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Co-Living Advice

What To Do If You Don’t Like Your Roommate’s Partner

Sometimes your roommate comes as a package deal. Whether that’s in the form of a furry untrained pet, or in the form of their significant other, your home can start to feel pretty crowded pretty quickly! So, you can look past the hand-holding on the sofa, the odd lover’s tiff and even the sickly baby names. But, what do you do if you really, really don’t like your roommate’s partner?!

Your living situation can become even more uncomfortable if your roommate’s significant other never leaves, and when you’re feeling like an unwanted third wheel in your own apartment, it’s time to address the romantic issue in front of you.

If their presence is generally annoying

Do you feel irritated because you’re forking out for NYC-tier rent every month and they pay nothing to share your tiny space? Is it because they’re taking long showers every morning and making you late for your (already painful) commute? Or is it something more specific?

The more generalized issues – like they’re around all the time, taking your share of the hot water – can usually be solved with a chat with your roommate. Approach the issue when the S.O isn’t in the house and try to gently set some boundaries. Talk about how many nights per week you’re comfortable with them being around, and discuss a morning schedule so you can use the bathroom when you need it. Initiating the talk can be difficult, but if you explain that you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford the extra electricity bill each month, and that your boss gets annoyed when you’re late for work, you should be able to come to an agreement.

If the issue is more serious or specific

isabellekinza told Reddit about the problems she was having with her roommate’s boyfriend:

“At first, things were fine. Sure, he was always there, every night and every morning in our small apartment, but I usually hung out in my room when I was home anyway, so I didn’t care so much.

But then my roommate went home for a couple of weeks for the summer. But he didn’t leave. In fact, he basically moved in. And this guy makes me uncomfortable. He doesn’t make passes at me or anything, in fact apart from casual greetings we don’t talk, but his presence makes me uncomfortable. 

I’m generally a loud and blunt person, but put me in a room with him and I clam up. Which is how I allowed him to berate me for leaving dishes in the sink (for less than a day). Then he told me I wasn’t cleaning up after myself enough. Which was ironic since the mess he was complaining about was his. I argued weakly but my spine crumbles around him so I angrily cleaned the mess.

Then here comes the kicker. Right before my roommate got back the internet stopped working. I couldn’t log in, and my first thought was that he’d tampered with it since the internet is in his name and me and my roommate pay him in cash for it. I put that thought down to petty vindictiveness on my part. 

So, this morning, I messaged him. It takes me five minutes to word it nicely in a non accusatory way, and I send it. An hour later he replies saying that he changed the password because I didn’t pay him.”

It can be tempting to treat your roommate’s partner with hostility or passive-aggressiveness in times like this, but that usually just worsens the situation. So, let’s look at your options.

Again, you could talk to your roommate about how you’re feeling – they may be blissfully unaware of the issue in their home, their judgement clouded by a rosy veil of love! If that doesn’t work, it’s time to contact your landlord. There could be terms in your rental contract that specify the number of guests that can be in your property at any one time, and a guest that is overstaying their welcome could technically present a hazard.

The city administrative code says that every individual living in a residential building should have “a livable area of not less than 80 square feet”. However, while you might be surprised to learn that there is no state or city law in place that requires renters to tell their landlords about visitors, it could be worth checking your lease agreement. Some individual landlords add guest-related clauses that could work in your favor.

Make your landlord aware of the issue to discuss your options. If they can’t do anything about your roommate’s partner, then it might be time to look for a new place. There are thousands of great potential roommates out there, and the most important thing is that you feel safe and happy in your own home!