Roommate's Boyfriend

Updated on November 20, 2012
T.R. asks from Los Angeles, CA
21 answers

We are a young family living with one roommate, who is a great girl in her early twenties. Our place is small, kitchen and living room are one single room, and we have a bedroom each. It is an old place with thin walls, right in the city.
My husband and I cannot really afford the place by ourselves, as I am still a student and as he does not have a high-paying job as a fairly fresh immigrant.
So our roommate has a boyfriend now, someone who studies in my department. We both told her that he can come over at the most twice a week because we don't want our schedules disrupted. They are respecting that, but I still feel disturbed by his presence.
It's like I just want to be alone at home and do my work ever since I am a student mom. I don't like knowing that they'll come in late and probably really drunk because I might wake up. They try their best to be quiet, and he does not act out or anything. But then they spend all day in bed, which should be fine too as they are quiet, but I feel disturbed when I then try to work in the living room.
I don't really have a great rational explanation for why I am so bothered, but it is really getting to me.
And I know it is in my head because sometimes I don't know they are home and I am comfortable and start working. When I then realize that they are there because he walks through the kitchen to go pee or something, I feel so bothered again that my work really suffers.
What can I do to help myself out mentally, or how would you deal with the situation?
Thank you so much in advance for your answers. I know this is not a big deal in comparison to what many of you are going through, but I feel so off balance and this is really getting to me and my (mental) health.
I need to clarify something here for all of those hating on me:
My husband and I are renting this apartment. We pay the bills, we made sure to get a new washer when it was broken, we deal with the landlord when there is an issue, we made sure to get new windows for this coming winter, we pay 2/3rds of the rent, we provide internet, and do most of the cleaning and so on and on.
It is our home, of which we agreed to share one room, clearly stated in a way that does not interfere with our family situation.
We live in The Hague (capital of the Netherlands), which is not cheap. This place is the cheapest we could find as there is no assisted housing for student families here, and no financial aid either.
Our roommate is in no way in the situation to impose rules onto our lifestyle. Now, does this make more sense?
P.S.: Yes, Dawn must have read something else. It doesn't relate to my question.
And: No, I am not jealous. I am a student at one of the best conservatories in the world. I am not bored burying my nose in books but exclusively writing music for concerts and performances right now. I love what I do, really.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for those of you who really tried to understand my feelings and responded accordingly. This has actually made me realize that it is this guy who bothers me specifically. Of course my roommate can have a life. If I didn't think that I wouldn't have asked this question. She has been with us for a long time, and I never had issues with her friends coming to hang out, with her throwing dinner parties, and also with her ex-boyfriend who was very polite and cool with my son. It's this guy. It's them always coming in totally drunk or stoned and then having to sleep it off. It's how she has changed since she met him, how she stopped playing with my son when she is home (which he doesn't understand), how she stopped doing her part in the household, his weird vibe that I just don't like even though he is trying to be respectful (apart from pissing all over the toilet seat and leaving it for me to clean regularly...). My husband had the same feeling, and he had no issue with her before either. I guess we'll see where this goes within the next few weeks and then we'll make a decision.
Thanks again!

More Answers


answers from St. Louis on

I don't like when people are in my home either, like when my kids have friends over. Thing is there is nothing you can do about it beyond just accepting it.

So far as your homework goes act like you are not at home, act like you are at school studying.
Dawn, you know I love you but did you read a different post and then answer it over here?

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I think you're confused about how a roomate situation is supposed to work.

Does your roomie get to dictate to you how often you and your husband get to be in the house like you do to her?

Try to remember, this is just as much your roomie's house as it is yours. She's not just a guest staying there, this is her home, and as a tenant who is paying rent, she has the right to have her BF there. If her BF is using a lot of hot water or electricity, or eating your food, you should talk to your roomie about it. Unless you and your husband are paying significantly more than your family's share of the rent or bills, you shouldn't be able to tell her what to do or when she can have company.

If you are bothered by her BF's presence, then you need to adjust. Move your desk into your bedroom so you can study privately.

ETA: Nobody's "hating" on you. Not getting the exact answer you expect or like is not "hating." Don't be melodramatic.

