Your Turn: “My Roommate’s Awful Boyfriend is Always Over!”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I’m at my wit’s end with my roommate and her boyfriend. On her own, she is a good roommate, but the problem is, she is NEVER on her own! He is always here — he sleeps over, hangs out for several hours, eats (food that he bought to keep in our fridge that I’m paying the power bill for), leaves for like an hour tops, comes back, eats lunch, hangs out, leaves for an hour, comes back, eats…you see the cycle. He also uses our shower and our laundry (that I’m paying for). He even takes up the bathroom when I am getting ready for work in the morning!!! (He is unemployed). He lives with his parents over summer break (he’s a 28-year-old senior in college), but they live 20 minutes away, so he usually stays here.

Now, this would be a less than ideal situation if I liked him but I cannot stand the guy, and the feeling is mutual. He has stopped greeting me when he walks into the house, and if I walk out of my room and they’re in the kitchen, I will talk to my roommate while the boyfriend and I will act like the other one isn’t even there. There are so many things wrong with him it’s absurd: he has a child, but won’t take the paternity test to confirm it’s his; he visits the baby momma regularly AND texts her nonstop, calling her “honey” and “sweetie”; he tells my roommate that she’s “fucking stupid” all the time and she just smiles awkwardly, like its a joke. She even told me that when she’s tried to talk to him about how the whole baby situation makes her uncomfortable, he tells her to “go fuck yourself.”

I am beyond disgusted in my roommate, so I told her I could no longer talk about her relationship with her and referred her to her therapist (whom she loves), but I cannot and will not live with such an abusive and disrespectful man in my house. He hates me because I’m headstrong, blunt and I don’t take crap from anyone — the exact opposite of my roommate. I know that because she pays half the rent, I can’t outright ban him from the house but I want to. My question is: what can I do?! And by that, I don’t mean, what can I do to get her to see the light and dump his ass, but rather, what can I do about not having him here? Can I charge him for 1/3 of the utilities? If I were to do that, should I give her advanced notice or should I just hand her the bill? Should I sit my roommate down and tell her that her boyfriend makes me feel uncomfortable and unsafe and I refuse to have him in the house? I want to let her know how I really feel about him (in polite terms) and I guess I want to know what kinds of concessions I can reasonably ask for. — Annoyed Roommate


  1. katiebird says:

    I know you may not want to here this, but I think your best option here is to move out. From the sounds of the guy, it’ll probably be a lot easier for you to just remove yourself from the situation than it will be to remove him.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. This is precisely why adult people who can afford it live ALONE. Having roommates is a drag. I would make plans to move out on your own ASAP.

  2. AnitaBath says:

    Realistically, forcing her boyfriend to pay 1/3 of the utilities means the roommate is going to be paying 2/3 of the utilities. Which is fine, but that might not be what you’re going for (and will likely just cause more tension between all 3 of you, and result in more verbal abuse towards the roommate from her boyfriend).

    I’m going to assume you’ve already talked to your roommate about this a lot, including how you don’t like the way her boyfriend treats her. It doesn’t seem to have done a whole lot of good. I know this might sound crazy, but why don’t you go to the boyfriend directly? Try your best not to attack him, but just calmly explain how you feel his behavior is unfair, and how you wish he would reconsider it. Tell him that you know the two of you have gotten off to a bad start and don’t always get along, but you’d at least like it if the two of you could be civil with each other, since it seems that he’s practically living with you.

    It may not work, and there’s a good chance that he’ll be a douchebag and completely ignore everything you say, but at least you tried. If that fails, I’d just try and get out of there ASAP.

    Honestly, situations like these are always tough because there really isn’t much you CAN do. You can’t change how the boyfriend is acting, and you can’t change how the roommate handles situations. You can try and put your foot down and say the boyfriend has to do X, Y, and Z, but it probably won’t work. I’d try and do my best to remove myself from the situation.

    And I only mention trying to go to the boyfriend directly because that’s the only thing I’ve really had luck with with one of my best friends and her douchey boyfriend. He was a jerk (and was ALWAYS around), and so I was kind of hostile towards him, and it just made things awkward because he knew I didn’t like him and we’d kind of just pretend the other wasn’t there. I eventually said something to the effect that I don’t agree with how he acts and how he treats me friend, but that I would try and be more civil to him and get along with him better. It’s made things LOADS better, and I don’t hate him nearly as much now.

    1. AnitaBath says:

      I usually ignore the thumbs up/down, but I’m kind of confused about the seven thumbs down?

      1. Rachelgrace53 says:

        It’s probably because this douche has made it clear that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him and talking to him will almost certainly make it worse. If he tells his own gf to go fuck herself for questioning him on a matter, how much worse will it be if the roommate questions his behavior? It might even make things worse for the gf…

      2. Rachelgrace53 says:

        I should clarify that I mean talking to him in the way you are suggesting most likely won’t help. I seriously doubt he’ll care if his gf’s roommate thinks “his behavior is unfair.”

      3. AnitaBath says:

        So because I suggested that as an option I get tons of thumbs downs?

        I’m just saying the boyfriend might be such a douche to the LW because there’s so much bad blood between them (and because he’s just naturally a douche). If moving out isn’t an option or if it doesn’t work, then at least she knows that she tried. It could make “living” with him slightly bearable if she says something like, “I know we haven’t always exactly gotten along or been very civil to each other, but since it seems like we’re pretty much roommates right now I’d appreciate if we could at least tolerate one another and do our best to put our history behind us for the sake of feeling somewhat comfortable in my own home.”

        I don’t see how it can make it any worse than the situation already is.

      4. Britannia says:

        I think it would make the situation worse for her to confront him directly. Freeloading a-holes get really angry when their meal ticket comes with conditions. I think it would just make him lash out at both her and her roommate; he’d get all indignant and “Fuck you, don’t be such bitches”. The roommate needs to get him under control, since she’s the one responsible for bringing him into the household.

