Cohabitation Consternation

by admin on April 13, 2011

I am currently in a horrible situation where I feel etiquette has been breached.

I am a resident at my college, and my roommate and I have been close all year. What happened the other night changed all that.

We had agreed in the beginning of the year that we would not entertain male guests overnight, as it made me uncomfortable, and feel morally wrong. My roommate, E, began dating a young man (whom I don’t care for) during the school year, and had asked for him to stay a few times, which I allow due to extenuating circumstances, and out of respect for our friendship, although I was uncomfortable.

E Facebook messaged me the other night, when she was at home, asking how I’d feel if she brought him home. I said it would make me uncomfortable, as I didn’t want to be taken advantage of yet again. She continued to force the issue, calling me. I told her that if he came down, he would need to sleep across the hall in the boy’s room (co-ed dorms; I have asked the occupants if it was ok). She freaked, cursing at me, saying she would “never forgive me for this,” “F- you, you’re being f-ing unreasonable, we’re coming whether you like it or not.”

Well. I was horrified, having never been spoken to like this, least of all by her. We have been very close, and I couldn’t believe she was reacting like this. She did bring him back, but they slept elsewhere. She refuses to speak to or look at me.

E’s boyfriend goes to a different college, about an hour away from our school. E didn’t tell me her whole story; apparently, her BF had no ride to his school. She could have either dropped him off, and come back, or stayed there. She instead decided she must have both, because she wanted to go clubbing with a friend that night, and be with her BF. She wanted me to be miserable so she could get what she wanted.

I believe her behavior is way out of proportion, and childish. She knows I dislike her boyfriend (he gives me the creeps, and other friends are in agreement, and he cheated on her multiple times), and I was not going to go sleep elsewhere, and be kicked out of my home because they wanted to have sex, and I believe I had the right to. I feel very disrespected; both as a friend, and as a roommate whose contract has been breached. I’m terrified to even speak to her, and don’t even want to be in my room anymore due to the hostility felt. She also blocked me on Facebook, and when I told her I wasn’t here to fight, but that I needed to protect my privacy, she ignored me.

So she asked me a question, expecting an answer, but got one she didn’t like, and threw a hissy fit. I know there are only a few weeks left of school, but living like this is not fun.  0322-11

When you allowed the “contract” to be breached due to “extenuating curcumstances”, your roommate had already tested the boundaries and found them weak.    So, the first step is to figure out where your line in the sand is and then don’t cross it.   Your line keeps shifting which somewhat negated the social contract you had, at least in the mind of your roommate.

When you revert back to the original contract agreement, all hell breaks loose because E has been allowed to get away with murder, she likes this arrangement and boy, is she going to fight to keep it that way.  E morphs into one of the weirdo aliens from Planet Booron and throws a tantrum of galactic proportions.  Poor baby.   Her wings got clipped and she’s a fluttering frustrated moth.

No one should feel guilty for having a polite spine.   We should be the calm in the storm of self-absorbed tantrums, blissfully carefree as to the drama unfolding around us by those with less refined restraints on their emotions.  One should become like the Margaret Mead of etiquette…quietly, with academic stoicness, studying the odd behaviors of alien beings as if conducting field study for an anthropology degree.

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

josie April 13, 2011 at 5:36 am

If he gives you the creeps, that’s reason enough for me. Trust your gut and stick to your beliefs/morals. I think its time for a new roommate….friends or not, you can do better.

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karmabottle April 13, 2011 at 5:41 am

Admin is right, in my mind. By letting the “contract” slide for several reasons and on multiple occasions, you lost your leverage and the spirit of the agreement. Unfortunately, this blowup was untimely and now is uncomfortable.

I suggest that with your next roomie, you stick to your guns if you ask for a no-spend-the-night-guests rule. Next time, tell future roomies not to even ask, that the answer will be “no” regardless of the circumstances.

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Bint April 13, 2011 at 5:54 am

Whether you like him or not, or whether you have personal morals against this or not, is totally irrelevant.

What matters is that you both agreed to no male guests and she has broken that agreement the pitched a pathetic tantrum when called on it. She is completely in the wrong.

E is acting like a silly little brat, and from my own university experience I suggest you stick it out and move on, whilst she inevitably gets more people’s backs up and ends up with far fewer friends. If she acts this way with you, she will do so with others.

