Should my girlfriend and I rent a place together with my best friend?
February 14, 2007 11:49 PM   Subscribe

Should my girlfriend and I rent a place together with my best friend?

Last year I finished graduate school, took a job in, and subsequently moved to DC. As a temporary solution, I'm living with my best friend, whose lease expires at the end of the month.

My long-term (5+ years) girlfriend will be moving to the area at the end of the month, and we are both looking forward to having our first place together. We have stumbled upon a great 2BR apt that is huge, but the rent is just outside what I want to pay per month. My friend and I have discussed possibly renting the place together, which would save me around 1K a month in rent. My girlfriend seems fine with the idea, even though it slightly changes our plans.

Should I do it, or is this a You, Me, and Dupree waiting to happen? Aside from the fact that I could go and get a cheaper place, can a set up like this work for a couple's first place together? Does anyone have any prior experience in something like this?
posted by jivesoul to Grab Bag (48 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
No. The third wheel always resents it. And then it becomes a matter of who has the stronger will.
posted by SpecialK at 12:06 AM on February 15, 2007

No. Living with a couple sucks. It feels vaguely like living with your parents, and it makes everyone resentful. I am a veteran and ultra-mellow roommate, and I hated, hated hated hated living with a couple and I would never do it again.

The main problem is that the couple tends to think of the place as "theirs", with the third person "just renting a room", which is understandable, but almost certainly wildly inaccurate from the third person's point of view. Unfortunately, he'll be outvoted on every subject.

If you must do it, split the rent three ways, not two, get a cleaning person, and lay down clear rules as to things like how often your single roommate is allowed overnight guests (then, of course, neither you nor your girlfriend are allowed to bitch about him having people over up to that number of times).

Also, you will almost certainly not be extending your lease to keep living with each other, but if it's a great apartment, be clear up front as to who gets first dibs on extending the lease by themselves. When you live with a couple, you usually get the short end of the stick on things like that because they have two votes to your two, and you don't need the added grossness of the couple kvetching about the third person behind closed doors.

See? Like living with your parents.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:16 AM on February 15, 2007 [3 favorites]

thehmsbeagle speaks the truth.
posted by Lucie at 12:25 AM on February 15, 2007

i'm married and (three days from being) 28 years old, and i've never lived by myself or with only a partner. personally i love living in a big household, but it sounds like whether that will work depends a lot on all of your personalities.

my partner and i have always paid two shares, as suggested above, which i think makes sense and helps to reduce any feelings of being ganged up on. i also think it helps to make sure you have your own private couple time and space, like a room that is comfortable enough to want to spend some time hanging out in and maybe even specific times set aside to do that. the only thing we've really had problems with (aside from various normal housemate issues) was helping other people to feel comfortable as equal members of the household; personally i would be really curious to live with another couple and see how that works out, but it does seem like there are a lot less couples than singles in the market for housemates.
posted by lgyre at 12:27 AM on February 15, 2007

edit- i mean i would be curious to live with another couple now. i haven't in several years but have done so a number of times in the past (although actually always on an informal basic, basically just someone's partner pretty much always being around) and never had any problem with it. my standards for housemate weirdness tolerance seem to be pretty high, though, based on other mefi threads.
posted by lgyre at 12:30 AM on February 15, 2007

I'm more along the lines of lgyre on this one. My wife and I have lived with two different roommates since we were married and both times have worked out very well. That having been said, it makes a big difference what your girlfriend thinks of your best friend. In both cases for us, we were living with people we both got along with very well. I think chances are that your own gut feeling is your best guide on this one.
posted by louigi at 12:31 AM on February 15, 2007

Speaking as someone who's been the third wheel in this situation before (back in college), I have to disagree with those who say you're automatically asking for trouble. It really depends on the person. I know I didn't have any problem with the arrangement at the time, and I'm still as close to the couple (now married) as ever. To be honest, I really appreciated the time we lived together, as it gave me the opportunity to really get to know my best friend's girlfriend. It wasn't long before she was part of the gang. If anything, the arrangement left me feeling less like the "third wheel" and more part of a bigger "family".

It might of helped, however, that there was a fourth roommate around to balance things out (another male friend). I get the feeling he didn't care for the arrangement as much... but he's the sort of person who prefers living alone in the first place. So, like I said, it depends on the person.