      5. In my experience, crazy people aren’t worth talking to. Anyone who refers to his baby momma as “fucking stupid” and told his girlfriend to “go fuck herself” is not going to respond positively to “By the way, I think you’re a big meanie.” The LW also mentioned that she feels unsafe around him! It’s hard to be reasonable with someone who doesn’t respect you. I agree with Britannia, the roommate needs to get him under control, or the LW needs to move out.

      6. How dare you question the-powers-that-be about the thumbs down, AnitaBath!

        For shame!!!

      7. AnitaBath says:

        Oh no, now they’ve got you too! Quick, find a cure!

      8. It’s okay, AB…I knew it would end up like this.

        Save yourself! I’ll take the hit!

      9. SweetChild says:

        The peanut gallery has spoken. 😀

  3. To answer your question: Yes, you have every right to tell your roomate that her boyfriend makes you feel uncomfortable and unsafe, and you think that he should be contributing to utilities. I would not outright hand her (or him) a bill without any notice. As far as they know, you have no objection to his behavior if you havn’t spoken up about it before. You can just ignore the problems they have with their relationship and his baby mama drama, because its frankly none of your business. What IS your business is him using up utilities and invading your personal space or common areas. You need to sit down, calmly, with your roomate and talk about these issues. Leave out the fact that you simply dislike him as a person and the way he treats her. Figure out what you are looking to get from the conversation. Do you want him to pay utilities? Do you want him around less? Do you want to form a better relationship with him? Then approach the conversation calmly and rationally.

    1. I like the idea of talking to the landlord for options. If your a good tenant, s/he doesn’t want to loose you.

      1. The landlord could be your ally – there might be insurance repercussions, fire codes, etc. that would put him or her in a tough spot by having someone not on the lease living in the apartment for all intents and purposes.

      2. also, their lease may have some kind of rule about people staying over like he is… i know mine is something like anyone staying more then a week has to be declared to the landlord, or something like that… she may be able to get around this by just using the lease’s language and terms.

  4. bluesunday says:

    I think your best option would be to sit her down and talk to her. The issues in their relationship are between them, but it’s completely unfair of her to allow in a constant presence that makes you feel uncomfortable and unsafe in your own home. Maybe tell her that you need to set up some ground rules for how much time he can reasonably spend their, like 2 nights a week. Maybe if you feel really loyal to her, you can have this conversation with the boyfriend so she won’t be “to blame” for implementing new rules. It sounds like this relationship is pretty abusive, so maybe some time away from him will make her see the light.
    If she’s not receptive to this, maybe you should look into move out.

    1. missarissa says:

      If I had a roommate tell me my bf could only sleep over two nights a week, I’d be incredibly indignant about that and it would totally change our relationship, because in all honesty, I would ignore it. I would be totally cool with him not sleeping over for short durations of what I thought was a “good reason,” like taking the bar the next day/that week, parents in town, she is having a guest so it will be cramped, etc. If she came to me to talk about her issues with him being around all the time, I could respect that and deal with the utilities issues, and I could appreciate her desire that he not be there if I wasn’t. All that, I could try to still be a friend. But a cap on nights? I would not be ok with a requirement like that. (I would think it falls into the “I’m an adult and this is my house too” kind of thinking and it feels too much like a curfew.) I’m not saying this is the most understanding response or the most mature, but I think this kind of idea is like the semi-cute guy — if you’re friend is in love with him, he’s sooooo cute; if he broke your friend’s hurt, SHE got dumped by HIM? It’s a good idea if you like the LW, but I can imagine the roommate going to her friends, saying, “can you believe it? My roommate TOLD me my bf could only come over two nights a week? indefintely? who the hell does she think she is. F* her, i’m sorry, but too bad.”

      The good news is I would find a new living situation pronto, so doing that may actually solve the LW’s problem. Unless she can’t pay for the apt on her own/doesn’t want to find a new roommate.

      1. fallonthecity says:

        Well, yeah — you’re an adult and you can do what you want, so if you want to live with your boyfriend, you could absolutely get a place with him instead of just imposing him on your roommate.

      2. Britannia says:

        I think a hallmark point of being an adult and mature is being able to compromise with and respect the people around you… instead of just being like, “Screw you guys” whenever someone disagrees with you.

      3. fallonthecity says:

        Right! Unfortunately, I guess maturity doesn’t always come with adulthood.

      4. missarissa says:

        But its not whenever someone disagrees with “me” (even though this was totally hypothetical in the first place.) Its when someone tries to tell you/(me? now I’m confused) what you can and can’t do in your own home. I wasn’t saying that the LW shouldn’t try to talk to her roommate and appeal to her, or that the RM wouldn’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t be understanding and make (lots of) concessions. Of course she (LW) should and of course RM should respond maturely and as understanding(ly). In fact, a great RM would OFFER to have him come around less and sleep over less frequently. I know that that would be my response, especially to keep the peace, even if i thought it was a little bit BS.

        BUT. If my roommate who hates my boyfriend who tells me all the time what a d*ckhead he is sat me down to TELL me that he could only come over 2 nights a week, I might be pissed and feel attacked. I might feel that SHE wasn’t being understanding of ME and my needs as a roommate, and I might feel that SHE was being inconsiderate of me. And I might get defensive about my rights as a roommate, as it would have appeared to me that she was of hers. Mature or not, that’s how a lot of people respond to being attacked or told what to do by someone they do not feel is in a position to give them orders/rules. Hence my response.

        Perhaps its a sign of maturity not to act defensive when you feel disrespected, and I think that’s legit. But I wasn’t saying that being/feeling like an adult meant never having to compromise/be considerate of your roommates. I was saying that being told what to do by a roommate whom you feel is not being considerate of your feelings might cause some people to dig their heels in to avoid FEELING (not necessarily BEING) disrespected.

