On and off over the last eight years, I’ve rented out my spare room to make ends meet.
When I first moved into my three bedroom suite, I rented two of the three rooms. Every new roommate brought with them the hope that this time would be different. Better. Cohesive. Instead, it was a constant reminder of the havoc it wreaks on my psyche. Rarely is it worth the financial gain.
My first roommate was a lovely young woman with a steady job, a boyfriend and a crazy little cat. She was quiet and unobtrusive. Things were going quite well until she lost her job three months later and had to move out.
The second roommate was great when she wasn’t high or drunk, which was hardly ever. Add that to the fact that her friends stole things from my house (booze, digital camera) and punched a huge hole in my wall, it was the longest two months of my life.
Roommate three lasted less than a month. Despite her glowing references, her mental health issues reared their ugly heads and I had to call the police to escort her off the premises.
I’d had enough. Or so I thought. Two years later, I received a distress call from a friend I’d met in my divorce support group. She was a woman with some serious issues to resolve. A few months later, we parted on hostile terms and are no longer friends.
It took me three years to get up the courage to make one final stab at the roommate thing. With my rent being 59% of my monthly income, any financial help made a difference.
Living with someone you don’t know very well can be challenging. You need to learn all the little quirks about them, you need to share half of your fridge, half of your cupboards, half of your shower rack full of shampoos. You can’t be too loud, you need to be courteous. Which is what you do with someone you love as well, but you shouldn’t have to remind them to do their end of the housework or constantly turn off the burner they forgot to turn off or feel bad about the lack of decor to their liking in your own home.
Thirteen more days and we have our place back to ourselves. I get to move back into the big bedroom and will finally be able to make my bed without flinging myself diagonally across it just to put on the fitted sheet. I no longer have to worry about walking out of the shower with my towel undone. No more waking up to late night cooking sounds and smells. I get my fridge and cupboards and shower back.
Sometimes personal freedom outweighs financial gain. This is one of those times.