Still, if everyone's cool with the idea and willing to give it a try, there's no absolute reason it can't work.
posted by jal0021 at 12:31 AM on February 15, 2007

My girlfriend (of 4 years) and I are currently living with a friend of ours. It works for us for several reasons:

1) The three of us each have our own rooms, i.e. the SO and I sleep separately 99% of the time. This is for practical reasons (we're in school, we have different schedules, I snore, etc) more than anything, but it does help make things less awkward.

2) My SO and I don't have loud sex when our roommate is in (see here).

At least, these two things cut down on any sort of weirdness, and (seem to) make our friend feel less like the 5th wheel and more just like another roommate. It isn't to say that we won't look forward to having our own place, though.
posted by rossination at 12:36 AM on February 15, 2007

I've lived with couples, and I've had lodgers who are a couple. It takes a bit of extra work from both parties but if you're up for that it's fine. No loud sex (and definitely no sex outside of the bedroom); bills get split 33,33,33; make sure you pull your weight with the shared chores and so on (don't behave as a "we", but as two individuals when it comes to hoovering and the like)... And the cardinal rule: no arguing in communal areas.
posted by handee at 1:00 AM on February 15, 2007

There is probably a better-than-even chance that this will go badly and you will lose either your friend, or your girl, or both. If this isn't a big deal, go for it; but if this is 'your best friend' or 'the woman you want to marry', my advice is, don't risk it.
posted by Rubber Soul at 1:02 AM on February 15, 2007

I've lived with other people as part of a couple and I've lived by myself with a couple (and am currently living just with my boyfriend). It can all work just fine, but it depends on what kind of couple you are and what your expectations are.

My boyfriend and I aren't overly cuddly or clingy and are quite happy hanging out with other people. This is good, physically affectionate couples aren't so much fun to be around all the time. Financially everyone in the house was equal and bills were split accordingly, that helps too. The couple I lived with were fairly similar. I could interact with each of them on their own and liked them both as individuals, it wasn't just me and 'them'. I think this stuff is key, it's much easier to share a house with a couple that aren't all over each other or generally excluding you from their life. It's also easier as part of the couple when you're interacting with and including all your flatmates in your life rather than just your partner, then you're less likely to feel like the flatmates are intruding.

If you're planning on setting up house in a more coupley way then it might not work, dinner on the table for the partner coming home from work or rose petals and bubble bath in the bathroom doesn't always work so well with someone watching, so it does depend somewhat on what you want out of the living situation. But having a flatmate doesn't mean you can't be affectionate to your girlfriend or that you have to take the flatmate everywhere you and your girlfriend go. And it can be nice to have an extra person to talk to besides your girlfriend.

I do think you all need to have the attitude that this place is the home of everyone that lives there, not that you're sharing 'your' apartment with an extra person. When I lived with a couple I moved into their existing flat and spent a lot of time visiting my boyfriend in my old home elsewhere, but they always accepted me as an equal, consulted me on house stuff and I really felt like it was my home as much as theirs. And they generally went out together one or two nights a week giving me the place to myself, bonus.

I think it's like all living situations. Talk openly and honestly about your expectations, lay some ground rules, and decide what will happen if it's not working for some reason. That'll tell you if it's a good idea and lay the groundwork for a pleasant flatting experience. The main rules should be treat everyone in the house as equal, never talk about the relationship with him, and no sex in communal living spaces. There's no reason why it can't work if the personalities are right, ignore the cliches above about couples if they don't fit.
posted by shelleycat at 1:07 AM on February 15, 2007

As a young married couple, we had a friend of my husband's live with us for the better (or worse really) part of a year. I already felt isolated from him because he was working such long hours, and to have him spend much of his leisure time doing boy stuff with his friend who conveniently lived with us, well, it added to stress on the relationship. So, do factor in how much time you currently spend with your roommate and whether your girlfriend would resent that.
posted by b33j at 2:00 AM on February 15, 2007

i had the opportunity to move in with my best friend when i was just 19, renting a room in a house where she was also renting a room from another person in a large house.

