October 13, 2010 3:23 PM   Subscribe

My partner and I are making my unhappily single roommate miserable. I don't want to make him unhappy. I also don't want to not be in a relationship. Can this apartment be saved?

I am a girl with a male roommate. We've lived together in a two-bedroom apartment for over a year. When we moved in we were both single. For the first few months we lived together, I was actively dating and brought people home every once in a while; he isn't and didn't, but he seemed okay enough with it at the time. Since then I've found a partner who lives out of town, and he comes to see me when he can. We're deliriously happy. My roommate, on the other hand, is becoming less and less so.

We're all underemployed and at the house a lot, and it's really not that big, so space is an issue in general. My partner and I are kinky and occasionally get loud, and have generally been spending a lot of time wrapped up in each other being newly in love. My roommate is unhappily single and has been struggling with his sexuality and various personal issues, and he says that this situation has been making him feel worse. He says that hearing any sex at all freaks him out, and that having my partner around makes feel uncomfortable in our shared space. My partner has been coming to visit more and more often, so all of this is becoming more and more of a problem.

I really don't want to make my roommate unhappy. At the same time, my partner is also really important to me. What can we do? It's not as simple as just going and hanging out at my partner's place more often, because he doesn't live in town, and if I was gone all the time my roommate wouldn't be happy either.

Posted anon for plausible deniability.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (45 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you not be quieter? I recently shared a very small two bedroom wherein my roommate and I both occasionally had partners sleep over. Never heard a peep from him, and the same is true from his perspective (or so he says).

As for your roommate being generally opposed to your boyfriend being around, that is pretty non-negotiable. Unless there was a policy when you moved in that you were not to have significant others over to the apartment, he needs to just learn to get used to the idea.

I would propose a compromise where you promise to be quieter and maybe try to be around the house a little less (as in, like, "we'll go out more", not "I won't invite him over"). And his side of the compromise is that he's cool with your guy being over when he needs to be over, and maybe agrees to play music or something.
posted by Sara C. at 3:32 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe you could get your roommate some nice headphones? And tone down the banging, screaming and such? Then start making plans to move so you find a better living situation.
posted by meepmeow at 3:32 PM on October 13, 2010

The answer to your first question is "no", assuming he stays. I think you need to either get your own place, or get a new roommate. If you having your partner around makes him feel "uncomfortable in your shared space", then the problem lies with him (especially if you have brought people home in the past, without issues). You could try to "tone down" the sex, but, really, why should you, assuming you're not swinging off the chandelier or doing it in the sitting room?
posted by gene_machine at 3:33 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

There are things that are more within your control and things that are less within your control. So these things are places where there is room to move.

1. loud sex.
2. amount of time spent at your place vs. so's place
3. amount of time spent in public spaces
4. public schmoopy
5. time you spend with roommate when your so isn't around
6. the amount of concern you show your roommate's concerns

These things are less within your control

1. roommate's relationship status
2. roommate's comfort with his own sexuality
3. the fact that your partner lives far away
4. roommate's sadness

Now I'm not saying "to hell with that guy" but I am saying that the two of you need to have a talk, and you should decide as housemates what some guidelines are for the living arrangement when one of you has an SO. Things like consideration of public/private space, guidelines about how often your SO is over vs. you going to his place etc. No one is asking you to ditch the SO, but you may have to be more explicit about what makes a good roommate generally and the two of you need to agree on things. And then once you've agreed and are trying to be considerate to the extent you feel is warranted, your roommate should probably think a little about whether that's enough or whether maybe the living situation now sucks for him.

And I'll be honest, I'm a little more like your roommate. Not mopey, but living with a roommate who has a frequent visitor that they have loud sex with is a very different situation than living with a friend who is around and hanging out. I would not want that living situation personally. That said, I'm aware I can't control other people and so I live alone. So it's possible that this is just something you're not all going to agree on. You should think personally how much you're willing to accomodate your roommate and how much you think his concerns are not your responsibility. There is no right answer really.
posted by jessamyn at 3:33 PM on October 13, 2010 [22 favorites]

How often is your partner coming? Every other weekend for the whole weekend is pushing the bounds of acceptability, so it should be less than that. Don't leave your partner alone in the apartment, or give him keys. Be more considerate about noise, and keep PDAs to private space (if this is an issue). Also, if -- as it seems -- your roommate is also a friend, try not to be that person who stops seeing all her friends when she's in a relationship -- spend time just with him in the same ways you did when you were single.
posted by jeather at 3:37 PM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

He says that hearing any sex at all freaks him out, and that having my partner around makes feel uncomfortable in our shared space.

