4 Ways Having College Roommates Prepares You For Moving in with a Significant Other

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I’ve always believed that nothing prepares you better for co-habitating than… co-habitating. And even though it’s frustrating at times, college roommates—who revel in strewing their clothes all over a shared bedroom or monopolizing each and every corner of the tub with multitudes of shampoo bottles—can actually set the stage for a positive experience living with a partner. We wanted to find out more about this: What exactly do we learn from our college roommates that can make our co-habitations with significant others better overall? Read on for four interesting ways a college roommate made all the difference:

They can help you figure out how to keep a budget

“My college roommate offered me tips to help me manage my money. She helped me allocate my paycheck throughout the month so I knew when to set aside funds for utilities, rent, gas, groceries and other expenses like entertainment and dining out. I had never taken a class on basic finances so this really helped me.

This knowledge really helped me as a married person. We also learned to call things ‘household budgeting’ or ‘funding allocation’ because the word ‘budgeting’ sounds so limiting. And, thanks to my college roommate, my husband and I have a positive money mindset. For example, we never say ‘we can’t afford that’ to our kids. Instead, we say ‘we choose to spend our money on other things.’” —Elaine Marshall, Long Beach, California

They show you the importance of a professional cleaning service

“I learned early on that it was best to forget chore charts. I tried that with my roommate and I truly think that these always end up with someone feeling frustrated at another’s lack of a cleaning ability!

Now, my husband and I have a cleaning service come and clean our house twice a month. We’ve never looked back.” —Kait Schulhof, Rancho Bernardo, California

They can teach you the power of good communication

“During my senior year I ended up having to room with a freshman. At first it wasn’t so bad, but as time went on, I could definitely see her immaturity. The biggest thing I learned from rooming with her was to never ever just assume anything. For example, we started having problems as the year progressed mainly because she just assumed I would do all of the cleaning.

I’m living with my boyfriend now and he can be forgetful about household chores. But, when he has days off, I make sure to remind him to take out the trash, do the dishes, take a turn to walk the dog and things like that. It’s important to me that tasks around the apartment are divided evenly so that we are each doing our fair share of the work. Thanks to my roommate, I make sure to never assume he will do these things and I communicate to him when it’s his turn.” —Tess Robinson, Los Angeles

And they prove the worth of a label-maker

“In college, I discovered that if I didn’t label everything, I’d lose things!

Since I didn’t want to repeat what happened in college and I don’t ever want to dig around for things like the missing cinnamon spice jar that somehow ended up in a different cabinet hiding among the mixing bowls again, I create a labeled ‘spices’ section in our pantry so there is no guessing where the spices belong. I label objects in our kitchen, bathroom, garage, office and anywhere else where smaller objects have designated homes.” —Schulhof