      5. robottapocalypse says:

        You don’t have the RIGHT as a roommate to violate the lease agreement, nobody does. Having an extra stay there is a violation of any lease involving two signers. Feelings have nothing to do with the law.

      6. Britannia says:

        None of your argument is applicable to this hypothetical situation because you’re still viewing the apartment as “your own home”. It’s not your own home, you’re sharing ownership of it with another person.

      7. MasterKat says:

        That’s the difference between being an Adult and being a grown up. The former requires maturity and derives respect. The latter is just a matter of surviving for a long enough period of time. From my observations, grown up out number adults 5 to 1, easily.

      8. Britannia says:

        I don’t think that the whole “my boyfriend can stay over as much as I want him to!” thing falls into the “I’m an adult and can do what I want” category of justification when it comes to sharing a living space that your boyfriend is not a legitimate resident of.

        Frankly, if I had a roommate who, like you, was trying to pull that line, I’d do something to show just how inconsiderate you’re being — like get an alpaca or pot bellied pig as a pet, letting him stay in the common areas as he pleases, or develop a stinky/”gourmet” cheese and garlic habit, hanging garlic around the kitchen and keeping Vieux Boulogne on the counter, and then say, “I’m an adult and can do what I want, I don’t give a fuck what your preferences as my roommate are!”

      9. You got told b*tch.

      10. Missarissa says:

        Fair enough. I didn’t say it was a mature response, I said it was a real possibility that her rm would react that way. And I feel he same way about a garlic and cheese habit if I was a rm– I’d hate it but you can’t tell your roommate not to eat garlic and stinky cheese– you can ask thy they not leave it out (=him not being there when she’s not), you can ask that it stay confined to the kitchen and her bedroom for storage, but you can’t tell her she can only have stinky cheese twice a week.

        Also, I didn’t say that the/my bf in his situation could do whatever he wanted, just that he could sleep over as often as I liked. I wouldn’t flagrantly ignore the rm and hang out in the common areas all the time; I’d male a beeline for my bedroom. Because why should she care how many ppl were in my bedroom and functional uses of the bathroom (not showers…) are an incidental addition to the utilities. I think asking expecting all of that is reasonable– but not a cap on nights.

        Also, the escalation you guys talked about is exactly what I’m talking about as why it may be/is a bad idea. She thinks you’re unreasonblr and react, then you think she’s unreasonable and it escalates. You might think it’s immature response but it’s one the lw might get and I wanted to warn her of it.

      11. My roommate is Indian. Oftentimes she cooks very fragrant foods. Sometimes it smells great. Once she made our house smell more like cat food than actual cat food smells.

        Have I ever come home and said, “Yo, RM, can you please stop stinking up the house with your cooking?”

        Nope. Of course, my preference would be to *not* have my house smell like cat food, but she can cook what she wants.

      12. ilovelamp says:

        “You got told b*tch”
        um, totally inappropriate much?

      13. uhh seriously parrt? unless you are missarissa’s hypothetical roommate, your response seems unduly harsh/hostile.

      14. fallonthecity says:

        Ugh, thumbs down. What happened to civil discussion? Maybe a little snark thrown in — but absolutely no reason to call anyone a “b*tch.”

      15. robottapocalypse says:

        I’m pretty sure parrt hit that one on the head.

      16. The problem is, you don’t pay the bills. You pay 1/2 of the bills. Neither of you have the right to impose a guest on the other without mutual agreement. Most states have landlord tenant laws that restrict any guest from staying more than 10-14 days (depending on the state you live in) in any 6 month period.

  5. Hon, you’ve told her. She ain’t listening. She won’t listen until she’s ready. By that time, she could already have kids with this idiot.

    You didn’t say whether or not the apartment you two are sharing is owned by either of you (which would go a long way in the decision making here), or whether it is in one name or the other or both (if leasing). If you own the apartment/condo and she is renting from you, yes, I would say “hey, I don’t like him here, and I don’t want him around my property when you aren’t on the premises” and she doesn’t respect it (because HE won’t), then you can give her notice. If you are on the lease and are subleasing to her, then you can do the same thing.
    If you are subleasing from her, you have no say and should look for another place. If you two are sharing the lease and are both on the agreement, then you need to tell her flat out that you are creeped out by him, hate the fact that he is so disrespectful to her and you are concerned for her. If you are on a month-to-month tenancy, I’d look into finding a new place quickly. Tell her that you can’t stay there watching her throw her dignity and self-esteem down the crapper while a guy verbally and emotionally walks all over her.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Actually had this problem with my favorite roommate (who now owns a condo down the hall from me). She was dating a complete DB. COMPLETE. Monopolized our TV. Was always sitting on our couch. Was home even if no one else was home. The expensive ADT system we had installed was NEVER USED because this durch was always over. Even cheated on my friend with three different people while he was ‘house-sitting’ for us while we were at a wedding in Hawaii. AND SHE KNEW. She was punishing herself by being with him because she didn’t think she deserved better. ANYWAY. You can tell i still get worked up about this guy.
    Here’s what you do. You must first talk with your roommate alone about the situation stating the obviously: it’s unfair he ‘lives’ with you and pays for nothing. She’s obviously aware he’s not a prince charming and is probably working on this in therapy. You can help her along by setting ground rules that are reasonable. He can be here only when she is. He cannot sleep over every night (maybe three nights a week? four?). You have shower priority etc.. Anything that you can think of as reasonable other than kicking his a$$ to the curb.
    Second, if she just draws a blank stare or tries to defend him, then you start a countdown until you can move out.
    Third: talk reasonably with him. He won’t get it, but you’ll have tried and have been polite. Say something the next time he’s using your laundry or in the bathroom when you need it, “I’m sorry, Dick, but I need to use the restroom because I need to get to my job. I’m on the other half of this lease so i have some rights to this property.” Or whatever. As you can tell i’m getting mad just thinking about it, and it’s been over three years since I’ve had to deal with my friend’s former boyfriend (but current Douche bag).

    other than that, some leases have statements like “cannot have houseguests for more than 4 days straight without property owner’s permission.” if you have that, you’re in luck and work that angle.

    best of luck to you. I know how it is to feel like you have to lock yourself in your room at your own place.

