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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Roommates: What I’ve learned from living with my partner in my 20s 

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

Living with your significant other can be a thrilling adventure or a horrible dumpster fire. This is especially true in your 20s when you’re navigating the start of adulthood and everyone is juggling their own schedules, emotions and problems. When you share a living space with your significant other, you’re not just roommates; you’re seeing what it would look like to build a life together. When me and my girlfriend agreed to live together, we had a lot of conversations about respecting each other’s boundaries and not shying away from tough conversations. 

Sharing a space with your significant other in college is not for everyone, and it’s not for every couple. It doesn’t always work out, and there are many factors at play. Despite the worries of some people in our lives, we both decided that this was the right choice for us, and we have not regretted that decision. What began as a leap of faith has evolved into a harmonious partnership, filled with love, laughter and countless shared moments. There are a few key things to reflect on that made this decision a successful one. From navigating chores to managing finances, here are some valuable lessons I’ve learned from sharing an apartment with my significant other during my junior year of college.

At the heart of our success in living together lies open communication. From discussing household chores to navigating personal boundaries, sharing our thoughts and opinions has been key to maintaining harmony in our shared space. By fostering an environment where we feel safe expressing our needs and concerns, we’ve cultivated a relationship built on trust and mutual respect. In both roommate and romantic relationships, it is important to communicate honestly, be open to criticism and willing to listen. From dividing household responsibilities to calling out each other’s bad habits, simply just talking to each other and being willing to listen and understand is so beneficial. 

Being intentional about shared time and dates is something else that has made living together easy. We are both college juniors who are super booked with classes, work and clubs. There are always a thousand things to get done every week, and amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy for quality time to slip through the cracks. However, we’ve learned that intentionally setting aside time for each other and making sure that we do not take time together for granted makes every day more special. Whether it’s cooking dinner together on a Sunday evening or enjoying a morning coffee before class, these shared times create continuity and comfort. 

From grocery shopping to cooking meals together, sharing household responsibilities has not only streamlined our weekly routines and made both of our lives easier, but also fostered a sense of teamwork and collaboration. Working together to get something done makes it so much easier, faster and more fun. Tackling household chores together can transform mundane tasks into bonding experiences. One thing I struggled with when living alone was that the same basic tasks and chores needed to be done time and time again. Simple tasks like cleaning the bathroom or doing the dishes feel much less horribly redundant when you split them between two people. There are certain tasks that my girlfriend and I absolutely despise doing, and one of us has taken over full-time. For example, I hate folding socks, so whenever we do laundry, that task falls to my partner, and likewise, I always do the sweeping.  

Open communication and flexibility are crucial when splitting up chores; by discussing each other’s preferences and schedules, we’ve developed a system that feels fair for both of us.

Living together has prompted important conversations about finances and future planning. By openly discussing budgeting, expenses and financial goals, we’ve learned about each other’s financial habits and priorities. Sharing grocery shopping expenses and taking turns paying for fun activities also gives us a glimpse into what shared finances could look like in the future. 

Something that has been very special to me this year is being able to cherish shared moments. It’s very easy to let small things from our lives slip through the cracks, to forget funny moments or kind words. Perhaps the most precious gift of co-living is the abundance of shared moments and memories. From cozy nights in to exciting adventures out, every experience is made richer by the presence of each other. Whether it’s getting ready for a date night or unwinding after a long day, sharing our lives with one another has made even the simplest moments feel extraordinary. Sharing my day-to-day life with my partner has made me so much more appreciative of both the little and the big things, but especially the small moments I wouldn’t have ever paid a second thought to. 

One of the greatest joys of living with the one you love is the opportunity to lean on each other for support. Whether it’s helping out with household tasks or offering a listening ear during challenging times, having a built-in support system has been invaluable. Even in passing, writing a note on the whiteboard or making a second sandwich during your lunch break can go a long way. We have different daily schedules, so sometimes we’ll leave each other snacks or notes, knowing the other one will be back later. Being there for each other in little ways throughout the day shows that we’re thinking of each other and willing to go the extra mile to make each other’s day a little brighter.

Living with my girlfriend has been a journey filled with growth, laughter and love. We’ve created a home where we can thrive as individuals while cherishing our shared experiences. As we continue on this journey together, I’m grateful for the lessons learned and the countless memories yet to be made.

Hi! I'm the senior editor of HCSLU, and a junior studying English with minors in Psychology and Communications who loves traveling, poetry, good pasta, and making the world a better place. I was born in Ukraine and currently spend my free time looking for cool hiking spots, trying new foods around Saint Louis, and going thrifting with my friends.