Ask A Very Smart Brotha: His Roommates Are Cramping My Style!

July 3, 2013  |  

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Hey Damon, 

I’ve been dating this guy for six months now. Everything is going well. We get along have great conversation, chemistry, the works. The only problem is he has roommates. Plural. This would be fine if we were still in college or fresh out, but as a woman in my early thirties, this roommate situation is cramping my style. I can’t feel comfortable sleeping over at his place knowing there’s someone in the next room who could probably hear what we’re doing. Of course he comes over to my apartment sometimes but I don’t want that to ALWAYS be the solution. I tried to casually ask him if he ever considered getting a place of his own and he said the money he saves is worth the slight inconvenience. At first it didn’t bother me but increasingly I’m starting to wonder if the fact that a man at 30 is cool with living with so many other people isn’t a red flag. Isn’t he just a little too old for that? Do you think it represents a sign of immaturity/ lack of ambition? 

Dear Roommates Ruining Everything!

So, I have to say that this question kind of stumped me. On the surface, it doesn’t really seem that complex. But, there are two factors I had to consider.

1.  The recession is a real thing. I know that our actions don’t necessarily suggest this—just last week I witnessed a two hour long argument over which brunch spot has the best grapefruit mimosas—but rest assured, there are a ton of very educated, ambitious, and otherwise capable people who are underemployed or just not employed at all because of factors largely out of their control. So, in times like these, while it may not be “cool” to do what you can to save an extra dollar or two, it is financially prudent.

This is especially true if living in a city like DC or NYC, where you might have to shell out $2,000 a month just to pay for a freakin’ closet.

2.  I can’t ignore the gender aspect of this issue. I know most adult women would have a problem with seeing a guy who doesn’t have his own place. But, if the roles were reversed and the woman was the one with the roommate, I can imagine the typical man being a bit more lenient especially if he liked her enough.

So, all that being said, I do think you have a right to feel uncomfortable with his living arrangement, for no other reason than the fact that you have the right to feel uncomfortable about anything you want to feel uncomfortable about. His situation may not be a sign of immaturity or laziness. And, it may be. Who knows? I do know that, as noble as his plight may be, you don’t have to feel bad for wanting something different.

I’m not suggesting that you leave him. From what you’ve told me, aside from this issue, the relationship is going well. Before taking any serious steps forward, though, I do think you should ask him both how long he plans to stay with his roommates and how long he’s been with them. If this is just a temporary thing for him to build a little nest egg, fine. I think a potentially good relationship is worth that inconvenience. But, if he’s been there for a while—and has no serious thoughts about leaving—it might be time to find someone with his own place. Saving money is good, but actually growing and living now is even better.

Sincerely, Damon Young

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at 

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