Also agreed with Ehell Dame that you should never have broken the agreement the first time, because now she think she can break it whenever she likes. Still, live and learn. Having fallen out massively with a flatmate once, I’d recommend politely ignoring her until you can move. Don’t explain, definitely don’t apologise, don’t contact her and ignore any hassle she gives you (but keep a record of it). Move out, move on, and next time be firm from the off.

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LilyG April 13, 2011 at 7:12 am

TALK TO YOUR RA! Immediately. This is what they are there for-your roommate can and will make your life hell if she chooses unless you get the admin involved at once. Think of how difficult exams will be if this continues.
You must get involved right away or she may turn the tables on you.

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Giles April 13, 2011 at 8:13 am

My first college roommate was my polar opposite in almost every way except for two things, level of neatness and sleep schedule. We got along great, because right away we actually wrote a contract outlining what we could and couldn’t do, how to resolve disputes, and how to politely negotiate for things. We both signed and kept a copy, giving another to a third party. If one of us got angry over something, all we had to do was whip out the contract and refer to it. That, along with mostly only talking about the weather or television, got us through two pretty peaceful years.

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Ripple April 13, 2011 at 8:13 am

If you’re uncomfortable, you might check with your Resident Assistant to see if there are any other spaces available in your building. Talk with the roommate(s), explain why you want to move (you don’t want to get into the same situation), see if you seem compatible, and move. Or, if none of the spaces appeal to you particularly, maybe your current roommate would be willing to switch.

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Lily April 13, 2011 at 8:28 am

Am I the only one that is rubbed the wrong way by this post but can’t really figure out why? Normally I would be sympathetic to the OP in these roommate situations, but I’m reading an undercurrent of judgment and inflexibility in this one. OP is “terrified” to speak to her roommate because of one fight? OP might feel disrespected, but respect goes both ways. OP might feel it’s “morally wrong” to sleep with one’s boyfriend, and the roommate’s error was agreeing to OPs stringent rules when they first started living together. It’s time for a new roommate agreement because things have changed.

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Hemi Halliwell April 13, 2011 at 8:42 am

OP- I feel for you. Living in a hostile enviroment is very draining. But I do agree with admin- once you let the bf stay, even with “extenuating circumstances”, your roommate figured he could stay everytime she wanted him to.

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DGS April 13, 2011 at 9:05 am

First and foremost, I agree with Admin. If you are going to set boundaries, they have to be firm boundaries, so that the roommate doesn’t get the idea that the boundaries can be shifted at any time, depending on your mood, class schedule, the weather, etc. And yes, the roommate is throwing an adult-sized temper tantrum and behaving like a brat.

That being said, I do find the self-righteous, morally superior, judgmental tone of this email off-putting. While you may morally object to the boy and the sleeping arrangement, it might serve you better in future relationships with others who do not feel the same way to present yourself confidently yet humbly. The roommate may be feeling particularly prickly because she may perceive the I’m-better-than-you-because-I-don’t-have-premarital-sex vibe emanating from your direction. Nobody likes to be sent the message that someone else has judged them and found them wanting.

If you are both residents in a campus dormitory, consider turning to your Resident Assistant (rather than Facebook; please, stop fighting via Facebook), to solve your conflict. Chances are, the RA will side with you in regards to not having a boy spend the night and finding a suitable sleeping arrangement for him as a guest on the male floor but will also help you set a firm contract as to how to proceed in your future interactions with your roommate. The RA may also help you resolve your argument with your roommate, so that you two can tolerate living with one another for the remainder of the term. If circumstances get truly dire, the RA may be able to take your case to the Residence Director and the campus housing department to move one of you to a different room.

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aje April 13, 2011 at 9:14 am

Akward to be sure! I would say that admin is right, even for the sake of friendship, it should never have happened in the first place. But you’re roommate is being selfish. Strange and akward as it may be, don’t let her drive you out of your house. Go about your daily routine, resting in the safe knowledge and satisfaction that you are right and that you are handling this like an adult. And if she says anything snarky, you can simply say, “We said when we moved in together that there would be no boys allowed overnight. That was the time to voice disagreements. Not now.”

Don’t worry too much about your friendship. If this is who she really was, it’s not much of a loss.

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Michelle P April 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

Love admin’s advice, always right on! I would advise the OP to speak with a dean or dorm supervisor; there are probably rules against this, or at least someone could step in. Good luck, OP. I wouldn’t want to be in that situation either.

