Regardless of the relationship you have with your roomie, asking them if your new boo can spend the night in your shared space can get real awkward, real fast. But hey, at least you're not still living with mom and dad, am I right?
To help you make it through this potentially cringeworthy talk with your roommate, I asked a few experts to weigh in on the best ways to navigate this convo, sans the old sock on the door trick (because let's be honest -- your clean sock ration can't afford to have another man down).
Read on for some helpful tips for getting your roomie to grant overnight access to your new significant other. Bae can thank us later.
1) Put your relationship with your roommate first
Despite the lack of butterflies you feel when you look in your roommates' eyes, make sure you recognize the weight that the relationship you have with your roomie carries. "You have a long-term commitment that's social, legal and financial with your roommate," says relationship expert and author April Masini. "Don't screw that up because you have a hot date by not giving them a heads up."
2) Set up an actual time to talk
Sure, casually mentioning that Steve might be coming by and spending the night later just as your roommate heads out the door in the morning would be the least painful way to approach this subject. It also doesn't give your roomie any time to really digest and think about the implications that come with another person occupying your shared space. Set aside a quiet time to have a real talk about this, says psychotherapist and coach Toni Coleman. "Don't just mention it and then say you can talk later, especially without giving your roommate a chance to think about it and express their thoughts or concerns."
3) Create some boundaries
The key to harmony between your roomie and your houseguest is all about establishing some ground rules. "Make rules about bathroom time," s(h)edonist coach CanDace Johnson suggests. "Be sure that your roommate's morning or night schedule isn't interrupted. When your partner stays over, clean up both messes. Being respectful of your roommate's space never gets old."
4) Take it slow
Even if your roomie gives you the green light, s(h)edonist coach CanDace Johnson says that having this new partner over your place all the time right away will cause them to quickly wear out their welcome with your roommate. "Slowly introduce your new boyfriend or girlfriend into the fold," Candace says. "Have them over for a friendly roommate dinner and set rules that make both you and your roommate comfortable. For example, try alternating your 'slumber parties,' where one weekend you stay at your partner's place and one weekend you stay at yours. This way, your roomie gets some coveted alone time in exchange for sharing his or her space."
5) Put yourself in your roomies' shoes
If the situation was reversed, how would you want your roomie to bring up the subject? "Imagine being in your roommates' shoes," says dating coach and feminine relationship expert Laurel House, "How would you feel if their lover was bunking in your place? What would your expectations and sensitivities be?" Be as understanding to what would make your roommate most comfortable as you would want him or her to be toward you if they were navigating the same conversation. "Open, honest, authentic communication is essential in order to avoid awkwardness or a fight," Laurel says.
6) If there's conflict, make an informed decision
Relationship expert and author April Masini points out another pro of having this conversation prior to your overnight guest staying over: "Having it out before there's an actual sleepover date as a witness to the fight is going to make life easier, and your relationship with your roommate and your date better," April says. "Most people avoid conflict, at all costs, but this is one subject that can be a roommate relationship deal breaker. If your roommate doesn't approve of or doesn't want you to have sleepover dates, it's better to know up front so that you can make decisions wisely -- even if it's to defy your roommates wishes."
7) Do little things for your roommate to show appreciation
Regardless of how cool your roommate seems about the situation, understand that he or she is sacrificing their space in order to make you happy. "If you're having a lot of sleepover dates, keep the place extra clean and tidy for your roommate, and bring him or her lattes or flowers," relationship expert and author April Masini says. "Do little things to let your roommate know you're aware of the sacrifice he or she is making, and that you appreciate it."
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