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Lessons Learned: Roommates and Significant Others

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Here are some tips and suggestions on how to live a happier existence with a roommate or significant other.

  1. Talk to each other. If your roommate does something that you have an issue with, address it immediately. Keeping the problem to yourself will only build resentment and may result in either passive, or outright aggressive responses. Agree to handle issues as they come up and your overall experience will be much better.
  2. A follow-up to open conversation is to avoid bringing up an issue when you are upset or angry. Remember, words spoken in anger cannot be taken back; the damage done is often irreversible. Take some time apart and come back to the conversation when you are both feeling calmer.
  3. Hold yourself to the same standards you have for others. If your roommate tends to leave dirty dishes in the sink and it is one of your pet peeves, do not point it out only to be caught doing the same. To ensure you are not holding your roommate to unreasonable standards, assess yourself objectively to make sure that you are “talking the talk and walking the walk.”
  4. If your roommate is exhibiting a lot of bad energy or dealing with high stress, ask how you can help. If you notice that they have been dealing with a difficult workplace, ask if there anything you can do to help get out of the rut. That way, you're framing it in a way that's like, "I want to help you" (and you do!), but it also allows you to help yourself.
  5. Make sure you allow time for yourself. Give yourself space. Everyone benefits from quiet “me time.” Set up time for everyone to enjoy some solitude. It's a matter of coping and finding ways to take care of yourself — since that is something you can control.

Finally, know that living with someone is a collaborative effort and that you can make an apartment into a home for both of you,