My boyfriend and I live together but have separate bedrooms, and it's the perfect setup for us

My boyfriend and I live together but have separate bedrooms, and it's the perfect setup for us
  • My boyfriend and I lived together for two years before we started dating.

  • When we decided to get our own apartment, we got a two-bedroom so we could have our own rooms.

  • We still sleep in the same bed, but having our own rooms to keep our stuff separate is good for us.

For two years, my roommate John and I shared a four-bedroom loft in East Williamsburg with two other roommates. Blessed with a pandemic deal, the four of us, who were strangers who met in a Facebook housing group, moved in together in July 2020.

After countless nights of board games and socializing with just each other, we all became incredibly close friends. So, when John and I started dating two years into living together, nobody was entirely surprised.

The pros of dating someone you already live with are plenty: an easy, 10-second commute across the living room to see them, skipping the awkward beginning stages of dating because you've already seen each other unfiltered, and having a strong friendship as the base of your romantic relationship. And, unlike many couples who first move in together after dating for a while, we didn't have to go through a roommate adjustment phase. We met each other the day we moved into the loft, so for the full time we've known each other, we've never not lived together. Living together is fully baked into our relationship.

But, because of this, when we decided to move out of the loft and get our own apartment, just us two, we knew we needed to maintain having our own rooms.

Having separate bedrooms was what we were used to

We visited one one-bedroom apartment just to check it out and knew immediately it wasn't for us. Logistically, one-bedroom apartments are so much smaller. Sure, with our combined income, we could get a very nice one-bedroom in a building full of amenities, but we decided that getting a two- or three-bedroom in a basic building is way more important to us. We needed space for our things and our dog over a doorman and in-unit laundry.

So, we searched for a few weeks and finally found a nice two-bedroom in Bushwick, equipped with a yard for our dog and having summer BBQs, as well as communal laundry in the basement. The apartment is two floors, with both bedrooms, the full bath, and the kitchen and dining area on the top floor, and a half-bath and living room in the basement.

Waverly Colville and her boyfriend, John, dressed up and holding cocktails.
Waverly Colville and her boyfriend, John, lived together for two years before dating.Courtesy Waverly Colville

My bedroom is the one with the bed

We set up the two bedrooms like we would if we were still just roommates, except there's only one bed now. My bedroom is the bigger bedroom and has all of my things, including my desk, makeup, all my clothes, and our bed (which was John's bed in the old apartment). His room is the smaller of the two and leads directly to the backyard, and it has all his things, including all his clothes, his desk, and his computers. My bed from the old apartment is now in the basement and serves as a guest bed.

We decided to put our bed in my room because when we moved in, I commuted into the office three days a week while John worked from home (I've since been laid off). It made much more sense to have the bedroom leading to the backyard be his room/office so he could let our dog out easily while working. And, that bedroom is much smaller and would be difficult to fit a bed.

Another factor we talked about was income splitting. Before I was laid off, I was making about half of what John made. So, by having the bed in my room, it made my room also his, in a sense. And since John is paying several hundred dollars more than I am in rent, he gets an additional room to himself.

Besides sleeping in the same bed at night, we treat our separate bedrooms the same way we did as roommates. I'm responsible for cleaning and maintaining my room, and he for his. We don't snoop or move each other's things, we do our own laundry separately, and we split utilities, internet, our dog's expenses, and other apartment bills 50/50.

It's hard to say whether it has prevented arguments, since it's how we've always lived, but I can say for certain that we've never argued over taking up the other's space.

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