If you’re lucky enough to be living with roommates that you truly get along with–where there’s no drama and everyone always pays the rent on time–you’re pretty lucky. But even in the best of living situations, roommate issues can crop up when significant others are introduced into the mix. If you’re having trouble getting along with your roommate’s significant other, take these steps to smooth over the situation:
Set Ground Rules
Ideally, you’ll want to set ground rules about having significant others around the apartment or staying the night before they enter the picture. As you’re writing out your roommate agreement before you sign the lease–as you should–set ground rules about your expectations. How many nights a week can significant others stay over? How do you feel about giving out keys to the apartment? It’s better to get the discussion out of the way now before emotions become a factor.
Understand Where They’re Coming From
If your roommate’s boyfriend or girlfriend is staying over all the time–to the point where you feel like you have another roommate–chances are things are getting fairly serious between them. When you broach the subject of not liking your roomie’s significant other, try not to point fingers. Remember: Your roommate is obviously emotionally attached to this person, and you don’t want to jeopardize your friendship any more than it already has been. Be sensitive to the fact that once your roommate finds out you don’t like his or her significant other, that puts your roomie in a difficult position.
Have an Honest Conversation
When you do bring up the significant other issue, be honest about your feelings. It may be awkward to bring up the fact that you don’t like having your roommate’s significant other around all the time–or that you don’t approve of the relationship–but bringing it up sooner rather than later will help you avoid the buildup of resentment. If you calmly address the problem now, the situation is less likely to get out of hand.
Know When to Start Charging
OK, let’s say that your roommate issues have reached a breaking point. Your roommate’s long-term boyfriend or girlfriend is over all the time, keeping a toothbrush in your bathroom and eating your food. It may be time to ask him or her to start contributing monetarily. This is only an action of last resort. Don’t ask him or her to chip in unless you’ve tried all other avenues and he or she is still staying over five nights a week.