i told someone i worked with, who was much older and wiser, that i was doing this -- i was excited to be moving out of my parents' house and in with my best friend! she told me, "don't do it... don't ever move in with your best friend!" when i asked why, she said "because you won't be best friends for long."

i laughed at this, because we'd been best buds since seventh grade, but it turned out my co-worker was right -- it only took a few months before there was conflict between us. we eventually parted ways, and ended up not even speaking to each other for years. some of the conflict definitely came about because of the relationships between both us and the other people in the house, but it happened nonetheless.

i always remembered what my co-worker said, and whenever any similar situation came up after that, i stayed well away from it. it's just not worth the chance of losing a good friend. better to find someone who's strictly a housemate or find your own apartment.

good luck.
posted by doplgangr at 2:07 AM on February 15, 2007

d'oh... sorry for the poor editing above, i should be in bed... zzzz
posted by doplgangr at 2:08 AM on February 15, 2007

I've lived with different couples (myself as the third or fourth wheel) and it's been varied. Generally initially it's less of a problem but it can get to be a bit much after a while. Depends on the couple and you. I wouldn't recommend it for the long run (I'm dying to move out on my own with my girlfriend), but if you all get along and are willing to work together it shouldn't be too much of a nightmare.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:29 AM on February 15, 2007

It can work fine if you're all rather easy going. I had my best friend live with me and my partner for a year, and it worked just fine - the difference being he was a guest in our house.

But still, we had no issues with space or privacy. You just have to compromise sometimes.
posted by tomble at 2:31 AM on February 15, 2007

I've twice been the single person living with coupled friends. There were no fights and neither time ended badly, but I felt better when I eventually got out, and I think they did, too. I would recommend (to the two of you and to him) that you don't do it. Friendships work better when you have the option of distance. Couples work better when they have a private place to work things out.

You say "the rent is just outside what I want to pay per month" -- if it's only just a little more than you'd like to pay but not too much in an absolute sense, pay it. It is always better to have the place to yourself when you want it to yourself. The freedom you'll gain is worth the extras that the added rent might force you to do without. In fact, with more space and less pressure at home, you may find yourself wanting to stay at home more often and so will not need to spend that extra money on junk you can do cheaply at home. Have small parties instead of going out.

If you really want gf to bond with this third person, invite him over often. But don't encourage him to move his shit in -- don't get stuck with him, and, as his friend, don't encourage him to get stuck with the two of you.
posted by pracowity at 2:48 AM on February 15, 2007

Living with a couple you don't get along with sucks. Living with a best friend can suck if unexpected flatmate issues come up, usually involving money and/or annoying habits you weren't aware of. But the same can be said of girlfriend/boyfriend.

If you and your best friend do have a good honest friendship, and most importantly if your best friend and girlfriend know each other and get along fine already, then I don't see why not.

Sure you never know but you never know about anything...

I have lived temporarily with a best friend and her boyfriend, who was also an ex of mine, so in theory it should have been even more complicated, except it was a lot of fun, because by that time we had long stopped to have any other feelings for each other except friendship. Besides, a best friend's boyfriend, if we get along, is like family to me. Also they were very spontaneous but not the saccharine-type couple that has to get cuddly all the time in front of everyone. We did a lot of stuff together, the couple factor barely even mattered.

Another time, I ended up living with another couple, but this wasn't planned, and that was the first uncool thing. The boyfriend just moved in little by little, without ever discussing it at any stage - uncool thing number two. They were both friends but not very good friends, and financial issues came up which they pretended to ignore until I was forced to bring them up - very uncool thing number three. Practical matters were all resolved in the end, but it had affected our flatmate relationship. I eventually moved out.

I also know a young married couple who share with a young woman and they all get along fine. They're all extremely easy going people though.

So make sure you're all on very good terms with each other, very comfortable with each other, and discuss all practical and financial issues beforehand. Whether you're sharing the room with your girlfriend or not, you must equally split in three all bills and expenses. Share common areas equally, if you want time alone go out or stay in your room.

In short, deal with everything as three separate flatmates, not as a couple plus one - exactly like shelleycat says.
posted by pleeker at 3:23 AM on February 15, 2007

So we're doing this right now, and I know the "third wheel" is a MeFite, so perhaps he'll chime in if he notices I'm commenting on here.

