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?

One Comment

  1. 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 over the summer. We’ve probably had someone staying with us close to half the time we’ve had the house.

    We really enjoy having other people around, honestly, and since they’re friends and often not paying rent, we don’t feel like we have to tiptoe around them. It definitely can be a valuable lens to see our marriage through, and it’s just fun to hang out with someone in addition to my partner while making dinner. Quiet sex can be hot, but also you become pretty pro at grabbing those mornings that they leave for work early or the nights they’re out late.

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