When the rent is due, the phone is tied up, the dishes are dirty and the toilet seat is up, the realities of living with a roommate become evident. And when roommates are of opposite sexes, sharing an off-campus apartment can make or break the friendship or intimate relationship.
Junior Ben Getto said he learned a little too much about his girlfriend when the two moved in together after his freshman year.
It was going really well before we moved in together and then when we were living together we started seeing things that we didn’t want to see, Getto said. First, I realized how much she drank, which was definitely a problem. Then, the fact that I saw her do her laundry twice all summer made me realize I couldn’t be with her.
Although the relationship suffered from the confined quarters of their summer efficiency, Getto said he did not regret moving in with his girlfriend because he learned something from his experience.
I definitely know I will live with the person I marry before we get married, he said.
Getto and his ex-girlfriend broke up two weeks before the end of summer and he went back to living with male roommates, he said.
Junior Ana Rossetti-Morosini said living with her boyfriend Alex Castillo put their relationship to the test.
All your cards are on the table, you really see the other person at their best and worst, Rossetti-Morosini said.
Even after seeing Castillo at his worst, Rossetti-Morosini said she has no regrets about living with him.
As she pulls down the foldout table in her tiny efficiency, she smiles and giddily describes her situation with Castillo.
I know, I’m glowing, my friends tell me all the time, Rossetti-Morosini said. They’re like, `stop glowing.’ It’s an overall thing. My whole standard of living went up. Everything just got better. Our grades have gone up, our social lives are better – everything.
As both Rossetti-Morosini and Castillo’s housing leases expired at about the same time last year, Rossetti-Morosini said moving in together just made sense. They saved time, money and energy, she said. Castillo said he believes many people move in together for the wrong reasons, such as trying to save a relationship or just to save money. But, Castillo and Rossetti-Morosini said they had the right reasons for taking the next step and prepared themselves well.
I would say that we’re really a minority, Castillo said. This probably wouldn’t work for 99 percent of this campus, but everyone thinks they’re that one percent. It takes a lot of responsibility – fiscal responsibility, social responsibility and a lot of maturity. And we’re both independent people.
Castillo and Rossetti-Morosini agree that compromise is the key to living together.
If you feel like you always have to win, Rossetti-Morosini begins as Castillo finishes the sentence, you’re gonna lose, you’re both gonna lose.
Students in boyfriend-girlfriend relationships are not the only GW students living with members of the opposite sex. Two women and three men, all students at GW, share a three-bedroom townhouse near Dupont Circle.
Senior Eric Martinez, who lives in the house, said he and some of his friends decided to get a house after his junior year. But what initially seemed like a good idea has now turned ugly, he said.
Let me put it this way, when a friend of ours saw our apartment and analyzed the situation, he gave it the term `powderkeg,’ Martinez said.
And when the fuse was lit, war broke out between the men and women in the house.
As soon as (female roommates) saw the closet and ran into the whole shoe problem, there was a war over who got the master bedroom, Martinez said.
The women won the battle of the master bedroom, but Martinez said the household has not resolved all its problems. He said planning and preparation is important to the survival of living with both sexes.
Albeit I’m very happy with the people, location, and all that, when you go on this kind of adventure, you have to plan it out precisely, Martinez said. To this day, all five of us have never gotten together and really talked things through.
One potential problem within the house is that two of the roommates are dating. Martinez said he fears problems in the relationship could create problems for the whole household.
If the couple that lives with us broke up, it would be the Cold War all over again, Martinez said. The living room would turn into Berlin; this is yours, this is mine.
Martinez said he believes the complexity of his household situation prepared him better for life. He also said he has a better understanding of how women function and think. Martinez said the experience confirmed some of his stereotypes about women.
This makes you a better negotiator, a wiser individual, he said. I’m learning more about women than I knew before. For one thing, the women and clothes thing – that’s all true.
Although Martinez said he sees differences in the way men and women live, he does not attribute the household problems to the cohabitation.
I don’t see the guy-girl thing as the source of our problem, Martinez said. There have been no privacy issues. It’s all been well respected in that sense. Five girls would have worked better. Five guys probably would have worked better.