We were all friends through college and my boyfriend and our friend had been roommates for a couple of years. From my perspective, I think it's been fine. I try not to be obnoxiously cutesy (not that it is really in my nature to do so) or make anything awkward. We all contribute equal rent, cooking time, groceries, etc, so financially it's not 2-against-1. We all have our different schedules and we're all okay with it (in fact, my boyfriend's sleep cycle is more in tune with my friend's than mine, which means they're usually up another 3-4 hours after I'm in bed). We chose the place together to live in, rather than moving in with someone already established, so I don't feel like any of us has more claim to the apartment than anyone else.

I think maybe it helps that we were all friends before I started dating my boyfriend -- we all got to know each other normally, rather than as "so-and'so's significant other", but that may not be an option for you.

But yeah, we'll see if heresiarch chimes in...
posted by olinerd at 3:56 AM on February 15, 2007

I'd say that yes, it can work, especially if there is a definite, if hazy, end point in sight where you're just living with your partner. The one other thing I'd say, having been in jivesoul's position is that be prepared for it to be quite stressful on yourself (i.e. as the person with the partner and the best friend).

Chances are you'll be the go-between, and it'll be you who has to tell your friend could he please spend less time in the shower, pay the overdue bill, not come back at 2am and watch TV tonight as etc etc etc. All stuff which you may have let drift for a bit longer when it was just you two. At times you may find yourself resenting either or both of the other people for the position they put you in as you'll be the one playing peacemaker, making sacrifices and trying to make sure everybody gets on.

Having said that, it's all going to depend on the personalities of the two other people involved. They don't neccesarily need to be of any particular type, although laidback would be a definite bonus, but they do need to be similar. This really isn't a time when "Odd Couple"-style dynamics are going to be fruitful.
posted by Hartster at 5:36 AM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm also going to be living with my girlfriend and best friend in a month or so.

It helps that I've lived with both of them in the past and they both like each a lot.

I think communication is the key here - what utilities will be in what name, when will things be paid for, etc. I've told both of them that if anyone has ANY concerns, they should feel free to bring it up. All three of us had concerns that we talked about before it become an issue.

I think it can definitely work. Good luck!
posted by Diskeater at 6:45 AM on February 15, 2007

I sure wouldn't do it, but apparently it works for some people. If you decide to go ahead with it, just make absolutely sure your girlfriend is really on board. She may be saying "yes" because she doesn't want to spoil your plans, but doesn't actually like the idea; if that's the case, it significantly lowers the likelihood of its working out. I agree with pracowity: if you can possibly scrape the rent together yourselves, go for it; you'll presumably be earning more money as time goes by.

the SO and I sleep separately 99% of the time... it does help make things less awkward.

Uh, I'm sure it does, but you'd have to throw a rock pretty far before you had the slightest chance of hitting another couple who operate that way, so it's probably not relevant.
posted by languagehat at 7:40 AM on February 15, 2007

No, because it will put the friend in between all of your fights every time someone needs to vent...
posted by magikker at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2007

Personally I'd be more reluctant on the living together & unmarried thing than I would be the couple & a friend thing. But then I am somewhat cynical about relationships and have seen just how ugly it can be when cohabitating people split up. Divorces have legal procedures, when you're just dating you have to haggle over the DVDs all on your own.

Personally I think the 'the third wheel always resents it' stuff is malarkey, but maybe you have different sorts of friends than I do.
posted by phearlez at 7:47 AM on February 15, 2007

Does this friend have an SO that might consider moving in? If the space is large enough 4 people shouldn't be pushing it, and my now-fiancee and I had a blast living with a couple with whom we were good friends. Our place wasn't even that large either, upper duplex around 1400 square feet. The best part was that we paid basically nothing for rent, like $230 a piece or something. We've also lived places with two other singles and it worked out fine.

I think what it comes down to is if you and your girlfriend act reasonably human around other people, or if you overdo the lovey-dovey mush mush crap. For an example of how this can go wrong, check out this previous AskMe.

I think the biggest trouble you might have, as others have expressed, is that your friend may end up feeling like he's the third corner in an unbalanced triangle- that you and your lady will gang up on him whenever you have roomie issues. I think that if you discuss this thoroughly beforehand and figure out some reasonable ways to resolve disputes then you could minimize this.

