Roommates: Can’t live with them, can’t afford rent without them on account of your impractical college major choice of, let’s say, performance studies. Whatever your situation, sharing a living space can be difficult. Add onto that the added pressures of a pandemic, and you may find yourself perennially stressed or ill at ease in your own home. To avoid this unpleasant fate, try these tips to deal with a roommate who won’t respect your personal boundaries and also happens to be your mom.
Communicate about your need to not communicate.
You don’t have to create any hard and fast rules, but if it grinds your gears when your roommate strikes up conversation every time you’re making lunch in the kitchen or eating in a common area, you can express your desire to be alone with your thoughts in that time. Of course, your roommate may point out that you’re in her house and making yourself lunch with her groceries, or accuse you of acting like a teenager, but that’s just misdirection. Stand your ground. Even though you moved in with your mom at the beginning of lockdown and are still there because you have no job prospects and aren’t paying rent and are completely at her mercy, you still have your dignity.
Address the issue of significant others.
We’ve all dealt with the roommate whose freeloading boyfriend stays at your place five nights a week, drives up your water bill, and uses all your toilet paper. If your roommate is putting you through this, start a conversation. Focus on the practical rather than the personal; it’s not that you dislike her partner, but why is he always eating cereal in the kitchen at all hours of the day? Your roommate might respond that your stepdad “lives here”, “works”, and “technically belongs in this house more than you do”, but she’s just promulgating his sense of male entitlement. Don’t bring up the question of him pulling his weight in the household because that one’s just coming right back to you.
Explain your private life is private.
Your roommate might want to know how you’re feeling, how the job search is going, whether you ever reached out to that boy who always liked you in high school who’s a lawyer now. Look, we’re all bored and hungry for gossip these days, but that’s no excuse. Tell her that your private affairs are not her business, then if she starts asking about when you’re moving out, tell her everything. Tell her about your love life, tell her your secrets, your friends’ secrets, cry if you can. This is the healthiest way to keep the roommate relationship balance in check.
So try these gentle tips to retain necessary space and personal boundaries with the roommate who is your mom. They won’t work, but they might cause some upsetting fights.