You can and should attempt to address the noise issue in a number of different ways. Let your room mate know ahead of time when your partner will be coming over, so he can schedule other activities. Invest in a nice pair of headphones for him. And above all else, just try to be quieter. You say you're kinky, so hey, work that into your games!

As for feeling uncomfortable in the shared space - did your roomie offer any constructive suggestions about what specifically could be done to make him feel better on this point? Does it weird him out to find things moved around or see your partner's things in the common areas? Is he just not comfortable with this guy as a person, and wants more room away from him? Or is it honestly his insecurity as Single Dude that's causing the problem? If you can find ways to help him feel more comfortable, then by all means go for them, but in the end he's going to have to tackle his own demons, and you'll have to decide what limitations you're willing to accept on your relationships (new or otherwise) in this shared space.
posted by lriG rorriM at 3:45 PM on October 13, 2010

The "hearing any sex at all freaks him out" thing is kind of unreasonable position for someone sharing an apartment to hold, especially when this wasn't a problem before. On the other hand I have no idea how loudly or how frequently you're having kinky sex.

Since you didn't rule it out, there's also the possibility that he's developed feelings for you, which would explain a lot of what's going on.
posted by Locobot at 3:46 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

My partner and I are kinky and occasionally get loud

This is going to be a problem for nearly any roommate. Wait until your roommate is out of the house to be loud, and when he is there put some music on and make efforts to be quiet. This is (or should be) just common sense.
posted by ripley_ at 3:46 PM on October 13, 2010 [25 favorites]

My roommate is unhappily single and has been struggling with his sexuality and various personal issues

Consider that your roommate may be attracted to you. Or attracted to your partners.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:46 PM on October 13, 2010 [6 favorites]

...if I was gone all the time my roommate wouldn't be happy either.

This sentence sent up a huge red flag for me. It's understandable that he's uncomfortable sharing his living space with your boyfriend, that he's uncomfortable hearing you guys have sex, yadda yadda... But why do or should his feelings factor into whether or not you visit your out-of-town boyfriend? This is starting to sound really co-dependent to me.
posted by muddgirl at 3:47 PM on October 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Maybe you could get your roommate some nice headphones?

That would enrage me. You're going to have to try to be more thoughtful: quieter, or only loud when the roommate isn't home. And if your SO is spending a whole lot of time at your place, having him contribute in some way to the household (be it financially, or doing the dishes and taking out the trash or something) may make your roommate happier.
posted by amro at 3:54 PM on October 13, 2010 [16 favorites]

To build on what Jessamyn said, I think that chances are the things you can control are greatly exacerbating the things that you can't.

As in your roommate might not dread your partner being around if he didn't associate it with loud sex (which can make people very uncomfortable) and the general PDA. His discomfort may also have a lot to do with how you two act around him. I've been around couples where we could all just hang out and it was fine and then there are other couples where I felt like the perpetual third wheel until I finally just excused myself to my bedroom. No one wants to feel like that in their own house. I'm going to take a bit of a leap and guess that your "delirious happiness" doesn't leave a lot of room for him to feel like part of the group while hanging out in his own living room. Taking steps to make him feel included may go a long way.

Also I think that at a maximum a significant other shouldn't be spending more than 2 to 3 days MAX on average if you have roommates. I realize you are long distance, but s/he should be there less than s/he is there in a given month. And that's at an absolute max. If you two want to be spending nearly every night together you should move in together. If you don't want to do that quite yet you have to accept you can't spend nearly every night together.

And seriously stop with the loud sex. You get to have that when you are alone in the house or when you get your own place. It's really just common decency and respect.
posted by whoaali at 3:57 PM on October 13, 2010 [17 favorites]

Consider that your roommate may be attracted to you. Or attracted to your partners.

