The Unexpected Roommate: When Your Roommate's Significant Other Moves In
The Unexpected Roommate: When Your Roommate's Significant Other Moves In

The Unexpected Roommate: When the Significant Other Moves In

If you love something it still can't stay for free.
April 11, 2016
6 mins read

A (Passive Aggressive) Note on Common Courtesy

If you love something it still can’t stay for free.

By Olivia W. McCoy, University of Georgia

Oh college, that wondrous time in a young man or woman’s life in which they first experience the freedom of adulthood.

The freedom to choose one’s own curfew, to decide one’s own dietary restrictions and, best of all, to avoid persecution of one’s own promiscuity.

Let’s cut to the chase: significant others are great—wonderful even. No one is judging you for falling in love, except maybe a few disgruntled singles. In fact, more often than not, we’re happy for you and your new addition, ESPECIALLY if we’re your roommate.

We don’t like having a mopey, lonely bunkmate any more than you like being one—it’s heartbreaking, and, quite frankly, a little pitiable. And so as your roommates and friends, we’ve accepted your duo and are plenty jovial on your behalf. Our problem is not with your new boo, it’s with the fact that now we see them in their underwear more than we see our own significant others.

So, to avoid confrontation, let’s discuss the big issues, face to screen:


While there isn’t a technical rule for when bae should start paying, it can be assumed that when they have the seventeen digit, randomly selected Wi-Fi code memorized, it’s probably about time for them to chip in.

Why might that be? Well, electricity isn’t cheap. Neither is water. Money was a problem before you brought in the third “tenant.”

Remember a few months ago, when we turned the air conditioning on for the first time all year and forgot to check what the temp was set at and our bill went from $130 to $230 in a matter of days?

As much as we appreciate your continual happiness and goodwill, we’re going to need a little something extra.


This discussion varies depending on the living situation—dorm, apartment, house—so we’ll take it one by one.


It’s hard enough living in an ill-ventilated shoebox with two people. Add a third and it’s suffocating. There’s also the problem of reserving the room for those times that you just can’t help.

It’s understandable and completely expected to need some along time with your honey, but five times a week may be pushing the limits just a tad. Sometimes we need alone time with our paramours, whether they be Netflix or actual human beings.

Also, there should probably be a limit for how long we’re able to deem the room “off-limits,” for your sanity and mine. Maybe we could rethink the six-hour gaps?

Side note: If you’ve ever lived in a dorm, you’ve been guilty of this. Every single one of us. Don’t even try to deny it.


This is a note to the victims of the S.O. invasion. Apartments are a weird limbo sort of living situation in which you have your own room but it’s not quite adequate enough to be confined to it at all hours of the day.

Here is where the passive aggressive tendencies arise—I have seen many an indignant magnet message left to be found by the other the next day.

As clever as it is to be able to word a vaguely threatening note on the fridge in colorful, plastic alphabet letters, it can just as easily be avoided through clear communication and simple call for the respect of your space that you deserve.

P.S. Menacing Post-Its are not any better, even if you do add a super cute smiley face.


The rules are a little more lenient when you live in a house because there are so many little nooks and crannies to resort to when you’re feeling randy.

So long as you’re not screaming at the top of your lungs in the living room at all hours of the night, we can probably cut you some slack and just chill in our rooms for the most part—especially if you share the same courtesy when the situation arises.


This complication is two-fold as it addresses our stuff and theirs. Victims, I understand completely, trust me, how unfair it is that their contribution of cologne or body spray to the already crowded bathroom counter is somehow seen as compensation for their blatant thievery.

Once, my friend’s boyfriend stole my king sized Snickers bar I’d been saving in my emergency chocolate stash for a rainy day. There is no coming back from that.

But, alas, there is just no avoiding incidents such as these when guests come over. So, instead of getting upset when your sharpie claim of ownership is ignored, you might want to consider moving your cache to a different location. (I use the bottom of my laundry hamper.)


Although I doubt that Emily Post had much to say about this particular tribulation of sharing close quarters with a roommate and their POSSLQ (Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters), I’m sure that she’d agree when I say that the sock on the doorknob just doesn’t cut it anymore. How are we supposed to know if our house mates are “occupied” or just messy?

Walking in on your fellow resident getting some afternoon delight even just one time is more than enough for one lifetime. I think it’s fair to say that the rule should be something close to “I’ll keep my clothes on if they do.”

If they don’t have to wear pants when you’re around, why should you when they come to town to visit? It is basic human decency, you know?

Now that that’s all been said and done, the world can continue on in peace. Don’t you feel just a little bit better knowing at least that you’re not alone in this uncomfortable part of life? At least you have the fact that college rooming is temporary and no matter how bad it gets, the end of the lease is just right around the corner.

Olivia McCoy, University of Georgia

English and French
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