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I am currently spending an exchange semester in another country.

I have moved into an apartment with several roommates due to a relatively high cost of living. I always had my 16 m² apartment for myself so I am new to living together with other people. Everything went smoothly in the first weeks. Due to my classes being always in the afternoon, I just woke up relatively late at maybe 10 AM. Now my schedule has somewhat shifted and I am more or less required to wake up at 7 AM in the morning.

Now I have noticed something that makes me very uncomfortable. A roommate also wakes up at this time and the first thing he does is to go to the bathroom and throw up. This is voluntary and occurs every morning. I do not know the reasons, I suspect psychological problems since he seems healthy in every other regard. I woke up more than once to the sound of him doing that and it is really making me uncomfortable. Others have also noticed this and we have talked about it, but the others don't really seem to care a lot.

I carefully addressed it once when I was making breakfast in the kitchen, which is right next to the bathroom, and he denied it even happened. If it was just an illness and he had it in check, he could have just said "Yeah, this is going on", which didn't happen.

I want to tell him to stop doing this, but I never had to address an issue with a roommate so far, so I have no starting point. Usually, I am quite blunt and just directly address people with issues I have, but I have experienced that in rare cases it makes the problem actually worse instead of better. This happens most often when people don't see the problem or it's a deeply personal matter. Since he denied it the first time I don't know how he would react to another direct confrontation. I am worried that he might have problems, either physically or mentally he is not dealing with, and since he is a nice guy otherwise, I don't wish him any harm.

How can I approach him to stop this, since it makes my stay, especially in the mornings substantially worse?

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  • How do you know this is voluntary? And how would you otherwise ask a roommate to stop doing something, and what part of that do you think you now need help with?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Apr 26, 2023 at 6:37
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    I cannot imagine this being involuntarily, since it is astonishing regulary. Also, the sound from throwing up if you have no choice is different from when you stick your fingers too far down your throat. Of course I might be mistaken, but I am very sure this is not by accident or illness. Also I carefully adressed it once when I was making breakfast in the kitchen, which is right next to the bathroom, and he denied it even happened. If it was just an illness and he had it in check, he could have just said "Yeah, this is going on", which didn't happen
    – monamona
    Apr 26, 2023 at 6:57
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    I never had to address an issue with a roommate so far, that is why I have no starting point. Usually I am quite blunt and just directly address people with issues I have, but I have made the experience, that in rare case it makes the problem actually worse instead of better. This happens most often when people don't see the problem or it's a deeply personal matter. Since he denied it the first time I don't know how he would react to another direct confrontation.
    – monamona
    Apr 26, 2023 at 7:02
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    Are you sure he's vomiting? Just gagging noises could be made by gagging from otherwise regular bowel movement that doesn't smell nice Apr 26, 2023 at 7:57
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    The fact that this is occurring first thing in the morning makes me wonder if he's aggressively clearing his throat and spitting it into the sink. You might not think this could sound like throwing up, but I grew up with a mother that would clear her throat aggressively enough that it could be heard from across the house and down the stairs, and was very... pleghmy.
    – Onyz
    Apr 26, 2023 at 17:50

1 Answer 1

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It does not seem you know enough information about the situation. You aren't even sure he is actually vomiting. I would first ask him what is going on and what the sound actually is.


  1. If he is actually throwing up every morning then it is a serious health concern. In that situation, then I think you should be worrying more about the health of this individual and taking that angle when talking to them since the negative effects to this person's body are going to be worse than the noise. Bringing up the health problems associated with regularly vomiting and then encouraging them to go see a doctor would be best. If it is voluntary vomiting then maybe look into strategies for helping someone with bulemia.

  2. If he isn't actually throwing up and is doing something else then you first need to figure out why and for what reason this noise is being made. Then it would be best to find a solution, rather than trying to tell them to just stop. Most people are not going to be receptive to being told to stop making certain noises in the bathroom, like clearing throats, etc. Ask them to be quieter maybe, but I would definitely avoid telling them to stop entirely since it's their house too and you can't tell somebody else to not make noise in the bathroom since most people would characterize that as personal and not up to public discretion.

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