So here’s the thing: people write us with all sorts of scenarios, often involving their roommates, their roommates’ significant others, and general relationships-when-you’re-living-in-an-apartment type questions. It’s a hot-button issue for us. Seriously. If you don’t believe me, check out the comments on our article about a roommate’s girlfriend.
Relationships can cause problems. It’s par for the course – issues always surface, whether they’re disastrous or minor. There’s also other relationship-related apartment considerations. For example, when is it time to move in with your significant other? Or, what to do when you break up with your significant other before your lease ends?
So yes, relationships and apartments intersect, though there’s one thing that we’ve not discussed, that we get some queries about: What happens when you fall for one of your roommates? It does happen, if rarely.
My advice is – and you’re not going to like this – don’t do it. Much like if someone were absent-mindedly walking into the path of an on-rushing bus, if I found out a friend were considering dating a roommate, I would sprint, dive and pull him or her out of harm’s way. It’s just such a bad idea. Here’s why:
What If The Roommate Doesn’t Feel The Same Way?
Sometimes it’s clear you’re both on the same page. Other times, not so much. Normally, were this person not your roommate, I’d say, go ahead, put yourself out there. But if this person’s your roommate? Um … hmmm, if he or she’s not interested (and if you really can’t tell, that’s probably the case), then that’s a pretty big matzo ball you’ve got hanging out there. And it’s not like you can avoid your roommate. So look forward to awkwardness and feeling uncomfortable in your own home until your lease expires.
From Dating No One, to Living with Your Significant Other
If you’d gone on a first or second date with someone (even someone you’d known previously), would you then want to live with him or her? … like, right away share a home, after your first date? Probably not. Yet, if you date your roommate, that’s exactly what will happen. After a date, you may want to call your friend and gab about how it went … except that’d be hard when your date’s one room over, and you might accidently bump into him or her later that night in the kitchen.
Relationships Change Everything
Not to overstate the obvious here, but if you start dating someone, you’re going to start acting differently … and so will the person you’re dating. Which means that you and the roommate won’t have the same roommate-roommate relationship you once had – and the new dating relationship might not be at all like you expect. After all, living with someone who’s not your Significant Other is far different than living with your Significant Other – even if they’re the same person.
What About The Other Roommates?
Do you think they’ll appreciate the two of you adjusting to dating life? Do you think they want to be unwilling party to your fights? Do you think they really signed up to live with a couple? … If you choose to date your roommate, it will cause strain on your relationship with all your other roommates. It’s inevitable, and it will make it harder for you to get some space and adjust to your new romantic relationship.
How Long Will It Really Last?
Not to get too parental here, but how realistic is it that the relationship will last more than a few weeks? This is important since, ideally, you’ll want to be dating until the lease is up – perhaps the only thing worse than dating a roommate is breaking up with a roommate. I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but from my experience, even when people think dating will turn into a full-fledged relationship, it can end fairly abruptly … after all, most dates don’t turn into long-term relationships.
Dating your roommate is a bad idea – don’t do it. Maybe you think it’ll work in your situation, or maybe I’m way off-base, but my advice is just stay away – after all, I don’t want to have to tell you I told you so.