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Setting boundaries with roommates about partners

December 14, 2022 | By Roomrs


A large part of being a good roommate is to be considerate. That includes things like washing up your dishes, not playing loud music when your roommate is trying to sleep, and making sure your significant other doesn’t overstay their welcome. The topic of roommate etiquette when it comes to partners can be a sensitive one to discuss, but it’s important to set boundaries with roommates to avoid a hostile living arrangement. 

Common issues that can occur between roommates about their partners


When inviting your significant other over, make sure they are respectful of the space you share with your roommate. Failing to do so could result in cohabitation issues. Some examples of problems that can arise between roommates and their partners are as follows:


  • A SO that spends too much time at the apartment.


  • A SO and roommate not getting along with one another.


  • A SO that causes higher utility bills (by leaving lights on, taking long showers, leaving the air/heat running etc).


  • A SO that causes higher utility bills and doesn’t offer to pitch in


  • A SO that uses household items and toiletries (like toilet paper) and doesn’t replace them or compensate financially.


  • A SO that makes a mess and doesn’t clean up after themselves.


  • A SO that hangs out/uses common spaces (living room, kitchen, bathrooms) too often and at the expense of the people who live there. For example: Wanting to cook your lunch for the next day at a certain time, but not being able to because your roommate’s SO is making themselves a meal in the kitchen. Or, wanting to watch a movie in the living room, but not being able to use the TV because your roommate’s SO is using it to play on their Xbox, etc).


  • A SO that helps themselves to food or groceries without asking and never replaces anything




Rules you can set to limit issues between roommates about their partners


If this type of thing happens often, it can cause constant rifts between roommates. To avoid having arguments about partners, roommates need to be open and honest with one another, and boundaries need to be set as soon as possible. Coming up with a list of rules that everyone must follow if their SO is staying over, helps to limit problems occurring in the future.


Here is a list of possible rules you can implement into a roommate agreement, to keep things cordial between everyone.


  • Limit the amount of days a SO can sleep over (there is no right answer and everyone’s situation is different. Speak to your roommates about what everyone is comfortable with, and come up with a number of days a week that seems reasonable. Maybe you decide on weekends and no weekdays; whatever works for you).


  • Either limit their use of amenities/utilities, or pitch in for bills that need to be paid.


  • Replace household items once in awhile (you use the toilet paper, so offer to buy a new roll when it runs out).


  • Have quiet hours. After a certain time, it shouldn’t be acceptable for your SO to listen to loud music.


  • Making sure any mess made is cleaned up


  • People who live in the house have first priority when it comes to doing laundry, taking showers, using the kitchen etc.


  • Sending out a courtesy text prior to your SO coming over. That way, your roommates are aware, and can avoid things like walking out of the shower in a towel.



What to do If A Boundary is Crossed

If you’ve put in the time to implement rules when it comes to partners, and your roommate breaks them, you need to address the issue right away. It’s likely you moved in with this person because you consider them a friend, so I’m sure you would like to keep it that way. It can be frustrating to deal with, but make sure you are open and honest with your roommate.


Ultimately, you want your SO and roommates to get along, so keeping to a roommate agreement is the best way to avoid conflict.


And if there’s something that makes you uncomfortable, or you feel like a line has been crossed, don’t ignore it! Have a conversation with your roommate ASAP so you can discuss it, and find a solution.

Is it Time to Move Out?

If you feel like you’ve done everything to keep the peace, and you’re still being disrespected by your roommates SO; it may be time to move out. Unfortunately, this is an indication that your roommate is not very considerate of you or your feelings, and it would be in your best interest to find someone better suited for you.


At Roomrs, we background check every application, and work with you directly to help you find a roommate that suits you best! If you’re interested, check us out here!

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