Truly, it sounds like this discomfort is all about you and your needs. It has nothing to do with your well-meaning roomate, who, from what you have shared, is a very thoughtful person and tries hard to ensure that she doesn't bother you.

You and your husband pay 2/3's of the rent. You do more cleaning, Well, you have more humans to clean up after, so that's reasonable. You have done some other extras that you ought not to have done (landlord should have paid for windows and broken washer). Okay...

But your roomate is still paying for her portion of the rent. 1/3 for 1 person. Cleaning up after herself, I assume, since you didn't complain about her cleaning habits. You still don't get to impose rules over her. That's unfair, unless you actually own the house and provide her with extras that she isn't paying for. If that's the case, you can only make rules about the things you provide (2 hours per day on the internet that you pay for, for example).

What you have is a very normal roomate situation. If you don't like it, you need to find another way to supplement your income so you don't have to live in shared housing.

Best of luck,

C. Lee

ETA2: I just read your changed SWH. Interesting how the important details come out. If you'd mentioned all this in your OP, you probably would have gotten a different response.

If you don't like the guy, or his piss on your toilet seat, you need to tell your roomate. You also need to tell her that there are NO stoned people allowed in the house, so she should go be stoned or sleep it off elsewhere. If you don't talk to her, you really have no room to complain.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I agree with Jo W regarding why it is bothering you. It is just a "personal space" thing. The roommate's boyfriend (and the roommate herself) no matter how nice and considerate they are, are in YOUR family's personal space. No, not your bedroom, but your bathroom, kitchen, living room, etc. How awkward, as a married person, to not know when another person (not your spouse or child) is going to come walking through your kitchen...

Maybe if you have always had roommates and never truly had your own personal space you might not notice it AS much, but once you are married I think people become much more sensitive to personal space issues. I never shared a bedroom as a child (only had brothers) except for when a distant older cousin came to stay with us for a short while. Very short (a few weeks). Then, when I had roommates, I shared space, too... I have always had a "need" for time alone. Even having been married for 16 years, I like to have the house all to myself, and I crave alone time at night after everyone else in the house is asleep. It's part of my personality. So roommates are REALLY hard for me.

You are not having an odd reaction, you are having a normal one.

Try to study in your room if you can. Or maybe actually plan to go to the library to study sometimes. Hopefully, you can figure out a different solution for the future, but for now, just remember that your feelings are not weird nor wrong. They are very normal. It won't make them go away, but at least you won't feel guilty about them on top of the discomfort.

Check into the suggestion another poster made about student housing, maybe.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I had this problem when my brother lived with me, and brought his girlfriend home. It was usually twice a week, but it drove me spare that she was there. Like your roomie's guy, his girlfriend was quiet, respectful, tried to not bother anyone, but for some reason--Argh! Bothered I was to distraction.

I got so bothered about it, I went to talk to a therapist about it and a few other issues.
She suggested that if I was really bothered about her being there, to go into another room to "decompress"--
Take three long deep breaths and let them out very slowly.
Next, listen to quiet music while being with my son in another room spending time with him, or if he was resting, read a book with music going at about whisper level.

Once I got my classical streaming through my laptop in my room, it didn't bother me that she was there.
Turns out the "silence" was so bad that any noise bothered me, and I just associated it with the girlfriends presence.

Try this and see if it helps you.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I am missing something. She is paying her rent. She is living in the same house as you. Its HER house as well. This is not just yours but also hers. If you want privacy, then you and your family need to move to your own place.

If I were her, I would be annoyed with you. You cannot dictate what she and her boyfriend do. I believe you and your family need to understand the concept of roommates.

Contact housing at the University and see what they can do to help the situation and see if you qualify for housing. Other than that, if you can't afford to live without a roommate, you might want to get some counseling to deal with the situation.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm like this with my own family!! I HATE having people in my home. It's the one place in the world that's mine. We never have people over and we are both happy with that! I absolutely can't stand people in my most personal home. I am a very mentally stable and healthy person. Your situation would darn near drive me crazy.

