roommate's relationship

5 Ways to Deal with Your Roommate’s Romantic Relationship

You may think that you have a perfect friendship with your roommate until their relationship starts to come into the picture.
February 21, 2018
7 mins read

So your roommate has a significant other. What now? The two of you might promise nothing will change, but there’s no guarantee that will happen, so it’s best to prepare for some adjustments.

With the constant presence of another person in every aspect of your roommate’s life, things will definitely change between the two of you, but by how much is up to your effort in maintaining your friendship (or roommate-ship).

For people who need tips on how to tread these uncharted waters, read on.

1. Set boundaries early on

Regardless of whether you like it or not, this new person your roommate is dating will be around a lot. He or she may eat your food, use your shower and sleep over pretty often.

The best case scenario is that this person is really cool and makes you feel comfortable around them; the worst case scenario is that they will turn into an unwelcome presence every time you enter your own living space.

It’s best to set boundaries before the relationship gets serious, especially if your situation is the latter scenario. If you’re uncomfortable with your roommate’s significant other sleeping over when you’re in the room, say something.

Speak out against the things that irritate you before those actions become the norm. If the boyfriend or girlfriend has been sleeping over for months before you say something, then it will be all the more awkward and disruptive to bring the issue up.

Above all, just be chill when talking about boundaries with your roommate. Nobody will be happy if you’re making unreasonable demands.

2. Try getting to know this new person that just appeared in your roommate’s life

If this virtual stranger has just appeared in your life without your consent, then it’s valid to feel some animosity toward them at first.

Even though their being at your place may annoy you, it’s important to remember they’re probably not a bad person — in the end, your roommate chose to welcome this person into their life.

roommate's relationship
Getting to know the new person will give you the best chance of gaining a new friend, not an enemy (Image via Video Block)

You can ask the boyfriend or girlfriend about their major, their favorite shows or the game they were just playing in any casual conversation to get an overall picture of who they are as a person beyond the title of your roommate’s love interest. The two of you might actually have something in common and you can even form a casual friendship with them.

That way, it won’t feel like a bother every time they come over. If all goes well, you can even hang out with your roommate and their partner without feeing as if you are a third wheel.

3. Schedule a specific time to hang out with your roommate

As your roommate’s relationship becomes more serious, you’ll probably see them less and less. Lunch and dinner outings will be regular for those lovebirds and you may not see your roommate almost all weekends as well.

This will inevitably result in less casual hangouts between the two of you although neither party wants this to happen. It will probably feel like you’ve lost a friend in the process, and your roommate will miss any outings between you and your remaining friends.

But don’t fret! It takes a bit more careful planning, but you two certainly can schedule a regular hangout time with proper discussion and a bit of commitment. Putting that date into your schedule will solidify your outings together more than you think it will.

It may feel like you’re competing for your roommate’s attention at times, but they’ll always find time for you if the friendship is truly important. If they keep flaking on you, then it’s time to reevaluate how much time and energy you want to put into the friendship.

If your roommate’s relationship is their priority, maybe it’s best to respect their decision and invest less into your friendship. The more one-sided it seems on your part, it’s less likely the friendship is as strong as it once was.

4. Join a new club or organization

Your roommate is gone all the time and when they are finally around, their significant other is, too. You’ll probably want to get out of the room or apartment more often and there is no better way to kill either your loneliness or your claustrophobia than to join a new club.

Participating in club activities of your interest can keep you busy while making new friends in the process. As you connect with more people, you have more escape routes for when your roommate wants the room to themselves. Everyone wants to have that option of going to a friend’s apartment when things at your own place are too overwhelming.

5. Spend time with your other single friends

Nothing brings people together like the commonality of being single. Not only do you have more time for friendships when you aren’t in a relationship, but you also value your friends that much more.

If you need a distraction from your roommate’s omnipresent pest of a relationship, spending quality time with your friends will definitely do the trick.

roommate's relationship
Being friends is easier than you think (Image via Blogspot)

Gather up all your friends who aren’t in relationships and enjoy the kind of fun only a group of single college kids can have. Friendship shouldn’t just be something to fall back on when you aren’t dating anyone: it requires nurturing to bloom.

Being friends with someone has its own value that is different from, but in no way lesser than, romance. The time with your friends in college is precious as these people can be friends for life.


Everyone faces that problem of dealing with a boyfriend or girlfriend that is not yours at one time or another in their college life.

Your roommate’s relationship means you will meet a new person more often and it will always result in lifestyle collision. It’s a pain, no doubt about it, but if you handle the situation with patience and grace, everyone can coexist peacefully.

And don’t forget that romance will come along at different times and in different forms for everybody, so don’t worry about feeling as if you’re falling behind compared to your roommate or anyone else. Life in college is so vibrant and exciting regardless of whether you date anyone.

There’s so much to experience as a young adult that you shouldn’t sweat about something so insignificant.

Jade Hookham, UC San Diego

Writer Profile

Jade Hookham

UC San Diego
Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience


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