The last few years have been full of difficult lessons learned in living with other people. And to be honest, for me, it was a vastly negative experience and led me to make the decision that I don't want to share my living space with anyone again. Well, unless I should get married, that is.
My first roommate in Korea was a guy that I had previously dated. And while we maintained our friendship, living with him as roommates was not a good idea since I still had feelings for him and he started dating someone else, and it got messy. After that, I decided no more guy roommates unless we really were just friends and could never be anything more.
My next roommate and I got along quite well. However, towards the end of our time living together, we were kind of at each others throats. She thought I didn't clean enough (I didn't really...) and I was constantly angry at her for not chipping in more with the bills. So, we parted ways and I didn't really hear much from her for about a year. But now we're okay. And I actually found that I missed living with her because we did get along well for most of it.
The roommate after this was probably the worst decision I've made in a housing decision ever. Mostly because even though she moved out in September, it's February and I'm still facing the financial ramifications of living with her. We were very close friends for about a year before we moved in together. We had very lengthy discussions about what living together would entail and she knew that my biggest beef was money issues. That I wanted someone who would pay on time and who would pay their share. We decided it would work and then set out to find an apartment.
The warning signs were there and I should have paid more attention to them. From the beginning I did all the work. Setting up the appointments, finding the moving company, looking at a bunch of crappy apartments. And then when I would get upset, my roommate would turn things around and make me think it was all my fault. Because, according to her, she told me she was too busy to look for apartments and that if we wanted to live together, I would have to find the place. I just obviously wasn't listening to her or didn't understand. Looking back now, I can see that she was manipulating me from the beginning.
Anyway, we found an apartment, moved in and I thought everything would be okay. I was a little uncomfortable with the fact that only my name was put on the lease (without discussion). And that I was the only one who contributed key money. But I trusted her. She had said she wanted a 2-year lease so we wouldn't have to move again in a year and promised she would stay for at least a year and a half.
And then the problems started a few months in. She quit her job, thinking she would make enough money from private tutoring that she would be fine. And she was planning to get a student visa and just work on her MBA full-time outside of tutoring. I was okay with this as long as she paid rent on time. And the first couple of months, she did. But then rent would start being late. And then she wouldn't pay her half of the bills for a few months in a row.
And then she would leave her dog at the house and disappear to her boyfriend's house for days at a time without telling me when she would be back or even asking me if I had the time to walk her dog twice a day.
This led to an argument, which ended with me even angrier than when we started. Because instead of saying she was sorry and wouldn't leave the dog without saying anything again, she flipped it around saying that she just thought she could trust me to take care of him. And that I knew when we moved in together that I would have to help take care of him. And if I was really that upset, I should have called and asked her when she was coming back. Completely disregarding that she waited until she was out of the city to tell me she was going on a trip and I needed to take care of the pup. And when I asked when she would be back, she said Tuesday, but didn't come back until Thursday. No phone call about that either.
But the worst of it was the money. She finally got another teaching job. But it was at a shady hagwon. Her pay was supposed to go through on the 25th of every month and rent was due on the 26th. However, they were consistently late paying her by about a week to two weeks. So, for a long time, our rent was always late. And instead of anticipating that her pay would be late and make other arrangements (she was still teaching private lessons at this point, making much more than rent per month) she continued to wait to pay me her half of the bills and rent until she got her paycheck.
The real kicker came when she told me in August 2011 that she would be moving back to the States in September. We had been in the apartment for less than a year, and remember, she had said she wanted a 2-year lease and would be in Korea for a year and a half. I began looking for new roommates and was able to find one. Unfortunately, my current roommate was unable to pay her half of the rent that last month she lived with me. So I covered it (since it was already a week late) thinking that I would get the 600,000 won (roughly $600) for rent and bills back within a couple weeks. That was the money I usually sent to the US to pay for my loans and credit card bills.
She did eventually pay me 350,000 won about a month or so later, which I promptly sent to the States since I was a month behind on my loans and my mom (who is still doing chemo for her brain cancer and spending $1,500 every few weeks on that) had to pay for mine so it would be too late. She zeroed her bank account paying for it. Because of that, and a few financial binds I had been in prior to that, my credit record is crap.
I never saw the remaining 250,000 won. She left for the States on Dec. 16. No call to send me the money. Nothing. And then, when the new roommate decided to move out, I decided I would not live with anyone again. It's just too much stress. I'm looking at losing about 1-2 million won from my housing deposit because I broke my contract. Which I only broke because I couldn't afford 1 million won rent by myself and no one would move into the apartment because of the location.
She hasn't live with me for five months. I'm completely broke from moving and deposit and bills, and I have three more weeks until I get paid. Not to mention, rent at the new house is due five days before payday. And I don't have the rent. And I'm most likely not getting my key money back before it's due since I'm still waiting for someone to move into the old apartment.
And I'm going to be paying for three cable boxes instead of one for the next 14 months because she wanted two more for her room and the living room, and it will cost me 400,000 won to cancel them from my contract. Those boxes never got used. She never brought over the TV for the living room and never hooked hers up to her TV. I could be paying 28,000 won a month. But I have to continue paying 60,000 won. Which, if you do the math, means that I'm losing 448,000 won in the long run.
I'm just... never again will I trust a roommate. It's too much stress and I'd much rather live alone with my cat...