Man, I would see if there is student housing, work in my room all the time, or find another roommate. I could NOT live with other people in the house.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Unfortunately there is not much I don't think that can be done. Unless you stay in your room to study. You can't blame it on her or the boyfriend as you chose to have a room mate. I have lived with family's before when I was younger and it was strange for me as well being the outsider. So just know they probably feel strange too. If you can study with head sets on in your room maybe it would drowned out that sound of others moving around in the house.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Is there really no way you can afford your place without this "room-mate" as you put it?

Years ago when boarding house were more common most had hard & fast rules stating no guests. ever. That would avoid the whole issue of coming home drunk with a boy friend, having people staying in bed, all day, etc. I don't know how many kids you have or how old they are - but do you want this as the example your kids grow up with? I think you're living too close to the college lifestyle and not close enought to the young-family lifestyle. They are very different. Your discomfort about having these two lounging around your home all day long is a built-in sensor telling you that it's just not right - especially with kids in your home.

Your dilemma is that you rented the room with the understanding that it was OK to have this boyfriend over up to 2 days each week. But having a boyfriend over is a lot different than having 2 drunken college students stumbling home in the middle of the night or spending the day in bed. Now it's time to re-visit the arrangement. Use whatever excuse you want - kids, sleeping, work, etc. Tell her you understand it's different than the original understanding but that you need your home to be your home - not a frat house or college dorm. And if your boarder wants to move let her - set up different expectations in advance with a new boarder. Or do something else to make up that income shortfall and get out of the landlord business.
Wow - I just read the other posts and am astonished at how people look at life now. Have we really come to a place in our society where we tell people not to be bothered by another couple coming home drunk in the middle of the night and disturbing a young family, or spending the day lounging in bed? What ever happened to the concept of students struggling, working hard at a part time job and doing school work in the tiny amount of spare time leftover? I worked my butt off through school - I worked watiing tables and then came hoem to write papers, study and have a little time here and there to date, party, etc. I don't ever recall spending the day lounging in bed. I don't think the fiscal cliff is the only cliff we as a nation should be worried about falling off.

No T. you are not wrong. I assumed what your post implied - that you are the master tenant and she is renting a room from you. Make the needed changes even if it means she moves out. There will be another tenant. You should not have to feel uncomfortable in your own home.
Good luck mama.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I don't think this is about the roommate and boyfriend having sex so much as it's about getting use to a relative stranger (the boyfriend) being in your living space - it lacks privacy.
The only thing for it is to either get use to it or work in your bedroom.
The non bedroom space is a 'public' area.
Roommates can lead to difficult situations.
I once had a roommate who had a boyfriend who was a chain smoker - that drove me nuts - the smell was just awful.
This one doesn't sound too bad.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I suggest you turn on a radio or stereo system very low so that you cannot hear them at all and that you might move your study area into your bedroom so that you can have privacy of your own all day. I know this is a needed solution for both you and your roommate.

At least he's not staying there free every night. If he were coming over more I would think going half on everything would be appropriate.

I have had roommates before and it is hard. When you're married it is even harder because you should not be having to deal with a roommate, just having your own family.

One thing you might do is sign up for student housing. I did this when I was a college student. I had signed up for low income housing too and when it finally cam through I was able to pay only $43 per month for my apartment on campus. It was so worth it. I could come and go to campus by walking a few steps or riding my bike. It was so easy.

I didn't get to have a roommate, I was on low income housing so my income was what my rent was based on. It is something you have to sign up for and be on a waiting list but once it kicks in you have very low rent.

Living on campus is usually easy too. If it's a full university they will have student housing. It's usually very good prices and they might even have meal plans you and hubby can buy. I never used them though, I got food stamps and commodities so I cooked all the time.

I suggest you go talk to the campus housing people and find out about housing. Mine was the cheapest rate in town and I could afford it out of my FA package. It was paid before I got any cash from my FA. It was wonderful to know my apartment was paid up from September through May, then if I didn't want to move out over summer I just took a couple of classes and we paid cash for those months. Then I figured I would just keep that money on my bursars account for the year and they'd take it out during those summer months.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Reno on

I can totally relate. We had a family member live with us for about 6 mos. He was a great housemate, helped with $$ for meals, kept to himself when things were hectic in the house with kids, friends, etc.., was not messy and so on. However, I felt "put out" as my mom would say. I felt like "Hey, this is my house and I just want it to be "my house"". It's hard to put into words, isn't it? It's almost a territorial matter. I have no advice for you, as our house guest moved when I was at my breaking point. Perhaps you can work at a library or park?? Don't feel like you're being petty or childish. You are a partner and mom and you want your nest back.. I can understand that. Just try coping and breathing and accepting the way you feel and muddle through..

