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.