I am a 36-year-old guy who is sharing a two bedroom, two bath townhouse with a female roommate, Shelly, who is 43. She and I have been single pretty much the whole time, and we spend a lot of time together. We’ve gotten to be close friends, and we know each other very well. About six months after we moved in together, I started to get sexual feelings for her, and I knew I had a problem when her ex-husband stayed over one night when he was in town. I was jealous, and I began to not only lust for her, but love her, too.
I have not brought this up to her, mostly because I am almost positive, through comments she makes and her body language, that she has zero interest in me other than just being roommates. Lately, we hardly talk as she is starting to date a guy now. He is in his mid-forties, as is most of the guys she dates and is interested in.
I should not love her the way I do, but I can’t help it. I am going through anxiety issues with her being around, and it has made a quite uncomfortable living situation. However, she pays rent on time, is responsible, and is a pretty mellow person who doesn’t really have people over often (although if she hits it off with a man, that could change). She’s everything I’d ever want in a roommate — except I love her, and it’s tearing me apart inside. Sometimes I can hardly eat.
What do you think I should do? I am on the lease solely, and she isn’t. I am thinking since this is my fault I probably should just move, and leave the place to her and transfer the lease. All the furniture is hers, but the place is mine. She has never done anything wrong other than simply not be interested in me and not really be interested (as of late) to even being around me. But I do trust her and I can’t afford to live alone. I know that I should probably just be honest and tell her, but I am afraid of what it would do to my self-esteem because I am 99% sure she does not share the same feelings. — In Love with Roomie
If your feelings for your roommate have made your living situation uncomfortable — and if you’re feeling it, trust that she’s feeling it, too — and you’re so worked up over it you’ve lost your appetite, obviously you have to do something. Things are only going to get worse, and pretending everything is fine won’t work. So, you have a couple of choices: you can tell your roommate about your feelings and discuss with her the best way to proceed; you can kick her out with a made-up explanation or no explanation at all; or you can move out yourself — again with a made-up explanation or no explanation at all — and transfer the lease to her name.
My advice, as awkward and painful as it may be, it to go with the former suggestion: confess your feelings and discuss together the best way to proceed. If your living situation has gotten uncomfortable and your roommate is no longer hanging out with you like she used to, there’s a good chance she suspects something is up. Clearing the air may not help your ego — especially if the feelings are not returned — but releasing the secret will do wonders for your anxiety. I’d just be careful that when you do confess your feelings, you keep it vague and definitely avoid any sexual language, which would be really creepy and uncomfortable for your roommate. For example, don’t tell her you’ve been “lusting” after her. Telling her you’ve developed feelings for her will be enough. She can fill in the blanks. And let her know that while you don’t expect anything from her in return, your feelings have made it uncomfortable and awkward for you to continue living together.
From there, you’ll have to decide who will be moving out. And, yes, one of you will have to move. Even if your feelings are reciprocated, or she doesn’t immediately rebuff you, starting a relationship or even trying to casually date will be incredibly difficult when you two live together. And if your feelings aren’t shared, or you try dating and it doesn’t work out, things will only be that much more painful and awkward if you share an address. So, one of you has to move out. Who that someone is will be entirely up to you.
With your name on the lease, you have the final say. If it were me, I’d stay put — unless you have reason to believe a relationship could be possible, in which case you might want to be a gentleman about it and let her have the apartment (just be prepared that it may not work out and you’ll have lost the girl and your home). Just because you’ve developed feelings for your roommate shouldn’t mean you have to find a new place to live. And your roommate, being foolish enough to move into an apartment without signing a lease, has to realize that this is a consequence of that action. Living together was never going to be a forever thing anyway. At some point one or both of you was going to move on. You and your feelings are just making the decision for her — and perhaps a little sooner that she may have preferred. But you know what? She’s a big girl and she can deal with it. And I’m sure, she’d given the option of staying in an apartment where her roommate regularly fantasizes about banging her, or moving to a new place, she’d probably choose the latter anyway.
You’ll need to decide together what a fair time-frame is for her to find a new apartment and move out (I’d say 1-2 months), and if you really want to be kind, you could offer to help her move or (help) pay her moving expenses. And then you’ll need to find a new roommate for yourself. I’d recommend you put feelers out for a male roommate next time, or a lesbian. Or a very unattractive woman. Maybe someone with an extra limb or hair growing out of mole on her face — something like that.