My fiancée and I are planning on moving out of our parent's house and into an apartment of our own after our wedding. During a conversation with a close mutual friend of ours, it was brought up that he will be going to school very near the city we had discussed moving to.

His program is going to take over several years to complete, and the commute from his current residence to his school is understandingly unappealing, as it would often involve an hour drive through a highway locally known to have bad traffic.

However, my fiancée and I are not quite sure about whether or not to accept his request to be our roommate. We enjoy hanging out with him, and do so quite frequently, but we do not know if he would be a good room mate as we both don't know what his habits are like around his home. We also value our private time together and do not know whether having him co-inhabiting will influence this.

Finances will not be an issue for the two of us, but I know he wouldn't be able to live independently once he goes to school. We're both not sure if we should give him a chance and see how things go, or just decline his request.

If we do decline, how do we decline whilst minimizing the effect on our relationship?
Note: This question is not asking if we should decline, but how to do so.

  • I don't think we can really make the decision of whether or not to accept his request (you would, after all, know better than us what he's like, how important your private time is and how accommodating you want to be). We can help with declining politely though, in case you want to edit your question to focus on that. – NotThatGuy Dec 16 '17 at 17:48
  • So do you and your fiancee currently live together with one of you parents, or are you living separately with your respective parents? Moving in together for the first time is a huge change, even without adding an extra person. – David K Feb 8 at 13:03
  • "Note: This question is not asking if we should decline, but how to do so." if this is true, then please remove all those references which are causing confusion (i.e. "We're both not sure if we should give him a chance and see how things go, ..." – goamn Dec 7 at 5:09
up vote 20 down vote accepted

I shared a house once with a couple (committed relationship, not yet married). We were all good friends already and their relationship wasn't new or recently changed, so that mostly worked. Even so, it was sometimes awkward, regarding both intimacy and money.

And your situation is more complicated than that. Getting married and moving are, I've often been told, two of the three most disruptive personal changes not involving death. (The third is changing jobs.) You're about to do two of them at the same time. You'll be putting considerable effort into working out the routine "couple in a new house" stuff.

So tell him that. It's about you, and avoiding awkwardness. Something like "If we were all single that'd be different, but we're getting married soon and we have a lot to learn about being a couple and establishing a household. I'm worried that adding a third person -- any third person -- to the mix will be stressful for us and you. Your school has something like a mailing list where you can connect with other people looking for housing, right?" (Check into what the school has and substitute "Facebook group" or "roommate-matching service" or whatever as appropriate.)

By taking this approach you both explain why it's about you not him and guide him toward another solution. He can't be the only person with this need, after all. You can help him solve his housing problem without providing the house.

My advice would be, don't do it. (Unless you can do this whole-heartedly)

You two are off to your very first own home and nothing should hold you back there.

Frankly I'm surprised that he would ask, and also ask it to be permanent as well. Not a good start as it looks like he only sees HIS part of the deal, which is very good: Instant and more suitably located housing with friends. In all actual fact a convenience.

Your part? Not so good. You'll have to share your very first own home. You are giving up on privacy. And, what if his education goes wrong? Will he be on your hands indefinitely? You are watering down your life considerably in the areas that really matter to provide this... convenience.

Alternatives abound.

I think it would be much much better if you do provide this convenience at the same level. In that case it would take the form of dossing down occasionally in the weekend after a feast, dossing down for a limited amount of time while searching for a real/permanent/shared home over there, well, I think you get the picture.

Cautionaries abound too.

Refusing any permanent/no end date settlement will keep the friendship much more balanced. Picture you serving a romantic breakfast for your loved one wearing nothing but a rose between your teeth... And him coming in with some 6 friends for a post binge night gaming session... Picture him resentfully complying with all kinds of limitations on his lifestyle so you can get up fresh and early every morning with your loved one...

It is just so not compatible. (And if the friendship is solid he should be able to see this, too.)

  • 2
    If this friend requires a roommate, they can get one. There's hardly a school that doesn't have people looking for roommates. And it is a good idea to keep in mind that while you are wooing a significant other, inability to escape your position as landlord can really kill the mood. – Edwin Buck Dec 16 '17 at 14:28
  • 4
    This doesn't answer the question, which is, "how do we decline whilst minimising the effect on our relationship? Note: This question is not asking if we should decline, but how to do so. You answeref the if, not the how. – anongoodnurse Dec 17 '17 at 15:54
  • @anongoodnurse in this case they are one and the same, I feel. I can update to make this more clear... But felt this to be kind of obvious... – Bookeater Dec 18 '17 at 15:46

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