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Ele April 13, 2011 at 9:27 am

This is a perfect time to talk to your resident advisor (RA). You had a roommate contract for a reason. The RA can help mediate this conflict, but will certainly back you on sticking to the original contract.

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lnelson1218 April 13, 2011 at 9:36 am

Glad that I never had to share a room during college.

E is behaving in an unreasonable way. We have/can make allowance for extraordinary circumstances. But it gets annoying when someone presumes that the exception can become the rule.

I remember when I was looking for a roommate to share an apartment. I didn’t care if that person brought someone home, especially if that person was in a relationship. But what I didn’t want and said so when meeting potentials: I didn’t want to have a “3rd” roommate” meaning that sometimes that person should go home.

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LBC April 13, 2011 at 9:36 am

LW definitely needs to learn to stand up for herself consistently so her roommate gets the message. Waffling is a lot less rude that sexiling, but it’s still rude.

My roommates and I always had strict “no guests-in-the-amorous-sense” rules. Friends overnight, sure, as long as they were reasonably well-behaved, not dangerously intoxicated, and didn’t mind sleeping on sofa cushions on the floor, but anyone wanting a roll in the hay had to find other accommodations.

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Zhoen April 13, 2011 at 9:37 am

Dear OP, one of those really hard, really expensive, and ultimately valuable lessons of early adulthood. Tough it out, examine your own behaviour minutely, and promise yourself to never let this happen to you again. And admin’s description of how to grow past this is pitch perfect.

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Kaybaby April 13, 2011 at 9:39 am

I agree, your roommate has been led to believe it’s all right to take advantage of you and now that she can’t do that she’s upset and unreasonable. Your situation was like a trip down memory lane for me, since it has numerous similarities to a couple of living situations I had during college. While I agree with not feeling guilty for having a polite spine, since this is your roommate, it’s a little hard to be “blissfully carefree as to the drama unfolding around” you. You’re in college and there are third parties that can get involved to help patch things up.

My (seasoned) advice is this: Don’t try to weather the storm, it will only give both parties more time to get more upset and more worked up. At my school we had peer counselors, older students who lived in our dorms and were there to look after the younger students and give advice when necessary. If you have something like this, try to set up a one-on-one meeting to get some insight and possibly set up a meeting with the three of you with the counselor acting as a mediator. Other avenues would be a school counseling services or the student life/residence hall department, departments which are set up to, among other things, help with situations just like yours. My advice is to speak with someone as soon as possible, trying to nip this in the bud and keeping it from stewing as long as possibly is the safest bet. Don’t confront the roommate until you’ve gotten advice from a third party. Good luck!

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anonymous April 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

While the roommate’s reaction was way out of line and beyond rude to the point of being manipulative and hostile…

…clearly these two should have never been roommates to begin with. The original poster said that overnight male guests are “morally wrong”, and her former friend clearly never really agreed with that sentiment. I don’t condone the former friend’s reaction AT ALL, but on the moral issue I’d be with the former friend – I wouldn’t live with someone who had a ‘no overnight male guests’ rule because I don’t agree that it is morally wrong.

The argument that ‘this particular boyfriend is a creep’ is a different one that becomes so murky that I’m not going to get into it here.

There’s also the fact that the roommate agreed to the rule in the beginning – I’d say she should have never agreed to it if she didn’t really agree with it in the first place, and asked for more discussion of middle-ground compromises (if there are any).

I’ve had a friendship implode over a roommate situation – a friendship that would have remained fine if we’d never tried to live together, or called it quits when it was clear our lifestyles would never be able to coexist under one roof (we later made up). These two might have still been friends if they’d called it for what it was in the beginning – a roommate dealbreaker based on differing moral standards.

There is the possibility that as college residents they live in a dorm and can’t easily change rooms, though. Then it gets hard…but the problem started when a rule was set that one party never really agreed on, and it makes me wonder: did that roommate just break the rule because it was convenient, or did the original poster lobby for it and insist on it so strongly that the roommate felt pushed into agreeing in the first place?

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Wink-n-Smile April 13, 2011 at 10:06 am

It’s probably better to find out now, rather than when you are really counting on her, as a friend. For example, since you were so close, in a few years you might have wanted her as a bridesmaid. It would be really painful if she chose then to show her true colors.

