ROOMING with someone you don’t know is always a toss-up.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of college roommates turned enemies thanks to one’s messy habits or the other’s nonstop partying.
Who you choose as your roommate will make all the difference in how you feel on a day-to-day basis, since your home is supposed to be your safe haven.
Writing to USA Today's advice column, one woman said she was put in a very uncomfortable predicament when she discovered that her current boyfriend had previously slept with one of future roommates.
“I'm 21 and along with four of my friends, I signed a lease to rent a six-bedroom house in my college town,” she began.
The foursome put up a listing on Facebook in the hopes of finding some normal people to move in with them.
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One young woman reached out about the empty room, and after letting her tour the space, the group of friends decided they really liked her and wanted her to move in.
“She signed the lease yesterday and put down a deposit.
“Later that night, I told my boyfriend we had somebody sign and he asked who, so I showed him a picture of her. He immediately got quiet and said, 'Yeah, I know her.'”
That’s when things took a weird turn.
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“I asked him how, and he admitted they had a drunk one-night stand his freshman year, almost three years ago.”
The woman was shocked and couldn’t bear the thought of living in a room right next to another woman who had slept with her boyfriend.
“Even though it was only a one-night stand, I don't think I could walk around the house comfortably or look at my boyfriend and her the same way I would have.
“Not to mention, it would probably be uncomfortable for them too since my boyfriend would be over a lot.”
The woman said that her landlord was very understanding and would therefore happily terminate the other woman’s agreement as long as the girls found a new replacement.
The woman’s friends, however, weren’t thrilled with the idea and told her she’d be wrong to ask the woman to find somewhere new to live.
“I should mention that she and I look eerily similar. By this I mean, same height, build, hair and ethnicity.
“My friends were even remarking that we could almost pass as twins, which makes it even worse.”
Although she felt petty about wanting to ask the woman to make this change, she said she’d rather have a comfortable environment for herself than accommodate a stranger.
“And lots of housing is available in the area, so she would still have enough time to find another place.”
Replying to her request for advice, the columnist wrote:
“I’m going back and forth on your issue a bit as it's quite a predicament, and one of those 'What are the chances?' problems.”
She agreed with the woman saying that everyone should feel comfortable in their own home, but added that she didn’t think it would be appropriate to change everyone’s plans and force her to end her lease simply because of a past event.
“It can be challenging finding good roommates, and it could put you both at risk for even worse living situations (or not finding a replacement at all),” the columnist added.
Because the hook up occurred years ago and never led to anything, she questioned the woman’s logic.
“While the living situation isn’t ideal, if you’re opposed to it due to not trusting him and her in a common area together then I would work on building trust and security in your relationship.
“While it may not be appropriate to ask her to break her lease, I do think you should have a conversation about it all to clear the air.”
The advice columnist added that the new roommate is likely clueless as to what’s going on behind the scenes, so the woman shouldn’t confront her in any accusatory way.
“You can talk about how their shared past makes you uncomfortable and say you’d like to establish some healthy boundaries so you all can have a healthy living arrangement.”
She also added that because the boyfriend isn’t paying rent, the new roommate’s needs should take precent over his.
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“If it’s possible to do some room swaps so you don’t share a wall that may also help make things less weird for the two of you.
“While your roommate relationship is starting off a bit awkward, it could develop into a great friendship.”
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