How (and How Not) to Break Up With a Roommate ( by Alli Stancil

How (and How Not) to Break Up With a Roommate (

Originally Published: • September 16, 2014 

For his first six years in New York City, Ben Grow lived out a particular urban fantasy. He and a group of other classical musicians, several of them friends from college, all found apartments in the same Washington Heights building; at one point, there were nine of them spread across three units. Living together, the friends became a community, sharing their craft and recommending each other for gigs. Sometimes, their Friday-night jam sessions devolved into the sort of aural debauchery you’d expect of classical musicians after a few beers. They’d take a Vivaldi aria, for instance, and “do it in the style of Mariah Carey,” Grow recalls. The camaraderie, not to mention the rentGrow paid a mere 600 bucks a monthmore than made up for a shifty superintendent and the colony of feral cats in the basement…

Once a temporary holdover from college life, platonic cohabitation is now carrying some city dwellers through their twenties and into their thirties. Being a roommate becomes a significant (if subconscious) part of their identities; for those lucky enough to find a stable, long-term roommate setup, it also provides a defining partnership. All of which makes the eventual break-up of these sustained roommate relationships a new rite of passage.

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