How do i get my roommate to give me and my girl some space?
May 22, 2009 7:27 PM   Subscribe

How do i get my roommate to give me and my girl some space?

I've just taken up a lease on a house and moved into the basement with a friend. We're both attend a Christian college, however we have quite distinct views when it comes to relationships.

I am currently involved and sexually active with a girl, he is not, nor has he ever been. I've discussed with him that there will be times when i will want the room to myself with my girl, and he automatically jumps to the conclusion that we will be having sex.

While this will be true some of the time, as stated before, we all go to a Christian college, so sex and sexual activity in general is frowned upon... naturally my girl and I have a reputation of sort to hold up, and don't want it to be public knowledge that we are active.

SO... how do i go about telling/asking him (and the rest of the house) about having my girl stay the night and allowing us to have our private time/space?
posted by oviedo to Human Relations (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Uh, your reputation?

That ship has probably already sailed. What you are asking, in that particular context, is impossible.

Depending on how conservative your college (I understand there is a range) you might even be courting expulsion. And depending on how serious your housemate/s take their faith, I would imagine they may be rather proactive in approaching you about your activity. Please remember that their reputations to a lesser extent will be affected by what you do as someone who shares a living space.

I know that as a single girl back in the day, sharing a condo with another female, I was totally shocked and upset to come home from out of town and find her fiance there-and in that case he was not even in her room but sleeping in the hall!!! I felt that as a Christian it affected my rep as much as hers, and that she had no right to drag me into it. So, there's that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:33 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

If the basement that you are sharing is one room, then it is unrealistic for you to expect him to clear out whenever you get the whim. Unless you talked about this before moving in together (and given that this behavior is looked down upon by your school and your roommate), then you are making an unreasonable request. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be having sex... but it's unfair to put the burden on your roommate to allow something he is uncomfortable with happen in the space that he lives in. If he had known that this would be that case, he have chosen a different living arrangement. So, go get a hotel room, or make other arrangements, but don't expect him to "give you space" for this sort of activity (even if it isn't always for sex).
posted by kimdog at 7:39 PM on May 22, 2009 [13 favorites]

Just... ask?

Hey, roommate, as you know, HotChristianChick and I are seeing each other, and I was wondering how you felt about our having some privacy here in the room. I don't want to be disrespectful to you and OtherRoommates, and I appreciate your understanding where I'm coming from. Especially since we're all going to GossipyCollege, I just don't want to strain things or have any conflicts or issues that could affect things outside our lovely apartment.
posted by Picklegnome at 7:41 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

erm... that's "he may have chosen a different living arrangement". If you actually have your own room separate from his, then it's a different story. But don't expect him to maintain your "rep".
posted by kimdog at 7:42 PM on May 22, 2009

Based on your description, you're not being fair. If you two are sharing a room, then you really can't ask him to leave and make arrangements to fit your schedule. It's his space and he has more right to it than your girlfriend.

Your best best would be to make it attractive for him to leave, such as paying for him to go to a movie. You could also try rearranging your schedule around when he's in class.

As to the sex and reputation part: Your school/religion has a rule. You're breaking that rule. He knows you're breaking the rule. He will probably talk, that's what people do. I'm not judging you, just saying that you need to look at the situation realistically, if you're worried about your reputation. If you and the girl want to have sex, then have sex, but don't expect others to lie for you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:43 PM on May 22, 2009

You are asking for trouble. There is about a 99 percent chance that this will get out, either because your roommate tells others right away or people start asking him why girl X is over all the time and he finally blurts it out in a moment of frustration. Seeing as you go to a Christian college, I assume that if this were known to your college you might face some sort of discipline (or even get kicked out of the college.) I've lived in a Christian cooperative housing situation and I got in trouble for the pettiest, stupidest things imaginable because the other residents thought I wasn't being "Christian" enough. I can't imagine your situation will go any better.

Those considerations aside, you are putting a huge strain on your friendship with the other guy to expect him to vacate the premises every now and then so you can have some privacy with your girlfriend. Did he know you were going to do this BEFORE the two of you moved in together? If his values prohibit premarital sex, he may find it impossible to live in the same quarters where his values are being (inadvertently) mocked. This wouldn't be such a big deal if you had separate rooms with doors that close. But you don't. Frolic elsewhere and suck it up for the time being until you have enough money to live on your own or people with values more similar to your own.
posted by Happydaz at 7:46 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Did you discuss these views before you moved in together?

If not, bad move on your part - this is a big issue/topic with everyone, but especially at a Christian school. I don't think it is really fair for you to ask him to give you space and/or be okay with her spending the night if it wasn't pre-agreed. Especially if it's just one room.

(Anecdotally - one of my roommates used to have her boyfriend sleep over in our room, on her bunk above mine. They never had sex while I was in the room, but it was awful. After it happened twice, we had a huge blow out and I moved out because I wasn't comfortable with it because it wasn't talked about before hand. But another one of my roommates had asked me in advance, we'd discussed it, and it was fine when her boyfriend stayed over. Communication is key!)