    1. Elizabeth says:

      I wanted to add to this now that i’ve reread the letter a few times: I completely agree with whoever said to use the therapist that you recommended to her. It could be very nice to have a ‘referee’ of sorts to figure out what’s reasonable. You don’t necessarily have to bring up the fact that he’s a complete lying, (probably) cheating, loser, d-bag, but it could be a very helpful way to discuss personal space, expectations of living situation, etc.

      If you wanna throw a side comment to the therapist about his durchy-ness, I wouldn’t blame you, but it probably wouldn’t help the whole compromising with the roommate.

      I still wish I could go back and tell my friend’s ex-BF/current DoucheBag off. He was such a prick. I can’t even think of him without flying into a rage for the sh*t he pulled on my friend. Thank goodness she’s in a stable, normal, happy relationship now.

    2. Dick sounds like a very appropriate name for him.

  7. The simple fact is that you and your roomate should have signed a lease, now most leases have a clause about having guests for extended periods, and people living in the apartment that arent on the lease. Read your lease, talk to your complex management, Im betting if he wants to continue to live there he would need to be put on the lease. which makes him liable just as you and your roomate are. He will either quit staying there as much, or sign the lease, once that is done he is liable for his share. Im betting he will quit staying there as much.

  8. Turtledove says:

    Yeah, while it would be perfectly fair to charge the guy some rent and utilities (seeing as he pretty much lives with you) I really don’t see it happening. Having been in this type of situation before, if talking to your roommate about the problem hasn’t helped probably nothing will fix it. You can try talking to him, but since you don’t like each other I don’t know that you’ll get very far.

    If you want to try talking to one or both of them before you move out, then I would steer clear of how he’s a bad boyfriend and you don’t like him as a person. That’s a separate issue than him practically living with you rent free. You have to be fair and neutral if you don’t want it to devolve into a fight. If you want to charge him something, you’ll probably have to have your roommate on board for that before you bring it up to him- and you should probably be the one to bring it up to him or at least be there so you know how the request is phrased. But honestly, if he’s unemployed, he may not be able to pay anything.

    Talking to them first may be worth a shot, but I’m a pessimist so I would have an exit plan established already in case the conversation doesn’t go well. I would be ready to go especially if he makes you feel unsafe. Make a plan to protect your person and belongings if you fear reprisal (although if he’s that big of a scumbag, I might skip talking to them and just move out ASAP so there’s less chance of hard feelings left to fester as we live out the rest of the lease) Talk to your landlord so you know what you can do/need to do. Also your landlord may have some ability to help you if there’s a clause in your lease about the length of time a person may visit. But again, getting the landlord involved may cause hard feelings so you have to weigh that against the potential benefit. I personally wouldn’t find it appealing to live with this girl given her baggage– even if they break up, how long will it take before he goes away?

  9. Yes you should sit down with her and tell her in a kind and gentle way that his presence makes you feel uncomfortable and you do not feel safe when he is at your home while she is not there. This forces her to at least be home when he is there; he should not be there when she is not. That is not your problem he lives 20 minutes away. Also, if he is using facilities such as the refrigerator, shower and laundry as well as watching tv, he should have some kind of responsibility for the utilities. Also, if he is mostly living there, which is sounds like he is, he should be paying rent. I recently saw a Judge Judy episode where a roommate moved out because her roommate moved in his girlfriend as well as another friend who was a couch surfer. She felt uncomfortable and told her roommate this. She also felt like she was paying rent for these people to be there. Judge Judy sided with her and told him he should have had his girlfriend and other friend pay rent since they were living there.

    The only other thing you can do is stick it out until your lease ends, if both names are on the lease, and just find another place on your own. Unfortunately, either way, you might lose a friendship because it sounds like she will pick this guy over you. But that’s her problem. You can only address your living situation.

  10. robottapocalypse says:

    Has the LW even read the lease? Most leases have language covering “extra tenants” to the effect of “If a third party spends more than x days a month there needs to be written consent from the property manager with an appropriate raise in rent.”

    Advice 1: Read the lease!
    Advice 2: Document the bf’s staying unwanted with concrete evidence you can present in civil court. You may need it.

    If your lease rights have been infringed, you have rights as a co-renter to report this action and also back yourself out of the lease. Your roomate is not a good friend, she is an abused woman with no interest in ending the cycle. If anything, she’s trying to drag you into the cycle of abuse, and has found an abuser willing to jump on that opportunity. She is being used and in turn using you to support her absurd behavior.

    Advice 3: Schedule a session with the therapist, you and your roomate to discuss what the options are and what you are considering so that you have backup there for your honesty. Without a 3rd party there to confirm positive intentions, most abused women will take your help as an attack.

    1. Britannia says:

      Your advice #3 is very, very good. I think it would probably be a much more successful ‘intervention’/mediation if the therapist were there to provide this roommate with a 3rd party perspective that she trusts and will actually take to heart.

