“My Roommate Won’t Let My Boyfriend Sleep Over”

The lease is ending soon in my gorgeous place. I don’t want to move, but my roommate is overbearing and doesn’t want me to have any guests over. When I moved in, we had a verbal agreement with the landlord as well that we can’t have overnight guests. The lease I signed though says I can’t a guest over for more than fourteen days. That’s the rule I follow.

I’m in my early 20s and I have a boyfriend around my age. My complaining roommate is in her 30s and religious and wants to impose this stupid rule. I understand that we have to share the space and his being there makes her uncomfortable, but it’s unfair to me — it’s my space too. He’s not out of control — she might see him walking down the hallway sometimes, but he’s not half naked or eating everyone’s food or bothering her with the bathroom situation. She doesn’t even share a bathroom with me. She has her own. She’s trying to control the whole space. What can I do? I don’t want to move out. — Night Watched

You had a verbal agreement — one even your landlord was part of — that you wouldn’t have overnight guests. Now you have a boyfriend you want to stay overnight with you, and your argument, I guess, is that a verbal agreement isn’t binding like a lease is and your lease says no overnight guests for more than fourteen days. But… you made a verbal agreement that you want to break.

I can’t speak to legality of the issue, but ethically and morally the onus is on you to move out and find a place/roommate that agrees to you having an overnight guest. You could ask your current roommate if she wants to move out and let you find a new roommate, but, if she declines, the responsibility is yours to make this right. You are the one breaking your verbal agreement, and she is justified in being angry with you, no matter how stupid you think the rule is that you initially agreed to.

If one person in a couple is going to move to the other’s town and live in a separate apartment for a while to get adjusted, should the couple split the moving costs associated with the move? I ask because it feels as though I’m the one shouldering all the risk by moving. — Moved to Write


It would be a show of good will and good faith for a couple to both contribute to the cost of a move that’s being made to bring both people physically closer together. The ratio of contribution is dependent on a number of variables, not least of which is how much each person can comfortably afford to contribute. This move is an investment in the relationship, and if each person isn’t willing to contribute to the investment — ideally, with some financial contribution — then consider that a red flag and do not move until this has been addressed in a way both parties feels comfortable with.

I started seeing my boyfriend three years ago and fell in love even though I had avoided going out for years after a bad divorce. Our passion grew and he presented me with a ring — not an engagement ring but still a ring — shortly after we started living together. Both sides of the family have questioned him about why we haven’t married yet since we live as husband and wife, and he even, from time to time, calls me his wife in certain settings. But his response is always the same: Why marry when we have what we want?

Not once have I heard him say he loves me even though I used to say it all the time. Now, after giving so much and not receiving as much back, all the passion I once had is slipping away. At this point, even if he did ask for marriage, I am not sure if that’s what I want. Thing keeps moving forward and he has bought a house that we now live in. I am afraid to invest any more funds into a house I am splitting all the costs on if it will never be ours. I found myself recently packing up Christmas items and segregating them as “his” and “mine.” All this is a huge weight and I’m wondering if I should open up my heart or just run. — Lost and walking on eggshells


I’m not sure why you moved in with someone who can’t tell you he loves you. But the question now is: Are you getting what you ​want? If not, specify exactly what it is you want and ask for it. And if he can’t give it to you, move on already, because it sounds like the guy is using you as a companion and to cover half his mortgage that you’re not even building equity on. Nope.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Juliecatharine says:

    LW 1 you can have all the overnight guests you want but not in this place and not with this roommate. Move out already or stay at your boyfriend’s place when you want a sleepover. Seriously this is what you agreed to–you aren’t a victim in this.

  2. “But his response is always the same: why marry when we have what we want?”

    Has he ever asked what YOU want? Because he is speaking as “we” but what you both have is not what you LW want.
    Tell him loud and clear what you want.

  3. RedRoverRedRover says:

    I’ve never understood this idea of not wanting to get married because it’s just a piece of paper, or it won’t change anything, or “we have what we want”. If it’s meaningless to you, and it will make the other person happy, then why not do it?

    It seems pretty clear that that’s just an excuse, and he wants everything that comes with a commitment, without actually having to make a commitment. And hell no, don’t contribute to his mortgage. If you’ve already sunk a good chunk of money into it, I would advise to look into common-law marriage in your state and see if you have a right to get it back. And even if there isn’t a common-law law to protect you, ask a lawyer if it’s considered a gift to him, or whether you can ask for it back if you split. Which I would recommend you do, if what you want is a committed relationship.