Is his "automatic jumping" to the sex conclusion wrong? Because if you just want to talk or hang out privately, I'm sure there are other places you can go. If you do want to have sex during those times, though, then you and your roommate need to sit down and have a serious talk. If neither of you are willing to cave, then one of you should move out.
posted by firei at 7:47 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm assuming your "girl" doesn't have her own room somewhere else where she would not be judged by her choices? If not, you really don't have any options for privacy expectations if you are sharing a bedroom with your roommate. As someone who once lived in a dorm where it was one room shared by two people, the general rule was to just know when your roommate won't be home and get your alone time in then. There must be times when he is in class or has a club activity or work and you and your girlfriend are free.

The whole reputation and your school's rules thing is a whole 'nother issue. I lived in an all-girls dorm full of conservative Christians (I got stuck there by luck of the draw), albeit at a public university with no restrictions on the personal lives of students, and the gossip mill seemed to run pretty fast at the slightest indication of anything scandalous. Good luck.
posted by ishotjr at 7:49 PM on May 22, 2009

I would like to say, completely upfront, that this is coming from the perspective of "the other roommate."

At my Christian University, not only is premarital sex on (or off) campus grounds for severe consequences if caught, even knowing about it and not saying anything is grounds for severe consequences. Of course, the University doesn't completely police what its students do off-campus (which would be logistically ridiculous), but if found out....

Since we lived on-campus, her actions had a direct impact on us and our standing with the University. For me, it all comes down to being respectful of each other and taking each other's feelings and rights into consideration, too. I highly second firei's point about communication being key! Things did not go well with my roommate and I, because I did not feel like I could bring up important issues (such as how her napping with her boyfriend in our room bothered me) without feeling that she could make the living situation extremely unpleasant. Unfortunately, this fear was confirmed when I finally did say something. I should have brought it up immediately, right from the beginning, and we all (four other roommate included) could have avoided a disastrous semester.

Is this a joint-lease, or is it technically your friend's place? If it's your friend's place, and he disapproves, I suggest abiding by his wishes.

And if it's going to be a serious problem with your roommates in general, please just go somewhere else.
posted by litterateur at 7:58 PM on May 22, 2009

I've never gone to a Christian college, but if the above comments are even close to the truth, you and your girl might consider a hotel room on nights where you want to sleep together. Sounds like they have pretty strict rules in general about behavior even off campus.

If you share the basement with your friend, you can't possibly expect him to stay away the whole night (are you really even asking if that's okay? Because I can't imagine anyone thinking it was cool), and I doubt your girl will want to sleep in the basement with both of you, no matter how innocently.

If you just want a couple hours alone with her, you could offer to pay for him to go out to a movie or similar, but really he is under no obligation to clear the field for you.
posted by misha at 8:01 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

You can spend all sorts of time trying to figure this one out and not come up with a workable solution other than getting creative sexually or buying a motel room here and there; you can abstain from sexual activity and give yourself and your girlfriend the free gift of nothing to worry about. You have a couple (albeit difficult) options here. Talk it over with your girlfriend and do some soul-searching together. I think some people would say that having an honest discussion about a difficult situation and ending up taking the peaceful, more difficult/most inconvenient path is the Christian way of solving it. Good luck with your dilemma...maybe you should just wait anyhow. Who knows, she might be the One For You...and you'll have the rest of your lives for each other anyhow.
posted by mamaraks at 8:27 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Man, Christian colleges are crazy.

That being said, why not set up an evening each week that each of you is allowed to be in the room alone? Say, he gets Mondays, and you get Wednesdays. When sharing such tight quarters, some alone time is always useful, regardless of whether one is getting laid during that time. Your roommate might appreciate having the time alone to walk around naked/study/listen to music you hate/masturbate/etc., and this would make the arrangement more of a compromise than an unreasonable request on your part.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:43 PM on May 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

You really cannot ask your roommate to leave the apartment whenever you feel like it. Occasionally it's okay to ask, but in the end you have to remember you are sharing space with another person. Both of you live there, so compromises are necessary. Maybe think about getting your own place.

It would be difficult to hide what you are doing from the people around you. You may be ostracized but that's the price you may pay for your decision. You'll find out who your real friends are, and find some things out about yourself.
posted by faintly macabre at 8:50 PM on May 22, 2009

I am about as anti-Christian as you can get. But, dude, he's your roommate. You don't have any right to tell him to vacate the premises! Respect him and go get your own place.
posted by randomstriker at 9:05 PM on May 22, 2009

You say you've take a lease on a House and moved into the basement - if you're leasing the house, are there any other available rooms in the house (attic/basement)? If so, do what my wife and housemates did in college - have guest room. Anyone with a visiting boy/girl friend stayed that room and it worked out fine. It won't help your conflict with school, but it will help you not inconvenience your roommate for sure.
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:13 PM on May 22, 2009

Response by poster: just a few notes... the basement has 3 rooms
1. bedroom
2. lounging room (TV, fireplace, bar, etc)
3. utility room (washer, dryer, bathroom, storage)

my roommate and i are both on the lease, as well as 3 other guys, so the whole house is equally our place, including the upstairs areas.

