Home > Relationships > Roommate relationship is to marriage as…

Roommate relationship is to marriage as…

I’ve come to believe that having a new roommate is a lot like getting married to someone without having ever met them.  With my last two roommates in particular, we’ve gone through this odd settling in phase where we’ve subtly negotiated our roles in the house.  Last summer, through trial and error and the passage of time, my roommate and I took on distinct jobs.  I took out the recycling, he took out the trash.  I hand-washed dishes and loaded and ran the dishwasher, he put the dishes away.  The odd thing is, we never spoke about these roles, but we also rarely varied from them.  It was a lovely kind of magic, really.  Just as I would think “Oh geez, I’m going to have to walk all the way over to the dumpster…and it’s HOT out today,” I’d notice he’d taken out the trash and put in a new bag.  And I’m sure it was a kind of magic to him to have dirty dishes turn into clean ones – perhaps that’s why he was happy to put them away.

In my new place we’re not settling in quite as smoothly.  I told someone today that it feels like we’re a married couple who’s grown distant and doesn’t know how to close the space between them.  We talk politely when we’re in the room together, but most of the time when we’re both home we stay in separate rooms.  If he’s in the kitchen or watching TV in the living room, I tend to stay in my room; he seems to do the same (although I don’t know exactly…I tend to give up the living room when he comes home because I’ve been in it all day and it seems only fair).  I think we’d get along really well if we talked, but what should we talk about?  Does he want to talk?  He’s invited me to watch a movie with him before and I wanted to, but it was depressing and I didn’t feel like being depressed…but now I’m afraid he won’t make more overtures.  I suppose I need to give it time.  After all, we’ve only been living together for 2.5 week.  If we’d been dating we probably would have gone out just 2-3 times by now – we’d barely know each other.  I guess I should give us a little more time to get used to living with each other before I give up on the whole roommate relationship.

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