Marriage & Roommates?? Yeah, No.

I started reading the blog, A Practical Wedding, when I  got engaged. I found it to be refreshing and well..practical with realistic discussions about how to plan a wedding and a marriage. It wasn’t wedding p.o.rn, it was real women talking about real life stuggles as they transitioned from being single to being a wife. I still read it now, even though I am a year and a half into my marriage because I like the topics and the community.

However when I came across this blog post from the other day: Married, With Room Mates,(http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/03/living-with-roommates-as-a-married-couple/), I had to take a pause for the cause.

In the post, the author explains why she and he husband have a roommate, by choice..not necessity.

This is how the author’s post begins:

On Valentine’s Day, Michael and I went out to dinner at one of our usual places. The waitress walked us to our table and seated us—then handed us three menus. I looked left and then right at the two men sitting next to me, and for the first time in what feels like forever, I enjoyed a Valentine’s Day date with my husband. And our roommate.

That’s right. I’m married and I have a roommate. By choice.

Um, where they do that at?? What part of the game is this? Valentine’s Day for three??

Let’s examine another excerpt from her post:

Because up until that point, marriage had started to get lonely. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love living with Michael and am so grateful for the life we have been building together. But until we got married, we were both firm believers that your partner shouldn’t be expected to be everything all the time. And yet, marriage had somehow found us living in a state that was absent of any sort of extended community or nearby friends, and it was creating a huge void in our lives in the shape of The People You Spend Time With Who Aren’t Your Partner.

And unconventional as it might be, our roommate filled that void.

I have serious issues with this. I have no issue with the notion that marriage can be lonely at times. And she is correct in saying that you should not expect your partner to be YOUR everything. They can’t possibly be. However I don’t think that willingly taking on a roommate is the way to fill that void. What you do happen to do in that case, is GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE, FIND A HOBBY, AND MEET YOURSELF SOME NEW FRIENDS THAT SHARE A COMMON INTEREST. I wish I would come home and tell my husband, babe I have a void, so I’d like to find a room mate so that I can have a plaything. I would get cussed from here to Timbuktu!

Then there is this:

But I don’t really think those things matter as much as what having a roommate has done for my marriage, and really, for myself. When we sat down for our Valentine’s Day date, I looked at Michael and then at Joe and I expressed to them just how happy I was feeling (as I’m wont to do). Michael chuckled and then said, “It’s true, you’ve been way happier since Joe moved in,” before turning to Joe and finishing with, “Thanks, Joe.” (Editor’s note: In what galaxy, does this even sound right???)

Part of this improvement comes from the fact that Joe provides us with a window to our marriage. His presence keeps us on our best behavior, and it encourages us to take an extra moment before acting rashly or treating each other in a way that would embarrass us if it were to be witnessed by others (read: less screaming matches, more discussions).

I am my own window on my marriage. In the privacy of my home, with my husband..I sometimes misbehave and show my ugly side, I am sometimes break down and am vulnerable and exposed. I sometimes  act silly and foolish and act like a big baby. In fact, that is what I am supposed to do. And my husband has the same privileges. That is the beauty of marriage and having a partner to lean on. Marriage is sometimes messy. And I don’t need a spectator for all of that. It is me and my husband’s responsibility to treat each other and our marriage with care. A roommate should not be the catalyst for that.

In her post, the author references another post she wrote about getting married young. Perhaps she shouldn’t have gotten married if she needed a husband AND a buddy. She wraps up her post with this:

And while I know that our living situation can’t last forever, part of me doesn’t feel any pressure to change things anytime soon. Because if what our marriage needs right now is to have our best friend living with us, if that makes it possible for us to treat each other better, create a stronger foundation for our marriage, and have a third person for board games on a Tuesday night, then I think we’re doing things just fine.

There is so much I disagree with in this that I barely know where to begin. You treat your spouse right because that is what you vowed to do, you develop your own foundation with your spouse! I do think it’s important to have a community of people (family and friends) around you who want your marriage to succeed and who will cheerlead on your behalf. But when it comes down to it, the two people who are married are the people who call the shots and make the rules. I fail to see how having a roommate enhances that. AT. ALL.

If folks aren’t careful, a dangerous precedent could be established. What if you start confiding in a roommate things you should be telling your spouse? What if your roommate gets a bit too comfy and starts to feel they can interject their opinion in decisions you make with your spouse? What if you simply can’t feel comfortable in your own home anymore?

I couldn’t believe the co-signing that was going on in the comment section for this post. Maybe it’s because I was single for so long and one had one roomate (excluding college/cohabitation periods) in the whole time I’ve lived on my own. But what I do know is this, I cannot possibily see how deliberately making the choice to take on an additional person in your home (and by extension your marriage) can be a good thing.

I’m not the one.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? 

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21 thoughts on “Marriage & Roommates?? Yeah, No.