Was going to suggest the same thing.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:59 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

My partner and I are kinky and occasionally get loud, and have generally been spending a lot of time wrapped up in each other being newly in love

I'm sorry, but this coupled with the fact that you say your new boyfriend has been around more and more, is screaming that you need to get a new place or start getting a hotel room. It's your house, yes, but it's also your roommate's apartment, and if he's already told you that he's uncomfortable with your boyfriend being over all the time, then continuing to have loud kinky sex while he's home is just rude.
posted by kro at 4:02 PM on October 13, 2010 [7 favorites]

My partner and I are kinky and occasionally get loud, and have generally been spending a lot of time wrapped up in each other being newly in love.

He says that hearing any sex at all freaks him out, and that having my partner around makes feel uncomfortable in our shared space.

I would feel uncomfortable being in shared space with someone who I just heard having loud kinky sex. I wouldn't like to hear any sex, kinky or not, and I also don't like PDA.

I guess I'm on the end of the spectrum Jessamyn describes, but I don't think his complaints are unreasonable, regardless of gender or happiness level.

So maybe a good way to approach it is as a basic courtesy issue rather than reaching a compromise that makes his life better in the process. His problems are his own and completely separate from your relationship with your partner.
posted by vincele at 4:03 PM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

I don't know how frequently your boyfriend is over, but I had a roommate whose boyfriend was over constantly, staying over all the time, etcetera. It was really annoying, and I still hold a bit of a grudge against her for it. It's his apartment too. The fact that he's going through his own emotional stuff and hates to hear any sex at all — sure, a little unreasonable. But, as someone said above me, if he's over more than every other weekend, and if he's staying there for large period of times, especially during the day in a small apartment, you guys need to find somewhere else to go, and you need to start looking for somewhere else to live. Your roommate probably isn't handling this perfectly, but I think you're being rude. If you're sharing an apartment, especially a small one, you can't use it as your own personal love nest.
posted by good day merlock at 4:15 PM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's not as simple as just going and hanging out at my partner's place more often, because he doesn't live in town, and if I was gone all the time my roommate wouldn't be happy either.

OK, your partner doesn't live in town but he manages to come see you. I don't understand why you can't go see him. Unless you have a weird agreement with your housemate that you won't leave on the weekend or something, I don't see what he has to be unhappy about. Housemates don't get to tell you how often you need to be around as long as you are not shirking any house-keeping duties or forgetting to pay rent, or whatever. If he has some other reason you need to be around, then this question is less about housemate issues and more about kooky relationship threeway issues.

At any rate, you should: make every effort to not make noise; go stay at your partner's house more often; get out of the house with your partner rather than living on the couch. Give your housemate some quiet and space, but he can't be wigged out if you're gone. That's not reasonable.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:28 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Jumping on the "hearing other people have sex is completely gross and uncool" bandwagon. It's really icky and weird.
posted by kpht at 4:34 PM on October 13, 2010 [8 favorites]

I don't want to make him unhappy. I also don't want to not be in a relationship.

These aren't your only options. You need to be willing to compromise. Your question makes it sound like you have absolutely no control over your actions- you're in love, and you must display it at all times however you feel like it, roommates be damned! But it's just as much his place as it is yours.

If I were in your roommate's shoes, I could see maybe thinking I should leave the apartment for a while if the significant other is coming over, both out of respect for your privacy and also because I don't want to hear your business. But if your boyfriend is coming over often, I can definitely understand why he'd be getting upset about it. Essentially his only options are to leave whenever you guys feel like doing it, or sit around and listen to you have sex. And then, I imagine, watching you guys hang all over each other on the couch in front of the TV or whatever. Those are pretty crappy options for any roommate.

If you can't for whatever reason go visit your boyfriend at his place, and you can't have quieter sex, then have him come over less.
posted by wondermouse at 4:39 PM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm not trying to be rude/mean, but there is a really wide gulf between having frequent loud sex in a small shared apartment and engaging in frequent icky PDA in front of everyone (that's how I read this: have generally been spending a lot of time wrapped up in each other being newly in love.) and not being able to be in a relationship.

