Some Costs Associated With My Roommate’s Boyfriend

I am in a good place right now: I have a job that can pay my bills, my student loans; I have health insurance; I can afford fancy cheeses when I want to play Russian roulette with my cholesterol. I have a kickass apartment with a washer and dryer, an L-shaped couch, and a working thermostat. It also has a roommate, and she is the best roommate I’ve ever had. She’s funny, she cleans, and she has a puppy. There is only one flaw: her boyfriend.

His presence in our apartment just passed its year anniversary. It’s been 12 months since the fateful night this stranger invaded our happy little abode—12 months of this freeloading cretin who I can neither kick out nor confront; fifty-two weeks of him spending the majority of his time in our apartment; 365 days of his laundry, showers, urination, yelling. The cost of household items are usually split between roommates, but my roommate’s boyfriend doesn’t help pay for anything he uses. Here are some costs associated with my roommate’s boyfriend.

Shampoo / Conditioner / Soap
This one I noticed right away. My shower products are pretty unisex, at least compared to the mango-lavender-citrus-scrubs my roommate has in the shower. It’s not hard to guess which a man would use. I have gone through 12 months of my roommates’ boyfriend not buying his own shower products and endured 52 weeks of my bottles feeling suspiciously light and hundreds of seconds in the shower sadly staring at my soap bar, praying it really is self-cleaning.

I put our shampoo/conditioner using frequency at equal levels for the year. I probably use 65% more though, given my hair volume.

Cost of shampoo + conditioner for the year: $5.50 a bottle x 2 types x 4 refills a year = $44 x 35% = $15.40

Cost of soap: I estimate I (I mean “we”) go through a bar a month, he uses at least 50%. At $1.50 a bar he’s cost me $9.

Hand Soap
Doesn’t require calculation. He rarely washes his hands after going to the bathroom. Effect on my sense of hygiene and overall sanity—incalculable.

Toilet Paper
Roomie and I take turns buying toilet paper. I say we go through about 12 rolls a month now. (Is this a lot? Now that I’ve done the math, this seems absurd. I would love for people to tell me their TP usage, honestly). At $13 a pack, I’ve spent $78 the last year on Charmin. I am confident Mr. Freeloader is using at least 25% of this making me spent an extra $19.50 a year so he can wipe his ass.

This one, is the one that really eats me up. Roomie uses the flowery Febreeze detergent, I use classic ambisexual Tide. “Obvious” doesn’t do his leeching justice. I’d buy a bottle (bottle? whatever you’d call the container) and it’d be a third empty the following Tuesday. Eventually I’d try to find an excuse to be in the room while he was doing laundry and he’d slowly consider each bottle before stealing a glance at me and begrudgingly pouring lavender scented soap on his flannel shirts. Then he got clever and started doing laundry in the middle of the night while I slept. I switched to my own flower crap recently and labeled the bottle. (Also begrudgingly.)

Detergent for the last year: $50, his half: $25.

This one is tricky. I mean, we’d probably have those lights on anyway. I’m pretty sure the only extra electricity he’s using is charging his laptop/phone and doing endless loads of laundry. I believe we’re averaging $40/mo. now and it was $35/mo. pre-BF. So that’s $60/yr. increase. He’s cost me $30.

Earplugs: $14

You know what? They’re cheap. I’ll let him have this one.

Roomie is not great at doing dishes. Sometimes this annoys me. But mostly I think about how she always takes out the trash and recycling and gave me her old TV. So I do most of Roomie’s dishes—no big. Washing Senior Parasite’s dishes? No. I swear I have never, ever seen him wash a single dish. I honestly think he might not know how. Time spent washing one-third of the dishes over the course of the year? I’d say about a minute a day, six hours total. Minimum wage = $7.25, I’ve done $44 of free labor for that mooch.

There’s other stuff too: trash bags, dish soap, additional beer and chocolate purchases to keep me sane. There’s also the stuff that’s hard to put a dollar amount on, like the value of lost sleep from him waking me up by yelling for her from the other room every other night / slamming bathroom door / announcing he’s going for a run every weekend morning at 8 a.m.

Ultimately, in the last year Roomie’s Boyfriend has cost me over $156. But I know that boyfriend bullshit comes with every roommate. And one-half of a two-bedroom apartment versus a one-bedroom in my town yields $300/mo. in savings.

That is why I stay. (For now.)


Hannah B. really does love her roommate.


