Anna Pulley, @annapulley
RedEye's sex columnist
12:50 PM CDT, April 4, 2012
I just started seeing this really fantastic girl. She's fun, smart, ambitious. It's too soon for us to be really serious, but I do like her a lot. Just one problem: She's my roommate. We're both 21, live in a house with three other people, and there's a strict 'no couples' rule when we seek roommates. Like I said, we really like each other but it's only been a few weeks, and I don't think either one of us is up for making life changes for the relationship at this point, but we both want to see where it goes. What do we do?
-House of Pain
Oh, you came to get down, did you? To get out yo seat and jump around? Well, you should really just sit down. It's making everyone uncomfortable.
It's common knowledge that dating or sleeping with a roommate is a terrible idea. It falls under the "Don't sh*t where you eat" advice umbrella, along with not dating coworkers. If things go sour, and odds are firmly in that favor, then you're left to deal with an awkward situation that could ultimately lead to one or both of you not having a place to live. Plus, when you date a roommate, you're not dating; you're cohabitating. You already know all about their questionable Etsy projects, that they pee on the toilet seat, and that they love blasting Don Henley at 2 a.m. There are some people who might look at this in a positive way, and say, "Well, great! I already know the worst about this person, and it's better to find out about it sooner than later." To which I would say, "No seriously. He plays ‘Witchy Woman' every night!" There's a reason we don't court in reverse.
On the other hand, it's really convenient to date someone who lives down the hall. Think of the cab fare you'll save! And no one but the cat will witness your walks of shame. But what if you want some alone time? What if you want to have your bed to yourself? Not to mention what will happen when you end up squabbling over the gas bill. Feelings get hurt a lot more easily when there aren't as many boundaries in place. To that end, if you are going to attempt to screw where you poo, please at least set a lot of clearly defined boundaries about what's acceptable.
I would still seriously caution against getting involved with a roommate. Breaking up may be hard to do, but packing up is harder. Unless you legitimately think you might marry her. But you're high on an endorphin cocktail right now, so you're probably not in a state to answer that. What you should ask yourself is this: What's the worst possible thing that could come from this? If the answer doesn't abjectly horrify you, then you might be able to handle it. Also, you're young. Now is the time to make mistakes! When you're older, people just think it's sad.
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