Best of luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Added - Smiles to Jo and love ya too!. (I just saw your post!) No, actually, I thought this because it doesn't bother her for the woman to be there alone doing the exact same thing - only when the man comes and T. knows they are both in that room. I can't imagine that actual sleeping bothers her - I felt that it bothered her what else might be happening "between the sheets". If I'm barking up the wrong tree - ie, T. and her husband have regular relations, then it doesn't matter. In her SWH, she has figured out more that bothers her. My remarks were for her to think about, but not from another post.

I will say that if my husband and I weren't having fun between the sheets, it might bother me if my roommate were. (We're all human...!) It's not so far out of the realm of possibility. Glad it's not the same for T.!


Do you and your husband not have the same kind of relationship? It sounds like you are unhappy that you aren't getting the same thing.

If I were you, I'd try to figure out what you are missing in your physical relationship with your husband. Don't just dismiss what I'm saying out of hand. You might not even realize it. There's a reason why you are having such a hard time with them being intimately involved in the same house as you are living. Since you cannot afford to not have a roommate, you need to figure this out so that you can have some peace about it.

Good luck,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Your roommate is entitled to have a life and a boyfriend. If you are that bothered by others being in your home then you need to find a way to afford the rent without a roommate and then let her know you will not be renewing her lease.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

Do you own the house? I am surprised your roommate agreed to only having her boyfriend over a few times a week. Try to put yourself in her shoes. Here she is, living in a house with a family. She's paying rent. Maybe she feels like since she does pay rent, she is entitled to be there with her boyfriend as much as she wants. Could you or your husband look for some income base housing? You can usually get decent housing based off your income.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I had room mates for years and always found it difficult to have an extra person, boyfriend, around. What helped was getting to know them. I suggest that you include him in some activities that you all do together once in awhile. Make him your friend too. We would have dinner together sometimes and watch some TV together. By doing this he becomes a part of the crowd so to speak.

The first time this happened my roommate was intimate with her boyfriend, as yours is, and I was very uncomfortable. With thought I discovered that I was adopting my parent's attitude that sex before marriage was forbidden. I had to face my own uncomfortable feelings about sex. It took a few years before I was able to be comfortable around other's sex life.

After your SWH: Are you just renting the room? She doesn't normally have access to the rest of the house, except for the bathroom? Or are you renting her 1/3 of all the space including use of the washer, the Internet, etc? I suggest if the latter is true then it's fair to charge more than just 1/3 the rent. She should be paying 1/3 the utilities and a fee for use of the washer, Internet, new windows. Perhaps if she was an equal in expenses you'd feel more comfortable? Are you feeling or thinking on an unconscious level that she's not an equal with you in use of the space? If so then perhaps making her an equal will help you feel more comfortable.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

The problem is, you just feel your privacy is invaded by this Boyfriend.
And its hard for you to feel yourself when he is there.

Other than that, your roommate abides by your rules and the boyfriend too. It seems he is not obtrusive.

But you have a roommate, and she has a life too. ie: Boyfriend, and well, he only comes over twice a week as per your rules. And they do respect your schedules etc.

Or, maybe it will be, if not this boyfriend, you may feel uncomfortable with any "guest" or friend your roommate invites over???
Because, the "guest" is not a part of your living arrangement. It is a visitor.

Can your roommate, have other friends over or socials too, at home? Or must she ask permission first?

Do you or your Husband/family, have guests over? Or not?
If you do, then how does your Roommate, deal with it?
Do you have rules for yourselves, when you have "guests" over, and your roommate is home?

This seems to be just a situation where you feel uncomfortable with outsiders in your home? Or "strangers" in your home? And/or how it affects your privacy and ability to feel yourself, in your own home, when there is someone else there.

