I’m in love with my roommate. We were great friends last year, but this year feels different. We have chemistry and a great time together, but I can’t tell if the deep feelings are reciprocated. What should I do?
Love With Roommate
Dear Love With Roommate,
Roommates share a freakishly domestic relationship for just a couple of young adults. Cooking for each other, adorning a shared sink with twin toothbrushes and peeing in the darkness of night so the bathroom light does not wake up the other comprise just a few of these intimate habits. My three roommates and I argue over who takes out the trash, does the dishes and sweeps the floor like a graying couple. After living with each other for the past three months, we have so much familiarity with one another’s habits that it’s not the defining aspects of our personalities that annoy each other, like my chatterbox mouth, but the little things, like leaving flammable items on the stove (in my defense, the stove is off!).
As roommates, you mimic marriage, so why not add a higher level of intimacy or take a more euphemistic approach to your regular Netflix and chill time? While making a move on your roommate may create an uncomfortable living situation if not reciprocated, it could also result in a special relationship without the awkwardness of learning each other’s quirks for the first time.
Your first step, if you haven’t already found confirmation, is to find out if they like you back. I recommend dropping hints gradually increasing in romantic suggestiveness. Start with spending extra GWorld on them at Whole Foods, bringing them home a pint of strawberry cheesecake ice cream – the sexiest ice cream, as it combines the velvety texture of cheesecake with the scarlet undertones of fruit. With the pink love tones dancing throughout ice cream as smooth as satin pajamas, they are sure to get the hint – or, if edible metaphors do not work, they will at least appreciate the thought.
If you share conversations about your love lives, say that you would love a partner with whom you already have a history, like a friend or a roommate. Your roommate may share what they want in a partner in return. They match your description – do you match theirs? To explore your compatibility, invite them to an activity outside of the room, like trying a new restaurant with only the two of you or inviting them to a party for your student organization (frat or sorority formal date?). Create new memories together. Experiences outside the dorm give you and your roommate a more holistic view of each other. Do you still like them outside of the confines of your room? If the chemistry persists, communicate. Your life is not a Jane Austen novel – there is no reason to let decorum lead to brooding looks and sleepless nights dreaming about them. If your feelings haunt you day and night, swallow your pride and tell them you love them (or, okay, maybe just say you like them a lot and want a relationship).
Whatever you do, however, do NOT live together next year. In the case that you’ve begun a relationship, you will need your space to preserve your own individuality, and it doesn’t hurt that absence makes the heart grow fonder. If your love confession did not result in a relationship, continuing to share a space may feel awkward for both parties. A friend of mine from high school dated her freshman-year roommate for a few months. They chose to room together the following year after making things official…and broke up two months later. The enmeshment as both roommates and lovers strained the relationship because neither felt they had their own personal life. I only wish the two of them had asked for my advice on navigating roommates to lovers – they might still be together.
Your dilemma is not the first of its kind – roommate romance books abound and beloved sitcoms like “New Girl” romanticized the arc of roommates to lovers. Worst case scenario – remove one bed from the room, it always works in the books. Crazier things have happened than those in close quarters becoming lovers – I would say take your shot!
Best of luck,