Practical ways to manage boyfriends moving in:
- Boyfriend only stays over weekends
- Doubling is against the lease period
- Move boyfriend out as soon as you can
- Get roommate to contribute to expenses
- Control situation by reclaiming your rights
- Solve problem by moving somebody out
Getting a Roommate’s Boyfriend Out Who Does Not Want to Leave
If you read the small print in your lease, you will find you and your roommate are joint tenants. This means you are both equally liable for the obligations in the lease. Briefly, a typical one may say:
- Only the people signing the lease may occupy the flat
- You must comply with city / local regulations
- Guests may only stay for a limited time
- The landlord can cancel the lease if you don’t comply
- In that case, they may evict you and keep your deposits
- Any variation must be in writing and signed by all parties
This means you are equally likely to face eviction if the landlord finds out, and that’s a bad thing. You could be in the street in a matter of days with a large dent in your reputation.
Your options for how to use this information?
- Tell the landlord what happened, in which case all three of you could be up for the high jump: so a bad idea
- Tell your roommate her boyfriend has to go right away. This is probably impractical: so another non-starter
- Get your mind around they love each other, and you would be horrid to separate them suddenly: you are getting smarter
- Have a round table discussion with your roommate and her boyfriend to work out a solution: now that’s a really good idea
I can’t tell you what to agree in your situation, because life’s a curve, not a straight ball.
However here are four possible scenarios:
- Boyfriend finds somewhere to stay and leaves in a few weeks – this is unlikely if they are in love
- Roommate and boyfriend find somewhere else to live, and you find a new roommate to share the lease
- You decide to find a new roommate and another place to stay which may be the best compromise
- You decide to let your roommate bluff it out by sneaking their boyfriend in at night and out in the morning – I don’t think that’s a good idea at all.
Spotting the warning signs your roommate is going to move their boyfriend in
It’s far better to spot the warning signs in advance, and manage roommates’ boyfriends better.
These are some of the scenarios you could face.
- Roommate’s boyfriend is starting to stay overnight
- Roommate tells you they are planning shack up together
- Boyfriend arrives with suitcases and starts cramping your style
- Roommate and boyfriend don’t take the hint he should leave
- Boyfriend is a pain, taking over, and telling you what to do
- You decide to force the situation, but who is going to move out?
Follow These Key Stages to- Manage a Roommate Moving in Their’s Boyfriend Better
Stage 1: Your Roommate’s Boyfriend Is Staying Over More Often
Conflict situations like this can develop over time. Moreover, in many cases there’s no deliberate intention to annoy. Romances flower at the most unexpected moment, and who could possibly not like a charming new lover.
- You don’t object at first, because the world loves young lovers, or so they say. However, the boyfriend’s presence can mean longer queues for the bathroom, and more washing up in the sink in the morning
- If you want to challenge this, then you may have a single chance to get it right. I would have casual chats with the other roommates when the topic comes up naturally. If I did not find enough support I probably would not try
- If there were enough support, then I suggest introducing a rule of stayover guests over weekends only, on the basis someone is probably somewhere else at the time. Few people will disagree with a reasonable request
- Try to avoid putting the proposal to a vote if you possibly can. Groups have a habit of making ‘risky-shift decisions’. This means they can suddenly change their minds to resolve a situation and you find yourself out on a limb.
Stage 2: Your Roommate Announces Her Lover is Moving In
This is a tough one to crack, because again there is usually a solid reason given.
I actually can’t remember a roommate deliberately trying to take advantage of me. In fact, it’s more likely to be a case of something unexpected ‘forcing the decision’.
However, I do remember when I was starting out and sharing a room with another fellow. Girlfriends we not allowed. We did not dare ask the landlady about sleeping over. My roommate used to sneak his girlfriend in late at night when he thought I was asleep. I chose to say nothing. I still wonder if this was right.
Perhaps I should have tried reasoning with him. In this instance, and in these more liberal times the following approach might help:
- I really like him and it’s great to have him around. However, the lease says a guest may only stay a maximum of three days a week, and if we asked the landlord for an extension I very much doubt they would agree
- Adding an extra person in the apartment would put a strain on resources. We would have less time in the bathroom in the morning, and the last person might not have enough hot water
- I’d feel awkward with them being around every night. There would be less space for me, and we could not add them to the lease because we are already on max. Our utility bill would definitely increase too
- So how about we agree to your roommate staying over weekends only. We could add this to the house rules. If we all moved our lovers in, then the situation would become chaotic surely? Therefore we need to agree on a limit.
Stage 3: Your Roommate’s Boyfriend Moved In and Things are Not Easy
Possession can be ‘nine-tenths of the law’ in shared accommodation.
If I arrive first and take the best room, that’s it as far as I am concerned. All roommate arrangements are artificial groups to an extent. That’s because we want our own space, and wish we had it now.
