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Stop one roommate turning into two with the boyfriend rule

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You have a great apartment and a roommate you like. Even if you aren’t best friends, you’re comfortable sharing your space with this person. Until, unexpectedly, you discover that one roommate has morphed into two.

It probably started out innocently with an occasional sleep over. Then, you find him in the kitchen making coffee five mornings a week – suddenly you realize your living situation has changed forever.

Some people don’t mind living with a couple, but more than 40 percent of SpareRoom users tell us they’d prefer NOT to apartment-share with a couple.

If you’re among that 40 percent, here are three ways to prevent this all-too-common situation:

  • Be clear about expectations from the beginning.
    When you’re looking for a new roommate is the best time to set the rules. As you interview a candidate, ask about partners and living arrangements. If the candidate has a sleepover partner, be clear about expectations. Discussing how many nights per week you are comfortable having overnight guests now can prevent problems later.

  • Implement “the boyfriend rule.”
    This is a great idea from one of our users. The rule says your roommate’s partner can stay at your apartment as many nights per week as your roommate sleeps over at theirs. The result: a maximum of three nights per week when they’re both at yours … and three nights that you have the place to yourself!

  • Talk about it.
    Don’t stew in silence if your roommate’s partner is overstaying his or her welcome, discuss it with your roommate. If the issue is financial, perhaps your roommate’s partner could contribute to the increased utility or food costs. If you’re bothered by lack of cleanliness, ask your roommate to solve the problem. If the issue is personal privacy, explain your concerns so your roommate can address them.

We all deserve to be comfortable in our living situation. Speak up as soon as you see a problem arise so you can put on the brakes before things escalate.

Have you seen one roommate morph into two? What did you do about it? Did it make the apartment-share better? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us your story.

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