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Enna April 13, 2011 at 10:16 am

OP: what were the “extenuating curcumstances” ? I think if they were really “extenuating” like E’s BF’s accomdation buringing down then I disagree with Admin however if they weren’t extenuating curcumstances then Admin would be right. E has over-reacted – if she wants a favour from you then she shouldn’t swear at you or delate/block you off fb as that is childish and she’s not going to convince you to change your mind. She’s not going to resolve the issue if she blocks you on fb – may I ask why are you communicating by fb instead of talking to each other in person if you live together?

Now I accept you don’t like him and you morally disagree with him staying over like you I like my privacy. Do you share a room with E? If you do then I can see why you wouldn’t want him around. You both had made arranagements for him to sleep elsewhere so if she wanted to be with her firend clubbing and her bf she had that etc.

I had a bf with Aspergers once and my housemates said he was rude to me. I politely said that he comes across a bit rought around the edges he gets shy around other people and it is the nature of his condition to be a bit tetchy. How is E’s bf creepy? Maybe if she had sat down with you and discussed it with you she could do her bit to resolve the issue so you don’t feel so uncomfortable when he does come around.

If you say “I don’t care for him” and “he’s creepy” it’s an idea to say how and why you feel like this so she knows that you aren’t just being difficult. Now I would feel uncomfortable with a housemate’s boyfirend coming roud and staying the night if he was a serial cheater. Something along the lines of “I am a private individual and I want to respect your priavcy by not hearing you and your bf at night. He has cheated and that makes me feel uncomfortable because I don’t want him trying it on with me.”

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Enna April 13, 2011 at 10:18 am

I would also say she didn’t try to make you miserable so she could get what she wanted: she was being horrible and selfish and making you miserable when she DIDN’T get what she wanted.

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RMMuir April 13, 2011 at 10:18 am

I’m so sorry. I’m in a similar-ish situation: I’ve had to move out of my flat (and back home to another city) 5 months before the contract runs out and a month and half before my dissertation hand in and finals because of the behaviour of a flatmate. It’s miserable. I really feel for you. Try to rise above her, don’t engage. She’s the one with a problem and by not responding, that will be abundantly clear to everyone, especially if she goes around throwing hissy fits!

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Hal April 13, 2011 at 11:07 am

When we go off to college we make much of the fact that we are finally able to do as we please with no parental restrictions. Of course, we are still sometimes dependent for tuition and necessities. Still, we can make sex decisions for ourselves. So, the roommate should get a room off campus at the local motel! That is the way for adults to behave. Real men and women have consideration for their partners. They do not place anyone in a situation in which he or she might be criticized or embarrassed. The OP is an adult. Her roommate is not.

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Ashley April 13, 2011 at 11:14 am

I am with Admin on this one, it sounds like the rules of the situation shifted a few times, and that is why she freaked out. She figured you let her slide those few times, so you should let her slide this time. I can understand being in situations like that though, my fiance has a friend and it always seems like when they get together, they both turn into completely different much louder more annoying people. This friend’s wife agrees, she said to me one day “Idk what it is about when those two hang out together, but they turn into completely different people”. So as much as we enjoy each others company (his wife and I) we do have to limit contact with them because we are afraid of them getting out of hand.

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Dawn April 13, 2011 at 11:45 am

I wonder what kind of dorm set-up they are living in. When I lived in the dorms we had two girls to a room and a communal bathroom for each block of eight rooms. If the OP is in a similar setup, I could see her being more uncomfortable as the guest would be staying in the same room as her. I would have been uncomfortable with a man I did not know very well spending the night right next to me. Also, the rooms in my dorm were tiny, about five feet separating the two beds so a third person in that space could be a major hassle.

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Li April 13, 2011 at 11:58 am

@ Lily

I’m with you on this, this post rubbed me the wrong way as well. While E was in the wrong with her tantrum, the OP comes across as both passive aggressive and judgmental. The words “morally wrong” appear a little too much for my liking. E may be reacting this way because she feels like the OP is looking down at her. This doesn’t excuse E’s behavior in the slightest, but it can provide a motive for why E was continually pushing the boundaries.

Regardless of anyone’s morals, if the agreement was that boys not sleep over than that was the agreement. When I was in college, none of my roomies (and I had 3) felt it was “morally wrong” to play scrabble as it were, but we had an understanding that having a boyfriend stay the night was a little uncomfortable since the apartment was so small. It was out of respect for each others privacy and comfort.

