6 Rules to Set if Living With a Roommate of the Opposite Gender

By Victoria Robertson

Living with a roommate is a challenge in and of itself, but that challenge can escalate quite exponentially if living with a roommate of the opposite gender. While that’s not to say that you can’t live with someone of the opposite gender, it is to say that it can change up the rules quite a bit.

With that all being said, here are six rules to set if living with a roommate of the opposite gender to ensure the relationship moves forward as seamlessly as possible.

Roommate Finder: 6 Rules to Set if Living With a Roommate of the Opposite Gender

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1. Be Honest About Relationship Situation

Stating upfront whether or not you are in a relationship is important when you have a roommate of the opposite gender for a variety of reasons. For one thing, as with any roommate, if you are dating someone, they are likely to be around fairly often, which can make your roommate uncomfortable.

Additionally, if you are not dating anyone, but plan to be, this raises the potential of having new individuals at your apartment on a semi-regular basis. In either situation, your roommate should be notified/prepared for the stage you are in in your dating life if you plan to avoid any issues down the road.

2. Be Clear with Intentions

Individuals of the opposite gender can and often do live together without ever desiring a relationship with their roommate. That being said, the opposite can also be true.

When moving in with a roommate of the opposite gender, it’s important that you lay out any rules regarding potential relationships. Whether you are already dating, are interested in them in that way, or have no interest in that regard, you should be honest and upfront before signing a lease, otherwise you are creating a recipe for disaster.

3. Any Guest Rules?

As mentioned previously, having guests over to the apartment is bound to happen. That being said, when living with any roommate, it’s important that everyone living together is on board.

For this reason, you should set boundaries when it comes to having guests over. For instance, is there a cut off time when guests should leave? Will you allow overnight guests? If so, are there any rules to be considered there? What happens when a roommate and guest don’t get along? These are all considerations that are important when it comes to setting expectations.

4. Cleanliness Rules

Men and women have different ideas of cleanliness, most of the time. For this reason, when living with someone of the opposite gender, there are bound to be arguments about cleanliness.

As with any roommate situation, you and your roommate should discuss cleaning schedules and responsibilities. Whether you decide everyone is responsible for their own spaces, split up shared spaces evenly, or have one individual clean one week and the other clean the next week, it’s important to talk about who is cleaning what and how often it should happen.

5. Develop Communication Channels

Communication is key when living with anyone, but especially when living with a roommate of the opposite gender. When two women live together, for example, there are certain things that will just come naturally in terms of communication that wouldn’t otherwise.

Sometimes, you’ll have to work a little harder to communicate with one another. It’s natural and should be taken seriously. Set the groundwork at the beginning in talking about things in an open and honest manner. The more upfront you are about the way you feel, the more likely they are to follow suit, which will make things much easier in the long run.

6. Set Up Boundaries

Last, but certainly not least, you should always be setting boundaries with roommates, but especially when living with a roommate of the opposite gender. For instance, is walking around in a towel a no-no? Are you okay with having company over unannounced?

Are there any regulations on using another roommate’s belongings? Do you always need to knock before entering another roommate’s bedroom or bathroom? Some of these may feel like common-sense rules, but sometimes, they aren’t. It’s important that you always set out any boundaries you want honored at the beginning, and you can always revise them as you move forward. But without setting expectations, things can go downhill rather quickly.

Roommate Tips: 6 Rules to Set if Living With a Roommate of the Opposite Gender

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Again, living with an individual that’s of the opposite gender can be fun and exciting, but also difficult and rather challenging. Rather than sitting back and allowing things to progress as they will, it’s important to follow the above, six steps.

Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as moving in together and hoping for the best, and that goes for any roommate situation. So, don’t leave anything up to chance and make sure that all rules are squared away, communication is on point, and boundaries are set in stone before agreeing to live with them.

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