Everything I’ve learnt from dating my flatmate at uni
The realities of living with your bf
“Don’t shit where you eat” they say. If you’re a student, then chances are you’ve heard this golden rule not to date your flatmate. Most people follow this advice, but a foolhardy few (myself included) don’t.
If you’re included in this minority then you’ll probably have a good idea of what dating a flatmate entails. If not, then read on to find out from someone who has first hand experience of it…
You can try (with difficulty) to hide it…
If you’ve started dating your flatmate, the chances are that you don’t want everyone to know straight away. Maybe you’re scared that people will (rightly) rip you for shacking up with their neighbour. Maybe you’re scared that once the housemates know, the pressure to make it work will kill your relationship stone dead. Whatever the reason, it’s often a good idea to keep it under wraps at first. Of course, this is MUCH easier said than done when you’re living with other people 24/7.
…but your flatmates probably knew all along
The chances are that despite your best efforts, your flatmates probably know you so well that they guessed the two of you would get into relationship before you even realized it yourself. So just don’t be surprised if they’re underwhelmed when you announce your new relationship to the wider world, they actually knew all along after all.
People will rib you at first
Because EVERYONE advises against having a relationship with your flatmate, the rest of your house will probably tease you/think that you’re crazy in the beginning. Let them get it out of their system and if your relationship is strong enough you’ll find that it can take the ridicule for a while. Once people realize that the relationship is serious they’ll (hopefully) leave you alone.
You’ll be warned by fellow students
Along with teasing, you probably had to endure words of warning from all your friends. You probably had to listen to “wow you’re SO brave” and “what happens if you break up?” but if you’re laid back and let the comments wash over you then people will stop giving you advice at some point and trust that you know what you’re doing*
Third wheeling is a constant struggle
Urban dictionary defines third wheeling as “following or tagging along with a couple” and if you date your flatmate you’ll soon discover that whether you mean to or not, you will make the people you live with feel like a third wheel at one time or another. The best thing you can do is remind people that you don’t need “couple time” all the time and they’re not a third wheel when they spend time with you. Except on date night- then they can get lost.
You have to be careful about PDAs
Another struggle is making sure to limit public displays of affection whilst in the house. It can be difficult, especially if you’re in the ‘honeymoon’ period of a new relationship, but nothing will make your flatmates feel more like third wheels than subjecting them to visual reminders of your relationship. It’s impossible to avoid public displays of affection all the time because you’re living together after all but watch out you don’t do it too often!
People might be concerned about living with you
Because of the likelihood of third wheeling when you live with your boyfriend, there’s a good chance that future flat mates will worry about living with a non-conformist, university rule-breaking flatmate “couple”. You’ll probably have found that once they recognise how considerate you are around them they’ll soon realize they’ve got nothing to worry about though.
Living together will make or break your relationship
Living with your boyfriend isn’t always easy- you’ll probably find that being in the same house either makes your relationship stronger or breaks it irreparably. If the relationship is strengthened then you’ll have proven wrong all those who doubted it would work. And if it falls apart, then it was inevitable anyway.
You’ll spend A LOT of time together…
Maybe you expected to live relatively separate lives despite living together and maybe you expected to have lots of space and alone time but you probably found that you ended up being joined at the hip. This is hardly surprising. If you get along with your flatmates then you’ll be used to spending lots of time with them and if your boyfriend is also your flatmate then you’ll spend even more time with them
…so you’ll know EVERYTHING about each other
Because you’ll be spending so much time together it’s likely that you’ll know everything there is to know about each other…your weird little habits, what you look like when you first wake up in the morning, your fears and worries and concerns, pretty much everything that goes through your mind. Before you know it, secrets and mystery will be a thing of the past.
If it works then it’s pretty great
If you can overcome the many struggles of dating a flatmate and your relationship is made stronger because of it then you’ve probably found that it’s pretty great. I’ve been lucky enough to be in a relationship with my flatmate for a year and a half now and I can’t imagine ever living apart now or breaking up for that matter. So if I’ve learnt anything from going against the “don’t date your flatmate” rule it’s that it’s the best rule I’ve ever broken.