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--Lia April 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm

In addition to the excellent comments made by our admin and others, I’d like to add an observation. You’re young. You’re at that time when you’re learning a lot, changing your mind, seeing things in a broader way– and so is your housemate! You made an agreement at the beginning of the year. At that time, your housemate didn’t imagine that she’d ever want a man to sleep over. At that time, you didn’t think you’d ever feel comfortable with a man sleeping over even with extenuating circumstances. Time went by, and you both changed your minds. That’s good and appropriate given your age. Now you need to sit down and renegotiate a new agreement based on the values and considerations of the people you’ve become. Do this with the help of a facilitator in the form of someone on campus who can help.

Yes, her tantrum was inappropriate. If that’s due to pressures she’s under due to not getting along with the guy, try to be understanding, not smug. Again, you’re at that age when you’re learning about relationships. We’re not born knowing everything. When having that talk, try to concentrate on the previous good things in your relationship, not the last argument. Remember that while you’re thinking she’s now showing her true colors, she’s thinking the same about you.

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Chocobo April 13, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Lesson learned: next time, make sure your roommate is someone who shares your values. You won’t have to battle with boundary-crossing if it’s someone who also feels uncomfortable with overnight guests. Even if there were special (snowstorm? unable to drive?) for exceptions, a roommate who feels the same way will actually see the exception as extenuating circumstances — not a crack in the dam.

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Louise April 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I think the roommate was wrong to throw a tanty and curse at the OP, and she is behaving like an immature brat now. For that, OP, you have my sympathy. I encourage you to talk to your resident adviser; s/he is trained to advise in these sorts of conflicts.

Having said that, I do sympathize a little with the roommate. OP says the roommate has breached the original contract, but I disagree. OP has agreed in the past to let the boyfriend stay “a few times”; to me, that means the contract has changed. Both parties agree that overnight male guests are welcome under certain circumstances. In the roommate’s position, I’d be irritated to hear the OP suddenly decide she wasn’t comfortable with my boyfriend sleeping over even though she’s apparently been OK with it “a few times” in the past. OP should have either not allowed the boyfriend to stay the first time; or made clear that the first time was the last time and stuck by that. But to give permission multiple times and then suddenly deny it isn’t fair to the roommate who is operating under the reasonable assumption that her boyfriend is now allowed to stay over. And it’s compounded by the fact that it’s the roommate’s room, too; if she’s unwilling to return to the old rule of no overnight guests, the OP doesn’t get to automatically override that. That’s why it was important to either stick to the old rule or immediately figure out some new ones.

I think the OP came across as very self-pitying in this post — “I didn’t want to be taken advantage of yet again,” “She wanted me to be miserable so she could get what she wanted” — but she played a huge role in her own discomfort. OP gave permission reluctantly and I dare say felt she was making a sacrifice in the name of friendship, but she helped set the new standard for the room by agreeing to let the boyfriend sleep over in the first place. I have a hard time seeing her as a true victim here.

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Catherine April 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm

To all who are saying that these two shouldn’t have been roommates in the first place because of their disagreement on moral issues: many times, as in my own college dorm situation, you don’t have a choice about who your roommate is (even beyond your first year), and switching roommates is a near impossibility unless someone is being violent. Roommates with moral differences are a normal occurrence, and I believe that in a situation where two near-strangers must pay for and share a very small living space, mutual respect for that space trumps everything else. If one roommate doesn’t want male guests and the other agrees to it, however grudgingly, I don’t think that’s unreasonable at all. Dorm rooms are tiny and uncomfortable, and it’s way easier for one roommate to just go spend the night with her boyfriend somewhere else than it is for the other to lay awake all night while people have sex across the room. If they were sharing an apartment with separate bedrooms, this would be less of an issue. But moral qualms or not, a dorm roommate having a boyfriend stay the night is usually very unpleasant for the other roommate, who also pays good money to live in that tiny space. And from my personal experience, “He’s only staying one night because he has nowhere else to go” quickly evolved into me walking back to my dorm in the middle of the day and finding the two of them having sex in our shower. Next time, OP, hold your ground. You deserve to feel comfortable in your own living space.

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Claire April 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm

well this is a difficult one, to resolve at least, but is indeed as others have said a valuable life lesson.

