Living with friends of the opposite sex

I’m currently in college, living in the dorms. However, people are starting to talk about getting apartments for next year and such. I have quite a few friends at school who I’ve known for years who I would be perfectly comfortable living with. However, I just wanted to get some Catholics’ perspective on the possible arrangements that could be made before I commit to living with anyone. I don’t want to sin and I certainly don’t want to be the object of scandal.

So, do you think either of the following possible scenario’s could be sinful?

  1. Living with a few guys and a few girls. Obviously these would all be people I know and trust and there would be no sharing of beds.

  2. Living with a girl. Not a likely scenario, but possible, and if it’s sinful I would definitely like to rule it out. Obviously there would be no sharing of beds or anything of the sort. The only thing I would be worried about in this instance would be scandal, but is that mitigated if we are not dating, etc?

Just want to make a responsible decision, so your opinions are all welcome :slight_smile:

I’m living with a non-romantic female friend (plutonic, however you say it). I talked to a priest and he was taken aback slightly, but did not find any harm in it.

I believe the catechism doesn’t forbid living as brother and sister. If anything physical were to happen though, that would be sinful.

I can understand the occasion of sin being a sticking point with some people, but this friend of mine desperately needed a place to stay. Taking her in was the right thing to do, in my opinion.

Be forewarned though: A girl I tried to date wouldn’t go on a second date with me because of my female roomie, but I think she was a member of the Catholic Taliban (based on some other crazy ideas she had). Still, be prepared for the negative effect on your dating life because of an opposite gender roommate, despite the good intentions you have.

Dear Ambrose,
It’s great that you are concerned with the Catholic take on these questions.
As far as #1,
it might depend on the living arrangements. Would it be a house with multiple rooms so that everyone had their own space, like a co-op? Or would it be more of an apartment? A co-op arrangement might be ok. But anything else might give rise to scandal.
Certainly #2 would not be a good idea. Sorry, but it doesn’t matter whether you’re dating or not, the question is what ideas people would get into their heads. It would be a bad example for other people who might be weaker, and would be a scandal.
How about just getting a place with some other guys? Mixing the sexes just complicates life – you run into jealousy, competition, etc even if you don’t plan on it. Much better to keep it simple.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with this. With a few of each gender, there is little cause for scandal. Safety in numbers. :slight_smile:

This is definitely not a good idea and would surely cause scandal.

It’s great that you’re interested in pursuing such a chaste lifestyle and care to explore the Church’s moral teachings prior to making a decision like this.

If you can be sure that a situation of mixed living arrangement would not give scandal and that you and your roommate(s) would be able to maintain chaste cohabitation, then it would be permissible in situations of necessity. Given, however, the myriad alternative options many in your situation have, it is difficult to imagine when such an arrangement really would be out of true necessity.

In the event that you decided to proceed with a mixed living arrangement, then every effort to minimize scandal should be made. You should take care to explain to your friends that your relationship with your female roommate is no more than a friendly one. It would seem prudent to avoid mentioning the arrangement to individuals outside your social circle.

Thanks for the input :slight_smile:

For info, I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to room with females (hence why an arrangement involving just me and a girl would be so unlikely), but several of my friends have thrown around the idea of a few guys + a few girls in a sizable apartment/condo.

I definitely want to push for strictly male arrangements though, in my experience girls cause all sorts of messes. Too many clothes and toiletries :wink:

But now I know I have a moral reason to be opposed to such an arrangement as well, so thanks again. :thumbsup:

I have shared a house with severel men and women at my own age. No scandal caused. Only if you share room with a person of the opposite sex or fall in love with someone who lives under ´the same roof could I perceive it as a problem.
I also know other perfectly fine Catholics that have lived with people of the opposite sex where they were only friends and since they were Christian would have never taken the chance if it was not because they were not at all attracted to each other.
If people dont know you they will not know you are a believer and seeing you exit a house with a woman will not cause any suspicion or negative thoughts. As for people who know you they know you are a Christian too and that you are only friends with your female flatmates…
So there is no problem.

trouble is, nothing is obvious about this set-up. all it takes is for one couple to get serious, and your idyll is over. watch old episodes of Friends for what I mean. No. Get a house or apartment with a group of guys you know and trust, and pay attention to the nitty gritty of leases, financial arrangments, house rules etc. There is a reason dorms have rules, and that monasteries have rules, because communal living needs rules and regs.

