Making the leap from platonic roommate to significant other is a huge risk that can turn into a domestic disaster. If things get weird, who moves out?
But the transition successfully happens sometimes, like in the case of Dan and Gabby. After college they moved into an apartment together and realized they were both single and attracted to each other. Nearly two years later, they’re still roommates, but also a couple. I sat down with Gabby to find out how the hell you can avoid getting your heart (and lease) broken.
Let Her Make The First Move
You don’t want your living situation to get awkward, so if you think there’s sexual tension with your roommate, wait for her to make it clear instead of acting on a potentially mistaken hunch yourself.
“I made the first move, but only because it was inevitable,” Gabby says. “It was definitely a lot easier for me to take initiative, and in a way I did it to get it out of the way.”
Take It Slow
Most couples wait months before moving in together, as a major sign of commitment, but you don’t have to get super serious right away.
“There was definitely an ambiguous hookup period,” Gabby says. “We got together in August and we didn’t have an actual date until mid to late October of that year, but in the meantime we had been pretty intensely living together. I guess we didn’t want to get caught up in the romance of ‘playing house’ before we were ready.”
You’re Exclusive Before You’re Official
When you’re in that amorphous Roommates With Benefits period, it’d be pretty sh*tty of you to bring another girl home from the bar. Even if your roommate isn’t officially your girlfriend yet, consider her feelings.
“We were definitely exclusive before we started being exclusive,” Gabby says. “Neither of us ever had any plans to keep our options open while we were still unclear about things. But we had a LOT of ‘what are we doing and where are we going?’ type conversations. Eventually I just came out and said, ‘We’ve been doing this for months — I’m either calling you my boyfriend or I’m not sleeping in your bed anymore!’”
It’s OK To Get Ugly
Part of living with any roommate is tolerating their gross habits. It’s tougher when attraction is involved (and you’d like to keep it that way), but you have to let some things slide.
“There were a lot of mornings in the beginning where I would tell him not to look at me because I didn’t think I looked good enough,” Gabby says. “The fact that he honestly didn’t care and didn’t treat me any differently helped me trust him a lot faster. And I got to see those ugly moments in him — first thing in the morning, all sweaty and gross, or fighting with the cable company on the phone.”
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