Let’s talk about roommates. Most of us have them at some point, whether it’s in a dorm, from an ad off of Craigslist, or a romantic partner. They can be an important—if not challenging—aspect of adulthood.
Right now, I’m lucky to be living with my favorite roommate of all time. And while my husband kindly gives me plenty of perks (including wonderful cuddles and a lifetime commitment), there are still a fair amount of obstacles; things like dishes and piled up laundry and messy habits still exist.
With any luck, I won’t be able to ruin this living situation. 😉
Serial Roommate Ruiner
Originally posted in the October 2015 edition of the CU Denver Advocate
About a week ago, my roommate was lying on our living room floor, wallowing in despair, wailing for ice cream. She had a rough day. And even though she asked me to go with her to get that delicious late-night treat, I chose not to go. I still feel terrible about it.
Roommates are complex and, if you’re lucky, precious. I would know—I’m on my fourth roommate in three years. They’ve come and they’ve gone, and I’ve even had a few disastrous blow-ups, which have taken me—and my very relaxed and go-with-the-flow lifestyle—by surprise.
I’ve spent a lot of time self-reflecting. I feel like I’m fairly realistic and objective about who I am, where my talents lie, and what faults I have to work on. When my roommates starting dropping like flies, I didn’t need any nudge to take a firm look at myself—although my brothers kindly gave me one anyway.
I’m a passive person, and have watched a couple relationships in my life dissipate before my very eyes, all because I tend to avoid confrontation at all costs. In 2014, my best friend-turned-roommate stopped talking to me as soon as she moved in. And I played the fool by letting her lock herself in her room every day, and never offering a knock. She moved out in June without a goodbye, without ever really saying hello.
As much as I might beat myself up over not doing everything right as a roommate, it’s important to understand that my housing situation hasn’t entirely been my fault. It also means that I’m not completely the problem, either. I’ll always regret not reaching out to my roomie more last year and barricading myself in the hallway until she talked. But maybe that year of space is exactly what she needed.
All I can do is move on, in an attempt to move forward as a better person and roommate. Right now, I’m lucky. My roommate is kind, compassionate, and a forever-friend that shares the same humor and moral compass and anxiety levels. I’m fortunate that she never lets me give into being passive and quiet, even when it’s comfortable. Alexis, next time the ice cream is on me.
Update: Alexis and I continued to live together for another year and a half after this editorial was written. Later, she was in my wedding. She is still such an important part of my life, and I’m thankful she put up with me all those years.