You get mixed reaction when you talk about sharing an apartment with a roommate of opposite sex. Some people see no difference in a roommate’s gender and are ok living with either a guy or a girl, some people won’t even hear it and someone would see the whole idea as a thrilling adventure, you know, like sticking your hand inside a box of unknown content.
Bottom line is: your experience is going to be different from your same sex roommate experience. Why? Because men and women are different (hello there, pseudo-feminists!). We have different bodies, share opposite hemispheres of one brain, react to stress differently, perceive the world in different ways etc, etc, etc.
We are all humans, however. As human beings we all look at this world through the prism of our personal life experience, traumatic and hurtful to this or that degree and that affects how we see ourselves and the actions of others. Human factor is what determines the level of difference in your relationships with your roommate of opposite sex.
I am gracious, strong and beautiful as a woman, but I can also be catty, cranky, sensitive, overly emotional (late at night on the phone with my boyfriend) and overbearing with the smell of my perfume lingering in the apartment long after I left for a night out. Just as any other woman in the world. And thanks to the men around me, I know that men can be stubborn, selfish and insensitive. Just as they can be caring, protective, supporting and rational. In my humble opinion, the key in any intersexual relationships is being aware your differences and similarities and using this awareness to balance your relationships. It happens naturally between two mentally stable and psychologically balanced individuals.
The more damaged and unstable your human part of self is the more difficult it is for you to cope with differences of other person and it exposes you to challenges of living with a roommate of opposite sex. Those challenges are mess (from a female roommate as well as male one), drama and, get ready for this one, sexual attraction.
Now, a little bit about each challenge in particular:
The notion of mess is individual for everyone, so your neat pile of shoes by the door, bunch of toiletries all over the bathroom, clogged drain and an occasional unwrapped tampon in the trash can disgust your male roommate as a “girl’s stuff that you never get when you live with a dude”. At the same time you might also go bananas wiping the bathroom mirror, picking up little wads of paper towels from all over the apartment and being the only person in your household interested in mopping the floor your place.
We are human beings so we all can feel offended, threatened or hurt, but the difference in gender means difference in how we react to our emotions. Females are in general more sensitive and complex emotionally than single-minded, down to earth males. And that results in misunderstanding, frustration and aggression in conflict situations between girls and boys.
Wait, can being sexually attracted to each other become a challenge?
Yes, it can be, if you share a place with the object of your passion. It’s natural to feel attracted to someone you interact with on daily basis but any romantic (sexual) relationships require time to develop. When two roommates are jumping into a romance while living together they deprive themselves of the private space necessary for getting to know each other properly which later resolves and personality clashes and toxicity. So, think twice before you do this. Even if your feelings electrify the air in your apartment your personalities might be so different that the aftermath doesn’t worth the heat.
So should you or should you not get a roommate of opposite sex? Perhaps you should. Your life is precious, unique, and it’s the only one you have, so why not to live it trying new things, testing your boundaries and really getting to know yourself so that you could get the most out of it? Overcoming challenges of living with a roommate of opposite sex can be a rewarding way of doing it.