53 Comments / Post A Comment

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

Ugh, sorry. No fun…

When I had light-fingered roommates, I started keeping my shower stuff and detergent tucked away in my room. It felt really lame, but it saved money.

boogers mcgee (#4,474)

@LookUponMyWorks That’s what I’ve ended up doing as well. It felt like regressing back to the days of dorm living, toting a shower caddy to and from the bathroom.

This is not okay, not in the least! You need to:
a) tell your roommate that if her boyfriend is spending more then 60% of his time at your place he needs to start chipping in on stuff. That’s not fair
b)go college style and keep all your stuff (shampoo, laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc) in your room and only wash your dishes or
c) find another living situation where you’re not living with Bevers from Broad City

BananaPeel (#1,555)

@TheDoctorsCompanion BROAD CITY

hollanding (#6,076)

@TheDoctorsCompanion YESSS this is so Bevers.

Renleigh (#2,110)

@TheDoctorsCompanion When I saw the title of this post in my RSS reader I was so hoping the picture would be Bevers.

sherlock (#3,599)

@Renleigh Yes, same!

beet hummus (#946)

Make sure he’s not using your lotion for Julianna Margulies-related activities…

Mlanterman (#6,065)


appleaday (#6,367)

I think about this a lot as I stay half the week at my bf’s place usually and he stays half the week at mine and we try not to piss off either sets of roommates.

Weirdly though, the person stealing shampoo is his roommate who uses mine. Somehow this dude has lived in this apt for 7 months and has yet to buy any shampoo or soap or anything…

BananaPeel (#1,555)

Does he actually live there, or does he have a place of his own? This is insanity.

PicNic (#3,760)

I totally. TOTALLY. understand your pain. My last roommate and her boyfriend were kind of a nightmare. I didn’t even actually like my last roommate, but the addition of her 100 pound dog (who I loved), and her 185 pound boyfriend (who I loathed) was just too much for our two bedroom apartment to bear.

They had sex on my couch. He cooked her elaborate meals that took over the kitchen so i couldn’t even cook my own dinner and then left the dishes. he hung out at our apartment when she wasn’t there. He slammed the bathroom door (next to my bedroom), he walked around the apartment naked. he used up the hot water in the shower in the morning so I’d go to work dirty. It was honestly this particular living situation that finally broke me and now I live alone. I kept that apartment because the rent is amazing considering it’s the city, and it’s totally changed the way I live my life because I have to be a lot more frugal with $750ish less in my pocket every month. But it’s so, so worth it. I’m glad you at least like your roommate though! That definitely helps

garli (#4,150)

@PicNic Dude this story and your comment give me rage flashbacks. My roommate’s disgusting girlfriend is 100 the reason I moved out of the cheapest and easiest living situation I’ve ever been in.

How do people think that shit is ok?

mariajoseh (#405)

@PicNic the hanging out in the house! My roomate’s boyfriend also does this and I just can’t deal. He has FRIENDS OVER! But he does clean everything and is not super loud so I guess I’m lucky.

EM (#1,012)

I would be so tempted to do something immature and vengeful, like leaving out a decoy bottle of Tide filled with bleach to ruin all his clothes. (FREE IDEA HANNAH).

I had a boyfriend in college who lives with two friends, and one of their girlfriend’s was the worst for stuff like this. She would use other people’s towels and leave them in wet heaps on the floor, and then if you pointed it out she would say, “Well, I don’t have my own towel” as if this was an insurmountable obstacle.

BananaPeel (#1,555)

@EM I don’t understand how people like that girl find other people willing to date them.

@EM She used other people’s towels?!?!? I would have gone to the dollar store and bought her some outrageously colored like, lime green towel and said “Now you do.”

That is so gross.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

Wow, I have never even been in this situation, but I’m filled with rage just reading this post/the comments. I would definitely copy @EM and start booby-trapping things. Or, you know, have a talk with my roommate and THEN start booby-trapping things if nothing changed. Kind of seems like it may be good to talk to the roommate about this sort of thing instead of sitting on it for a year.

BillfoldMonkey (#1,754)

@Caitlin with a C Yes, talking to roommates about stuff like this is the actual worst, but it’s time to do it, and absolutely then afterward start booby-trapping stuff.

garli (#4,150)

@Caitlin with a C Right? Now that it’s all written out the author knows what she has to say.

andnowlights (#2,902)

Ugh, one of my roommates my senior year of college “lived” with us (HE HAD AN APARTMENT IN THE SAME BUILDING!) and it annoyed me constantly that I had to pay for his electric use because the bill was split. Honestly, one of my biggest regrets with that whole living situation is that I never stood up for myself about it. I vote for either making his life as difficult as possible while he’s there, or just keeping everything that’s yours in his room and when you split up the bill, withold a few bucks for “[boyfriend’s] electric use”

Aunt Scar (#5,377)

@andnowlights Yup. And honestly, while writing a piece for The Billfold about your roommate’s annoying sponger boyfriend might be cathartic, being passive agreesive does not fix the situation.

