Space Relations: What to Do When Your Roommate’s Boyfriend Becomes Your Third Roomie

I’ll never forget the day my college roommate stood in the doorway of our living room with a look of disgust and said, “Hey, could you like, not trim your “area” and leave pubes all over the toilet seat??” I was sitting with my boyfriend, like always, on the green papasan chair, smooshed like two peas in a pod.

“Ew!,” I protested. “That wasn’t me! Must’ve been Jennifer.” That’s when I felt my boyfriend shift his weight and mutter, “Oh my god. I forgot to clean off the seat. I’ll go clean it up now!” But we all knew the damage was already done. In fact, his manscaping signaled a much bigger problem: I had a boyfriend who was so comfortable practically living at my house that he apparently trimmed himself (with whose scissors?!) in the bathroom that I shared with two other women. Gross.

It’s hard enough living with your own roommates, but living with your roommate’s boyfriend is downright annoying. And I have broken every cardinal rule in this department since the dawn of my freshman year. As a roommate, this was my biggest flaw. So today’s column is going to focus on both sides of the equation: What to do when you’re sick of sharing your couch with your roommate’s boyfriend each night, and what to do when you’re the offending roommate. It’s a delicate balance, but I believe a happy medium can be achieved.

First, what to do when your roommate’s boyfriend is. Always. Fucking. There. Outside, his car is there. In the kitchen, his dishes are there. In the bathroom, his pubes are…well, you know. He’s driving everyone insane – except for his loving girlfriend, who thinks he’s just the BEST. In this instance, I can only recommend one thing: Talk to your roommate. Tell her exactly how you feel. Say plainly, “Your boyfriend is always here, and I’m tired of seeing his face. I don’t want to be rude, and I like him just fine, but I need to see less of him, please.” Being firm and direct is never easy, but it’s necessary in this case. Hopefully she’ll respect you enough to make the changes you ask. If not, talk to her again and suggest that perhaps she’d be happier living with her boyfriend instead. If she isn’t ready to move in with him, she’ll wise up to the reality that his constant presence is making you miserable. Any good roommate will listen and implement some changes if you’re sincere in your approach.

That being said, why should all the responsibility be on your shoulders? It’s the roommate with the “live-in” boyfriend who’s the problem, and it all comes down to this: When you’re young and in love, you’re not focusing on making your roommates happy. You’re focusing on him, all the time. And that’s where I personally fell flat. I’ve been so consumed with my boyfriends over the years that I allowed myself to believe that being attached at the hip was “my flaw.” Hey, my roommates weren’t perfect, so why should I acknowledge their frustrations by changing my nightly ritual of lying under a blanket with my man in the living room while splitting a pint of Ben & Jerry’s? I excused myself from all responsibility which led to petty fights, tension and many exchanged glances.

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    • Abby

      Thanks for this! I’m currently in this situation right now. My roommate and I both have significant others and are trying to be respectul of eachother’s space etc. It doesn’t help that my roommate sleeps in the living room but we’re doing the best we can.

    • Kate

      I’ve already told my roommate about her boyfriend being here, he has a spare key. He shows up unannounced and just sits in my living room. It’s really annoying, and I’ve already told her this bothers me…but now it’s happening again. I don’t know what to do, I’m too nervous to talk to her about it in person. My boyfriend comes over but he has his own house, so we go there quite often. But still, it’s getting ridiculous.

    • Helen


      so I suppose the situation is rather often, however for me it is the first time facing a problem like that and it really drives me crazy!!

      A couple of months ago we had a free room in a 4 people flat and a friend has told me her best friend was looking so we organized a meeting altogether and she moved in the flat after a couple of weeks. Since this summer she got a boyfriend, but it was ok cause he was leaving in another city.

      But then he starting coming for the weekends or even worse from Thursdays till Sundays or Mondays and as it seems the guy who is 27 is still living with his parents!! So the cannot feel free or have sex or any of those and he really comes mostly to us. I was 2 weeks ago in Paris and since I came back he was the whole time here because of the spring break.

      It is not that I don’t like the guy, we don’t have anything in common but that doesn’t bother me. However it is awkward and really annoying to have to actually live together in the end with someone you don’t know very well, you didn’t chose him as a roommate and makes me angry that this person makes me feel uncomfortable in my own flat-for which I pay for and he does not. It is not an issue of money, don’t take me wrong-I really don not feel comfortable in my own house. One of the other girls has also a boyfriend and he is also often here, but always respect us and keeps a low profile when he stays over and we never had issues.

      I have started thinking talking with her and it was nice to read the other side as well.
      I want to be fair, she has a boyfriend she must see him I understand it and its a pity they live in other cities and I can understand him sometimes sleeping over, it is her right. But from sometimes sleeping over till actually living with someone I dint chose to live with and feeling uncomfortable in my own house isn’t anymore fair nor right for me anymore.

      I would really appreciate any tips from the conversation and how I could maybe put it and talk about it with her.

      Thanxx a lot,


    • Mosey

      Only wish I could send this article to my flatmate. She is definitely in the lovey-dovey stage where he’s king.