out that they were all his friends and had been just meeting her for the first time. He even announced in a conversation that he’d been spending another night here. Information that I hadn’t known.

    I’m frustrated because I don’t want to be the bad guy having to address yet another ground rule that was already talked about months ago. She’s not the easiest person to approach either and gets offended fast. I’ve got about 6 more months until our lease ends and am searching for advice on how to manage. I am also fustrated by the lack of consideration on her end for just simply notifying me in advance. It’s not that hard to do. It came to her easily at first and now it’s like she could care less.

    Anything you can share would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,


    • Admin

      Hi Summar,
      Unfortunately your situation is not unique, sometimes roommates “forget” all kinds of things that were agreed to at the beginning of the relationship. They skip their cleaning turn, eat your food, are late with bills, entertain friends at all hours, etc., etc. Audra is actually working on a MailBag post to address several recent emails we have received around this issue, so keep on checking back towards the end of next week.

      Meanwhile, your first step has to be to another talk about ground rules you had agreed to. Inviting a new boyfriend for a weekend without letting you know in advance is not cool, and inviting that new boyfriend’s buddies to hang out in your shared apartment without asking you is even less cool. Have that talk ASAP. Good luck from the MFA team!

  7. Audra Audra

    Hi Hannah,

    Thanks for reaching out. After reading your comment, I can see how this situation would be frustrating. Sure, her guest is a family member, but that doesn’t make it any less okay that he’s constantly invading your space and that, as I gather, she never asked you if you were okay with having an extra guest in the apartment. I believe that you’ve done the right thing by talking to her. But, obviously, what you’ve said so far isn’t getting through. I would make it more clear that you feel that your space is being invaded. However, as I always say when giving advice on these matters, don’t complain — be solutions oriented instead. Maybe suggest working out a schedule where they go do things together outside of the apartment on certain weekends and leave you some time to yourself. Or, maybe suggest that you all sit down together (the brother included) to discuss ground rules for what’s not okay to do in the apartment, such as leaving on lights. From here, the next step is to talk to her again. Here’s some past blogs that deal with significant others that stay over too often, but their tips can also be applied to your situation. Check them out:



    http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2009/05/how-to-tell-your-roommate-his-girlfriend-is-a-problem/ (the comment section is full of similar situations and advice!)

    Best of luck!

    Audra & The My First Apartment Team:

  8. Hannah

    For the past 3 months my room mate has had her brother’s over 3-4 nights at a time almost every weekend. This month one of her brother’s has come over and stayed every weekend for 4 nights at a time. I spoke to her about this politely and she mentioned that she won’t be seeing him until summer because he is very busy (but lives an hour away). I suggested that she go see him and alternate and she said that wouldn’t be a problem if he didn’t have guy room mates. I spoke to her about this on Saturday, and now it is Monday and her brother is still here. He came on Friday night. I am beyond aggravated because I work 40 hours a week and the only time I have to myself is weekends. We don’t have a living room and the only other space besides our rooms is the dining area which is very small. He is here even when she isn’t, cooking, leaving the lights on, etc etc. There are 3 of us living here. Today I spoke to her about it again and she didn’t seem to understand why I was upset. She said he is family and she wouldn’t mind if I always had my family over. I don’t mind, just not 3-4 nights at a time 4 weekends out of a month. What is a reasonable amount and how should I go about this?

  9. 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?

    • 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

  10. 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?

    • 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

  11. 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.

    • 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.

  12. 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):

    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).


  13. 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.

    • 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.

  14. 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.