It’s not aggressive to have boundaries and call people on their biull, people. It’s assertive.

SaraAnn (#5,291)

In my book, if you haven’t signed the lease you don’t get a key. There’s just not enough accountability. I definitely offended my previous roommate with this sentiment–she wanted her boyfriend to be able to be at our apartment whenever it struck his fancy. She also wanted us to pay for cable because “[boyfriend] likes to watch TV” even though the rest of us didn’t at all.

la_di_da (#1,425)

You’re allowed to confront him about the Tide and the shampoo without being a bitch. That shit’s expensive. You can also gently nudge your roommate about dishes and mention that her boyfriend could do his own as well.

UGH. all around. I know so many relationships like this.

highjump (#39)

It literally just occurred to me, after 4+ months, that my roommate’s annoying girlfriend must be using my shampoo and conditioner because my roommate shaves his head and there is no other shampoo or conditioner in our shower.

moreadventurous (#4,956)

My freshman year my roommate’s boyfriend stayed in our room all the time. Like, when she wasn’t there even. But, he had a SINGLE in a beautiful old stone dorm. It was so weird. I finally said something about it, and they claimed his radiator was so loud they couldn’t sleep. Finally, they begrudgingly moved over there. I, to this day, don’t understand why a noisy radiator would make sharing a ROOM with another person be the preferable option.

I think, in this story, the fact that he uses your bar of soap might be the most atrocious crime. That’s gross, dude. Also, I agree that you should definitely say something about the situation. A year is a serious infraction on your right to your own space and belongings.

E$ (#1,636)

@moreadventurous Oh, college! My freshman-year roommate tried to let her boyfriend stay over in our room, and did NOT understand why I wasn’t okay with it. “We’re not doing anything,” she protested. Thanks for the reassurance, but still!

oh my god yes, I shudder to think about all the not-okay things that were done in shared college bedrooms or on common room futons. HOW DID EVERYONE JUSTIFY THIS?!

Susan Tidebeck (#5,691)

I have been through this. The solution for me was to make more money and live alone. I still despise having house guests because of my experiences with roommates, and their boyfriends, and their friends, and their relatives, and their pets, and their apathetic attitudes, etc.

Maybe you should forward this article to him, along with a $156 invoice.

Tripleoxer (#5,676)

I have been on both sides of this, and I feel for you. But this also made me feel a little guilty for having been on the other side, because I was a roommate who let my boyfriend crash all the time. Except…I owned the house, and my roommate (tenant?) never bought any household supplies, never cleaned, and never paid any utilities anyway, and when he was over, my BF would clean, take out the trash, contribute TP and other supplies, catch and release spiders, and cook for my roommate. She moved out 6 months later and now my BF officially lives with me. All’s well that ends well. I have also been the girlfriend that is crashing all the time, but again, I chipped in for utilities and made myself useful! When it’s a roommate’s S/O, it’s just awful because you didn’t sign up for it and had no say in the matter. Argh.

hellonheels (#1,407)

This was what led me to move out of my last apartment. My roommate’s boyfriend moved in with us, unbeknownst to me (I assumed he was just staying till he found a place of his own). The problem with him was not that he used my products, since in that household I was definitely the one with the girliest products, but that he was unemployed, completely lacking in ambition, and would sit at home in front of the television all day watching basketball. It didn’t matter what team, just any basketball that happened to be on. So unless I happened upon the empty living room during one of his rare trips out of the house, there was virtually no chance of me ever getting any access to the television. Oh, and for every 12-pack of beer I bought, he helped himself to at least two. I know my roommate rationalized it by telling herself that my boyfriend usually slept over too, so things were even, but my boyfriend would be there from 8:30 PM till 7 AM max, never showered there, never did laundry, etc.

EmilyAnomaly (#4,238)

so many flashbacks. Having a bedroom next to the bathroom is the worst. Hearing the roommies boyfriend pee and then not wash his hands, then rummage through the bathroom drawers ICK and hearing the door slam on his way in and out. Also roommates who would use ALL THE PAPER TOWELS and never buy any. Having roommates is so hard. It’s easier when you have just one roommate who works all the time and is never home/never dates anyone (I’ve had that roommate once, it was great but short-lived). I live alone now and it is worth every penny. The trade off is that I don’t own a car.

