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As my current lease comes to an end, I’m having trouble figuring out what to do. My original plan was to try to find a roommate and stay here, but now I’m wondering if I should either just live by myself in a smaller place (which could cost about the same) or else move into an existing roommate situation (which could cost significantly less in some cases).

Complicating this decision is the thought that this could be my last year in Chicago, if all goes well on the next round of the job search. Would it really be worth the money I save if I go into a roommate situation that turns out to be stressful, or if it requires me to move to a location where I feel less connected to the city? There’s also sentimental value to this apartment, as it’s been where I’ve lived during a very significant and productive period of my life — I’ve written two books in this place, for example. But having a different roommate changes the situation already, and perhaps it’s time for me to live by myself, something I’ve not yet done.

I’ve heard it said that living alone for too long makes it difficult to transition into living with a significant other or being married, but that’s not something I’ve really thought seriously about yet — and in any case, surely I’ve had enough roommate experience that I can afford to take the risk for a year.

I’m not necessarily asking for advice, just self-indulgently using the blog to think out loud.


April 4, 2009 - Posted by | Chicago


  1. I lived alone (granted, in dorms) throughout my college years, and thrived. I lived alone for a year in Glasgow, in a tiny bedsit, and wrote most of my thesis. I’m now married and have lived with my wife without major violence since 2003. I think you can manage.

    Comment by Brad | April 4, 2009

  2. More unsolicited advice… I lived with an ex-significant other for several years, then with flatmates, then I lived more or less alone, and now I genuinely live alone. If anything, the experience has made me appreciate the prospect of living with s.o. more. Since my current relationship situation puts a fairly geographical distance between me and s.o., it’s very likely I’ll continue living alone next year, and I’m pretty happy with this prospect as I have a shitload of work to do next year.

    Good things: I’m really productive at the moment, yes. In some ways I am also more likely to actively socialise, cos there’s no possibility for lazy automatic sociability at home. I have the whole damn fridge to myself. My mess is my mess. And oddly I find myself watching less TV, but more films. Which is great.

    Bad things: I sometimes miss having free sociability on tap, but I’m resigned to the fact I’m probably never gonna live with the kind of consistently reliable company as I did during my best ever flatmate situation (two years of living with four of my closest friends — and contra everyone’s warnings about that living situation, we all ended it even better friends). My flat is also absurdly small (than not even that small for Paris), which can be a bit wearing. Most of all, there’s nobody else to take the recycling down for me.

    Comment by RobDP | April 4, 2009

  3. Sorry didn’t proofread that anywhere near as well as I thought.
    fairly geographical => fair geographical
    than not even => though not even

    Comment by RobDP | April 4, 2009

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