This is just one of those times where you have to have a little self control in order to be considerate.

It might feel Wrong or unfairly restrictive or like Censorship to be asked to tone those things down, but it's the mature adult thing to do. I think the problem will be largely solved if you don't engage in PDA in the apartment and don't have audible sex while your roommate is home or likely to be coming home. (And don't hint to him that he should probably leave because you want to have sex.)

And yes, having another person sleeping over constantly and hanging around the house all the time, who isn't paying rent, is not too cool in a situation like this in general, no matter who the person is. It would help a lot if your boyfriend did chores, contributed some money, and if the two of you spent all the time you could out of the apartment (parks, cafes, shows, etc.).
posted by Ashley801 at 4:42 PM on October 13, 2010 [4 favorites]

In addition to the sensible advice you're getting above, you could also visit your partner more as well, so that his roommate can hear you having sex and your roommate can have some space.
posted by headnsouth at 4:43 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Most people seem to be missing
It's not as simple as just going and hanging out at my partner's place more often, because he doesn't live in town, and if I was gone all the time my roommate wouldn't be happy either.
Advising her to sleep over at her boyfriend's place without addressing this part of the question is useless - she's clearly already realized that this is the solution.
posted by muddgirl at 5:06 PM on October 13, 2010

Yeah, other than the "issues with sexuality" and the "roommate would be upset if I left" (wtf?) part of that, this could have been me and my previous roommate. Great girl, we're still friends, but her boyfriend was over CONSTANTLY, for days at a time, and that was annoying enough in itself without throwing in the "listening to people have sex" component. (Which I understand will happen, but they at least tried to be quiet. You don't seem to even be doing that.) I would definitely not assume his annoyance with the situation is because he's lusting after either one of you or buy him headphones.

If you're leaving your boyfriend there when you're not there for multiple days a month, that is a perfectly valid complaint for your roommate to have, even if your boyfriend is a 100% responsible and considerate guy and never uses all of the toilet paper or leaves a mess in the kitchen. The fact is, he's not paying bills and he's forcing your roommate to "live" with more people than he's paying for. If it were *just* a matter of money, we'd all be living in 20 people compounds and paying virtually nothing, but personal space is a premium most of us are willing to pay extra to have.

I second the people above who have said "be more considerate about when you have sex, and be quieter," "don't have him over more than a few days a month," (I was willing to put up with a lot more than people above me, so I'd go by the 2-4 mentioned above) "go visit him sometimes instead" and "if all else fails, get a hotel room." Also, I assume you're doing this, but let your roommate know when the fellow's coming to visit. It's also stressful never knowing when there will be extra people at your place. Oh, and on preview, if you're never, ever hanging out with your roommate any more, and he was previously your friend, I'd do that. Unless he is really clingy and weird, he probably wouldn't mind the house to himself a weekend here and there as long as he had the occasional hang-out time.
posted by wending my way at 5:10 PM on October 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

I also don't think being in a relationship means you need to treat your roommate like a 3rd wheel during the times when all three of you are hanging out.

When all three of you are hanging out, you might want to sit next to your boyfriend every time, sit on his lap, snuggle, smooch, make googly eyes at each other, play footsy. Would you honestly die if you just acted normal?

What if sometimes you sat next to your roommate; what if sometimes your boyfriend sat next to your roommate? What if you all evenly engaged each other in conversation, instead of letting things dissolve into flirty banter and googly eyes between you and the gf?

In other words, what if you acted like 3 good friends hanging out, instead of a couple and a third wheel? It might be worth it to try it if you don't want to give up the apartment and you don't want your roommate to be without you all the time.
posted by Ashley801 at 5:12 PM on October 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

These tensions are just a natural part of growing up... like the transition to getting your own apartment.
posted by ovvl at 5:22 PM on October 13, 2010

My partner and I are kinky and occasionally get loud

Personally, I would consider this to be inexcusably rude. You don't have a private residence, you share with a roommate. Therefore, it's your responsibility (as well as your roommate's) to do everything in your power to not inconvenience your roommate. As in: don't leave hair in the shower, don't play your music loudly when they're trying to sleep, and don't subject them to becoming an unwilling participant in your sexual escapades.