The Op does come caross as judgemental and rigid in the email, it is not for her to judge someone’s morality and I sense an undercurrent of this. It is acceptable to have an overnight (male or female, dorm rules permitting) guest “bunk down” on the floor in such situations but not to share a bed in a sexual relationship, that is a private and intimate matter that shouldn’t be performed in front of a non-consenting audience.

Facebook is not your friend in resolving such issues. Talking in an adult fashion with an independent third party to mediate is more likely to assist.

The tantrum was out of order and definitely an etiquette breach to turn up plus guestwithout consent but I can understand the roommate feeling confused if the boundaries keep changing.

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Xtina April 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I hate this kind of situation. I’ve also been told that the fastest way to make an enemy out of a friend is to room with them (thus, the saying means don’t be roommates with your BFs, pick people you don’t know or know well so you’re starting fresh with expectations).

OP, you’ve just learned the hard way that breaking an agreement (allowing the BF to stay overnight) made it OK for future visits and negated the earlier “no guys overnight” rule. Unless the guy couldn’t leave due to bad weather or some other true emergency, he should never be allowed to spend the night, because that set the precedent.

E has behaved horribly; no matter what the OP may have agreed to before, she certainly did not deserve to be treated and spoken to the way E did. A sensible discussion could have been had to avoid this childish behavior, and E should have held up her end of the bargain when OP plainly said “no” to the request. I would not want to do anything to make a roommate uncomfortable; after all, I and the roommate are paying to live there, not their/our guests.

I think they should probably both part ways since it is clear that they have very differing opinions on a core tenet or roommate-dom, overnight guests.

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Clair Seulement April 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm

@Lily–I, for one, completely agree with you. I wasn’t going to say anything because since they had an agreement, no matter how rigid, the etiquette breach was still on the part of E.

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RP April 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I have to agree with both the Admin, LilyG, and Enna.

You need to at least let the RA know there’s an issue because most people are likely to believe the person whose side they hear first. If your roommate talks to the RA first she’s going to paint you as the unreasonable one. It doesn’t have to be a huge blow up, just let her know what’s going on and you may need intervention on their part later.

Enna’s advice of explaining to your friend why having guys over bothers you, and why this guy bothers you in particular, is worth trying out. You may be able to fix the situation is she can see your side of it. But it’s important to explain why you’d be bothered if it were any guy, otherwise she’ll be asking about letting a different guy stay when she gets a new boyfriend. Also, you need to leave morals out of the explanation. It’s too problematic: she’ll feel like she’s being attacked and it’s too easy to argue against it. (An example counter argument would be if you’d be OK with the room having to stay kosher or vegan if you had a Jewish or vegetarian roommate.)

However, if she insists on ignoring you then let her. As far as revenge schemes go, the silent treatment is the most tolerable. She’ s not messing with your stuff or trying to sneak guys in anyway so toughing it out and changing roommates after the year ends may be the only thing you can do.

I also like Giles’ solution of actually putting the rules in writing. It’s probably too late for this situation but if you end up moving or getting different roomies.

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Angela April 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I teach at a small college and my first thought was “Exactly how much alcohol was involved?” But alcohol can’t be the main culprit if the roommate persisted in being difficult afterward. The boyfriend may have been very manipulative and worked over E so as to convince her that the OP was being selfish. That in no way excuses E’s behavior but could possibly explain why she reacted so strongly.
This demonstrates something we see all the time: A person 18-22 can be at the maturity level of someone 30 or 35….or they can be at the level of someone 4-5.

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phoenix April 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Oh, does this kind of thing bring back memories.

In general, if you and a roomie disagree about relations with boys, it can lead to some tense experiences. That’s why it is a good idea to keep hard and fast rules. Myself, I never cared what a roomie did, I just didn’t want it in the room with me.

Your roomie was in the wrong, but will be mad about it because she wanted to bend the rules again and didn’t get her way. Stay cool, and play it off as not wanting a third roomie, not as a moral judgment, and you’ll be fine.

