How Not to Be an A-hole When…

…Your Roommate’s Boyfriend Basically Moves In

So my roommate’s boyfriend has been essentially living in the apartment for months now, and I’ve brought it up twice and my roommate has said that he’s not moving. He’s recently found his own place, but still spends a majority of the time here, and they just now got engaged…. How do I ask for a change in the rent situation without being an asshat? Or should I just cut and run?

At multiple points in my life, I shared a room (not an apartment, a room) with someone. During one of those times, my roommate’s boyfriend moved in with us for a few weeks. My roommate at the time asked, and I said sure, let’s try it out for a little bit and then see if we need to make changes. I was okay with it in the beginning, but after a few weeks it was not working (shocking; you’d think that three young adults living in 200 square feet would work out super well), and I told them. He ended up sleeping in his car in the building parking garage for a bit until he found his own place. Not my proudest moment, although also kind of odd of my roommate to put me in that position. Also, he paid us nothing for that time, but costs weren’t my biggest concern; the feeling of never being alone was.

And, in fairness to your roommate (possibly the last time I’m going to say that), it can be hard when you’re in a relationship and you both have roommates. If you aren’t at the point of moving in together, someone’s roommate is going to be unhappy. But it sounds like your roommate’s fiance has his own place, so why aren’t they hanging out there? I’m confused, because if he doesn’t have roommates and they don’t want to move in together, the least they could do is hang out at his place.

But the problem is they aren’t doing that, so what should you do about it? You can quietly seethe as you wait out the lease, you can loudly seethe as you wait out the lease, or you can speak up again and then seethe (depending on her response). Unfortunately I get the sense that none of these are going to result in immediate satisfaction for you, as you shared you’ve already tried to talk to your roommate about this twice and her thoughtful* response was to say “He’s not moving.”

Blech.

Some things to consider which you read this over:

  • When is your lease up?
  • Do you have the means to live on your own?
  • Are you both on the lease, or is it just you (or, gasp, just her)?
  • What does the lease say about overnight guests?
  • Do you want to live on your own, or find another roommate?
  • Is there a wedding date for them when you know that your roommate will be moving out and can you hold on until then?

Let’s say you’ve got a few months left before you can make any changes. If that’s the case, then it’s reasonable to have a conversation. I know you’ve brought it up twice, but I’m going to suggest you try one more time but first, make a note of all the additional costs you’re incurring with him there. If you’ve been in the place for over a year, you can compare electricity and water usage to last year. Is there a difference? At least then you’ve got some evidence. And even if there isn’t a big difference on paper, there’s also just the general cost to the quality of life when there’s an extra person fighting for the remote (or the toilet).

Honestly, I think your roommate needs to grow up. She’s about to be married; she can’t be pulling this third-year-of-college-level stuff. It’s not that big of a deal to ask that her fiancé not be around all of the time, and its definitely does not make you an asshole to ask that they respect the additional costs (both fiscal and emotional) they are burdening you with. Also, I’m not okay with her “he’s not moving” declaration. It’s not just an asshole move, it’s an intentionally disrespectful move. She’s saying that her comfort matters more than yours, and you just have to deal with it.

Before you say anything you can’t take back (“Fine, then I’m moving out”), make sure that she is not responsible for anything that could screw you over. Someone I know moved out of an apartment with the cable bill still in his name. The roommates he left behind never paid it; his credit was fucked up for years. So if you do move out, make sure to get your name off of the lease, get back your portion of the security deposit, and transfer every utility and bill that’s in your name over to her. It may take some time and even a bit of money, but it’s not worth risking your credit score in the hands of someone who doesn’t seem totally interested in looking out for you.

Of course, pretty much everything I’m saying assumes you have no interest in maintaining a friendship with this person. I only have your paragraph above to go on, so I could be making a wild assumption that doesn’t bear out. If you value this friendship beyond your roommate’s attitude about her fiancé, then I suggest you start saving up for your new place, let go of the desire to get back costs or change the living situation, and as soon as your lease is up, find another place to live. I mean, it is entirely possibly that something else is going on here that you don’t know about, so even though I think your desire for a change to the situation is completely legitimate, if you want to go above and beyond, maybe consider that you don’t have the full story about why they aren’t willing to stay at his place.

And if your next home does involve a roommate, I suggest that you talk through what will happen if either of you gets into a serious relationship. Yes, it can be hard to know what you’ll be comfortable with in a hypothetical, and things do change, but perhaps you and your new roommate can at least start from the same page on this topic.

*Not thoughtful

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