  11. Steelbird says:

    Just remember to be nice when you talk to her. I was in this situation only I was the one dating the douchebag. My roommate told me that she hated him, she didn’t want him around, and he should never sleep over. Anytime I wanted to see him I should go over to his place. We ended up in a huge fight over it and I told her to go f*ck herself because I was too blind to see what kind of guy he really was and I hated the way she attacked me. I was on the lease and paying half the rent so I felt she couldn’t tell me what I could or could not do in my own home. Thankfully we didn’t live together the following year, didn’t even speak for about 6 months after we moved out, I realized what an unbelievable jerk he was and now we are back to being very good friends who can pretty much talk about anything. So it is definitely well within your rights to ask him to contribute to utilities, definitely fine to ask him not to be there when she is not there, but just be nice when you talk about it. Don’t demand things from her, don’t tell her what a jerk you think the guy is (she already knows you think he’s a jerk) just have a nice calm conversation about what can be done to make living together a little easier for everyone involved. Hopefully she will be able to see what kind of guy he really is and the relationship will end on it’s own, if not, when the lease is up I agree with other posters that you should probably find someplace else to live.

    1. ” I was on the lease and paying half the rent so I felt she couldn’t tell me what I could or could not do in my own home. ”

      well yo u are just a stupid bi*ch. its not your home, and your idiot boyfriend’s name is not on the f*ing lease is it ?

      1. AnitaBath says:

        I hope you’re a troll.

      2. Definitely has to be a troll…Any other explanation would scare me.

      3. SpaceySteph says:

        Also, you misspelled bitch.
        Just saying.

    2. robottapocalypse says:


      You’re a crappy friend, and obviously can’t read lease agreements or you would know what you were doing was wrong, illegal, and morally repugnant.

      I can’t believe your friend is dumb enough to involve you in her life anymore. She should have cut and run. You obviously value your feelings above those of all around you except for the crappy men who are willing to give you attention. Yay Parrt, you hit this nail on the head.

  12. justpeachy says:

    You can’t get her to break up with him, but you can break up with them both. If you are both on the lease, wait for the lease to end, and find a new place. Or if the situation gets really bad, talk to the landlord to see if the lease can be switched from your name to his. Or if things get just downright awful, find a new place and pay both rents or break the lease and pay whatever fee is associated with it.

    This guy just won’t leave because you ask him to, so even if you feel like it’s letting him win, you need to get yourself out, not force him out.

  13. fallonthecity says:

    I will never understand people who want their SO to practically live with them, when they’re already living with a roommate. I mean, if you want to live with your SO, get a place with your SO! Ugh.

    Anyway, it’s totally legitimate for you to approach your roommate (with or without her boyfriend) for a calm, direct conversation about how you only signed up for having one roommate, and that you don’t feel it’s fair for him to take up residence there and take up space/use your resources without paying any rent or utilities. If they are insistent that he stays there all the time, ask him to pay toward utilities. If not, ask if he can limit his sleepovers to once or twice a week — or maybe just weekends, which would solve your shower problem. Maybe she could even stay over at his parents’ sometimes! But, like everyone else said… you should probably start the countdown to move out. But by all means, talk to your landlord if you actually feel unsafe. Install a lock on your bedroom door, etc.

    Good luck!

    1. honeybeenicki says:

      In this case if he’s unemployed, maybe the roommate just doesn’t want to have to foot all the bills for herself and the boyfriend so it works better for her to live with a roommate. Unfortunately for LW, it doesn’t work out so well to be the roommate.

      1. fallonthecity says:

        You’re right, and I know sometimes couples do live with roommates because of just this kind of situation… but couples who aren’t assholes let the roommate know up front that s/he’s going to be living with a couple and break up the bills accordingly, instead of just moving a SO in and calling him/her a “guest.”

  14. Check your lease. Some lease agreements prohibit more than x amount of people living on premises. Many require guests who are staying more than a certain amount of days to have written consent of the landlord. It could be that his living in your apartment is a breach of contract.

    If that’s the case, you can report him to your landlord. This probably shouldn’t be your first course of action, because this could very well ruin your friendship with your roommate. You’re probably better off moving out. But if moving isn’t option (if you can’t find someone to sublet the place or can’t afford to take on rent for a new place as well as pay for your old place), then you might be able to use the terms of your lease as leverage to oust the douchebag.

    1. robottapocalypse says:


      Thank you MF. You read your leases prior to signing, unlike just about everyone else here who FEEL that FEELINGS TRUMP LAW. I’m really surprised at how many people don’t read leases and then give sound advice based upon the legal ramifications of signing a binding contract.

  15. It’s true that your roommate pays half the rent, but you pay the other half as well! You have a right to attempt to sort things out before looking for another place. If this guy is practically living there, he needs to contribute (or your roommate). There are no ifs, ands, or buts. I like Anitabaths suggestion of going to him directly, since there’s a pretty big chance your roommate will just try to argue with you & never tell him anything. But please, don’t lose your cool with him (unless he’s being an outright ass). However, you should talk to your roommate about boundaries. This is your home too & if there’s one place a person should be completely unguarded & comfortable, it’s their home! It seems like that’s not happening at all & it’s not fair to you.
    Unfortunately, just as everyone is predicting I don’t see the situation improving. These suggestions should probably be used in a “just until” situation, where, if you aboslutely cannot get another place now, try to ease the situation until you can.
    Again, you have EVERY RIGHT to say something & there needs to be respect in YOUR home. If this guy doesn’t want to respect his gf or babymomma, that’s his deal but **you** will demand respect.

  16. Landygirl says:

    I’m guessing his name isn’t on the lease so check ir because if he is practically living there, you could be in violation of your lease. I’m assuming your roommate gave him a key since he comes and goes as he pleases, which is probably also in violation of your lease.

    Tell your roommate to go to therapy everyday until she figures out she deserves better than this loser who is taking advantage of her.

    1. Britannia says:

      I was going to mention the key thing… If he isn’t a paying tenant, he should NOT have a key! Maybe once the LW finds some common ground with her roommate, one of them can make it ‘accidentally disappear’ and then keep procrastinating giving him a new copy? OR they could have the locks changed. They can just say that the landlord is having EVERYONE get new locks… and then keep forgetting to get him a new key.

