Question of the Week: Could a Roommate Help Your Relationship?

The New York Observer reported this week that more and more married couples are taking in roommates, thanks to the economy (and the always tough real estate market in the city). More than one couple noted that having a roommate was actually good for their marriage — it forced them to have more interesting and deep dinner conversations; it helped them see each other through someone else’s eyes (i.e. to not take their partner for granted), and they liked having someone besides their partner to turn to in times of stress or anxiety or strife… they felt it eased the pressure on their marriage.

But on the other hand… Do we even need to go there? The possible attraction, jealousy, insecurity. Taking sides. Fighting as a spectator sport. Quiet sex — and only quiet sex. Getting dressed to pee in the middle of the night….

So, what do you think? If you were living with a partner, would you take on a roommate? Have you? What can you report?

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My husband and I seem to be the rare stable couple in our group of friends: we’ve got a fair number of transients, grad students, and people in low-income jobs. By contrast, we’ve owned our 3 bedroom DC row house for a few years, and we certainly don’t need all the space we’ve got right now. (We know we’re pretty lucky.) Our solution has been to take in friends for months at a time — after breakups, before moving overseas, when they’re between places, while they’re doing internships. Currently we have a friend who is finishing her grad school dissertation… Read more »