If you want to have loud sex, you need to get your own place, or go to a motel. Restricting your sexual freedom is one of the things you accept as part of a roommate situation. Can't afford your own place? Then you just do without.

Part of growing up is learning that you can't have everything you want. Just as you wouldn't have sex on the living room floor while the roommate is in the room watching television, you shouldn't be audible outside of your private room.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:23 PM on October 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Advising her to sleep over at her boyfriend's place without addressing this part of the question is useless - she's clearly already realized that this is the solution.

But the question is not how to make her roommate happy. The question is how to keep both her relationship and her living situation intact. The answer is to make sure the boyfriend's, roommate's, and OP's needs are being met. Visiting the boyfriend more, especially since everyone is underemployed and therefore has more free time than they might otherwise, would give the OP and the boyfriend an opportunity to nurture their relationship without being in the roommate's limited personal space.

Whether the roommate would still be unhappy if the OP isn't there seems like speculation to me, and sounds a little bit roommate-bashy (why can't roommate just be happy for us?!). That might not be what's going on but regardless it's separate from the question the OP is asking.
posted by headnsouth at 5:31 PM on October 13, 2010

Just chiming in to say that roommates with significant others who are over all the time, taking up common areas of the apartment, and being loud, really bother me as a roommate. It's obviously well within the rights of roommates to have guests over, and I don't mind if roommates have guests sleeping in their room at night and then go to work the next day, or whatever, (or spend time over during the day a reasonable amount)but I feel that when I decide to rent an apartment with one, or two other people, or whatever, I take into account the size of the apartment and the living space I will have and all that. It doesn't seem fair to me if a significant other is suddenly in that living space the majority of the time.

Your situation may not be like this, but if it is, I think it's understandable that your roommate would be bothered. Especially with the loud sex!
posted by bearette at 5:31 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

So therefore, my suggestion is that you just need to be quieter and not in the apartment as much with your SO. It's only fair, in my opinion.
posted by bearette at 5:33 PM on October 13, 2010

We're all underemployed and at the house a lot, and it's really not that big, so space is an issue in general. My partner and I are kinky and occasionally get loud.

Is your roommate an introvert? Are you making it nearly impossible for him to ever come home and just relax? Do you know how stressful that can be?

Go outside. Go make out in the park. Get dressed up and go get a fancy coffee in the theatre district. Browse bookstores. Pick each other flowers. Wander neighbourhoods and pick out dream houses. Find a swingset or a seesaw. Go to pay-what-you-can plays and concerts. Volunteer to walk dogs.

Sex + music covering up the noise = plausible deniability & happier roommates
posted by heatherann at 5:49 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe your partner and you could invest in a ball gag. Kinky, muffled. Win, win.
posted by phoebus at 6:08 PM on October 13, 2010

Loud sex is rude, totally uncool. Yay for you and your relationship, but get a motel or something if there's going to be people within earshot.
posted by rhizome at 6:14 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am a happily single person living with a couple, married long before I befriended them and quite good at including a third wheel in conversation. She is away at school and therefore a "visitor" many weekends based on the 50/50 rent split. We are all pretty sex-positive people and I am totally unfazed by the occasional moan heard through our shared bedroom wall. However, if there was any kind of continuous noise you'd better believe we'd be having a talk about our respective schedules -- I'm not interested in feeling like I'm part of their sex life, ya know? But it works because I'm often out for 10+ hours on one or the other weekend day, and based on previous claims of loudness they must be making an effort to be quiet when I'm around.

So I don't think the objection to overhearing your loud sex noise is a quirk of your unhappy roommate's. Could you maybe work out an explicit schedule in which you each give the other some time alone at your place, and you reserve the noisy sex for when you actually have privacy?

