Ask a Grown Up: Oops, I Fucked My Roommate!
Happy Tuesday, Broke Asses! One of the really weird things about living in expensive cities, such as San Francisco or New York, is that long after college and your early 20s, most adults –even the ones who are gainfully employed and doing well for themselves– end up having roommates.
And, in the new world of social norms, it’s not uncommon for roommates to be mixed genders or mixed sexual orientations/identities. Which can lead to, in some instances, sexual attraction between roomies.
“Bedding your cohabitator seems like an obviously terrible idea,” says Gabby Dunn in Cosmopolitan. “And yet, for some, it’s like putting chunks of meat in front of a hungry lion.”
So, what do you do if you trip and fall on your roommate’s dick (or, into their vagina)? This week’s question comes to us from M.K. in San Francisco, who asks:
“Grown Up: Oops, I had sex with my roommate! I’m not opposed to having a casual relationship with my roomie, but I’m worried that it will screw up our living situation. Plus, to make matters worse, they have a significant other. What should I do?”
Well, M.K. – let’s be honest, it sounds like you already kind of know the answer to your own question. Hooking up with a roommate is a bad idea. Just like shitting where you sleep is a bad idea. Both lead to a stinky, awkward situation that requires you to shower away your shame. Inevitably, sleeping with your roommate – especially as they have a S.O. – is going to end badly and mess up your living situation. And, given how difficult it is to find affordable housing in San Francisco, my recommendation is, at the cost of all other things, protect/preserve your home space.
In other words, stop fucking your roommate, and stop now.
But, what do you do post hookup to get things back to normal? It all starts with having an honest conversation. You need to discuss what happened, why it cannot happen again and mutually agree to those basic facts. Despite the fact that your having slept together might make you feel strange around their significant other, you need to leave revealing their indiscretion with you up to your roommate. As my Momma always says, it’s never a good idea to be the point in a triangle when there are problems between two people. Don’t insert yourself into their relationship, even if your roommate chooses to keep the hookup to themselves, it’s not your place to reveal it to their partner.
Once you have this conversation and come to an agreement that the hookup will not repeat itself, you’re going to need strategy to help you get through the strange weeks and months ahead of you before your situation normalizes. Here are my suggestions to navigate those choppy waters:
- Find and participate in activities that keep you away from your apartment: Filling up your social calendar and keeping busy will help keep both you and your roommate from dwelling on what happened between you. (It will also help you refrain from repeating the hookup should you both find yourselves at home and bored.)
- Be open and honest about how you’re feeling towards each other: Don’t use passive aggressive tactics to communicate with your roommate, let them know when you need space to yourself and be respectful when they ask for the same in return.
- Don’t be crazy stalker roommate: Don’t pester your roommate with questions of where they’ve been, who they’ve seen, what they’ve been doing. Even if you are just trying to be friendly, this will come across as weird and jealous behavior.
- Don’t bring anyone else home to hookup for a while: While it might be completely annoying to you that you can’t (and, shouldn’t) hookup with anyone else in your own home for a period of time, it is the right thing to do. Hookups, even the casual ones, leave residual feelings behind… It is not as intense as a breakup with a long-term boyfriend or girlfriend, but there will be residual weirdness between you. If preserving your living situation is a priority, you need to respect the weirdness and allow for time and space for it to dissipate. Keeping your sexual activity away from your apartment for a couple months is a fair tradeoff for not having to scramble to find another living situation.
Remember, M.K. – everyone makes an “oops’ or two (or, twelve) in their lifetime. It’s just part of human nature. What really defines your character is how you handle yourself after an “oops.” Good luck!
Got a question you need a grownup to answer? Email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org and your question might be used in an upcoming column!
[Photo via College Magazine]