also, he was my roommate last year, so he is aware of my relationship with my girl, but on-campus rules for male/female contact are much more strict (certain hours allowed in dorms, etc.)
posted by oviedo at 9:20 PM on May 22, 2009

Hotel room. Done.
posted by dfriedman at 9:39 PM on May 22, 2009

Look, you go to a college that has a certain moral code and your entire life revolves around this morality. You're violating this morality and you want what kind of resolution here? Look at it this way, you got a vegetarian college. Everyone is really big into vegetarian things. You get a house off campus and you decide, hey I like meat. The problem is you're still living with a bunch of vegetarians and you want to cook out some hamburgers once in awhile. Oh and you don't want other people to know you're not into hamburgers. And you're cooking it using utensils of your vegetarian friends and you want to know if it is cool if use it for that and then wash it all off later.

Well what the fuck. I'm totally cool if you had a change of faith and don't want to live a conservative Christian lifestyle. That's the way 99% of us live and there's a reason for that. But you're asking whether you can flagrantly violate this lifestyle in front of your friends and roommates and what's the best way to go about it.

Changing schools is easy, people do it all the time. Frankly if I had a roommate and suddenly he decided to go from law student in the library all the time to working part time at a liquor store and jamming with his band all night, that's a major violation of an unspoken code that took place when we decided to be roommates. Hey major lifestyle change? That's great, wait until your lease is up before you go at it like that.

Sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

PS Sex is like 10x better when forbidden and you have to hide it. But you probably already know this.
posted by geoff. at 9:48 PM on May 22, 2009 [5 favorites]

Nthing hotel room when you want sex...for the times you and GF simply want to talk privately, tell roomie this beforehand.

I was raised a Reform Jew,but I was made very uncomfortable by my first roommate who had a diffrerent guy in bed with her each night during the time we shared a space (single room divided by chiffarobes). I requested that she not have anyone in after 10 pm, but I doubt it would have made much difference if I'd bluntly told her to go to the guy's room.
posted by brujita at 9:58 PM on May 22, 2009

Christ, this has nothing to do with it being a Christian college or you and your girlfriend having reputations.

It's universal. If you want to fuck privately with no effect on your reputations, go somewhere private.

Space you share with roommates isn't private.

Hotel, her place, your van, the park, the beach, the roof.

Quit imposing on your roommate.
posted by gum at 11:51 PM on May 22, 2009 [5 favorites]

pay him off ... give him a movie voucher on the condition that he clears off and watches a movie when you want your private time. Ask him to take the long way home.
posted by jannw at 1:22 AM on May 23, 2009

The weather's getting nice out. Is there a serious tract of woods around? Go for a camping trip and have all the sex you want. It's great.

If the policies and norms at your school are causing you trouble, you may want to reconsider the school you're going to.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:19 AM on May 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hotel room dude.

This would piss me off if I were your roomate and we were all pagans. I want to be in my room when I want to be in my room, whenever.

You shared a room with a dude, dude. You have no leverage here. Get a hotel.
posted by sully75 at 6:25 AM on May 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

If I'm reading your description of the basement right, you both have to share the same one bedroom? There's your problem. Any time I've ever shared housing with roommates we always moved into a place where we all had our own bedrooms with doors that close and this issue never really came up. Can you set up an illicit fun nest in the utility room. maybe with an inflatable mattress?
posted by barc0001 at 1:00 PM on May 23, 2009

Oh wait, re-reading your utility room description I see it's also the can. If it's the only can in the house your roommate has easy access to that's a non-starter as well.
posted by barc0001 at 1:01 PM on May 23, 2009

I'd switch schools and roommates, but then, I'd never refer to a girlfriend as "my girl" since--to me--it sounds possessive (i.e., too patriarchal, whether it's based on sexist christian mythology or hip-hop mentality or whatever).

I've always thought of college as a time of liberation and exploration--a time to try and figure yourself out and eat the forbidden fruits in order to gain self-awareness (even if it comes with some "oh shit I'm naked" shame). That said, if you like everything else about your christian madrassa, perhaps you should challenge the system openly and see what happens--who knows, maybe they'll accept and respect your personal interpretation of the doctrines on which their teaching is based (after all, surely they don't support everything in the biblie--e.g., stoning kids to death and selling daughters into slavery, etc.) instead of being openly hostile towards any transgression or thinking for oneself. Good luck.
posted by whatgorilla at 3:13 PM on May 23, 2009

It's really, really annoying to not be able to have access to your room because your roommate's SO is there. (it's even skeevier to come to your room and find your roommate's SO there w/out the roommate.)
posted by leahwrenn at 5:32 PM on May 23, 2009

I'm a bit confused, even with your clarification. Are you sharing the basement bedroom with this roommate, or sharing the house with him and other roommates, whom each have their separate bedrooms?

I've been close to in your shoes; had a roommate who was a good friend who always gave me this 'knowing look' whenever my girlfriend and I would go to my room. I simply brought it up with him and told him (nicely) that I didn't appreciate the presumption. Sometimes you just want alone time with your SO.
posted by ElfWord at 1:20 PM on May 24, 2009

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