5 Rules For Having A Significant Other Stay Over

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-romantic-couple-sat-sofa-image29878726One of the main challenges that roommates face is coming to an agreement when it comes to having a significant other over at the apartment. This is a very common issue between apartment mates, and can usually be solved easily if both parties are willing to compromise. (Of course, it would have been best if you and your roommates had established some rules on guests up front.)

I was a Resident Assistant in the dorms at San Francisco State University for three years, and I have helped a number of roommates get through this issue, and move onto more important things. Here is a list of 5 rules that every roommate should follow when it comes to having a significant other over for the night, or even just in general:

1. Do not allow your guest to eat your roommate’s food.

One of the main issues that people have when a roommate’s significant other comes over is that the person doesn’t understand the boundaries that have been set in place. It is likely that you and your roommates have discussed the rules around eating each other’s food. It is not necessarily the person’s fault, but they should be made aware that eating another roommate’s food is not an option.

2. Make sure that they clean up after themselves.

This goes especially for bathrooms, for obvious reasons. Most people don’t appreciate when a guest makes a mess and doesn’t clean it up. If your significant other uses the shower, give them a fresh towel to use, and tell them to hang it up. Make sure they know which soaps to use, and make sure they don’t leave a mess, at all. If your guest is making food in the kitchen, make sure that the dishes are dealt with properly, and that everything is completely clean by the time anyone else walks in the room.

3. If you are sharing a room, don’t bother your sleeping roommate.

If you are actually sharing a bedroom with your roommate, make sure that when the lights are out, you are quiet. Don’t use a bright computer or phone, and try to make sure not to snore or make noises. One thing that really upsets people is not getting enough sleep, so you should do everything in your power to make sure your roommate is able to get a good night’s sleep.

4. Make sure that your guest doesn’t overstay their welcome.

If you are hosting a guest, then they should be exactly that: A guest. Your significant other does not pay rent, therefore he or she should not be living with you. Communicate with your roommate clearly what you both feel is a reasonable  amount of time for your guest to be in the apartment. Ask yourself if you are splitting your time evenly between your apartment and your guest’s, and make sure your guest is not taking advantage of you and your roommates.

5. Your significant other must be respectful of your roommates’ time and energy.

It won’t go well if your guest is rude to your roommates. They live there too, and they have the right to ask your guest to leave the apartment. It would be very smart of you to make sure that your significant other makes an effort to get along with your roommates. It’s in the best interest of your guest, too!

This can be a really tricky issue. If everyone isn’t getting along, nip it in the bud and sit down to talk about it. Set guidelines and figure it out. You don’t want to end up with a complete ban from having your significant other over!

Have you ever had this problem with someone? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments!


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Benjamin Hawes is a recent college graduate from San Francisco that just made his life long dream of moving to New York come true in the beginning of 2015. While in college, Ben served as a resident assistant for three years, and has a lot to say about how to get along with roommates! He recently found an apartment in Bushwick, Brookyn. He is having fun making his way through New York as he starts to decorate his apartment and pay his bills!

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Comments (3)

  1. Avatar 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 MFA Editors

      Hi Renee,
      Our blogger J has written the following reply to your Carrie that may also give you some ideas on how to deal with your situation.

      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!