Also, the space is a huge factor in how this works out. If all of the bedrooms are on the same floor, maybe not such a hot idea...but a friend of mine has a nice house where there are 3 rooms upstairs, a bedroom on the main floor, and an extra study room downstairs. A space set up like that could give a couple plenty of space to work stuff out, while at the same time giving the third enough space if s/he wanted it.
posted by baphomet at 7:49 AM on February 15, 2007

No. I can't think of anyone I know that's enjoyed that living situation.
posted by chunking express at 7:51 AM on February 15, 2007

I've been in the third wheel once, except in that situation, the romance developed between my other two roommates after they were living in the same house.

We all got along quite well, though they decided to get a place of their own after about a year of couple-hood. But it seems likely that being roommates first, couple later influenced how we all got along with each other. It's possible that at some level, your girlfriend (or you) will want to make your new place together "our place" and will feel constrained by the presence of a roommate, which could create friction.

As long as all the usual rules of roommate living regarding bills, chores, etc, are respected, and as long as you're all OK with being seen naked by the other roommates at some point, it can work.
posted by adamrice at 7:53 AM on February 15, 2007

It sounds like in your situation it would work out nicely. I've had roommates while a couple that resulted in a functional and fun living situation -- one a work friend who became a personal friend, one a personal friend to begin with. In both of those cases the household was established by us and the roommates added later.

However, I did once rent a very large house with a longtime girlfriend, two personal friends, and an attic roommate. Eventually while I was going to school at night my girlfriend started banging one of my friend/roommates. Obviously they're both now neither my friend or girlfriend, but it serves as a cautionary tale that this kind of thing does happen outside of soap operas.
posted by majick at 8:10 AM on February 15, 2007

It is very interesting to me how all the "fifth wheels" in the thread have said it was a terrible experience, and all the couples have said it worked out just fine. Maybe there is a disconnect in communication in this arrangement simply because the fifth wheel is outnumbered and just silently resents the couple.

Personally? It sucks. I would never recommend this to anyone I like.
posted by loiseau at 8:13 AM on February 15, 2007

Way to not read the thread, loiseau.
posted by handee at 8:18 AM on February 15, 2007

Your friend can lower your monthly rent by $1,000.00 and this help is something you'd find monetarily helpful but not absolutely necessary.

So presumably you can easily affort to save only $500 by finding a place that costs that much less for just you and SO.

Result: ok place, acceptable monthly expense, a happy SO, and retention of a good friend relationship. So why are you eliminating this option from the discussion, maybe figuring that out would help you decide what to do.

Eventually while I was going to school at night my girlfriend started banging one of my friend/roommates.

Yeah, this is a phenomenally common occurance what with everyone being so easy going and all. Saw exact same happen to someone I knew. (No it wasn't me.)
posted by scheptech at 8:18 AM on February 15, 2007

I currently live with my best friend and his girlfriend. The arrangement works great for us. We've got a couple of things going for us though that I think are important. We're all pretty mellow individuals and have honest and open lines of communication. We all contribute equally on the bills. None of us are into housework. We all work. We work a lot in fact. That means I get the house to myself often enough and they get plenty of time together without me around. Basically, everything that's been mentioned above. I don't think it's a problem at all. Of course, I've never had a bad roommate experience and marvel at some of the horror stories I've heard from other people. All of that being said though, we won't be living together when the lease runs out. There is something about the arrangement that does feel a bit temporary.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 8:35 AM on February 15, 2007

No way. You will lose the girlfriend or the best friend or both.
posted by Mister_A at 8:54 AM on February 15, 2007

I'm living with a couple right now as the "third wheel". We've lived together in this place for three years so far, and still like each other well enough that we've been shopping for a house to buy together.

But neither of them is my "best" friend. We're good friends, but we don't hang out all of the time. Neither one is the first confidant I turn to when I need support or want to complain about something.

It may have been helpful that we started out with four (but the fourth moved out when he got married), so we started without a skewed balance of power. At times we've had subletters in the fourth room, which has worked out okay, but never spectacularly well. We split the rent and utilities three ways, and each member of the couple has a bedroom.