I'm also kind of inclined to agree with the suggestions above that either he's crushing on one of you or he'd love a weekend alone if you visited your SO at his place.
posted by ecsh at 6:42 PM on October 13, 2010

It's not unreasonable for someone not to want to hear their roommate having sex and to not want to see PDA. It's rude to have loud sex when your roommate is home and it's rude to be all cutesy PDA in front of your roommate, especially when you know he doesn't like it. You don't need to do these things. Be quieter and keep the canoodling to your private space until you can change your living arrangements.
posted by elpea at 7:38 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Be respectful of his space - loud noises are a faux pas and are irritating to others.

However, remember that this is your space, too - you're paying rent - and your roommate certainly knew what he was getting into when he moved in with you. Some noise cannot be avoided.

As for making him feel bad when you have sex, he is being unreasonable. He needs to move out.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:00 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I suspect this is the time for you and your roommate to break up. The emo pouting, and being upset if you're gone, and the way he's acting is going beyond what could reasonably solved by your being hands-off with boyfriend outside of the bedroom and being quiet with it. The part where he's also upset if you're not even there? Boy, does that ever smell fishy. It sounds like he's totally bothered that you have a boyfriend at all, whatsoever. And while it would definitely behoove you to do it quieter and be more hands-off in public, I don't think that is going to solve the roommate's problem.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:08 PM on October 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

You know how drunk people find themselves hilarious and awesome and sober people can seem like humorless killjoys when you're out having a good time, and when you're sober, you realize drunk people aren't necessarily as hilarious as they are....really drunk and actually can be pretty exhausting to be around?

Welcome to the inside/outside of being newly in love. Seriously. Your roommate may well be needy and emo and unreasonable. You are still disrespecting basic roommate courtesy, and I'd try changing that up before deciding the primary problem is with his attitude. It might well be his problem. But I'm tolerant of romantic visitors for good stretches of time (though ten day stretches are about my limit for uninterrupted LDR visits, unless the SO chips in or does some cleaning or the visits alternate or something), and from your own description of your behavior, I'd be packing up and moving out.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 9:37 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

If I played really loud music and I knew that bothered my room-mate, I'd be a bit of shit-heel wouldn't I?

Same things goes for loud sex. Or dirty dishes for that matter. Living with someone (room-mate, GF/BF, spouse) is all about compromising and frankly it doesn't sound like you're willing to do so.

Depending on your lease situation, I'd say that if your room-mate is a co-signer with you the only decent thing for you to do is move out after you find a suitable person to take over your end of the bargain.

Wouldn't you be happier in your own place being able to make as much noise as you want, anyhow? I know I would.

Also, this: "if I was gone all the time my roommate wouldn't be happy either."

That doesn't make any sense. Are you room-mates or co-dependents? Again, another reason to move out or ask him to move out. If it's the latter, it would be nice of you to help him find a new, affordable place.
posted by bardic at 10:32 PM on October 13, 2010

IDK sounds like your roommate is being a little unreasonable. This is your home, you pay rent, you have sex like adults do. If he can't deal with that, maybe he shouldn't have roommates? I mean you could try to be quieter etc but sounds like it's a more complicated issues, ie "if i was gone all the time my roommate wouldn't be happy either.." that is pretty needy. It's hard to live with friends but sounds like there's some unresolved sexual tension or something & one of you probably needs to move out, probably him. There is nothing wrong with making compromises but bottom line is you should be able to feel at home in your own home.
posted by ellevira at 11:06 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think you're both being a little unreasonable.

Roommate is entitled to a reasonable expectation that you will try to keep the noise down, and not be excessively couply / he's-not-there around him. And it's hard to tell from your post, but there is a level of having guests over that is too much, and you may be crossing that.

There is a reasonable chance he is attracted to you at least to some degree.

You are entitled to have people over, have a boyfriend, have sex, etc.

Ideally you can have a reasoned conversation and work out some compromise between all these expectations.
posted by curious_yellow at 3:41 AM on October 14, 2010

I don't think expecting you to be quietly kinky is unreasonable.

I do think that expecting you to restrict PDA in your own home because your roommate has issues is unreasonable. It's your home. You get to relax and be comfortable.

To me, it's a pretty unworkable situation, frankly. Roommate doesn't want your partner around and he doesn't want you to go anywhere else. There's no way to meet those needs and maintain your relationship, and your personal needs/relationship should come first.

