As soon as you begin dating your roommate, relationship advice, often unsolicited, will begin pouring in. Entering a relationship with the person with whom you already cohabitate is a unique situation-and one that can be tricky to navigate. Don’t take offense to the advice friends and family provide; rather, consider what they have to say. If you’re looking for some general advice concerning roommate dating, look no further. Here are some things to take into consideration.
Keep the Roommate Agreement
Even though you’re both getting along nicely, don’t scratch the roommate agreement. If you don’t already have one, now is the time to write it. When feelings are involved, especially romantic ones, it’s easy to be blind sighted and forget to think realistically. Even though you’re romantically involved, you should still keep ground rules in place. Think of it this way: What happens if things go badly? You still need to carry on amicably in the living situation. As far as the living situation goes, treat rules and responsibilities outlined in a roommate agreement with the same respect that you would with a platonic roommate.
Make Time and Space for Yourselves
There comes a time in every relationship when both parties begin to feel like a bit crowded. Obviously the situation is easier to amend when you live in separate places, but when you share an apartment it’s much more difficult to find some “me” time. Keeping time and space for yourself is very important. Make sure you don’t spend every minute with one another. It’s easy to allow a relationship to consume all of your time and energy, especially in the early stages. If you think alone time won’t occur naturally (i.e your schedules keep you at home during the same time frames), sit down with your roommate and create time slots when you’ll spend time separately. Just as some couples schedule time together, in this case you may need to schedule time apart.
Be as Open with One Another as Possible
Something funny happens when you live with a person-all the unique characteristics, quirks and flaws of that individual tend to present themselves much sooner in your relationship than they would if you lived apart. In short, you learn a lot about someone in a shorter period of time-for better or for worse-when you cohabitate. This can present itself as a challenge when you’re romantically involved with your roommate. That’s why it’s important for you both to be as open and honest with one another as possible. Starting with a roommate agreement will help. It’s a good idea to sit down with one another and discuss each person’s pet peeves and shortcomings. It’s good to know up front if one of you is messy or occasionally forgets to lock the door. Nobody is perfect, and being honest with one another both in the beginning and as the relationship progresses is a better alternative to waiting for issues to arise on their own.
As in all relationships, romantic or platonic, communication is key. Listen to one another and take time to talk about your problems. You’ll have much better success in your relationship.
Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.