      1. or, change the locks, and then mention the fact that only people who pay are allowed to have keys and that the landlord will only give out one, and they are prohibited from getting copies.


      2. robottapocalypse says:

        Or you could just tell the landlord that you are uncomfortable with your roomate because she’s giving keys to DBs so that they can live there without paying rent. This is more likely to solve your problems than just about anything else.

  17. 1. Complain to the landlord. If the lease has two people on it, only two people can occupy the premises for an extended period of time.
    2. You friend has no self respect, or she is some kind of a saint who is not affected by rudeness and insults. Either way, tell her you are unable to accommodate her boyfriend, and are moving if the situation does not change.
    3. move. you friend is one of those selfish pathological psycho bitches and does not have common sense, or care about other people.

    1. robottapocalypse says:

      You are the smartest responder on here. You probably have few problems in life because of your realistic expectations of people and your regard for feelings as having their place under binding agreements in the hierarchy of societal function.
      I am beginning to really respect you. It gets tiresome reading these moronic responses about caring about the feelings of somebody who clearly doesn’t give a crap about the feelings of the LW, or the LaW…

  18. You can’t force them to break up, and reasoning with either one of them seems fruitless. I think that means she’s no longer a feasible roommate, no matter how much you may like her personally. MOA- move out or ask her to.

  19. I think you need to sit down with your roommate AND her boyfriend (as uncomfortable as that sounds) and simply say that with three people using the same utilities (the water, cable, and power) that you are now asking for your roommate to cover two-thirds of the utilities. If she doesn’t agree then you can ask them both, outright, to either limit his stays here or for one of the parties to move out.
    Yes, your roommate pays rent and he is HER guest, that her rent covers (IMO). But it is definitely, DEFINITELY unfair for her to expect you to help foot the utilities that her boyfriend is using so frequently.

    I’m back in my hometown this summer, too, from college and while I do have my Dad’s house nearby, for convenience’s sake I stay with my boyfriend at his apartment. He stays with a couple with a baby and I have tried on several occasions to offer to pay a portion of the bills. Since they always refuse I typically try to help in other ways, like cleaning up shared spaces, (kitchen/living room/etc) and getting groceries and stuff that we ALL use, like bottles of water, bread, etc…and giving the couple coupons for baby stuff. =P

    Seriously, LW – you said you don’t take crap so stop taking it. No reason to get ugly or go on the offense – just firmly state that you since you are now sharing the utilities between her and her boyfriend that it is ONLY fair that it is split three ways.

    If you’re really uncomfortable talking to her rude boyfriend then I’d at least tell your roommate that you expect her to cover two-thirds of the utilities on her own because of her guest-turned-new-roommmate.

    1. I forgot to add to the first paragraph that by calling her and her bf out on her letting him essentially live there that he MAY stop coming around so much. Maybe. Anyway, it’s worth a shot.

  20. caitie_didn't says:

    Ugh, crappy boyfriends of roommates and crappy roommates blow. First off, what’s the deal with the lease? If you own the apartment or are the sole name on the lease, you win! Give her notice and start advertising for a new roommate (and put a lock on your bedroom door so they can’t destroy your stuff). If you’re sub-leasing or leasing month-to-month from her, I’d start looking for a new place ASAP. But if you’re both on the lease or if you can’t leave quickly, you do need to address the issue. I’d start by telling your roommate that you need to see less of her boyfriend’s face, effective immediately. Something along the lines of “So and So is here an awful lot and it’s making me uncomfortable, so I’d appreciate it if he could limit his overnight stays to no more than X per week. And, if he’s going to be staying at our place on a regular basis, it would be amazing if he could pitch in around the house- whether by contributing to the utilities, cleaning or fixing things that need to be fixed. Because he’s not on the lease, I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to be in the apt by himself- so I think it’s a good idea for you to be here whenever he is, even if that means he can’t hang out here during the day”. Stay far, far away from talking about what a bad boyfriend the guy is and how terribly he treats your friend- make this conversation all about you! Then I’d put a lock on your bedroom door, just in case. Hopefully, your friend will abide by these rules. If there is still trouble, you might be able to get the landlord involved, but unless the boyfriend’s frequent visits are violating some terms of the lease there is probably nothing they can do.

    Good luck, LW

  21. BlueBella says:

    I somehow got the impression that the LW owns the place they’re all living in. But now re-reading it, I can’t really tell.

    Crucial piece of information. It’ll totally change any advice given.

  22. IcedVentiRedEyeGuy - in Chitown bay-bay! says:

    Nowhere in the letter did you explicitly mention speaking to your roommate about the extra roommate (ie the jerko boyfriend) situation.
    This is where it has to begin.

    1. Decide if it’s not wanting him over at all or if you want to limit his visits
    1a. Quantitate this limitation (the lease is a good place to start – as often, it restricts non-lease holders to <5 overnight visits).
    2. Lodge a complaint to her (alone) about the frequency of his visits/stay-overs
    3. Set a boundary based off 1a. and what you both decide is acceptable to both of you.

    Be ready to stand firm and don't take the approach of bashing the BF – it may backfire (afterall, you cannot mandate him out of her life, but you can limit your exposure to his presence).

    Welcome to being a big-girl. Good luck.

  23. sobriquet says:

    So, 5 years ago I was in as serious a relationship one can be in as a 20 year old. I “lived” with my boyfriend most days of the week. He had two roommates who I was friends with and I was extremely aware and respectful of their space. Regardless, spending that much time at my boyfriend’s house was just asking for trouble. You just can’t do that whenever there are roommates involved!

