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How to Deal With Your Roommate’s Sh*tty Partner

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

If you are reading this article for a reason, these conflicts are more common than you think in college and it sucks. If you are reading this article for fun, consider yourself lucky. A bunch (or few) college kids in their late teens to early twenties can get messy sometimes, then throw a problematic partner in the mix and see what happens (it is not usually a good outcome). We have been through this before and prepared some tips that will hopefully help you.

He’s got to live somewhere, too

He’s in your home ALL the time. At some point, he has to go home, right? It is important for your roommate to understand how her actions and her houseguests impact your life as someone who shares a space with her. It isn’t even necessary to tell her that you don’t like her boyfriend, they could be noisy, they could be PDA-ing in your shared space, and even that should prove to her that she’s being inconsiderate. Personally, though I probably speak for many young women, I don’t like unknown men in my space. It’s a bit different if they’re long-term and he’s integrated into the friend group, but even so, he could still be invading your space and privacy. Bringing up your right to privacy, peace, and quiet could help convince them to just go to his place for a bit. It won’t alleviate the headache, but it will make it less present. 

Talk to each other like you’re friends 

If you live together, the odds are you have to be a little bit friendly. Whether you are besties or randomly assigned roommates who have a working relationship forged by proximity, there should be some kind of amity there. Your roommate’s terrible boyfriend is a bit more challenging than just your friend’s terrible boyfriend, if you disagree with him you can just leave, you’re not stuck sharing a space. That being said, as difficult as it is, tell her you don’t like him the way you would tell any of your other friends. Tell her the reasons you don’t like him; you don’t think he respects her, you don’t think he respects you, he says some shady things both in front of her and when she’s not there, you may be able to see the red flags that she doesn’t because she’s so enamored with him. It may be messy, it may be stressful, and it may not end well. However, you have to understand your priorities and what reduces your stress. 

It’s easy to say that you would never let a man come in between you and your friends. However, men are literally, unequivocally, and unironically the worst. Your happiness in your living space is so much more important than your roommate’s boyfriend who uses 3-in-1 shampoo! 

Express how much they suck to her face

This one can get a little messy, too, but sometimes it is necessary, as the pretty red flags may look like a fun carnival to her. If it gets to that point, ask other roommates and friends and see if they have the same opinions and concerns as you. You can either tell her individually or use an intervention style with everyone else. Expressing your feelings instead of internalizing them may finally get her to realize how much her relationship is really impacting those not in it. This could lead to a healthy conversation about boundaries, preserving your friendship, or a screaming match leading to you guys not speaking to each other after moving out. Either way, doing this will allow everyone to acknowledge there is a problem instead of internalizing it and living with the disrupted ecosystem that is your living space.

You signed the lease, so you draw the line

Yes, she should be allowed to have guests, especially her partner, over. However, your security and peace take priority over the feelings of people who do not live there. It should not come down to banning people, but unfortunately, some people hold absolutely no respect for people in a space other than their significant other. This can be tricky, as you may not know when the final straw is. If you have an uneasy feeling every time you come into your home or have a bad feeling about your safety or the safety of your other roommates as well as your personal property, it is time to tell your roommate to go to their place from now on.

Directly list your concerns, and if they do not respect this or defy you, that is when you inform them that you will call the police, management company, etc. Try to do this sooner rather than later. A successful example of this was my roommate’s boyfriend threatening to kill my other roommate’s ferrets, so of course, he was gone after that. A not-so-successful example was when my other roommate’s girlfriend assaulted me, escalating the situation to a point where it should not have gotten to where early intervention would have helped.

Overall, we hope it never has to get to this point with any of your roommates. Unfortunately, some people were not raised right, so it might. If this article applies to you, try to be respectful but also do not take crap in your living space. We hope these tips helped!

Madison Reinhold is Marketing Director, Events Assistant and Staff Writer for Her Campus at MSU. She leads the Design Team which produces content for social media as well as merch and recruitment, in addition to planning team events and contributing articles to Her Campus. Madison is a senior studying journalism with a concentration in writing, reporting, and editing, with minors in women's and gender studies and history. She also interns for MSU's Center for Gender in Global Context, creating social media content, contributing to their newsletter, and editing their department magazine. She previously interned for local non-profit The Women's Center of Greater Lansing. Additionally, she works for MSU's College of Social Science Office of Student Success, providing supplemental instruction to students. In her precious free time, Madison is attempting to write her first novel, playing fetch with her dog, Hazel, or finding a new niche history book to obsess over.
Kate is a writer for Her Campus at Michigan State University. She is a neuroscience major on the pre-med track. She enjoys baking, reading, and volunteering in her free time. You can usually find her at her favorite study spots on campus with a coffee in her hand.