A visitor wrote in about a situation I decided to share with you (naturally without giving names because everything is confidential here)
- Their roommate’s boyfriend had to leave their own place because the landlord decided to sell the property in a hurry
- The roommate asked for him to stay over for a while until he sorted himself out
- The boyfriend turned out to be a nice fellow and soon everybody was getting on well. Except for one thing.
- The boyfriend gradually started taking over until our visitor found themselves in the minority when reaching decisions.
- They wrote how they felt uncomfortable even in their own room; as if they were strangers in the place they called home.
- Am I being unreasonable to say it is time he moved on, they asked. Am I being horrible, what’s the right thing to do?
Well, ‘right’ doesn’t say the same thing to everybody. The roommate might well say she was being horrible. However I believed the situation was going pear-shaped and it was time to wrestle back control. This is what I suggested:
- Remind your roommate the lease only allows short stayovers for guests. This period is generally between three and ten days
- Explain the two of you are jointly responsible for complying with the lease, and you don’t want to find yourself evicted
- Negotiate a sunset clause by when the boyfriend will move out. Make sure this allows them enough time to make other arrangements
- Have regular review meetings to discuss how the boyfriend’s plans are working and make sure the sunset date stays the same
- These regular discussions will keep the heat turned up, and encourage the boyfriend to find another place to stay
I am delighted to tell you the visitor wrote a month later to thank me for my advice. Her roommate’s boyfriend moved out after he found a place to stay, although he often pops over on weekends to spend the night which is pretty normal I guess.
So far so good, and my story is holding water. However, what would I recommend if the boyfriend could not find another place to stay within the agreed deadline?
Now that’s a totally different situation …
Stage 4: The Boyfriend Lingers On: What About the Money?
Unfortunately, not all roommates have boyfriends who agree to keep the rules. I remember a time when I faced a similar situation. We were three first-year students sharing a ramshackle house on the edge of town.
- We were single males when we started out, although girls sometimes stayed overnight after parties and helped tidy up in the morning. One of my roommates hitched up with a male friend and soon they were sharing a bed
- Look, we said to our roommate, we really like your friend, but don’t you think he and perhaps you should find somewhere else to live. We are spending more on food and drink that we used to, and we don’t think it is fair we should subsidize your relationship
- That remark caused an almighty shouting match and almost a fight. The roommate with the live-in boyfriend called us all kinds of names of which ‘selfish hypocrites’ was probably the only one that would get past our editor.
- What’s wrong with you people, he shouted. You all have girlfriends stay over and I never complained when they shared our food and drink in the evening. Besides, my room has its own bathroom, so I just cannot understand your problem.
Cool it guys, I said. Let’s have a meeting and sort things out as we always do. It turned out only one roommate was totally against the idea, and the rest of us just wanted the boyfriend to share the rent and expenses.
We had a broad-ranging discussion over these options and found the solution which worked
- We divide the rent by five and not four, as we had been doing. However this seemed unfair because the couple would be paying twice for the same space
- The boyfriend and the roommate share the rent for the room but this would be ridiculous because nothing changed outside the walls
- The boyfriend suggested he pay the utility bills and the television service and share all the other expenses equally
- We decided that was the best solution because after all we liked each other, and we wanted to be happy sharing a ramshackle house on the edge of town
That brought one extremely important point out in the open.
Being roommates requires adjusting to each other, and allowing space for each person to do their own thing. In this case things worked out fine because the roommate’s friend was a quiet person and did not try to take the group over.
So far so good, but what would I recommend if they had started ordering the rest of us around in our own home?
So far so good, but what would I recommend if they had started ordering the rest of us around in our own home?
Stage 5: Your Roommate’s Boyfriend Starts Ordering You Around
Let’s imagine you are one of two girls sharing space. All goes extremely well until your roommate moves her boyfriend in (with your permission) and he starts ordering you around and telling you what to do.
We need to take a dive into group theory to understanding what is happening back of shop.
- All groups have leaders who organize and help them function as a team and achieve their shared goals
- Some groups elect their leaders formally, while others have to accept them in terms of the hierarchy where they work
- Other leaders evolve within a micro-society until they become the natural leader in a ‘virtual election’ where other members follow their lead
- Some leaders seize their position autocratically, and become dictators. This sounds like the bossy boyfriend to me
A leadership revolution is only possible if the current leader resigns their role, or leaves the group. We need to consider four styles of leadership first before deciding what to do in this particular scenario.
- Autocratic leaders make decisions without consulting other team members
- Democratic leaders ask other members for input before reaching a decision
- Laissez-Faire leaders prefer group decisions where these happen organically
- Situational Leaders roam between these styles depending on circumstances
Most leaders are blends of these different styles of course. So what type of leader is the roommate who let her bossy boyfriend move in? I would say a blend of autocratic and democratic, but favoring the former because of personal involvement in the situation.
