Recently, a 44-year-old guy friend met a 30-something-year-old woman at a party. They seemed to have 101 things in common and set up a date for the weekend… and then she learned he had two roommates. She cancelled the date, saying, “At your age, you should have your own place.”
My friend was shocked, then started to wonder if she was right. Though he’d like his own place (wouldn’t we all?), financially, it made more sense for him to rent out two rooms of his townhouse—at least for now. Same goes for me. When my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, the last thing I wanted to do was get roommates. But I also didn’t want to leave my adorable apartment (after having lived all over L.A., it was my favorite place to date).
Living with anyone has its challenges. However, finances aside, when are we too old for roommates? Is age just a number?
Here are some roommate red flags to keep in mind when you’re considering if you’d be better off living alone.
1. Are you two (still) seeing eye-to-eye?
Is everyone respecting each other’s boundaries? Are your roommates communicating with you effectively when they have a problem (versus passive-aggressively and rolling their eyes or sighing)?
2. Are you avoiding your home (because of your roommates) more than spending time in it?
A few years ago, I knew I needed to switch living venues—or go live alone—when I started to avoid my apartment.
3. Is your home more like a frat house than a comfortable living space?
Maybe frat houses are your thing, but if you’ve outgrown them—yet your housing situation says otherwise—perhaps it’s time to downsize, financially, in other areas of your life and go find your own place.
4. Like any relationship, are things you once found cute now annoying?
When the person(s) first moved in, maybe you thought the way they stayed up all night binge-watching House of Cards was fun. You had a TV-watching partner! But once you realized you needed to be working, going to the gym, or sleeping, instead, and discovered that your roommate’s glued to the couch all the time (not just now and then), you realized the truth: you’ve outgrown each other. Your life is moving forward, and you want to keep it that way, not weighed down by distractions.
5. Are you and your girlfriend or boyfriend getting more serious?
If you’re coupled up and going to live with your significant other soon, you’ll have to choose a place to live: your place, their place, or a neutral one. That’s not to say you two cannot have a roommate, but it may add to the strain of moving in together (which will probably be stressful enough as it is).
All in all, I don’t think there’s a set age that’s “too old” to have a roommate, but I do think you’ll just know when enough’s enough.