Married with roommates?

My boyfriend and I are moving to New York for six months. During that time we will be getting married. He wants to share a place with three other people. More specifically a married couple and a single guy. So far I’ve closed my ears to the subject.

He thinks it will help us out financially. I think it will hurt us due to the lack of privacy. Plus something just doesn’t feel right about being married and still living with other people.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Would you even consider it?

Well, I was roommates for about 6 years with a married couple. Originally they wanted a roommate for the money; plus the husband was a scientist and spent 18-20 hours a day at his lab. The house was a huge Victorian (I had a whole floor to myself) in an urban neighborhood, and the wife didn’t like being alone in the house all the time. It was supposed to be for just a year or two but we ended up being great friends and I stayed for 6 years.

BUT I think in most cases it would not work out. The fact that their house was so huge helped: I could go a day or two without seeing anyone else even though they were home. I don’t think the set-up would work in an apartment or smaller house. Or at least it wouldn’t be something I would want to do.

My husband and I currently have good friend staying with us while he has a contract job nearby. He lives too far away to commute from where he lives. Since we have 2 bedroom place, it’s been working out fine.

Then again, he’s been staying with his girlfriend a few nights since this arrangement started due to some personal issues of her own. her place is really too far to commute from, too, at least for the long haul.

In my first marriage, the worst mistake we made was letting a friend of my first husband’s move in when she moved back to town. I really hadnt known her very well, only these wild stories about what a fun, party animal she was. She had plenty of friends and was very uninhibited. We became good friends and my husband started to resent that I was going out a lot more. She came with a toddler whose dad was in town, and, inevitably, she started bringing guys home. Our home. Then it turned into different guys every weekend and then a set of twins. They were models. That was the last straw for my ex- he recommended that I tell her she had to go. Yeah right, she wasnt my friend to begin with. He walked out and that was our separation. She meddled a bit in my personal life, told my family that I was to blame for eventually returning the house to them (the owners) although I had lost a job and she had never bothered to get one. I saw a similar thing happen with my brother and his wife, only with a family member. The best thing is to keep your home to yourselves. Sometimes people don’t know when its time to move on.

The feeling I get from it is that it won’t be our home. It wouldn’t be fair of me to take over the entire place. They would be paying equal shares of the rent and we would all be moving in together at the same time, not some one moving in with us.

The entire idea gives me the feeling of having college roommates. I’ve already been through that ordeal. It can get very stressful dealing with so many different personalities and lifestyles. I’ve been living on my own for the past 18 months and it’s been a peaceful time.

I also don’t know these people. The only thing I know is that they’re all in the nuke program in the Navy. The single guy is about four years younger than us and is from Oklahoma. The couple got married recently after dating for only a few weeks. And I know she’s a former Hooter’s waitress. (Not that that has anything to do with any of this, just what I know about her.)

First time my husband was married, he and his wife had his friend living with them. His wife left with his friend…

We had my husband’s brother living with us for a while, but it didn’t work too well. I had a toddler - I didn’t need a 20-something pseudo-son also. He left after a couple of months.

Personally, unless a family member or really close friend was in serious trouble and had no place else go to, there’s no way I’d have anyone living with us for more than a few days visit.

If it is for only six months and you need the financial help, I say do it. Anything can be made to work for 6 months. If it were longer, I would say no.

We had a friend of my wife’s stay with us for about a month or so. Brigitte, the friend, had a 12 yr old boy. It seemed to work out ok for that short time. Brigitte at the time was unemployed and homeless. She really needed the help.

I was against the idea, wife was for it. So she ended up staying, but I had some stipulations. Brigitte’s work record was spotty at best. She had never been at a job more then 6 months, and she was the type that always found something wrong with a job. There was always an excuse. So my stipulations were that Brigitte had to spend her time with us looking for a job.

Fortunately, it worked out rather well. She was very diligent about finding a job and was usually gone most of the day job hunting. When she was at our home, she would help out around the house as much as she could. She found a job about a month later and moved out.

For the short term, it probably would work out for you, but for the long term… you may want to think about alternatives. Perhaps a duplex you could rent out or something.

My husband and I have lived with a roommate for a year and a half. It really saves on rent, and we got married soon after we met so it gave us a good chance to get accustomed to each other without getting in each other’s space too much. We’re all really sad to be getting separate places next month.

Contributing factors to why it worked so well: she is my best friend who I’ve known for ten years or so, and she wasn’t home much. And my husband is the most laid-back guy ever. Plus we fed her bunny when she was away so she was always indebted to us, which helped when we drove her a bit nuts !

It’s not as if we are in desperate need for money. We have enough to cover our expenses. I make less a month than he does right now and I manage always cover my rent, bills, food expenses and have a little left over for spending money. As long as we manage our money wisely we would be fine.

I’m worried about how this could hurt our relationship. I know that the first few years of marriage are hard. I want us to be able to have our own time together without having to worry about three other people.

In my situation, I think it was better that we didn’t know each other prior to becoming roommates. It was much more a “professional” kind of relationship than roommates. We did become friends but the size of the house definitely made a difference - it’s not like we were in each other’s hair all the time.

