Male Roommates: Do or Don’t?

Girls have mood swings, and they lie and make excuses when they want to break plans. You can’t talk to them about roommate issues without hurting their feelings or causing a fight, so you avoid it and continue being passive aggressive with something bothers you. Wouldn’t it be easier if you just lived with a guy? You could be straightforward, not worry about having to tread lightly around them and won’t have to worry that they will share your secrets with others. Yes and no. Living with a guy can be just as stressful or just as exciting as living with a girl-it all depends. Whether or not you want to take that risk is a personal decision you need to make for yourself, but here are the things I wish I had known before jumping into the situation with so many expectations: because even non-expectations are expectations.

Taking trips to the Canada border. Him giving me academic advice. Me doing his laundry. Sharing a car. Learning about new music and TV shows. Sharing a bed. Exploring different bars every weekend. Going to the beach all summer and casinos to celebrate absolutely nothing. Meeting his parents. Showering together. Reading his emails. Throwing things over the staircase. Complaining over our love interests. Taking walks at night. Jumping on the couch and dancing on tables. Saying, “I love you”.

All of the above happened the first time I moved in with a guy. The line quickly blurred between best friends having the most fantastic summer ever to a friendship crashing and burning hard. I could go into a detailed story about everything that took place and the whys and hows, but I don’t think I have to. What we perceived to be as a fun situation where we could live together and still be friends but have only one boundary-no sex- was actually a treacherous slope that broke my heart. He was involved with a girl that lived in the Middle East, and I was still trying to win over the guy that made me lose my breath every time I simply thought about him. I can’t say that I would take it all back, but I wish someone had told me that just because we didn’t have feelings for each other before moving under the same roof that it didn’t mean it couldn’t (or wouldn’t) happen. The feelings were there, but it was never going to work. He wanted a relationship with a girl he could never have, and I didn’t know what I wanted, but I clearly wasn’t going to get it. For him, I was the girl on the side that she was jealous of but nothing more. And to the guy I wanted, I was just a booty call in the middle of the night.

The reality of having a male roommate is that it can go perfectly or pitifully. You can set all the rules you want, but make sure that those rules include protecting your emotions, because any two people of the opposite sex who spend that much time together are bound to develop something for each other. The only way to make sure that you can keep the reigns held tight are to forbid yourself from crossing the lines of physical contact. And if you really want to, or it accidentally happens after a night of too much drinking, at least make sure both of you are on the same page about what it does or doesn’t mean.

For everything else, just make sure you aren’t playing mom or wife. He shouldn’t expect you to do his laundry, have dinner ready, or do all the cleaning around the place. If he’s paying half the rent and using up half the space, he should be responsible for half of the chores!

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