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Think You Could Never Live with a Roommate After 60? Think Again!

By Karen Venable May 10, 2022 Lifestyle

Sometimes the hardest hurdles we face are the ones we create ourselves. Meaning that they’re not really there – they’re only in our minds.

This is especially true of the whole question of taking on a roommate. Many women of our generation recoil at the thought of living with a roommate; their instinctive, gut reaction to the idea of living with a roommate is “Hell, no.”

I understand.

The “Hell, no” Response to Living with A Roommate

Several years ago, I was going through a divorce after many years of marriage. I needed to move out of the place I had known as home for a large chunk of my life. I didn’t know how I was going to afford to do this, nor how I would fare emotionally living on my own.

But the last thing on my mind was living with a roommate. If someone had said, “Hey, why don’t you think about finding a roommate to live with?” my response would most definitely have been, honestly, “Hell, no.”

In my mind, I think I equated the roommate lifestyle with the “before” stage of my life. Before finding the right man. Before getting married. Before having a family and being the queen of my own home. Before really being an adult.

I looked at the roommate lifestyle as going backwards. And I didn’t like that idea.

My Life with A Roommate When I Stopped Saying “Hell, no”

But then a good friend of mine, who’d also gone through a divorce recently but had remained in her home, asked me if I would move in with her for a while. Suddenly, something clicked. Yes, that sounded good. When I had a real person before me, not a cloudy feeling about a roommate with college-level ideas and habits from years gone by, I liked the idea very much.

Both of us were in an “after” stage; we were most definitely not going back to a “before” stage. We were at the same point in our lives – adults, with careers and children and plans going forward – and a part of our lives that had been dashed but that we were working through. We were at the same stage of life and we were compatible friends. Living with her would be good in so many ways.

As it turned out, it was delightful living with my friend and we shared her home for quite some time. I will always be grateful for that time together, for the emotional and financial support that the living arrangement gave me. Mostly, though, I’ll be grateful for all the good memories of living with someone who I enjoyed and who made my home a truly warm and companionable space. It was what I needed and it suited me very well.

My Attitude Toward the Roommate Choice for My Future

Now I’ve entered into a new relationship that is strong and long-lasting, with a man I love and trust, and we live together. I found him through an online dating site as it turned out and that experience clicked something else on in my mind.

If you can find a soul-mate, a genuine and highly compatible love relationship through a reputable dating site, why can’t you find a compatible roommate in the same way?

Roommate-matching sites exist, such as SilverNest, Roomi, Roomster, RoomEasy and so many others. SilverNest caters to older people specifically, who are definitely not looking for a college-style or short-term living arrangement, but rather for forward-thinking, compatible, like-minded people with whom they can share their home for some time.

I don’t plan on my love relationship ever ending. But if for some reason, I do find myself living alone again one day in the future, I know my reaction will be not “Hell, no, I wouldn’t consider living with a roommate,” but rather, “I know I can find a compatible roommate. I don’t want to live alone.”

Is your reaction to the idea of living with a roommate “Hell, no?” What might change your mind? Having a larger home to share? Knowing that your roommate could be someone whose habits are very much like yours? Thinking about the money you could spend on things like travel if your rent and other household expenses were cut in half? What are your best memories of living with roommates in the past? Please share in the comments.

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The Author

Karen Venable is a huge supporter of shared housing. She is working with the Village to Village Network on prototyping the concept of shared housing. She has also worked with and the National Council on Aging on issues of shared housing.

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