Issues with roommates

Here at love is respect, our focus is on healthy relationships with an intimate or romantic partner. We talk to people who have questions about their relationships and who need support with understanding if things are healthy, unhealthy, or abusive. As housing and rent costs rise and more people are forced to have roommates so housing is more affordable, we have also seen an uptick in people wanting to talk about their living situation. Many people reach out to talk about challenges and issues with roommates, regardless of whether they are romantic or platonic.

Living with someone, no matter who they are and what your relationship is, is a personal and intimate experience. When you live with someone, you see them in all their moments, good or bad. These moments can look very similar to issues in a romantic relationship, and the ways to navigate them are also similar. Each situation is unique, so the following suggestions are just that, suggestions.

Prioritize your safety.

Ultimately, your home should be a place where you feel comfortable and safe. If you feel that your home has become a place where you are unsafe, then it is important to document any issues you experience, as well as take steps to be in a safer place. The myPlan app can be a great resource to create a safety plan if needed.

Note: If you are physically unsafe with a roommate the following suggestions may not apply to your circumstances.

Have open and honest conversations.

If something is happening that frustrates or upsets you, share that with your roommate. It is also important to create space for your roommate to share what is going on and listen to what they have to say.

Set and respect boundaries.
  • Boundaries are important in all relationships and situations. They are a line defining what you are and are not comfortable with. By setting boundaries early, you can define what is appropriate in the home.
  • Once boundaries have been established it is important to respect them.
Resolve conflict in a healthy way.
  • Conflict happens in all relationships, whether romantic or not. Addressing conflict early and resolving it in a healthy manner can ensure that issues do not become larger than necessary.

If you are experiencing issues with a roommate, it can be hard to know what options are available. If you live in housing connected with your school, college, or university, the Title IX office may be able to offer support. If you rent a home or apartment, speaking with a legal advocate who specializes in housing law or tenant rights can be beneficial. It can also be emotionally and mentally overwhelming when you have tension or issues with your roommates, so having someone you can talk with is crucial. Crisis Text Line is a great organization that offers support and care to people in crisis 24/7. No matter what the living situation is, you deserve to feel safe in your home.

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