Why finding a roommate is more traumatic than dating

I very recently found myself thrust into the world of online dating – but not in the way you would think.

My roommate of three years is heading to pastures new, which means I have to find a brand new person to share my living space with.

My current situation is strikingly similar to my dating life – wading through a sea of disappointing potentials. Only this is worse, because it shouldn’t be this hard to find someone who’s right for me and my apartment. I just want someone who won’t leave the immersion on or kill me in my sleep; it’s not like I’m searching for a kidney donor!

Here’s a firsthand account of why roommate hunts are similar to (and worse than) dating.

The break-up
It’s not your fault she’s leaving (you only started two of those fires…), but even still, losing a long-time roomie makes you feel vulnerable and naked. And it shouldn’t. Because you weren’t a couple.

But still you worry that you won’t find anyone quite as awesome. “What if no one else gets me like she did? What if I can’t find someone who shares my apartment-hopes and dreams? What if they steal my ice-cream? What if they don’t even like ice-cream?!”

Swearing off roommates
After coming to terms with this scary new situation, it’s time to figure out your next move. You don’t know if you can live through this heartbreak again – maybe you should be a single renter? But then you realise you’ll have no one to get you soup when you’re sick. Also you’re not a millionaire. And you have a fear of dying alone. And of ghosts.

Finding someone new
You look through your social group for potential partners but realise that (a) there are very few people looking to move out, and (b) you’d kill the ones that are after two days. So it’s time to venture online – sure everybody’s doing it these days, which means there’s only a 1-in-229 chance you’ll be paired up with a psychopath.

Creating your profile
Forehead furrowed in stressed concentration, you begin to create your online profile. Pictures need to show your apartment’s best features, taken from just the right angle and of course, in the right light. Then there’s the description – a lot of mileage but looks great! – and most awkward of all, what you’re looking for in a potential roommate.  How do I make “Stays in their room a lot, but not in a creepy way, facilitates my eccentricities and does everything I want” not sound like you’re terrifying?

The suitors
The emails begin flooding in and your confidence soars – “I loved your pictures! Looks amazing!” People try even harder to sell themselves than you did, attempting to hit all the right notes (“I’m super laidback…but I’m not lazy, I’m really clean and tidy!” “I like quiet evenings, watching TV and knitting….oh, but I’m not boring, I also like socialising!”)

Then you realise that many of the young professionals you requested are actually 19-year-old college students and you fret that they’ll play their music too loud and cover the couch in beer and Koka Noodles. The creepy guys are binned, as are the inevitable trolls and the people who sound like they’ll watch you sleep.

The meet-up
Eventually you’ll find a few potentials (based on their Barry’s/Lyons preference) and a viewing is organised. You both fidget nervously as you scrutinise each other more than you would a first date. Only this is worse – in dating, if you think a terrible match is great after the first meet-up, the worst that happens is a few bad dinners. If you make the wrong decision when choosing a roommate that’s a potential year of ‘accidentally’ dropping each others’ toothbrushes into the toilet.

The perfect match
If you’re very lucky, you’ll find a new BFF to drink wine and watch KUWTK with. If not, well, how badly did you really want to keep your deposit…?