    My boyfriend and his roommates actually had a “meeting” one night about my excessive stay. They basically told him that I needed to spend less time there or he needed to pay more. They said it wasn’t about the money, but the fact that they sometimes didn’t want a chick around. They wanted to live with their roommates, and only their roommates! So, yeah, as a sensitive 20 year old female, my feelings were totally hurt when my boyfriend told me all of this, but I spent less time there.

    So, LW, have a roomie meeting with your roomie. Tell her he needs to spend less time there. Tell her that he’s totally welcome to sleep over a few nights a week, but not every night. Tell her it’s not just about the money or the inconvenience, but about the fact that you don’t want a smelly guy at your house every waking moment. You signed up for a female roommate and you don’t like to be uncomfortable in your own house! Tell her all of these things and hopefully she’ll understand and have a talk with her boyfriend. If not, you need to find a different living situation.

    1. when I was in college I was totally over my bf’s apartment all the time (he had an apartment when I was still in the dorms!). Being immature I didn’t realize how I was totally inviting his roomate’s space, and yeh I think it was a lot of his roomate just wanting to come home and not always have a girl there. His roomate got passive aggressive about it instead of just telling me or my boyfriend. Talking about this stuff is always the best solution!

  24. Britannia says:

    Just a general question – why is it that in roommate situations, if one person says yes and the other says no to having people visit the house, it’s generally the one who says yes that gets what they want? In most legal arrangements, if both people have equal power and one of them says no to the other’s yes about an action involving the estate/company/whatever that they have an equal share of responsibility in, the answer is No until a unanimous Yes is given.

    1. There is no legally enforceable contract or partnership between the two people, though. In these situations, there’s generally no way to prevent someone from doing something that’s legal that you don’t like just because you don’t like it. You can appeal to them, but ultimately, it’s their choice.

      1. Britannia says:

        But these days, don’t most legal contracts such as co-leases contain some sort of language about the execution of decisions pertaining to living arrangements? Or do people really just throw caution to the wind and simply sign a contract saying that they’ll each pay half of the rent?

      2. im pretty sure its just throwing caution to the wind… otherwise, people wouldn’t have so many shitty roommate stories.. they would be a lot easier to resolve.

  25. Ok, I would add that in a roomie meeting, one factor that might work in your favor, LW, is if you and your roommate are friends or were before rooming together. If you can play up the ‘I miss having time to hang out in the apartment with just the two of us, cooking dinner, watching tv’ side of it, it may do a lot to make her feel less cornered, less defensive about her and her rotten boyfriend. Obviously, if you found her randomly on Craigslist and each follow your own separate routine (i.e. ‘stranger’ roommates), this is not as compelling of a lead-in to the negotiations others mentioned above. But it might really take the edge off the setting boundaries meeting.

    Another option, which may not be a good one—-anyone who knows more about interpreting landlord/tenant relationships can weigh in on this—-would be to get the landlord to deal with it. My question for the board is, assuming the two roommates are both on the lease, are they both in violation, or only the roommate with the BF? If she can approach the landlord with the situation without fear of getting evicted or penalized herself, then the consequences for the couple will be out of her hands. I don’t know if she can handle it so the roommate doesn’t know she complained—my landlord stops by sometimes to ‘inspect’, or deal with maintenance issues, so there are many ways a landlord could find out without being told, saying something to the tenant like ‘it’s come to my attention that there is someone else basically living there’.
    I know this suggestion, if even plausible, is not the most forthright, and is not as desirable as working it out between the two of them, but sometimes that just doesn’t work, so I’m just adding it to the mix.

  26. Check your lease. There is a clause in mine that says tenants cannot have overnight guests for more than one week in a row. Now that was put in because my roommate has an abusive boyfriend and it’s a way for me to get him out, however when talking with my landlord who also happens to be a family friend, she puts this clause in all her leases except it’s a two week timeframe.

    You are completely within your rights to ask for him to pay a third of the utilities. you should also be able to kick him out as he’s not on the lease but again that I’d check with your landlord.

  27. I reread the original post and she writes ‘house’…or that she pays the utilities….not that the utilities are already split…so it does sound as if it is a house, not an apartment or condo which means there’s no management to run interference…

    That said, I would go for changing the locks (when neither the roommate or bf are around, and have them stamped with DO NOT DUPLICATE so she can’t have a copy made for the bf.
    It does sound as if she has made her feeling known before and the roommate is doing anything to keep from upsetting the bf—this sounds like a tough love situation and I think as soon as the place is no longer ‘available’ whenever he wants it, he’ll lose interest in her as well. He’s accustomed to getting his way with his anger so the table needs to be turned. His anger should mean nothing to the OP and her anger is what needs to be the basis of the agreement.
    Call his bluff—he’s hiding behind the roommate’s inability to stand up to him and he may think the OP isn’t going to stand up to him either. He’s a spoiled bully and he doesn’t have the right (and his girlfriend the roommate can’t give it to him) to be there. If she wants him over, then he goes to her bedroom–but no common rooms.
    If the furniture is part of the house (owned or rented) then his wear and tear are NOT part of the roommate agreement. Likewise, if the OP owns the tv then he doesn’t have the right to use it—draw very clear lines.
    The OP is going to lose the friendship one way or another—sooner rather than later—the longer he’s around the worse it’s going to get.
    I would advise the therapist about the upcoming changes–I don’t think the OP should have to work with the roommate via the therapist…as someone else wrote, it’s grownup time.

  28. This is why people need room mate agreements à la Sheldon Cooper 😛 He might be crazy, but he doesn’t have these problems.