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Mike Johnson April 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm

The OP doesn’t say what the extenuating circumstances were (maybe a snow storm that made driving dangerous, etc) but I guess I do take exception with the number of comments about how the OP was somehow being too morally judgemental. It sounds like she put that out there from the start and just because she moves in with someone doesn’t mean she should change her views to match her roommates. If the extenuating circumstances were that her roommate really wanted to get it on that night than sure I can see that the roommate would think that would go on but think about this. What if the previous times that this happened led to a really uncomfortable situation for the OP. Who wants to be in the bathroom taking a shower and the boyfriend walked in or came out of the bedroom in his boxers or less. We do all grow when we are young but some of that is experiencing something that really makes us uncomfortable and we don’t want to experience it again.

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Cat April 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I was at a “party college” back in the late sixties, early seventies and I shared a dorm room with another woman. I don’t care with whom you sleep, but sex, to me, is not a spectator sport. I don’t want you two feet from me making whoopee when I am trying to sleep or study.

I’d find someone who shares my feelings and who has a room mate who shares her roommate’ desires and make the switch. See, everyone is happy. She can have her boyfriend and you can live as you see fit.

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karmabottle April 14, 2011 at 5:17 am

Lia and Catherine make two strong points:
One wrote that by the OP letting the agreement slide, the verbal contract was pretty much voided a while back. Time for a renegotiation. Perhaps that guests are welcome when the other roomie is out of town only?

The other wrote that the verbal agreement was made by two people early on, yet circumstances changed for one but not the other. Imagine the shoe on the other foot when the OP falls for someone and he or she stays all night (foreseen or unforeseen). Although I don’t think having overnight guests in a tiny dorm is a good idea, the OP might change her tune if she ever meets someone she admires.

Concerning roomie choices, when I was at state college years ago, roomies were assigned based on no pattern I could determine. I ended up with two different lunatics over the course of two years—one with constant boyfriend drama, and the other a compulsive liar and thief. We didn’t “share values” either, but both of us had to make the most of it.

Is the OP on a moral highground? Somewhat, but right now that is how she feels, and you can’t really help how you feel, right? As another poster wrote, they are young and just now discovering relationships in the world out from parents’ homes and influence. Each justifiably feels and wants what she feels and wants.

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Caros April 14, 2011 at 6:39 am

Have to admit I too am quite puzzled at the issues with the OP having her own moral compass. I didn’t realise that it was such a faux pas to have one nowadays….

The OP is being made to feel uncomfortable in her own home – not on….

The OP also states that the agreement was set aside under a small number of extenuating circumstances. Given that she does have a moral compass, I think it would be fair to say that she also has some level of sensibility – the reasons for the boyfriend being allowed to stay over can’t have been minor. I’m also guessing that, given the comments the OP made regarding other dorms, in these particular cases there were no other beds available for the boyfriend to use in the dorm/building (different from the latest request time when it would appear that there were).
For those who think she should have a little more spine regarding the argument… if the ‘freaking out’ is someone screaming at you like a deranged harpy (& not saying that this was the case), the natural response for most people would be to back off (possibly as far away as possible).
If the roommate is so desperate to spend intimate time with her boyfriend, she should find somewhere where they can get on with whatever in peace & without the risk of being interrupted.

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etimodnar April 14, 2011 at 6:57 am

Wow, I’m surprised at how many people feel uncomfortable that someone feels something is morally wrong. Particularly Li (#25). The OP only mentioned said she felt it morally wrong ONCE. How is once too many times for you? It’s OK for someone to feel that something is morally wrong when you don’t agree. But that’s no reason for you to then throw words at the OP about being judgemental and passive aggressive.

It seems like although she was uncomfortable about her room mate (in the same room as her) was sleeping with her boyfriend (presumably in the same room), she tolerated it for the sake of friendship. There wasn’t any comment about how morally inferior her room mate might have been she control and insulted the OP.

She was uncomfortable, she didn’t think it was the right thing to do, but she tolerated it. This makes her judgemental and passive aggressive!? You are uncomfortable at her thinking it’s morally wrong and YOU are JUDGING her as judgemental and passive aggressive. Doesn’t that make YOU judgemental?

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Typo Tat April 14, 2011 at 7:18 am

OP’s “moral high ground” is very annoying to me, but I still have sympathy for her, as it seems that in the past she actually was kicked out of her own room on several occasions for the roomie’s benefit. Getting kicked out of your own room is not alright in my book!