I agree with this. I lived in a house with five other students my last year of college - 3 boys, 3 girls. Try to make sure you have girl-only, boy-only bathrooms to avoid awkwardness. Otherwise, it isn’t any more problematic than a co-ed dorm. (of course the summer the girls sublet to boys and I stayed in town with 5 guy house-mates was weird :stuck_out_tongue: )

#2 does not sound like a good idea at all.

I’d say it is not anymore sinful than exploring an unfenced skyscraper construction site, at night, on the steel beams 50 stories up, after having previously coated yourself with butter…

but it’s about JUST as good an idea. :wink:

I have never heard this expression. What is the “Catholic Taliban”? Did she advocate a violent holy war? I don’t mean to sound like an interrogator, it is just such an unusual term and I’m curious.:slight_smile: Sorry, I do not mean to distract from the purpose of this thread.

To the original poster:
It sounds like everyone has offered you some very good advice, so I don’t really know what else there is to say. Perhaps you should consider how comfortable you would be living with women to whom you are not related.

This comparison is a bit of a stretch, but here goes. Would you be comfortable in a co-ed public bathroom? Certainly your apartment is not a large public bathroom. Your home should be somewhat of an escape from the stress of school and work where you can comfortably study and sleep. Do you think you would study and sleep the same or even better around female roommates? I could be imposing my own biases, but I would not have been comfortable as a college female sharing an apartment with men.

Would you be comfortable in a co-ed public bathroom?

Funny you should use that as an analogy, actually - the bathrooms in my school’s dorms are all co-ed. :stuck_out_tongue: (and you’d be surprised what you can get used to after awhile! )

But either way, as I said before, thank you all for your advice and I’ll make sure to avoid any situation which could be scandalously perceived or put me in the near occasion of sin. :thumbsup:

:rotfl: :blush:
I would be very uncomfortable with that! I don’t want to be walking by while some guy is using a urinal or taking a shower while there are guys floating about the bathroom. Not to mention other less mentionable bodily functions!! What school do you go to that all the bathrooms are co-ed?

On the other end of my prude-ish bias is the fact that gendered bathrooms actually make some people very uncomfortable. We discussed this (not in great detail) in the Sociology course I teach. There are people who are hermaphrodites or rather androgynous-looking for whom the daily act of using a public bathroom is rather stressful. There are even sites devoted to finding unisex public bathrooms sorted by free vs customers only. I wonder if your college is represented on the site we looked at. I certainly sounds like it should be.

UC Berkeley (go figure :rolleyes: ). I may have spoken hastily when I said that “all” the dorms have co-ed bathrooms. All the normal dorms have co-ed bathrooms. There’s one dorm complex that is strictly for males (preference is given to athletes), one that is strictly for females, and one in which each dorm has its own bathroom.

The co-ed bathroom thing honestly doesn’t bother me enough to make me want to spend more money for the luxury of a same-sex bathroom. Again, you’d be surprised how quickly you get used to it. There are no urinals (though the stalls are marked for males and females for obvious sanitary reasons), and the showers are very well enclosed, there’s no way anyone could go about trying to peep. And it helps that people tend to be polite.

I’ve been in all sorts of living situations - with varying numbers of people of my own and opposite gender. Once I set boundaries clearly, I never had problems with anyone in any situation.

And I never had problems with sharing bathrooms. Always had locks on each shower and/or bathroom stall, so there was never any question of ‘walking by’ while someone was using shower or urinal.

Have none of you ever had to share a bathroom with a sibling or parent of the opposite gender? It’s no different. :shrug:

I see what you are saying. I am sure a person could get used to it. I am really very surprised at how common it is, by the sound of these posts.

I guess we are just a little weird (read as awesome) down here in Texas. :wink: Although my University did start adding female urinals to be sure they put up a good fight towards being weird.

Still, it is not like I have never done any traveling. I wonder how I did not know how common this is. Would you say it is more of a college dorm thing, or that it even extends to businesses far from universities and colleges?

In light of the given acceptability of this bathroom set-up in your college, your possible living situation is unlikely to cause scandal in the community.

Just a fun phrase I picked up from Lino Rulli’s Catholic Guy Show to describe bitter, snooty Catholics that verbally attack others out of snobbery or thinking that they are so much more catholic and holy. Basically, these people would get mad at Jesus because he doesn’t go to confession.

No real malice meant. Although I’m sure every denomination has their own “Taliban”

Do not give The Liar one second of your time or let him set one foot in the door. God already knows what happens as a result of the living arrangement. Tread carefully.

Live as brother and sister.

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