I must stress that the personalities and practices of the people involved make a HUGE difference. As I said before, the husband was a scientist and frequently at the lab all day & night. The wife was getting her master’s and either in class or doing serious studying. I was in undergrad and working at the same time. None of us were partiers; we were all in our 30s or so (read: generally have the wild club days out of our systems); I wasn’t the type to have an endless string of new boyfriends over every week. They had animals, which I absolutely loved, and they actually got me a kitten at one point. We were all able to take care of each other’s animals when the other people were traveling - a gigantic benefit, as anyone with animals knows. There were lots of times they were away and I had a beautiful house and gorgeous garden to myself. So it worked out quite well overall. But I would never do it in a small house or apartment. Just not enough privacy, and I like my time alone.

If you don’t mind my asking… where in the NYC area are you planning to move to? Rents can vary considerably with the neighborhood, but in general are pretty expensive compared to Tennessee, so it’s not clear that your salary will get you as far.

I would say that if you know it will only be for six months, give it a try. Longer term, definitely find another arrangement.

Try to think of this as a challenge you two are taking on together, the first big challenge of your married lives. And after all, these aren’t relatives that you’ll be stuck with for the rest of your life. :wink: Just IMHO, if you are so concerned that your new marriage will be damaged by this experience, then perhaps you should postpone the wedding for a while and just go to NYC as an engaged couple. If the stress of sharing a home temporarily is enough to part you, then you weren’t ready yet, and better to find out before a wedding than after…

Sorry, I should clarify. We won’t be living in the city. We are going to be about half an hour north of Albany. From what I’ve seen we can get a decent place for the two of us for around $600 a month, only $200 more than I’m paying now.

I have some friends - not legally married, but together for many years and who bought a house together. They have a roommate living with them and for the most part it works out just fine for them. They have the odd personality conflict here and there (the girl who’s living with them is a bit of a freak, but they’re really tolerant people, too) but nothing major that I know of. I do know they had someone else living there as a roommate before this girl and he ended up being a schmuck and they had to get rid of him, though, so it’s clearly not always going to work. But the idea of married-with-roommates can work fine if you’ve got the right combination of people.

Ah, north of Albany is a whole other ball of wax. :slight_smile: (Anywhere near Glens Falls?) Life should be much more affordable by comparison then, so if I were in your shoes I would prefer to not have other roommates, myself. Do you both have jobs lined up already? How much will you really be saving if you move in with the others? Maybe if he sees everything laid out on paper he’ll change his mind.

While I think of it - any other possible reasons other than your own finances that he wants to share a home with these folks (e.g., they are friends who need the financial boost)? The area north of Albany has not been doing spectacularly well in terms of the economy; in fact, upstate New York has been struggling for a while now. Just a thought…

They all have secure jobs… they’re in the Navy. Well, the guys are. They will each receive a monthly housing allowance of about $650, with the exception to the one that is married. He’ll receive about $100 more.

I don’t think we could really be saving more than a few hundred a month, which sounds like a lot but I don’t really think it is.

I’m sure he’ll be along in a few minutes to explain his point of view.

I look at it this way. We’ll be there for 6 months. After that, we’ll have to move again, maybe as close as Groton, CT, maybe as far away as San Diego, CA. Even if we can cover rent/utilities/etc “if we budget” in NY, I’d rather split the costs with more people and save up so we can get a nice place at the next (well, first) permanent duty station where we’ll be staying 3 to 5 years.

Hmmm… so the guys are all employed, no probs. Will you be looking for a job as well, Shadi? If you aren’t, or if you can’t find anything suitable for your background/experience and so have to rely on 1010011010’s salary more or less exclusively… then I would have to go back to my original recommendation, trying to stick it out for 6 months with the other folks.

I can understand how you would want time alone to get your marriage under way, and if you were both going to be employed I could see going for a place of your own. However, “a few hundred a month” savings with only one strong income really can be a lot, and at least you can avoid having arguments over tight finances. :wink: I don’t know how far those savings will stretch in the long term, but it will be awful comforting to know you have a cushion in case you need it. And I can tell you first hand… being strapped for cash with no reserves is one of the most stressful things I have experienced in my life.

I am planning on working while we are there. Even if I can’t get what my mother would refer to as a real job, I can always fall back onto what I’ve been doing for the past four years- waiting tables.It’s a crappy job, but I’m good at it. Right now I pull off about $800-1000 a month doing this. That’s with working mainly weekends.

Between the two of us, we can pull in about $2500 a month after taxes. If we cut out unnecessary things we’ll be able to have a bit of cushion without sacrificing our privacy. Now I realize we both need some sanity money, but we don’t need to be paying for three different forms of internet access at the same time. (He has had his dial-up account for 8 years and wants to keep him email address and webspace, but he also wants to have the speed of cable. He’s agreed to get rid of AOL though.)

This thread can effectively end. Pretty much in agreement that ShadiRoxan and one of the roommates have personality conflict.

Thanks for the input, everyone who contributed.