  4. Anonymousse says:

    L3: have you ever told him what you want? That you want more, that you want to be told you are loved, that you want marriage? Last I checked, (without any conflicting information)you TWO are both EQUAL partners in your relationship, so SPEAK UP FOR WHAT YOU WANT.
    Use you words like a grown up adult in a relationship. He bought a house for you both to live in. You wear a ring he gave you…he calls you his wife. In another year or so, depending on where you live and filing one piece of paper, you will be common law.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      It definitely varies state to state and country to country so it depends on where they live whether common law marriage is an option. Most US states no longer recognize common law marriage because everyone is assumed to have access to a courthouse and a legal marriage and so there is no need for a common law marriage.

      1. Anonymousse says:

        That is why I wrote “depending on where you live…”

  5. artsygirl says:

    LW1 – I agree with Wendy and the posters. While you might think it is fine to have overnight guests, you have to respect the rules you and your roommate laid down even though it is inconvenient.

    LW2 – Like paying for birth control, it is definitely reasonable to ask your partner to help shoulder some of the financial burden with the move. Have you spoken to him/her about it? Have you talked about finances and how to split bills from this point on? If you have not yet located a job in the new town, have you and your partner discussed how you will handle being out of work? It is really important to hammer out all the financial contingencies especially since it sounds like you are planning to co-habitate in the near future.

    LW3 – Your relationship sounds dead in the water. You have mentally checked out and I am not sure if you can get back into the groove since it sounds like he cannot provide the emotional support you want. You state that you are not sure you even want to get married to your BF. Do yourself a break, and call off the relationship. If is possible that the strong passion you had at the beginning of your relationship was a rebound after the trauma of your divorce and bad marriage.

  6. LW1: I have always thought that landlords who say no overnight guests are insane. I once, when looking for a cheap place in college, actually found an ad saying “no showers, buy a gym membership and go there”. What the actual??? Anyways, I find it odd, but you agreed to it. I was a bit unsure if you made this agreement because it was the landlords request or your roommates. If your roommates then you should respect her wishes or move, or ask if she would want to move. If it is the landlords (although in some states this is not legal unless you are actually sharing a home with said landlord and your lease does not mention it, so it is in fact legal for you to have an overnight guest but could cause issue with the landlord making it an uncomfortable living situation) then you clearly would have to leave either which way. Seems simple to me.

  7. dinoceros says:

    LW1: If you thought it was that ridiculous to not be allowed to have overnight guests, then why did you agree to it? Also, it’s her religion. Just because YOU find it illogical and think it’s dumb doesn’t really mean much in this situation. Move out and don’t agree to rules that you don’t want to follow.

    LW3: Like Wendy said, it’s a little odd to move in with someone who doesn’t love you (I like to assume if someone can’t say it, then they don’t). Sounds like he has no intention of long-term commitment and is just trying to pacify you with a ring and calling you a “wife” so you’ll just deal with it. But now, you’re not even into the relationship. You should move on. And I’m a little concerned that you describe how he’s not that into it and you’re not that into it, and you think that it might be best to get more invested…

  8. ele4phant says:

    I’m sorry LW1, but being uncomfortable in your own home is the worst. It’s not as though you held the original lease, moved her in, and after the ink on her sub-let dried she surprised you with some new rules.

    You all agreed to these terms when you moved in. If you thought they were stupid, you should have renegotiated it then and then, or not moved in.

    So your question, should you move out? Yes. Or always stay at your boyfriend’s when you want a sleeper over.

    Even if you were the original lease holder (although it sounds like she had it first? Or at least you two entered into it at the same time), she moved in with you under certain pretenses. It would be shitty to ask her to be the one to move on because you wanted to change the rules you all agreed to at first.

  9. LW1: Have you tried broaching this topic with your roommate at all? You could bring it up like “Hey, I noticed that our lease is ending soon, I’d really like to renew it but now that I’m in a serious relationship, I’d like to be able to have him sleep over every so often. Is there any way we could compromise on this issue?” and see what she says. Maybe she’d be okay with it if it was less than twice a month. Or maybe only when she’s out of town. She’s well within her rights to say no, but actually asking her and trying to talk through it might give you a better idea of what to do when the lease ends.

    LW3: Dump him. You sound miserable.

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