Beyond Bravo

Is There a Right Way To Ask Your Roommate To Move Out?

If you go about it the right way, there's a chance you can stay friends. 

Courtney, a New York City publicist, met her roommate through a mutual friend and they had a perfect living arrangement. Friendly, but independent of each other. Their initial agreement was for them to share the apartment for six months but it kept getting extended. 

A year and a half later Courtney was frantically looking for a new job as her office was in turmoil and her colleagues were quitting one by one. One night she was rushing out to meet her boyfriend when her roommate blurted out that she wanted the apartment for herself—and Courtney had 30 days to move out. 

“I was so mad! I was literally in the middle of my job search and had to switch my focus to finding an apartment,” she tells Personal Space. “Also, to tell me on my way out…she definitely knew I was running late and wouldn’t have time to really address the situation. After that night, she was being overly nice and offered to bring home goodies or clean up. Annoying.”

Courtney ended up finding an apartment but still fumes thinking about the money she wasted in application fees, added to the stress of starting a new job and moving apartments in the same week. 

Unfortunately, revolting roommate sagas can be really sordid.

Teri, a 24 year old manager at a health clinic recalls one roommate who changed the locks and texted her while she was out for lunch that she has to move out immediately. When Teri returned, all her belongings had been packed and her roommate was shouting that she had to leave. Movers eventually came to retrieve her things, a task hampered by the roommate squatting in the middle of it making it nearly impossible for anything to get done. 

Lauren Taus, a New York city based therapist, life coach, and yoga teacher admits that roomie breakups can be really tough.

“Whether as romantic partners or friends, living together creates a strong attachment between people, and changing that dynamic almost inevitably brings up strong emotions like abandonment, rejection, sadness and fear. There are, of course, the completely amicable, and mutual splits, but these are not the majority,” she says.

But drama can be avoided. 

“Maintaining a good relationship after a move requires open dialogue,” Taus explains. “Talk about the feelings, even if they seem irrational. Expect some relational turbulence, and normalize it. One might also try to imagine what his or her soon-to-be former roommate is feeling based on all the variables involved. Try to validate their experience even if you don't agree with it. Be reasonable. Ultimately, the aim is to accept the situation, and embrace the opportunity for a new beginning, including with the ex-flatmate!”

Personal Space is Bravo's home for all things "relationships," from romance to friendships to family to co-workers. Ready for a commitment? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates. 

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