I can’t speak for all the disrespectful, obnoxious, criminal, and possibly mentally ill roommates out there, but to the people who have had the misfortune of living with me: mea culpa.
My first non-familial roommate/victim was during my first year of boarding school. We shared a bunk bed, upon which I masturbated while (I hope) she was sleeping in the bed beneath me. I was 12 and didn't know what I was doing was massively inappropriate, but now I'm ashamed, and I apologize. I'm glad we're still friends.
My first year college roommate and I had very different ideas about appropriate levels of cleanliness, but she tolerated my general sloppiness so long as I kept my mess to my side of the room.
Unfortunately, our differences did not end there, and she decided to move out. In response, I wrote a scathing LiveJournal post complaining about everything that was awful about her, most of which were really the things that I hated about myself, as is often the case with miserable whiners.
To her credit, she called me out on it immediately after I published it. It was incredibly cruel and immature of me, and I'm impressed she had the emotional capacity to confront me so I could acknowledge that what I did was wrong and rectify the situation. I’m sorry, and I'm glad we're still friends.
The girl who replaced her moved in shortly after my childhood abuse flashbacks began (which may explain my inappropriate sexual behavior in the company of the boarding school roommate). To her, I must apologize that she walked in on me self-harming. I was obviously going through some extreme mental health issues and should have sought help far sooner than I did. You weren’t wrong when you called me a crazy bitch, even though that was really mean.
Also, sorry I sold shrooms out of our room. That was so stupid of me, even if it was kind of funny that the whole dorm was shrooming that one weekend.
Shortly thereafter and, I’m sure, much to the relief of that roommate, I dropped out of college and moved two states away to live with two childhood friends. I was still massively immature and had not taken any steps to deal with the serious depression that had manifested as a result of the childhood trauma. To those girls:
I'm sorry for never doing the dishes. You were right to pile them all up in my room to make a point.
I'm sorry I started dating that awful boyfriend and didn’t listen to you about how awful he was. I had no idea what a healthy relationship was and thought that anyone who would deign to spend any time with me was magnificent. He wasn’t: He was cruel and controlling and rude; he cheated on me and stole my money; he lied about everything. It would be another few years before I would have the self-esteem to tell him to fuck right off.
I'm sorry I thought it was okay to let my awful boyfriend stay there for weeks on end without even asking you guys if you were cool with it, let alone insisting that he pay rent; that was incredibly presumptuous and disrespectful.
I’m sorry I had sex in one of your rooms. That was creepy of me, and although I was put off when you put a lock on your door, I realize now that was the only reasonable response.
I'm glad (and shocked) we're still friends.
Our lease ended and I moved in with the awful boyfriend to share a rat-infested basement. We lived below three men who were at least 15 years my senior. To those men: I'm sorry for the screaming fights we forced you to endure. You guys were cool to me even though I was very young and self-absorbed.
I decided to re-enroll in college and moved back to my college town, this time with the awful boyfriend in tow. To the girls who had the misfortune of allowing us to move in: You were also right that he was awful, though I still don't think we were close enough for you to scream at me about how awful he was. I'm sorry for not listening to you, and I’m not surprised we aren’t friends.
Those girls moved out within a few months of us moving in. To the couple who moved in after those girls moved out: I'm sorry for using your bathroom and then lying about it. I was still dealing with some boundary issues. However, I still don't understand why you needed to do three loads of laundry every day, and you could never fully explain it, so I will not apologize for asking you to limit your laundry to two days a week so that we could use it, too.
To the couple who moved in after that couple moved out and I broke up with the awful boyfriend: I grew up a lot after getting rid of the awful boyfriend, so we were actually cool with each other. Well, not entirely cool: you kind of owe me an apology for stockpiling all of my dishes in your room, although having read this series, apparently some people think that is normal behavior. So, I'm sorry for not being more sensitive to your hoarding. Also, thanks for letting me use your laundry facilities when I moved out to a studio to live, as I always should have, by myself.
Living by myself was a dream. My things were right where I left them, with no one to tell me to put them elsewhere. I could come and go as I pleased, have as many emotional breakdowns as I wanted, and let whomever I wanted stay over without stepping on anyone’s toes.
It was during this time that I met a not-awful boyfriend, and within a year, we bought a house together. Shortly thereafter, he was transferred to another country, and though we planned for me to go with him, it didn’t work out. We had rented a room to a close friend of his to keep an eye on the house, and I inadvertently ended up living with her.
To the boyfriend’s friend: I'm sorry you got caught in the crossfires of our separation after our live-in relationship turned into long-distance saga. I had lived by myself for many years after realizing what a terrible roommate I am and should never have agreed to live with you in the first place.
I transferred a lot of my feelings of loneliness and anger onto the little annoyances that come with living with someone (like you barging into my room while I was sleeping to look for your cat -- that was actually really inappropriate, but I could have discussed it with you rationally rather than used it as an excuse to evict you). I'm sorry. I'm glad you're still friends with the not-awful boyfriend, and also that we can be civil around each other.
To the not-awful boyfriend: You are indeed more than not-awful. You are a wonderful, patient man. You allow me to be as messy as I needed to be, and even do the dishes when I annihilate the kitchen. You’ve supported me in seeking the appropriate therapies to process the traumas of my childhood. You’ve helped me become an effective communicator so that I don’t let the little things stew. You give me space when I need it, but won’t let me run away from my emotions. Thank you for accepting all of my apologies without a tinge of resentment.
To all my roommates: tA least I paid my rent and bills on time...? Surely, that counts for something.