Relationships are great, aren’t they? You’ve finally found someone to curl up with on the couch watching movies on a Friday night. Who’ll happily make you bacon and eggs on a Sunday morning. Heck, you’re so comfortable that you’re happy to let them see you schlepping around the house wearing your daggy trackies.
Yep, being in love is great.
Unless you’re the unlucky flatmate of one half of the loved-up couple. Then it can get kinda. fucking. annoying.
Look, I totally get it. You want to spend time with your new boyfriend*. And his place isn’t nearly as nice as yours (I’ve seen some pretty nasty showers in my time).
And I’m sure your boyfriend is super nice to your flatmate. Offers her a glass from the bottle of wine he brought over. And always asks before changing the channel to the footy.
But when your apartment has become the love nest, all that loving can mean your flatmate starts to feel like the third wheel.
How do I know this? Well, I’ve been on both sides of the situation. So I wanted to offer up my little pearls of wisdom to make sure that everyone in the relationship keeps feeling the love.
1. Housemates Get Priority Over Guests in the Bathroom. Always.
In the morning (especially on a work day) everyone’s trying to balance that fine line between sleeping in as long as possible, and getting optimum time in the bathroom to look half decent before rushing out the door.
Adding an extra person into the morning bathroom waltz is always going to be tricky and a major cause of friction. If you each have your own bathroom, then this isn’t an issue and you can move on.
But if your house guest needs to use a bathroom that’s also used by housemates, then I’m sorry but they basically have zero rights. They either have to get up and out before the other housemates, or wait until everyone else has finished.
You and your boyfriend can however get around this by using the 2-for-1 clause. If you can both get ready in the bathroom in the same time that it would take one of you to get ready, then go for it. Yes, this may mean showering together (hey, you’ve already seen each other naked, right?).
2. Regular Seating Arrangements Must be Respected
This is especially true if you’ve brought your boyfriend into a long established apartment. Everyone will have their favourite spot to sit around watching television. Make sure you’re boyfriend knows which seats are out of bounds. So you may not get to snuggle together on the comfy couch if the left corner is your flatmates favourite spot. But the harmony that will be brought about by separating from each other for an hour or so will be so worth it.
The exception is of course when your flatmate has indicated she’ll be out for the evening. Then you are quite welcome to occupy her seat for the entirety of your Breaking Bad marathon.
3. Give the Housemate a Break
Even the most respectful partner can start to feel
as welcome as a weird rash on an tropical holiday annoying after a while. More so if you’re on the outside of the relationship and have no say in how the relationship progresses.
So no matter how much your flatmate says she’s fine with it, if your boyfriend is spending every waking minute (and the sleeping ones too) at your apartment, then she’s going to get pissed off.
Instigate a seven-three rule. That means that out of every seven days, your partner is only able to sleep over for three nights. The rest of the time can be spent at his place. Or why not give each other a little break and just hang out with your flattie like you did pre-relationship.
4. Have Him Contribute to Household Costs
Ah yes. The money issue. Sharing an apartment is often a decision based on expenses – namely, saving money. So when an extra person is seemingly enjoying the benefits of living in your share house, without contributing to the costs, resentment can build.
If your partner is spending a significant amount of time at your place, then he should be contributing at least something to the shared expenses. What that contribution is can be hard to determine, but might be putting money towards the utility bills (electricity, gas, internet) or paying a token amount of rent.
Even a small amount of money goes some way to acknowledging the fact that you boyfriend is somewhat of an inconvenience to your flatmate.
And if things are going really well, and you’ve been doing the sleepovers for a while, then perhaps it’s time to start talking about getting your own place together.
*Note: I use the term boyfriend because that is my experience, however this could apply to same-sex relationships as well. Just wanted to acknowledge that, y’all.
Have you ever had to deal with a housemate’s boyfriend staying over too much? What other things should I include to make sure everyone stays happy?
Image credit: Flickr/Library and Archives Canada