How not to fall in love with your flatmate
These things happen
Shared drunken cab rides home, cabin fever and sheer boredom can all lead to a fling with the flatmate you’ve always fancied.
They’re the forbidden fruit of your halls, but is it possible to avoid falling for them throughout the course of the year.
Just in case you can’t resist and get attached too easily, we spoke to relationship and sex expert Peter Saddington from health charity Relate on what happens if you fancy making a move on someone who lives in your flat.
But don’t bank on living with them again next year it all goes wrong.
You catch the eye of your fit flatmate at pre-drinks
“Chat to them” was the first answer that Peter gave.
He added: “If you try to set it in your head up as ‘don’t do it’, actually the chances are you are likely to do it.
“Just be more realistic, if your eye’s catch each other, then take your time and go approach him or her.”
“Maybe don’t rush to have sex, but get yourself over there to talk.”
Peter went on to say that being “straight to the point” could actually be beneficial in the new setting you and your new flatmate are finding themselves in.
What if they like you back?
If you find yourself in the situation where the feelings are mutual, then Peter suggested a pragmatic approach.
He said: “Enjoy it, spend some time, talk and the rest of it, but take your time because when you’re first in that situation there don’t rush anything, it’s a good experience.
“All relationships of any kind begin with lust, so take your time.”
When asked whether he believes trying to rush things is effective, Peter told The Tab: “Of course if you take your time with a girl she could be more straight forward with another guy, thats the risk you take”.
Peter suggested that if you rushed into things then you could find yourself falling, however also made it clear that you do take a risk of someone else getting there first if you take your time.
Can you get away with having a quick one night stand?
To answer this question, Peter said: “Yes, you could.”
It’s a risk you have to be willing to take. You have to realistic, you will make mistakes, things will go wrong. It’s all about how resilient you are at coping with it, but again, it’s a risk you must be willing to take.
Peter said: “You have to ask yourself whether if you can manage having a period of anywhere from a week to a couple of months of awkward tension, as it’s the risk you are taking.
“How would you deal with it? That’s the big question.”
You wake up together
After a one night stand, you might experience the painfully awkward moment where you both wake up in the same bed.
Peter said: “I would advise getting to know them and finding out if you like their personality to anyone wanting a relationship in this situation.”
Would you fall in love if you had sex with them?
This is the burning question, but sex doesn’t always lead to awkward flatmate feelings.
Peter said:”There is no guarantee whether you will both fall in love with each other after sexual intercourse.
“But there are two things about it, if you have sexual intercourse with somebody you feel very strongly about in particular, then your brain releases very strong chemicals that make you feel good and closer to that person.
“But in the cold light of day, if it actually was more of a physical thing rather than anything else and you wake up and you start getting to know them and you realise you don’t like them, then you won’t fall in love, it should be as simple as that”
“Lust is a healthy part to it, but lust starts wearing off and other factors become important.
“Sex is definitely a strong starting point if that is what you want.”
Is telling your friends about a “flatmate with benefits” a good idea?
Peter said: “If you have developed a “friend with benefits” then maybe that’s something you keep between you and the girl or it’s an infringement that you share with yourselves but not with other people.
“If your friends don’t like you telling them after finding out, then the underlying factor if they start to show resentment, will be jealously.
“If you share such personal information, then you are sharing information about her and not just you. Do you believe you have consent for this?”
Falling for your flatmate – the verdict
Peter said: “If you are planning with trying to have sexual relations with your fit flatmate without falling in love, just to have sex with, then I would take a pragmatic approach then don’t think about someone who has a close proximity to you, be selective when choosing who to have a one night stand with.
But he finished with some good news for those trying to become “friends with benefits” with their fit flatmate.
“It is possible. If looking for a ‘friend with benefits’ then find someone you really fancy physically but don’t have a close connection to on a day to day basis.
“Then make sure he or she is okay with having a relationship just based around sex so you don’t cause hurt and resentment.”