  29. christinalovesdogs says:

    i think i’ve been on both ends of this. my ex-boyfriend wasn’t friendly, but he also wasn’t rude. he didn’t live with my roommate and i, but he was there a lot. i also have had a roommate who had a boyfriend who was physically and mentally abusive to her and also admitted to carrying a knife always. soooooo, i’ve got a few pieces of advice:
    1. telling her he can’t come as often will NEVER work out.
    2. splitting the utilities 3 ways is exactly what you should do, whether it means your roommate pays 2/3 or not.
    3. if you find that you are having trouble using YOUR bathroom or any other necessary thing in your house, i’d consider telling your roommate that the rent MUST be split 3 ways.
    4. if it is really weighing on you heavy, consider finding someone to take over your room for the remainder of the lease and find a room to rent in your area.

    this is a really tricky situation and i feel you, but i will say that doing nothing (or doing the same thing over and over that proves fruitless) will only make your life worse.

  30. I reckon as you are in a flat-sharing situation, you are relatively young.(for me, under 50ish…) If this is a friend rather than just a friendly flat-mate, do all you can not to lose her friendship over this (living with friends, educational but risky). In any case, remember she is negotiating the muddy waters of independent living, freedom etc and may not be sure where she stands. Remind her that you liked the idea of the two of you sharing a living-space, and hadn’t factored in this other person.If the two of you had enjoyed co-existing, remind her of what it was like. Tell her you miss it, and would like some of that aspect of your life back.(maybe 2-4 days a week?) It makes it less him Although you have my utmost sympathy- it is killer to watch your friends wreck their lives with seemingly rotten devils- in that respect there’s not much you can do but be there.You certainly don’t have to put up with this guy invading your only home and haven as much as it appears he does.
    I appreciate that this might not be easy as he sounds like a bit of a bully. Have you a trusted friend/family member who could pop over to occupy some of the space you wish him to vacate? This could help tactfully ease his transition from default flatmate back to guest, and help renegotiate terms without recriminations. Good luck.

  31. I’m not certain how old this thread is. My 20 year old daughter is sharing a flat with 2 uni students, one of the girls has a boyfriend she’s been seeing for 9 months, they argue and disagree all the time, he has been both physical and abusive to her on a number of occasions. They have lived in this flat since mid September. He now spends all his time there, sleeps, eats, showers.he very rarely goes home to his family. This is causing tension in the flat as my daughter and other student don’t speak to him because of he’s behaviour to her. They break up and make up, nearly twice a month. But she always takes him back. When he’s around they don’t peace her room for days. They have a 2 year contract. I’m really concerned for my daughter, but I’m not sure what to do.

  32. I have a similar situation. My roomate and I are/were best friends. We live very well together with few issues. A few months after moving in with her (we had lived in other places together), I met a guy, and it was sort of “love at first sigh.t..” I met him through her, as they were acqaintances (or even friends) from the past. He lived out of town, so i didn’t see him that much at first. A few months later he moved closer to me, was staying with family, and was looking for a place, but had very little money. (By this time, we were pretty inseparable), …My roomate agreed to let him move in and pay rent TEMPORARILY, while he looked for a place… (she even wanted him to, for her to save money as we split rent). He lived with us for a few months… and things were great at first, we had roomate dinners and we all got along great. But after 2 months, things turned sour. Him and i had only been dating a couple months, so it was not ideal to live together… We started to fight alot, and, naturally i would often talk to my roomate about my feelings (and him) negatively. He moved out, and him and i had a big blowout… but we ended up working through the issues, and suddenly things were AMAZING and he was treating me like gold. We have continued to be amazing and it has been 6 months since the blowout, with very few issues/conflict. ****… BUT… my relationship with my roomate has deteriorated rapidly. She was very protective over me, and some of the things he did/said when we were fighting, she did not agree with… Since he moved out, She started being a total bitch to him. She makes him feel unwelcome in our home, and he doesnt’ want to come over which causes us conflict because then i don’t get to see him/sleep together. At first, she was making negative comments about him. So i talked to her about it. and brought up how she has been acting… and she totally agreed that she has been acting like a bitch (for no reason at all), and said that she does not have any problem with him coming over… and that she would apologize to him and make it right. I told her that things were wonderful and he was treating me amazing, and i was in love with him. This was 3 months ago. Now it has been over 6 months. …And she never apologized, or said anything to him, and she continued to act the same way making him feel unwelcome, however, without making comments about him being around too much…. just being bitchy the way she speaks to him, OR, not saying a word to him when he is there. He is still over a lot, but, Since she and I last spoke, Him and i rarely spend time there during the weekday evenings… but sometimes come back late and go straight in my room and sleep there (often she is already asleep). …We stay out of her way if she is home. And We do not come out of the room until she is gone in the morning. He does often sleep over on weekends alot. But she works all day saturdays, so we do not see her at all on Saturdays…. She is also very social (and has become much more so lately), and is VERY rarely home herself on weedays or weekends… so she often doesn’t even know when he has been there. Unfortunately, He is still trying to get stabilized and has been subletting and/or living with his parents/family members, (so not ideal for me to go to his place). I tried to talk to her one other time and she said she had NO issues with him, Not only is she STILL a bitch to him, but now she is starting to be short with me, and does not act friendly to me anymore, and sometimes does not even respond to my messages. I know we need to talk, but, i just feel so angry and resentful toward her for the way she has been acting. I don’t know what to do. She broke up with a long term relationship shortly before i moved in, so, im not sure if this is about her own personal issues and feelings of unhappiness… but it is very difficult to talk to her.

  33. I can relate to this story.. I had a roommate move in and the first night he moved in, his annoying girlfriend stayed the night.. No big deal it’s only one night right? Wrong! After the annoying girlfriend had not left in 8 days I started to get concerned.. To add to the fuel to the situation she would take an hour long shower every day, so their was no hot water for the other roommates. She was supposed to have a job of some kind, but she never left..After finally reminding them it is a single occupancy rental they both went crazy on us all.Turns out the lingering girlfriend was some kind of unemployed paralegal and wanted to challenge us on the rental agreement and said she will stay as long as she wants!! What can you do about these crazies??

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