I don't like living alone, but I'm particular about roommates. I've had 14 in the last decade, two or three at a time. The things that make this situation work are the things that make roommate situations in general work: we're considerate of each other and each others' stuff, we discuss all of our house issues openly, we have similar ideas about cleanliness (and we split the cost of a maid service so there are no arguments about whose turn it is to clean), and about parties and visitors. We each do things "for the house", so there's no sense that one of us is sponging off of the others.
posted by aneel at 9:45 AM on February 15, 2007

My experience living exclusively with a couple (my friends) was pretty good actually. I did make it a daily habit to wash the dishes and make a few cups of tea for them during the evenings - for a mere 20 minutes investment a day, it pretty much guaranteed harmony in the house.

In general I kept myself to myself in my room, and that suited all of us just fine.

I had lived with them before but there was two more people living there, and we didn't get on that well at all, but having more space among us worked fine.
posted by rc55 at 10:24 AM on February 15, 2007

I am the aforementioned third wheel in olinerd's living situation. I noticed the thread this morning during breakfast, but alas, had to run off to class before I could respond.

I basically agree with everything she said earlier - for us, it works really well. We eat dinner together fairly often, and it's generally a very communal situation. We do have occasional arguments (olinerd has an obsession with teal that borders on pathological, and my tolerance for bad smalls is so high that I forget to take the trash out often. Also, we argue about how full the dishwasher should be, and whether my mom's car is an SUV or a minivan) but they're never festering nasty things, usually more funny than angry.

That said, I think it's probably most helpful for OP to describe what the history was that made this work out nicely:
  • Like olinerd said, I lived with her boyfriend for two years in school, before they were together. Also, I lived with olinerd for a semester at school.
  • We've got pretty different schedules. She has an office job, I'm a grad student, and her boyfriend works from home. Also, I'm frequently out of town on weekends. This keeps roommate overload down, mostly.
  • We share friends for the most part. This means one of us isn't inviting people over that the other two don't like. Our social circles were similar in school, so we now agree about who we enjoy spending time with.
  • We lived together over the summer on a different lease. This was a good test-drive. If things hadn't worked out then, we would have had a shorter-term out than waiting for a one year lease.
  • I'm not insecure around people who were dating. This is an easy thing to say, but I know plenty of people for whom that's just not the case, particularly if they are not themselves dating someone at the time.
All that said, I think my advice would be to be very careful. These kinds of situations can work, but they are delicate. I think if, for instance, I was working from home all the time still (which I did over the summer) it would be a little more trying for all of us. As it is, our schedule works nicely. We all have time one-on-one, and as a group of three, on a more or less daily basis. This keeps things from getting too out of balance. That's just one example, but I think messing substantially with any of the variables would be problematic. I would really recommend the OP does some sort of trial routine before committing to something longer term to get a feel for what the dynamics will be. I don't think I would have predicted that this works the way it does in advance without trying it. In the end, though, I'm definitely happier than living alone.

BTW, way to leave your teal dishes in the sink, again. :D
posted by heresiarch at 10:52 AM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

handee: "Way to not read the thread, loiseau."

I read the thread, thank you. Replace "all" with "many" if it pleases you.
posted by loiseau at 11:07 AM on February 15, 2007

posted by Ironmouth at 11:17 AM on February 15, 2007

This kind of set-up works sometimes. But living with a best friend is risky. And a couple living with a third person also has pitfalls. You're proposing taking on both of these at once. Add to this that you and your girlfriend have really been wanting to live together, just the two of you. The odds are against you.

If you and your girlfriend move into an apartment that's smaller, you'll always be wistful about the beautiful, big flat that got away. But the two of you will have privacy and no roommate hassles of any kind, and you and your buddy will remain friends.

Another suggestion: ask the owner of the expensive place if there's room for negotiation. If you seem like you'd be good tenants, the landlord may be willing to lower the rent.
posted by wryly at 11:21 AM on February 15, 2007

I've been in similar situations, not with "best" friends but with good ones. Neither arrangement went on for more than a year, but both worked out fine while they lasted.

It helped that we were all busy and had radically different schedules, so there were rarely three of us at home at once, and that none of us were big TV watchers. In one place we had two bathrooms; that made it infinitely easier.

