Should You and your Brother/Sister Live Together?

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The Pros and Cons of Living With a Sibling

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If you're moving into a new home, finding a reliable roommate is extremely helpful. A good roommate can help on move day, split the rent and handle some household chores. Living with someone can be difficult, but unless you're an only child, you probably have experience living with at least one sibling.

On the surface, moving in with your sibling seems like the perfect idea. Before you and your brother or sister start planning to recapture your youth in a new home, consider all the pros and cons of living together.

Pros of Sibling Roommates

  • You know each other- Very few people can understand who you are and where you're coming from more than your sibling. You were probably raised in the same house by the same parents, after all. Problems arise when roommates aren't who they appear to be, but if your roommate is your sibling, you should know exactly who they are. 
  • You're probably about the same age- The average age gap between siblings is two to three years, so you are essentially the same age when you're adults. Having a roommate at a similar stage of life increases the chances that you will have comparable incomes, priorities and expectations living in your new home.
  • Family familiarity- Living with your brother or sister is sure to make your parents happy since they can visit you both at the same time. Additionally, you can address family issues and concerns with your sibling right in your home. Living with family can just feel more comfortable than living with a stranger.
  • Cohabitation experience- If you lived with your sibling as you grew up together, you know what to expect. You've divided chores before. You've argued and reconciled. You're already familiar with your sibling's allergies and idiosyncrasies. There doesn't need to be an awkward feeling-out phase because you already lived together for many years.
  • Probable similarities in beliefs and interests- Although siblings occasionally grow into very different people, you and your brother or sister probably share a lot of attributes. Siblings are more likely than strangers to have copacetic religious and political views, which makes living together easier. You are probably interested in some of the same things since you were brought up in the same environment.
  • Family loyalty- Family loyalty should add a level of trust that you won't get with a stranger. You probably won't have to worry about your sibling roommate harming you or disappearing from your home without paying rent.

Cons of Sibling Roommates

  • Regression- Living with your childhood partner in crime could make you feel a little too nostalgic. Do you remember how you behaved when your mom and dad first left you and your sibling alone for an extended period of time? You probably destroyed something. Living with your sibling as adults could tempt you into acting like there's no grownups around.
  • You may not be at the same stage in your life- Not all siblings are only three years apart; there could feasibly be a 20-year age gap. Even if you are about the same age, that doesn't mean you are at the same stage of life. For example, you could be 22 and looking for ways to start your career while your little sister is 19 and still just wants to party at university. It may be difficult to find a place to live if you are not on the same page.
  • You may not get along- Not every sibling relationship is a good one. If all you ever did was fight as kids, that may not be different as adults. If there was a falling out and you haven't spoken to your sibling in a long time, you might as well room with a stranger. Even if you do get along on the surface, siblings can get very competitive with each other and reignite superiority/inferiority complexes that developed during childhood.
  • You could need a change of pace- After growing up together, you may be sick of your sibling--even if you generally get along. For many young adults, finally moving out of their family home means experiencing new people and places. If you move out with your sibling, you're bringing part of your old home with you. That's at least one less new person you can meet.
  • Mixing money with family- It is always awkward to ask family members for money. If a regular roommate stops paying rent, you can cut them out of your life with little fanfare. But if your sibling is taking advantage of you, the situation becomes much more complicated. You have to put up with a lot more when it's your family.
  • Being siblings doesn't necessarily mean you're compatible- Sometimes siblings can be very different from each other, almost as if one took all the genes for some traits and left none for the other. Lifestyles and beliefs can be very different between siblings, so not every pair of brothers or sisters are compatible roommates. Even if you and your sibling were similar as children, people can change drastically as they mature.
As you can see, living with your sibling is a good idea for many reasons, but it still has several drawbacks. If more cons than pros fit your relationship, find another roommate. If you and your brother or sister are mostly described by pros, you can start planning your move together.

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on April 15, 2015 - Moving Expert
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