The internet is full of blog posts advising against having a casual fling or getting into a relationship with a housemate; however, we all know that life isn’t that straight forward!
Even when moving in together as strangers, housemates can become good friends and provide consistent support for each other when other aspects of their lives may be less stable.
For example, most housemates have probably provided a shoulder to cry on when their roomie has been dumped or had a terrible day at university or work.
Just as friendship can blossom, so can romantic feelings, and there’s a reason the internet is full of those blogs advising against housemate relationships — developing romantic feelings for someone you live with is common.
So, if you have fallen for your housemate or roommate, you might be wondering what to do about it.
In this article, we’ll outline a strategy that is least likely to lead to a broken heart and annoyed flatmates!
Be honest with everyone involved
Firstly, you need to assess the situation and decide on your first step.
Do you think the person you are crushing on might feel the same? You might want to discuss this with a mutual friend who doesn’t live with you.
If you aren’t sure how your housemate feels about you, you can either not tell them how you feel and never know, or be brave and tell them — and hope it doesn’t make things weird.
If you are fairly sure the other person feels the same way, then go for it — otherwise, you’ll always be thinking, ‘what if…?’
However, there are a few things to bear in mind.
Once you have told your housemate how you feel and they have (hopefully) told you they like you too, then it is wise to keep your other housemates in the know.
Being a new couple (or even casual partners) in a house share setting can completely change the household dynamic.
If you live with just one other person, they may be worried that they’ll end up feeling like a third wheel, so try to reassure them that you’ll do your best to not make them feel like that.
Also, your fellow roomies may feel you don’t respect them if you sneak around and don’t let them know early on in the relationship.
So, make sure everyone in the house knows what is happening and keep them in the loop.
More often than not, your housemates will have guessed something was going on before anything actually was!
Be respectful of other housemates
Just because your other housemates know about your relationship, it doesn’t mean they want to witness public displays of affection, so try to resist snogging in the communal areas of the house while others are in!
Even when in your own room, it’s important to be mindful of your housemates, so be conscious of how much noise you are making when spending quality time with your partner — nobody wants to hear private moments and, if they do, it could make life really awkward for all of you.
Take it slow
As you already live together — something that’s not common with newly dating couples — it can be easy to quickly fall into an intense relationship, where you spend a lot of time together.
Instead of doing that, it would be wise to take it slow, like you would if you were dating someone you weren’t living with; continue to make plans with friends and book your date nights in around that.
The chances are, you already know each other fairly well, but bear in mind that you don’t know everything about the other person, and so you should be as cautious as you would be when getting to know someone you aren’t living with.
Everyone needs alone time sometimes, and you must have a conversation with your partner about this early on in your relationship.
When you are seeing someone you don’t live with, and you need some time to yourself, you can easily retire to your house share bedroom for an evening and let your partner know you’ll speak to them soon.
However, when you’re dating a housemate, you need to discuss what will happen on days when you need some time alone; if you are sharing a bed, then you might agree to keep separate rooms in the house despite being a couple, so you both have space to relax in away from each other and the world.
Don’t forget your chores
When you date a housemate, you need to ensure that one of you doesn’t become a representative for the couple when it comes to your household chores rota.
Of course, if one of you is unwell or busy when a chore is due to be completed, then it’s okay to cover tasks for each other occasionally — but don’t let it become a habit where one of you does all of the housework while the other slacks, as this will breed resentment.
Early on in a new relationship, the relationship itself can become all-consuming, and so it’s also important that both of you don’t forget about your household commitments altogether; doing so will lead to your other housemates becoming frustrated with you and, in the worst-case scenario, it could end in the house share breaking down.
Don’t stress about it
Above all, don’t stress about falling for someone you live with. If you are fancying a housemate and want to let them know, then weigh up the pros and cons and take it from there.
If you start a relationship with a housemate, take note of the above tips and enjoy having the person you love so close.
If you live in a house share, then you may enjoy reading our other blog posts for young professionals, too.