Other than that, your roommate and her Boyfriend, seem to really abide by your rules. Which is good.
Or, maybe you just don't like that this Boyfriend is also a guy who studies in your department, and thus you feel like your private life/habits, are being seen. And you don't want to work when he is there.
But your Roommate seems very good about adhering to your rules.
I think you have a very "easy" roommate. Who is willing to adhere to your rules and her boyfriend is too.
Not many individuals would be so, good about it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Try to find a smaller, more affordable place. I cannot do a roommate thing either. Yuck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I *think* Dawn is saying that you may be jealous?
You have a roommate who is out going out and having fun, coming home drunk, staying in bed all day, and has a boyfriend! That's FUN!
What's not fun?
Being a student and studying, being a new immigrant that can't find a good paying job, having to share your living space, and being the responsible party.
I could be TOTALLY wrong by what Dawn is saying, but that's how I read it.
Now, my suggestion and thoughts.
You are not the only ones renting this apartment. You are subletting a room. She is not sharing, she is renting. It probably makes you uncomfortable because she is THERE! no other reason. I hated hated hated having roommates. Can't leave my room naked, can't change the laundry in just a t-shirt, can't have boyfriend or husband there and be loud with sex or's just tough to live with someone!
I don't know what "the Hague" area of the city, maybe? But, I would move. Sometimes 10 miles out of the city can really make a difference!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It sounds like she is trying to be respectful and considerate of your boundaries. It's unreasonable to expect that she will never have any guests or boyfriends over to her room. If he cannot come over at all, she may move in with him wherever he's living or find a situation with more flexibility. Since you set boundaries that she has respected, I don't think it'd be fair to redefine them. If he's there more than 2 days per week, I would suggest that she should be paying 1/2 the rent vs. 1/3. I'm not sure what to tell you about helping yourself be more comfortable with this situation other than to remember that this too shall pass....your educational/financial situation will change, and this girl is only there for a temporary time. This is but one season in your life.



answers from Washington DC on

Your clarifications do help.

She is not on the lease, right? She is not paying half the rent, half the utilities, Internet, cleaning/household products, half of anything, correct? She is just paying for a room.

You are effectively her landlord. It's unfortunate that you did not, when you first put the room out for rent, stipulate a strict house rule that there are no overnight guests allowed (or if you prefer, no guests at all) due to the very small size of this apartment. I think you have that right, since you are renting just one room and the renter doesn't pay half of anything, just 1/3 of the basic rent price (or maybe a third of the utilities too, but still...).

I also assume you have a child, probably a small one?, in this apartment with you, husband, renter and renter's boyfriend. That, right there, would be the deal-breaker: Do you want this boyfriend, or any other boyfriends or renter's friends whom you have never even seen, walking around your home, sleeping there at times you can't predict, coming in drunk -- when there is a child in this close-packed household?

I think you know the answer to that.

What lease arrangemnet do you have with her? Is it written? Does she expect to have, say, a one-year lease? If I were you I would look at either telling her she has to move out when her "time" is done, or if that is far away and/or you don't have a real "end date" on a "lease" with her, I'd tell her that she has X weeks to find a new apartment. You do not have to give her a reason unless YOU want to do so. Just tell her that you need the space or something like that. If you have a formal, legal, written lease, of course, things are going to be tougher.

If you can get her out, I would look into ways to do without a renter, but if you must have one, you need to do two things: Check that person's background (I hope you did it with her -- you don't want someone with a criminal background in your home where you and your child are, right) and issue written rules that state no guests, ever, period. With consequences: One time is a warning, second time -- eviction. Just say that with a child living there you cannot have strangers coming and going. They may not be "strangers" to your renter but they ARE strangers to you, and you can insist that they not come into your home.

It sounds, though, as if you might have trouble working even if you have a perfect renter with zero guests, ever. I would try to see what you can do to avoid needing to rent to someone, though that sounds very difficult from what you describe.



answers from Kansas City on

Do you know boyfriend very well? Perhaps if you included him in a few things, game night or something, and get to know him better, it would be easier to have him around.

Honestly, it sounds like they're going out of their way to be quiet and not disturb you as much as possible. At least she doesn't have a revolving door of boyfriends.

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