But which is the right angle to take, do you think …this is a critical decision point …
- You could be on weak ground if you challenge your roommate head on about her boyfriend. That’s because you are questioning her right to lead, and the boyfriend is behaving like a wannabe group leader too.
- Your best hope is to separate the two – divide and rule if you like – and have a one-on-one with the roommate on their own. Choose a time when their boyfriend is extremely unlikely to come back unexpectedly, and disturb the vibe you are carefully crafting.
- Start with a positive opener like “honey we need to talk”. Then explain what’s bugging you without saying anything personal about the boyfriend. Talk about the situation and explain how it affects you. Take your time as you work through the problem. You may have only one chance to try.
Wait for body language suggesting your roommate is warming to your concern. This happens when their body and face relax, and they lean towards you indicating they want to engage.
Then simply say something like “honey I can’t keep on like this. I like you both. What do you think I should do?”
Do nothing more … don’t elaborate … let your roommate arrange their thoughts …
The chances are pretty good they will suggest a compromise, like “I’ll sort this out, but it may take a few days”. Or “Funny you mentioned it: I have been meaning to talk to him about this. I don’t think it is right either”.
Very few people I know would reject a friendly request like that outright. When you want to manipulate a strong leader, never tell them what to do. Rather, sketch the problem and ask them what they think.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with presenting the problem in a way that suggests the outcome you want. All is fair in love and war they say. And most definitely when it comes to sharing space successfully with roommates.
Identify Which Kind of Group You All Are
When a bunch of people live in an apartment together they form a group because they share part of their lives, and agree on how the group will behave.
There are actually two possible types of groups:
- Natural groups of friends for whom sharing living space is a logical extension of hanging out together. The house rules come naturally because they know each other well
- Artificial groups of people who share living space because it suits their individual, even selfish needs. They may squabble about the house rules because they have little or nothing in common.
Natural groups of friends generally get on better than artificial ones. However, things can go wrong, especially when a roommate moves their boyfriend in for a while, and this becomes permanent.
Learn How Group Dynamics Work
Group dynamics are the way individual members act, and how this affects the rest of the group. These people could be like dynamite or just a bunch of slobs.
- If they all get on well together the group should function effectively. A group with positive dynamics trusts one another and works towards shared goals
- However, if the dynamics are not working out, then negative behavior can cause the group to stagnate and even disintegrate
- When a new member joins a group, they disturb the equilibrium while existing members adjust to the new person’s way of doing things
- If a roommate pushes their boyfriend on the others this disrupts the equilibrium more. This may be down to personality clashes
We should figure the cause of the friction first. Is the roommate’s boyfriend behaving badly, or is the problem the others don’t like change?
Discover About Role Players Next
Every group has a leader who gives it direction and steers it on its course. If the others accept their steering role, the rest will follow. However, if the group is weak then there will be power struggles, and this dilutes the group effectiveness.
A group leader provides overall direction. The way they do this depends on their personal style. They may decide the house rules on their own, or they may encourage meaningful discussions.
If you are fortunate and belong to a happy group, then life should a pleasure and sharing too. However this is not always the case. That’s because there is often someone disrupting the group in one or more of the following five ways:
- They are aggressive, or outspoken in ways that disturb others
- They block other people’s ideas by criticizing, or shooting them down
- They may withdraw, and not want to be part of the action
- They may be selfish and insisting on getting their own way
- Alternatively, they may try to dominate the group to get recognition
- Finally, they may intentionally or otherwise interrupt with jokes
If you are reading this because you have a roommate who moved their boyfriend in, how would you describe their leadership style or lack of it?
- Are they a follower, or do they like to take over?
- If they take the lead, how effective are they at it?
- If they are a follower, do they make a useful contribution?
- If they are a disruptor, which of the six ways describes their style?
Wrapping Up and Saying Goodbye for Now
We chatted at the beginning about what to do if you can’t shift a roommate’s boyfriend who moved in. You may recall discussing these five options:
- Boyfriend finds somewhere else to stay and leaves in a few weeks – this is unlikely if they are in love
- Roommate and boyfriend find somewhere else to live and you find a new roommate to share the lease
- You decide to find a new roommate yourself and another place to stay which may be the best compromise
- You decide to bluff it out by letting them sneak the boyfriend in at night, and out in the morning – we didn’t think that was a good idea at all.
- You address the problems the roommate is causing, such as increasing the expensies for everyone. Then discuss and come up with a compromise everyone is happy with
This really boils down to choosing your roommate very carefully, and making sure there is a very good match.
If you agree the rules in advance – are they are specific about friends, lovers, etc. staying-over or moving in – then you should have a better chance of avoiding the complications I described in this article.