E$ (#1,636)

@EmilyAnomaly Once I had the mythical always-working-never-home roommate. She was great, except when her long-distance boyfriend came to visit and he would lurk around without introducing himself. Dude, I am cool with you! Don’t be a creep!

garli (#4,150)

@EmilyAnomaly I had that roommmate once too! Brian, who was only home from 2am until 9 am and was often out of town for weeks at a time. Brain who never once cooked or left anything other than a single container of juice in the fridge. Brain who’s long distance girl friend never once visited. Brain who would go out of town for 6 weeks on a regular basis but never once forgot to pay rent. He only lived with us because he needed an address to maintain his security clearance – otherwise he (literally) just lived at his office. (he started the company just out of grad school). I hope he’s doing well these days.

grog (#2,222)

Wait, how has no one yet commented on 12 rolls of TP a month? That seems like an insane amount. I’m in a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids [2 males, 2 females]) and we maybe go through 3 rolls combined.

Is 12 rolls for 2 females and 1 jerk a normal amount?

But to the main part of your post, I would definitely constructively confront your roommate about her parasite (which isn’t actually what I’d do. I’m the king of passive aggressiveness, but it’s much easier to give advice rather than heed it).

lisaf (#3,089)

@grog @grog I buy big 24 packs but they are the “double rolls” (but pretty much every brand is double rolls now too. So are we talking 12 singles or doubles, Hannah?). It lasts me, as a woman who lives alone, about 5 or 6 months. So thats 4 rolls a month (like one change a week? Seems about right), which would be 8 for two people. But these are the double rolls!

E$ (#1,636)

@lisaf @grog I’d say we go through between 8 and 12 rolls a month in my household (consisting of 1 adult male and 1 adult female).

This post and the comments reminded me that I once had a roommate who wouldn’t chip in on toilet paper because she claimed she never used it. I guess she figured that her dignity was worth not chipping in $5 or whatever.

Elsajeni (#1,763)

@grog I would say that my household of 2 (1 adult male, 1 adult female) goes through about 1-1.5 double rolls a week, so that’s, what, about 4-6 rolls a month? Also, that’s with one of us working full-time outside the house and the other being out of work, which I’m sure makes a difference — some of the time I’m using my office’s toilet paper.

gyip (#4,192)

@grog Hmm, maybe … but we use TP to wipe off the counter, etc. We probably buy a pack of 12 every 6-8 weeks? Man, I don’t actually know!

3 rolls a month for FOUR PEOPLE seems kind of crazy low to me.

minijen (#656)

I cannot comprehend why any of this is ok. There’s no need to compromise here. You are paying for accommodations, services and goods for your own use. He is not a legal tenant, is stealing your belongings, running up your bills and infringing more on your personal space than you agreed to prior to renting the space. There’s a good chance he’s violating your lease, as well. Many places have clauses that prevent guest more than 3 nights a week, or 50% of the time (varies), to prevent unknown/not verified tenants.

While I understand that your roommate may personally be great to live with, what she allows her BF to do, moving him in without your agreement, not understanding that his presence 24/7 may be a problem – makes her a not perfect roommate. You need to have a boundaries and respect conversation with both of them, and a STOP STEALING FROM ME conversation with him.

annev17 (#4,822)

@minijen OMG THIS. OP, talk to this monster! Set boundaries! Don’t let this fester until you explode!

Trilby (#191)

Why have you put up with this for more than a MONTH? You have some serious doormat issues. Take control of this situation ASAP. There is no reason for him to be in the space and not pay his fair share. If not, he needs to leave. For the urination alone, I would be kicking him to the curb. (Why can men not AIM their pee stream??????)

@Trilby Oh my god, the peeing alone. I until recently shared a bathroom with someone whose boyfriend was not housebroken. He’d pee on the seat. On the floor. Here. There. Everywhere. One time there was feces or vomit or who the hell knows what. If I could have kicked them both out, I would have.

Since I moved out now, and I’ll share: I started using her towel to wipe off the pee sprinkles. I got tired pointing it out, so I figured, oh well…

facepalm (#4,409)

This is complete bullshit. I mean dear go, please confront your roommate in a calm and rational manner. You’ve got a great blueprint above to get the dialogue flowing. I’m irritated for you just reading this!

