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Dating while living with roommates

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The big difference, of course, was that I was no longer the fresh-faced kid right out of college or even the 30-year-old who first arrived in the Windy City in search of a better life.

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Whether you’re dating someone or bringing home a rando, it’s just a good idea to clear the air. When you have roommates, the only spot you can completely lay claim to is your room. Places like the shower, kitchen, couch, and roommate’s bed are pretty much off limits. Meagan Drillinger is a contributing writer for Thrillist and specifically lives alone so that the kitchen is fair game. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @drillinjourneys.For financial and social reasons, I decided to look for a shared-living situation.This choice, I was convinced, would allow me to save a few bucks on rent, live in a decent neighborhood and avoid extended periods of time alone during the long Chicago winter.So I dropped an ad on Craigslist, scrolled through a few related listings there and waited for a nibble or a sign.My “ask” spelled out the specifics: older (but fully mobile and healthy!One roommate loves to cook with lots of garlic and never cracks a window. There’s whiskers and toothpaste in the bathroom sink. Everyone has their own baggage and sensitivities around personal habits, and not every roommate shares the attitude of “we’re all in this together.” Throwing a hissy fit or unleashing a full-on rant will either ignite an equal reaction or introduce a prolonged, chilly silence. So if friendly reminders fail and the roommate’s habit bothers you enough, take the initiative and go crack that window, flush that toilet, wipe out the sink or turn off the oven. (Bonus advice: Keep a private stash of TP handy.) As already suggested, kitchens and bathrooms tend to be the pinch-points in any home, let alone one accommodating a blended group of individuals. One evening, I came home after a particularly bad day and all I wanted to do was to disappear into my room and pout. Earlier that week, my roommate had asked if I would mind if his 9-year-old daughter, as part of her usual Friday night stay, hosted a few girlfriends for a movie that evening.

As such, don’t be the one who regularly leaves dirty dishes in the sink, dominates refrigerator or pantry space or lingers too long in the bathroom during high-demand hours. I had just been through a perfect storm of unfortunate incidents over which I’d had little or no control. I automatically said yes, since “Friday night” was an abstraction at that point and it was his condo anyway.

Despite the obvious environmental differences, it quickly became clear to me that some issues never change, regardless of whether roommates are friends, strangers or kin.

But I also soon discovered that moving in with new people later in life presents its own unique challenges and opportunities.

It works even better if your roommate also has someone they’re banging frequently because you can alternate nights.

A few years ago, when my wife and I separated on the way to divorce, I left our rural Michigan home and returned to my city of longtime residence, Chicago.

In the latter, I lived among apartment buildings and single-family homes where kids raucously played outside my window, dogs barked, sirens wailed (I lived between a fire station and a hospital), and commuter trains roared through.