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There is a strange epidemic sweeping the country: married couples with roommates. It’s not just a funny thing you see in shows like “New Girl”—couples everywhere are tying the knot before they can afford a place of their own. Why not just wait until they have the money to set up their own private love nest, you ask? Because for some couples that is very far away, particularly in cities and metropolitan areas where the cost of a home can be so high that you’d think it was a joke. But even couples who just want to live in a large, nice apartment often can’t afford the space on two incomes and need to take in a roommate. Marital bliss isn’t the cute little game of playing house that it used to be. It looks more like a sitcom from the 90s, in which there is always someone in the bathroom or someone who finished the orange juice. Here’s what it’s like being married and having a roommate.

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Romantic dinners get commandeered

Think you and your honey can plan a romantic dinner, take over the kitchen, and make that elaborate dish you learned about on the Food Network? Think again. Here comes the roommate, ready to microwave his frozen burrito and drink juice out of the carton. He’s allowed to be in the kitchen, too…but it certainly kills the vibe you had going.

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In fact, you just have to feed the roomy

You actually just usually wind up inviting the roommate to eat with you. You feel bad for him. His microwavable dinner for one or leftover pizza looks sad, and you made extra so…Ugh. Fine. This became a house dinner. You’ll turn off the classical jazz station and put on Drake.

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Hosting couples dinner parties is awkward

Sometimes, you just want to invite a couple of other, well, couples over for dinner. You clear it with the roomy. He says it’s fine—the dining room is yours for the night. But he’s still wandering around the place and nobody quite knows what to make of him. Do your friends engage him in conversation? Invite him to join? Ignore him? Can they use this cup they found in the cabinet, or is that the roommates?

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You have to argue behind closed doors

You have to take your marital disputes behind closed doors, as if you are hiding your fights from a child. But you just want some privacy if you need to hash things out. Of course, your roommate always knows when you’ve been fighting and it’s awkward.

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Some people assume a sister wives situation

When strangers—like plumbers or handymen—stop in, you can see them trying to work out in their heads what’s going on here. Is this a polyamorous thing? A group marriage?

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Somebody uses your wedding gifts

So, you just got all of these fabulous wedding gifts. A food processor. Silverware. A gravy boat. A toaster oven. Aaaaand your roommate is using them. But, what were you supposed to do? Hide them all away? Where? Plus, you want to use those things, too, so they’re on the counter.

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You don’t have the décor leadership you’d hoped for

You don’t exactly have the control over decorating your marital home that you hoped you might. You can decorate your bedroom and bathroom but, when it comes to communal areas and large purchases, you need to consult with the roommate.

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Your parents criticize it constantly

Your parents have a lot to say on the matter. They come from a generation when married couples just didn’t have roommates. It was unheard of. But they also come from a generation when houses were more affordable.

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The roommate can feel he has to walk on eggshells

You can sense that your poor roommate sort of feels like this is you and your partner’s home that he just gets to live in, rather than the home of all of you.

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When the roommate wants to have a party

You kind of just want to enjoy married life aka not having to deal with tons of random people anymore. But, your single roommate wants to host parties from time to time and it is his home too, so…I guess you’ll be dealing with tons of random people again.

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Can you/should you put up wedding photos?

What to do with all of those wedding photos you just had professionally printed and framed…If you put them on all the walls and shelves then, your roommate might feel like you’re claiming your territory. But if you don’t put them up, then you feel sad.

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The USPS person is confused

The USPS person has double-checked with your apartment, several times, to confirm that Mr. and Mrs so-and-so, and this random solo person, all live in the same place. It doesn’t check out to him.

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How are utilities split?

Do you and your partner cover a half—together—so one quarter each, and the other roomy covers half? Or do you split it three ways? You and your partner share a room so, technically, you use less electricity has a pair.

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Movie night at home? Don’t think so

You can’t just claim the big screen for yourselves for a romantic movie night at home. If your roommate wants to watch something else, you could have a debate on your hands. Or he might want to watch what you’re watching and join your date night.

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You need a sex signal

At any given moment, your roommate may need to ask you a question like “Whose avocados are these?” or “Were you expecting a package?” But at any moment, you and your spouse could also be getting it on so you need some sort of signal that tells your roomy to stay away. That also means he always knows when you’re having sex.

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