I'd make an interim compromise - quieter sex, and make an effort to get out of the apartment with the boyfriend when he's there. Maybe while he's helping you find a new place.
posted by lemniskate at 4:18 AM on October 14, 2010

KokuRyu's comment: "As for making him feel bad when you have sex, he is being unreasonable. He needs to move out." wandered around in my head for a while until it connected with this quote of the OP's: "if I was gone all the time my roommate wouldn't be happy either."

From my point of view, he shouldn't be made to feel any way when you have sex because he shouldn't know about it. Call me old fashioned and out of touch with what you crazy kids are up to today, but where I come from, it's still a social norm that sex take place either in private with no audience at all, or over the Internet with the whole world as an audience. There's no in between.

Because that's what your roomate is now. He's your audience. I have to wonder: is that the idea?

I bet your roommate is wondering this too. I bet he's also wondering if that's your only goal (which would be demoralising enough) or whether there are other goals stacked up behind it? Like for instance, impressing upon him that "He needs to move out."

I'm not saying you are doing this to be mean, for all I know, being mean is the furthest thing from your mind. But have you considered that this might be how it looks to your roommate and that he's upset not only because of the behaviour itself, but because he's questioning your motives and/or feeling passively aggressed against?
posted by tel3path at 7:50 AM on October 14, 2010

People are focusing a lot on this:

if I was gone all the time my roommate wouldn't be happy either

That's understandable, because it's a little odd for a roommate relationship. But it's also not clear where this idea comes from. Is this something he's told you? Or something that you assume to be true? If it's something he's told you, then I agree with others that there may be a bigger problem here. But if it's something you just think is the case - I bet it's not true. I've heard all sorts of complaints about roommates, but "leaves me the apartment to myself too often" isn't usually one of them.

To address the rest of your point - I've been in a situation where my roommate suddenly got into a relationship and she started to be over all the time. The place began to feel really crowded, and there was just this palpable sense that they were waiting for me to leave. Don't do that to your roommate. Your roommate pays rent, your partner doesn't. That means that your roommate's comfort in the apartment is more important than your partner's. If that presents a problem for you, it's time to live alone. But either way, you can have quieter sex. It's just common courtesy.
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:04 AM on October 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

All right, I'm a little late to this party, but having faced this situation in the past, and having had several friends go through similar things, I feel the need to chime in.

One of two things is happening here, and without seeing you two (or three) interact, it's impossible to tell which it is. The first possibility it that while you were both basically single, your roommate got used to having you around to talk to/commiserate with/have drunken movie nights. Now that you've acquired a significant other, you are no longer a sympathetic ear, and your schedule is tied up more. Consider that while you may still be a decent roommate, you are no longer being a good friend.

The other possibility is one suggested by several people upthread, namely that your roommate has a crush on you and it's difficult to see you all lovey-dovey with someone else. That I have no solution to (in fact I was hoping someone might have a decent suggestion on this thread, but I didn't see anything concrete). If that's the case, just try and be respectful. Imagine the kind of behavior you'd appreciate if the situations were reversed and try to act that way.

Also, the loud sex thing? Non-negotiable. Knock it off, that's rude. Or at least play some music/try to schedule it for when the roomie is not right outside your door. Plus, it really is ok to go to your SO's place sometimes, even if your room mate misses you. He's not dating you, your SO is.
posted by Grafix at 6:42 AM on October 15, 2010

I'm actually in a very similar situation (I would be the single apartment-mate in your story), and it has caused me more than a little grief.

This is simple to understand, really. Put yourself in your apartment-mate's position. Would you like it if you were single, and your previously-single apartment-mate started bringing his girlfriend over every night and all weekends without the two of you having discussed this before? Assuming that your apartment-mate and you are splitting the rent equally, your roommate has every right to expect that you don't bring in a "third roommate." It's common courtesy, and one that I myself wish my apartment-mate had understood sooner. If you can't do this, then perhaps you should consider moving out. It's one thing to start rooming with someone with the expectation that your S/O will be over frequently; it's quite another to just start bringing someone in and expecting your roommate to accommodate him/her.
posted by qxrt at 8:02 PM on October 15, 2010

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