Posted Sep 22, 2015

Is It Time for You and Your Roommate to Part Ways?

Some roommates fit together perfectly and coexist in harmony. Some, not so much. It can be difficult to tell when you’re ready to part ways: Even if there’s nothing wrong with your roommate relationship, you may just want to live by yourself.

Is It Time for You and Your Roommate to Part Ways?

Whatever the reason, if you’re considering moving out, it’s worth thinking about. If you’re not sure whether your roomie complaints are normal or if something’s actually wrong, here are some signs that your living situation has gone sour:

Signs It’s the End

Is It Time for You and Your Roommate to Part Ways? - Signs It's the End

You Fight About Everything: It’s normal for roommates to bicker once in a while, but constant conflict isn’t healthy for either of you. Obviously this includes full-out yelling matches, but passive-aggressive post-it notes totally count as well. If you’re always fighting, try to identify the root of the problem. Sometimes, it’s something you can solve, like redistributing the chores. In other cases, there’s just a personality conflict that’s never going to be resolved.

You’re Never Alone: There are a lot of ways your roommate can make you feel like you’re never alone. If your roommate barges into your room unannounced or expects you to spend all of your free time together, it’s time to at least have a chat about boundaries. The same goes if your roomie always has friends or a significant other in your apartment.

They’re a Mooch: If you’re sharing a living space with someone, that person should take on his or her share of the costs. This isn’t to say you can’t cut your roommate a break during a rough time, but if you’re consistently covering the majority of the costs, it might be time to leave, particularly if you’re already spending as much as you would if you lived alone.

If you notice these things happening, the first step is to sit down and talk it out with your roommate. Together, you might be able to come up with solutions and preserve the relationship. Sometimes, however, the best thing you can do is leave. If your conversation doesn’t yield positive results, or your roommate isn’t committed to solving the problems, it might be time to break up.

Life Changes

There are, of course, reasons you may want to live apart from your roommate that have nothing to do with any sort of conflict. Maybe you got a new job in a different city, or are moving in with a significant other. It can even be something as simple as wanting the experience of living alone.

Is It Time for You and Your Roommate to Part Ways? - Life Changes

Having a happy reason to leave is less stressful than leaving over issues, but it can also be a lot more bittersweet. You may worry that you’ll be hurting your roommate’s feelings, particularly if you’ve lived together for a long time or are very close.

But remember: If you and your roomie are friends, he or she will understand that the change is good for you. Even though your roommate may be sad to see you go, he or she will also be happy that you’re embarking on a new phase of your life.

Leaving Your Roommate

Before you have a conversation with your roommate, prepare for any potential fallout. Decide how you want things to go: Do you want your roommate to move out? Do you plan to leave? Do you want to stay together until your lease is up? Try to base your expectations on your relationship with your roommate and how tense things already are.

Is It Time for You and Your Roommate to Part Ways? Leaving Your Roommate

Schedule a time to talk to him or her about it in person. This is not a conversation that will work over text message, no matter how much easier that seems. Try to find a time that’s as low-stress as possible: If you know your roommate is cranky in the morning, try to schedule it for the afternoon.

You don’t need to be cryptic when you’re setting a time: It’s perfectly OK to say to your roommate, “Hey, I want to chat about what we’re doing when the lease comes up, do you have a good time to talk?” Being open about why you want to sit down will stop anyone from feeling blindsided by a big change.

Listen to what your roommate has to say, but stick to your original statement. You haven’t come to the decision to part ways lightly, so don’t let the conversation become about changing your mind. If your roommate still wants to live together, kindly but firmly reassert that you think it’s best that you don’t.

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Is It Time for You and Your Roommate to Part Ways-

Michelle Brandstetter


Michelle Brandstetter graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Journalism. She enjoys cat gifs, photography, and thinking about jogging. Her true calling in life is to pet as many wild animals as she (safely) can: So far she's touched lemurs, manatees, and bears, and has tentative plans to play with penguins.

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