Help, My Roommate’s Girlfriend Won’t Leave!

egJey8PDear Uncommon Courtesy,

If your roommate as a significant other over fairly regularly, isn’t it expected that the roommate would not leave his SO alone in the apartment? Shouldn’t he be responsible for making his guest enter and leave the apartment with him? I get that it’s his girlfriend but I wouldn’t let any of my guests stay in the apartment for prolonged amounts of time (4+ hours) without me. He and I weren’t friends before he moved in a few months ago, and I’ve confronted him at least three times but he seems to be in denial about how long his girlfriend is there without him. She mostly stays in his room, but I feel like she’s just trying not to get caught now.


Unintentional Third


Official Etiquette

According to a survey on the subject on, “A strong majority of survey respondents think it’s none of their business if a significant other is staying over a few (2-3) nights a week. The majority also thinks that if they are staying nearly every night of the week (more than 5), they should be chipping in something. The tipping point is at 5 nights a week, where our survey respondents are roughly split 50/50.” Also, when Miss Manners was asked about one girl’s boyfriend getting in trouble with the landlord for parking in a “guest” spot so often, she replied “guests are not charged by hosts for the space they occupy. Residents usually share costs. Miss Manners will leave it up to you and the gentleman in question to define what he is doing in the apartment.” So…she’s no help at all.

Our Take

Jaya: This is definitely an issue, but I don’t think there’s a hard and fast etiquette rule about this. I don’t think most people “expect” anything about this situation one way or another. Especially if this is your only issue with your roommate (which I’m not sure about in this case).

Victoria:  If they ARE there all the time, they should probably chip in with rent and utilities. But at some point it becomes about how your roommate lives his life and you either deal with it or move/ask them to move.

Jaya: Definitely, and it changes with every situation. A few years ago I basically lived with my then-boyfriend for a few months, but his roommate was a mutual friend so it was much easier. I offered to pay rent but they said no, so I tried to make it up by cleaning up after myself and cooking and not spending too much time in the living room unless we were all hanging out. It’s not this automatic etiquette faux pas, though I do think it’d be polite of her to offer something like that.

Victoria: It’s just so hard.

Jaya: But like, we’re all adults here. People have overnight guests, and if she stays in his room mostly it seems like she’s making an effort to be clean and scarce. If she’s taking up a lot of space or making huge messes or a lot of noise that’s another issue, but I’m not sure that’s the case here.

Victoria: The hard part for me is that this person may be the roommate’s girlfriend, but she’s still pretty much a stranger to LW. I wish more shared apartments came with locks on the bedroom doors.

Jaya: Totally, just because your roommate trusts this girl doesn’t mean you have to. She might be a con artist and steal all your stuff! But if you’ve already brought it up three times and nothing is changing, I think you either have to accept it or move out.

Victoria: That’s just solid advice for most roommate situations.

Jaya: If she were to talk to her roommate a fourth time about this, what should she say?

Victoria: Just be like, I know we’ve talked about this before, but “Jane” is here almost every day and it’s starting to be too much. And then maybe suggest she can only be there say 3-4 nights a week, or that she can only be there when he’s there. And then if he disagrees, say then you need to start splitting the utilities at least 3 ways. Maybe you can talk about rent, but a lot of group apartments split rent by bedroom.

Jaya: Coming at it with a list of demands definitely helps, and it can also help you figure out what you’re willing to live with. Like, is the issue that you think you’re paying too much in rent for three people living there? Or is the issue that she’s over all the time?

Victoria: I think paying rent or utilities can be a nice consolation if you lose the battle of how often they’re over, so at least you end up saving money. But yeah, it’s all about knowing what you can and can’t live with.

Jaya: And you know, just think about it from their side.  Maybe she lives far away and it’s just easier for her to hang out for a few hours instead of going home then going back out somewhere.

Victoria: Yes, if you were in their position, you’d want to bring over a significant other too.


2 thoughts on “Help, My Roommate’s Girlfriend Won’t Leave!

  1. Pingback: What Are My Responsibilities Towards My Roommate’s Cat? | Uncommon Courtesy

  2. Any house guest who stays more than 3 days per week (more than half time) becomes a resident, because spending the majority of the time in the home is the equivolent of living there. The person no longer qualifies as a guest with guest priviliges. Allowing your guest to become a resident means that the original rental agreement is being changed. Making changes in the rental agreement obligates you to obtain the consent of your orignal roomate. If you do not want to ask for consent, or if the original roomate chooses not to consent to alterations in the agreement, then it is you who is obligated to move. You are never entitled to more than your original 1/2 of the say so at the residence. You have no natural right to usurp the original roomates 1/2 say so, regardless of the fact that you chose to enter into a relationship and now desire to make your girlfriend a resident of the hosehold that you share in partnership with the original roommate.

    It is quite surprising that the majority of those surveyed would feel entitled to confiscate 100% say so over the residence, and would expect that the original roommate must forfeit their right to continue living under circumstances that they’ve agreed to. This attitude that a person is entitled to have exactly what they want just because they want it, and that they needn’t consider how it affects others in the home, shows that they are lacking the maturity and integrity to partner sucessfully with house mates. Any home in which there isnt mutuality, is a home that is doomed to implode with conflict. A good roomy is someone who can set aside that echoing Me, Me, Me, for a healthier sense of We, Us, and Our.

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