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Kitty Lizard April 14, 2011 at 8:53 am

The problem here is that you don’t really know someone until you live with them. My older sister and her best friend from high school decided to room together in college. I had to share a room with my older sister for years (even though we had a 3 bedroom house) and it was like living in hell. I, like her best friend, was neat, clean, orderly, quiet, and studious. My older sister was loud, messy and sloppy. She stayed up till all hours. She also had some truly disgusting personal habits. Her future roomy didn’t know all this, because my mother didn’t permit sleepovers – even in high school. It was a disaster of truly Biblical proportions. Her BFF put up with it for 6 weeks. My sister came home from class one day and found all of her possessions piled up outside the dorm room door with her new room assignment on top on a piece of cardboard. They never spoke to each other again.

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Anonymous April 14, 2011 at 10:46 am

@RP: The R.A. won’t necessarily side with whoever they hear from first. A good, objective R.A. will wait to hear both sides of the story, and help the roommates come up with a solution that makes both parties happy. I know this, because I lived in residence the majority of my time at university, I did the student leader thing myself for a time, and one of the things they taught us during all the preliminary talks and whatnot (in between making up hundreds of hand-painted bedroom door signs and “welcome to rez” goodie bags), is that nobody wins the blame game. But, yeah, I agree that amorous guests (of either gender) are NOT okay in a standard shared residence room (unlike in an apartment or a house, where everyone has their own room, and privacy is easier to come by). An occasional emergency is fine, but this doesn’t sound like one–E wanted to see her boyfriend and go clubbing with a female friend from the residence hall, on the same night, right? Well, she could have done both activities, on separate nights, and she wouldn’t have gotten exactly what she wanted all at once, but it would have kept the peace on the homefront. Now, for her one night of fun, she’s doomed herself to several weeks of misery. It seems like a pretty stupid thing to do, if you ask me. As for the OP, she could have made her expectations clearer, and stuck to them a bit better, but I also understand that peer pressure can be a dangerous thing. Just as a general rule, though, in a cramped living situation like the one the OP describes, it’s best to just say that mundane desires (such as studying and sleeping) take precedence over things like entertaining amorous guests, or even more G-rated (but still annoying) pastimes, such as listening to loud music without headphones.

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Anonymous April 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

P.S., Kitty Lizard–if you don’t mind me asking, why did you put up with sharing a room with your loud, messy sister for so long, if there was an extra bedroom in your house? The way I see it…one room for your parents, one for you, and one for your sister, with the caveat that you move in together temporarily when overnight guests come to visit (assuming there isn’t a guest room/den/pull-out couch somewhere in the house). Just from the tone of your post, it sounds like you and your sister didn’t get along too well, and maybe you would have if you’d had your own rooms.

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Maitri April 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

OP, grats on getting part of a spine, now please get the rest of it all straightened up – your posture will be great! :) You don’t owe that overgrown baby a thing. Your room is YOUR room, not her boyfriend’s. If she wants the freedom to have any guest she wants, she can move off campus and get her own apartment. Oh wait, she probably can’t afford her own apartment. Well, we all have to compromise what we want in life, Roomie. Suck it up.

Hold your head high and don’t worry about her at all. She’s a bully and trying to intimidate you. Don’t let her.

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Maitri April 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Also, one of the points in sharing living accomodations as a college student is that it is very often the person’s first experience with having to get along with another adult. It’s an important step in gaining maturity and prepares you for marriage down the road, should you be so inclined. If you’re not so inclined, it is still useful in preparing you for dealing with difficult coworkers, friends, relatives, etc.

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Jillybean April 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm

@ anonymous – my guess would be because Kitty Lizard didn’t own the house, her parents did, so they got tot say what the rooms were used for. LOL

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Melly April 14, 2011 at 7:14 pm

There are a lot of reasons for having a ‘roommate agreement’ like on the Big Bang Theory. Probably not as picky as Sheldon is but next time write it out! And stick to it.

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Anonymous April 14, 2011 at 7:30 pm

@Jillybean–my question still stands……why would any parents think it was a good idea to put two siblings in a room together who are complete polar opposites and don’t get along, when there’s an extra bedroom available? I mean, I’d understand if the house only had two bedrooms, or if one (or both) of the parents worked at home, and the third bedroom was used as a home office or something, but those are special circumstances.

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Anderlie April 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm

I’m with Lily. OP isn’t being ‘taken advantage of’ if she’s okayed the BF to stay over before. The roomie’s behaviour wasn’t fantastic but I don’t know, I also felt a little bit aggravated by this post.

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