Rent-Controlled relationships

Jenna Gerling

Students find living with the opposite sex has its challenges, rewards

Above the toilet seat is a piece of notebook paper taped to the wall with “Please put the damn toilet seat down!” written in bright Sharpie markers.

Last fall, when Valerie Rini moved in with her boyfriend, sophomore economics major Greg Bassetti, their relationship seemed unsteady and frustrating. But with a simple act of setting each other’s expectations straight, their living situation turned into something each of them could benefit from.

“Our living situation is out of the norm for a couple our age to move in together during school, and we take that into consideration,” said Rini, a sophomore human development and family studies major. “What we’re doing is much harder because we’re taking on the problems that normally we wouldn’t have to deal with until a couple years down the road.

“Obviously, we’re not going to break up if he doesn’t put the toilet seat down.”

Living with the opposite sex can be a learning experience in itself — whether one is involved in a relationship or not. Through the eyes of Rini, Bassetti and Mike Passarelli, a junior physical education major, co-ed living isn’t as bad as some may think.

Before and after the couple started dating in high school, they were able to sleep over at each others’ houses. From this, Rini and Bassetti were able to learn more about each other early on, which somewhat prepared them for their current living situation.

“The experience since last semester has been up and down — I’ll be the first to admit it,” Bassetti said. “Even moving in with someone that you’ve been with for three years, you just pick up on things that you didn’t notice before. But it’s really made me mature, moving in with a girl; it’s just a huge step.”

Rini said even though they knew each other better than some couples, the hardest part about living together last semester was her tendency to sound like a wife when she wanted things done around the apartment.

She sat Bassetti down and came up with solutions to their opposing schedules so they both could get what they expected of each other.

“I think this has been a really good experience,” Bassetti said. “We got here and our relationship almost got sacrificed because we didn’t sit down talk about expectations of each other.”

Expectations were never set for Passarelli, but it has been unnaturally easy: Being the only male in a house of seven, Passarelli currently lives with six women, five of whom are on the Kent State volleyball team.

Passarelli said he never sat down with his female roommates to talk about expectations, but he had a chance to get to know them before he moved in as a student assistant and intern for the team.

“The girls I’m living with this year, it’s not bad at all — I’ve known them all for over two years now,” Passarelli said. “They’re like sisters, pretty much.”

While moving in with so many women was not a difficult decision for Passarelli, the situation was more complicated for his roommates.

“I think they were initially more scared than I was, because none of them had ever lived with a guy,” he said. “So, it’s been a very good experience for the girls, because they get to see how guys function, and what goes through our heads most of the day.”

But things weren’t always smooth living with the opposite sex. Last year, Passarelli moved in with three women he never really knew, and said the situation wasn’t enjoyable for him.

“There was a lot of drama there, just because they liked to go out and party and do all that crazy stuff and I’m up either for school or work at 7,” he said. “We were just completely two separate groups of friends — their friends usually just got hammered at my old house and cause drama, and we stayed pretty much distant; they did their thing, and I did mine.”

Contact features correspondent Jenna Gerling at [email protected].