MrDean (#6,289)

See, everyone here is all “be direct and confront them with your very reasonable complaints,” but I say the solution is to just go the other way and get an even worse boyfriend of your own. Her BF steals your detergent? Your BF steals his clothes. Her BF doesn’t do the dishes? “Oh no worry, that raccoon I let in should take care of the scraps.” Up the ante. There’s literally no possible downside.

sariberry (#4,420)

If you don’t feel that you can confront your roommate about this, one passive-aggressive option is: find a way for her to stumble upon this article.

livlemon (#6,371)

THIS IS MY LIFE FOR THE LAST YEAR. Except the problem with my roommate’s boyfriend (who has spent at least 3 nights a week, but usually more like 5 or 6, at my apartment from the very first week we moved in) is that he’s just an asshole. Extremely rude, makes insensitive jokes, doesn’t have the basic social skills to say “hey, how are you?” when he walks in the door. (You would think he could muster this much after a year of knowing/practically living with me.)

COUPLES: If you are living in the same city and want to be spending every night or nearly every night together JUST GET A PLACE TOGETHER. Don’t subject either of your roommates to your cohabitation experiments. It’s just not cool, and as much as you may think no one cares about your significant other, they do…even the nicest person can be unwelcome when they’re simply not supposed to be living there.

My significant other lives in another city, so the most we inconvenience each other’s roommates is one weekend a month. If we lived in the same city we would never fake live together, we would just live together for real (it’s usually cheaper anyway!).

Rant over.

(oh yeah, and I’ve tried talking to my roommate…she could not care less)

swirrlygrrl (#2,398)

I’m both thrilled and sad I don’t have any roommate horror stories. At 32, post-breakup, I moved in with my very first non-sexytimes roommate, and he was awesome. Over a year of living together, zero drama, and he was super chill that time I came home at 3 am very drunk and didn’t have my keys. But, no stories to bond with people over either!

Some of this sounds totally justified in terms of accounting (laundry detergent and shampoo), some of it a bit petty (tp – I don’t want to have to account for every square I use in the roommate math, and that road seems dangerously close here). All of it is a good reason to chat with both roommate (Hey, X has been spending a lot of time here – can we talk about how we’re splitting costs?) in a non confrontational manner, and ask her to remind the bf to bring his own shampoo, etc or be sure to use hers. If that doesn’t work, sure, start to keep laundry soap in your room. But let’s all start by pretending we’re rational if somwhat clueless or conflict-averse adults here.

gyip (#4,192)

The soap thing is super, super gross. Bar soap kind of grosses me out in general, but having it non-consensually shared it is THE WORST.

Don’t buy TP for $13 a pack!!! You can get even the pretty good stuff for $5-8 when it’s on sale, unless you need cashmere 4-ply extra quilted (which we don’t use because it easily clogs the toilet, haha).

If you have the extra $$, stock up when it’s on sale, which is just regular enough for you to remember to buy it for the future. You’ll always need TP, you just flush it down the toilet anyway, and you never want to run out, so why not have extra around? Our apartment is not tiny but it’s not big either, so we usually have maybe 2 extra 12-packs lying around.

honey cowl (#1,510)

May we all never live with roommates again for the rest of our lives.

kellyography (#250)

Oh my god, I had the WORST experience with a roommate and her boyfriend. She already sucked on her own (talked super loudly on the phone at 3am, blasted her stereo as soon as she’d get up at 6am, built furniture and hammered nails into the wall in the middle of the night), but her boyfriend was kind of a scary dude (I had to call the cops on him twice when he’d start screaming at her and destroying our stuff), and she didn’t care that he hung around when she wasn’t home. He helped himself to our food and didn’t do dishes, walked around (nearly) naked, watched TV super loud in the middle of the night, and generally made everyone uncomfortable. When I’d try to talk to her about it, she just made excuses and started defending him, and basically threatened to kick me out of the apartment because she was the only one on the lease. The only reason I didn’t move out was because I couldn’t afford it, but luckily, she moved out not too long after it got really bad, and all has been well ever since.

My boyfriend lives in another city, and when he stays over (a few days every other month or so), he takes great pains to be neither seen nor heard by my roommates. He’s met them all and is not a creep, only uses my bath stuff, and doesn’t do his laundry at our house (is that a normal thing?!). Same thing when I go to visit him (except I usually bring my own shampoo because he buys cheap shit that kills my hair).

megsy (#1,565)

shared bar soap is so traumatizing.

I prefer bar soap for the environmental aspect and because I HATE paying for water, which you do in body wash, but I only use it when I am 100% certain that no one else would use the soap. I would hate for bar soap to be used in an uncertain sharing environment.

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