  1. My husband and I currently have a roommate, but that’s because if he weren’t with us, he’d be in a homeless shelter. His parents are both bat-shit crazy, him and his girlfriend broke up due to her having an affair, he only has a few friends and they aren’t in a position where they can help, and he doesn’t have any other family nearby. He doesn’t have a job either. He’s been with us for about two weeks, and while he’s a nice guy and I’d prefer having him stay in our spare room instead of a shelter, there have been times when the situation has driven me nuts. I think it’s time we lay down some ground rules. While it is something that we discussed way before this happened (for financial reasons), now that I’ve been in that situation I’d prefer not to be in it again, only if another close friend or family member were in trouble.

  2. These people are just weird. I’m sure that if we examined other areas of their lives, we’d find other weird aspects. Can’t help but wonder if the husband is bi also. Weird. Just weird.

  3. They all went out on Valentine’s Day?!

    She may as well call this what it is: polyamorous. No one’s falling for the “this is our roommate, Joe” line.

  4. I’m so confused here. I don’t see much wrong with having a roommate or living with family of necessity of necessity or as a means to get ahead but this story leaves me all sorts of confuddled.

    I agree with Erica B, there are a lot of underlying issues going on here. They don’t know how to be alone with one another. Doesn’t sound to me like either are fully committed to marriage and building a family and community of their own. You don’t need a roommate to make you act right or because you can sometimes get lonely.

    All I read was a bunch of excuses as to why these folks probably don’t need to be married.

  5. Alright. You may or may not remember that my husband and I lived with a roomate for 5 years. He just moved out last year. Now while I was ecstatic to see him go, I actually did enjoy having him around. We had an open enough relationship to have disagreements in front of him and then ask his opinion. We had an extra person for game nights and to help with the kids. One thing I didnt like though is that if Hubs made me mad, he had someone to talk to while he was getting the silent treatment from me. I would have prefered him to be reveling in why I was mad at him but at the same time, I was afforded the same luxury through the roomate. I wouldnt “invite” him back into our home but as someone who has had it, I dont see it as totally strange.

    • I never got the impression that you all had a roommate. I thought your dude was someone you were helping who stayed too long?? At the end of the day it’s still a non-relative living with you, but there’s a difference to me.

    • K Rock, I do remember that you said you and your hubs had a roommate for some time. And five years would have been WAY too long for me to do it, but you and your husband agreed to it and that’s all that matters. That would not work for me at all.

  6. Maybe this is cultural. I am thinking of RHOBH and how the British couple had a roomate that seemed to be the boyfriend to the marriage.

    I keep bumping into people who have their own version of Kato Kaelin. It is just amazing to realize that this arrangement is not uncommon.

  7. Honestly, though it’s not for me and my husband, they’re young and they mentioned they’re living in an expensive city. I can see how a roommate might be a good way for them to stay afloat financially. If they each have private living quarters and he’s ponying up a good portion of their mortgage/rent, I can sorta understand why they might go for this.

    My real “scratching my head moment” came as I was reading that they all went out on a Valentine’s Day date. That shows that they’re not only a married couple living with someone else, they ALL have boundary issues. Not cool.

  8. i’m not understanding why others would be co-signing on the original author’s post. there’s too much nonsense here and a roomate is not the solution – the author needs to take a look at herself and do the hard things for herself and her marriage.
    and if its valentines day, why do all of them have to be out together…
    someone’s trying to hard to redefine something that does not need it.
    marriage is 2 people+God – that’s the 3 cord strand she should be going for.

  9. I don’t even understand what she’s talking about cause damn, a third person in the house means I can’t get freaky all over it at any time and I can’t walk around nekkid and iCANT. Shit on that.

  10. Pardon my french, but she on some bullshyt. Actually, all 3 of them are. #can’tclaptothat

  11. If they like it, I love it. Wouldn’t be us though.

  12. to paraphrase old folks “she needs to stop playing married and BE married”

  13. How peculiar and weird. My first thought is perhaps she wants Joe.

  14. I’m not married and haven’t been married but I say no way would that work for me. To each their own but there are a lot of problems with that relationship that they can’t be alone together. That shyt cray (in my opinion).

  15. That’s crazy to me. But I guess to each their own. I’m often befuddled by married couples who feel the need to always have other people around them. IMO, that’s a sign that they don’t want to deal with what’s really going on in their relationship.

    And that thing she says about being on their best behavior is ridiculous. You NEED to be able to let your hair down and be your “naked” self. I don’t need to put on airs when I’m at home. If I feel like screaming, cussing, fussing, fighting and foaming at the mouth in the privacy of my own home with my spouse, that’s how I need to be able to express myself.

    I’m no “Dr. Phil”, but I think there are A LOT of underlying issues within that marriage. She can try and spin that crap all she wants, but I’m not buying it.

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