I wouldn't want to do it again, because I've developed a strong preference for privacy over the years, but it was all right at the time, and all involved are still on good terms many years and breakups later.
posted by tangerine at 12:14 PM on February 15, 2007

I can't see how this could go wrong!
posted by oxford blue at 12:14 PM on February 15, 2007

Response by poster: I just had my first chance to glance at this thread, and all I can say is thank you who have commented. I plan to read all of the responses and then pass this thread along to both my SO and my BF. Again, thank you all. Please keep responding with any advice/comments that you might have.
posted by jivesoul at 12:23 PM on February 15, 2007

I think it depends on the sort of people you are. If any of you are a "guys have to be friends with guys and girls have to be friends with girls and the two worlds may never, ever meet unless there's sex involved" sort of person, which it seems to be a large number of people, then it will probably fail miserably.

If your girlfriend and your friend are people who might get a 2-bedroom apartment with each other as friends, then you're probably fine.
posted by dagnyscott at 1:49 PM on February 15, 2007

in what had to be one of the oddest living arrangements ever, I lived with one of my best friends last year, and in a strange twist of a whole bunch of stuff, his fiance (now wife) ended up living with us. I've known both of them for years and i'm close friends with both of them. Splitting everything three ways (finances, tasks, food, shopping, etc) took care of pretty much everything. There were a few times when one of us (myself, my friend, his fiance, the both of them, or my bud and i) would arrange some event or whatnot at the flat and failed to tell the other flatmates, but we're all relatively laid back people and just let it roll off our backs.

I moved out the day before they got married and we've all missed it. (even the fiance's little dog that kept taking my socks and hiding them under the couch. the day i moved out i found about 10 individual socks that i'd managed to miss)

I think that in our particular situation we had a few good things going for us:

1) I knew them both before they were in any sort of relationship or they even knew each other, so my friendships with them had been firmly established for a long while

2) the fiance lived on an essentially opposite schedule from my bud and i. She worked nights as a nurse at a nearby hospital while the other two of us worked regular day jobs. This meant that while we had a relatively small space to live, the fiance was coming home from work to sleep just as the rest of us were leaving for work, we'd all hang out in the evenings, then she'd leave for work and we'd sleep.

all things said, i'm not sure i'd do it again. This was a pretty unique situation that i was somewhat wary going into, but it managed to work out wonderfully. I just don't know if that would be so certain with other people in the future.

posted by quadrinary at 3:37 PM on February 15, 2007

I lived with a friend and her fiance for a few weeks last year when I needed to move quickly. Never again.
posted by princesspathos at 3:55 PM on February 15, 2007

I did this for a while, when my girlfriend moved in and we still had another pal living there. Then he moved out, and damn, everything was so much better. Turns out that he resented my girlfriend and my girlfriend hated having to deal with him all the time, and I only had a small inkling of their dislike. But, hey, now the girlfriend's in LA, and the roomie is back (while I'm getting ready to split). So, yeah, it can be OK, but I wouldn't look to long-term harmony from it.
Plus, now that I've got my roommate buddy back, it bugs me that I can't walk around with my balls hanging out. But that might just be me.
posted by klangklangston at 3:56 PM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've never had a problem with being the third wheel. Probably depends on who you do it with, though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:24 PM on February 16, 2007

I was the third wheel in my old rooming situation and moved to become a third wheel again with a different couple. The primary reason it didn't work before but works wonderfully now is that I know and like each of the members of the current couple individually, and would live with either of them alone if that were the case. I didn't know the boyfriend of my old female roommate well and he didn't try to get to know me or even say hi when he was around, and she was more annoying when her bf was around. Make sure your friend will like your girlfriend even if she wasn't your girlfriend, and don't expect him to indulge her just because you two have a relationship. I knew the new couple long before I roomed with them and that's how I knew I liked them as individuals first.
Also, the new couple keep couple time in their room usually, unlike the old couple who invaded the couch and kitchen of our tiny place with their cuddling nightly. I definitely felt like I was "just the renter" and it was their space, even though I paid more rent than either of them individually but used less of the total space (I had my bedroom to myself, they shared a bedroom but took over the rest of the apartment). I concur with everyone who recommends splitting costs into even thirds.
posted by slow graffiti at 4:09 PM on February 19, 2007

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