Co-Living Advice

What to Do When You’re Ousted for Your Roommate’s S.O.

So you’re suddenly experiencing a Monica Geller and Rachel Green moment: Your roommate — more like bestie — asks you to move out so the bae can move in. Are you surprised? Not entirely — you were practically third wheelin’ it in your own apartment. (And you really wish you had used a third party to make your wishes about overnight guests clear so you weren’t in this situation right now.) Though you understand their need to take things to the next level, you’re instantly overwhelmed by the thought of having to find a new place. On the other hand, maybe you don’t want to leave. And why should you? This is your place too — but is that really going to fly? While you feel a bit jilted after being asked to leave, you realize that refusing to go is probably a disaster waiting to happen. But with a little luck, you might be able to come up with a solution that everyone’s happy with. Here’s what the experts advise when your roommate asks you to move out so their significant partner can move in.

Come to a Compromise

Finding an apartment with basic amenities that’s reasonably priced and in a prime location is hellish in any city. After all, not everyone can afford to live in TriBeCa next door to T. Swizzle. So, it’s not exactly easy proposing to your roommate that they take a hike. But providing a [good] alternative option can help ease the tension if moving is out of the question for you, says psychologist and telehealth counselor Dr. Nikki Martinez.

“I would calmly discuss with the roommate how you might be able to make the situation work. Ideally, the partner will be moving into the roommate’s bedroom, so they don’t actually need [yours],” Martinez says. “If you can all come up with rules and boundaries that everyone can live by, you may be OK — until the lease is over anyway.”

There’s always a chance that your roommate hasn’t considered that you would be comfortable living with a couple, so presenting the possibility might clear things up. Not to mention, an extra roommate means splitting the bill three ways and taking some financial pressures off your shoulders.

“It also gives the ousted party time to save and look for something else,” Martinez adds.

Ask Them for Help

You deserve it. If you agree to move out, there’s nothing wrong with asking for a favor. Since you’re the one getting the boot, it would only be polite for your roommate to help you search for a new place. Seek their help by asking if they can connect you with anyone else looking for a roommate or even if you can go see apartments together. You might be breaking up as roommates, but your friendship doesn’t have to suffer as a result.

Set a Realistic Timeline

While many would have the decency to drop the news on you towards the end of your lease, you might find your roommate asking you to leave before the year is up. If this happens, let them know that though you appreciate their desire to be with their S.O. ASAP, finding an apartment in your budget won’t happen in a day — maybe not for weeks.

“Even if finances aren’t tight, you still need time to find a place that you feel comfortable with. Let your roommate know that you respect and understand their decision, but you still need adequate time to move,” says Nicole Zangara, author and blogger of “Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.

“It’s not uncommon for apartments to require a 60-day notice, so you’re asking for that same courtesy.”

Zangara adds that being honest with your roommate can do a great deal in preventing unnecessary conflict. For instance, if you doubt you’ll be able to move out within the next six months, don’t say you’ll find something soon just to satisfy them in the moment.

“Like in any awkward situation with a friend, your rooommate could become passive aggressive or turn cold,” Zangara points out. “Just be as rational as you can, and don’t let your emotions run the conversation. Ask your roommate what they would do if they were in your shoes. Usually that gets someone to have a bit more compassion and understanding.”

Choose the Right Setting for Discussion

Rejecting their proposal over a brunch that you’ve generously paid for might seem good in theory. After all, how could your roommate be mad at you when you’ve buttered them up with bottomless mimosas and free eggs benedict? Well, it might just make matters worse.

“I would have a casual conversation in the living room,” Martinez advises. “No need to be in public and create a scene. If your roommate needs to be upset, let them get it out and get past it so the two of you can talk more productively.

“This will be a safe place for them, and it’s fair. If they’re a close friend, they’re going to be more willing to hear you out, talk solution and care about your happiness.”

“If it is someone you’re not too attached to, I might offer help. They have not done anything wrong in this case, so there is no reason not to show compassion and help them make a transition. Help them look for places and move.”

If All Else Fails, Call in Reinforcements

Moving might not be a possibility at all and despite all you’ve done to reason with your roommate, there’s a chance that they’ll do everything they can to get rid of you. For Redditor zombiefilter, this dilemma arose when a roommate moved her boyfriend in without any notice.

“So I have a roommate, and we used to get along. That was until she decided to move her boyfriend in without telling me, just bam he’s here. Guy doesn’t have a job, and so I’m still paying the same rent, fine. But here’s the kicker, all of the sudden I have to move out. Since I am the third wheel.”

Having accepted defeat, zombiefilter began a search for a new place to live. It was then that things took a turn for the worse.

“Well apparently I’m not looking quick enough, so certain things start happening to push me to move out. First they want to increase my portion of the rent, and I refuse telling them ‘I only have two weeks left until I break for school, and I’ll move back in with my parents then.’

“That was fine apparently. Well apparently my roommate’s cat got fleas, and it was my fault. So I should pay for flea spray, collars, etc., and I reply that I will not pay for them. Now they have taken to removing my food from the refrigerator, and letting it sit. Or stopping my laundry in the middle of cycles.”

While you might not want to get the landlord involved, it could be your best bet if things get ugly. If you’re on the lease, you have rights as a tenant. So if your roommate attempts to force you out, you can always remind them that you’re legally permitted to stay. If not, whip out that roommate agreement you both signed and ask your roommate to uphold its terms.  Use this argument wisely and only as a last resort — especially if you guys are close.

“Discuss how this will impact your friendship,” Zangara says. “The key here is not to ruin the friendship, so what are you both willing to do to keep [it] going?”

Have you ever been in this situation? Tell us how you handled it in the comments below!