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July 25, 2011 | by  | in Features |
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Flatmate Romances

In my first-year hall of residence, a few girls made a huge chart that plotted every resident’s known kissing conquests.

I remember looking at this chart and being reminded of a huge spider web, and hoping that next year we’d all be a little less inbred. However, as my second year rolls by, I’ve realised that there is no aphrodisiac quite so strong or toxic as proximity. These are the stories and lessons learnt by flatmates who have attempted, regretted and succeeded in their walk down lovers’ lane.

Situation 1: When loving thy neighbour is the hardest thing to do…

Sarah met David in her hometown of Tauranga before she moved down to Wellington to study at Victoria University. After a year of dating long distance, David valiantly packed up his suitcase and his life, and moved down to Wellington to live with her. After a while of being love-drunk, David became comfortable, then lethargic, his romantic notions becoming crushed under the weight of his geography textbooks and PlayStation controller. Sarah, downgraded from Cinderella in glass slippers to a girl stuck cooking and cleaning all the time, ended it. The breakup not only split them up, but their entire flat. One of their flatmates likened it to a nasty divorce.

Do not—I repeat, do not—pick your flatmates simply because they are your girlfriend or boyfriend. If you don’t objectively (yes, that means taking off those lovely rose-tinted glasses for a minute) look at that person and figure out if he or she would make a good flatmate first and foremost, you will find your relationship over before you can say “peaceful cohabitation”. Moving in together can put a lot of strain on relationships—don’t attempt it unless you are very certain that you can handle it.

Situation 2: When you just want to press CTRL + Z…

Chloe met Sam at uSstay. They were attracted to each other, but since they had already decided to be flatmates they set up some logical boundaries. However, the restrictions did nothing but spark that attraction into feelings which turned into… well, you know. Logic prevailed, and those boundaries were hammered down again. Once they started living together, those rusted butterflies started flapping their wings again, resulting in another regrettable night. Again, the boundaries came down the next morning, which is where they have now stayed. They never wanted to be in a relationship together, but watching the other ‘get with’ someone else still hurt.

Although a late-night drunken hookup might seem like a great idea at the time, remember that you will still have to see your flatmate the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. Some games just aren’t as much fun when you’re playing with each other’s hearts.

Situation 3: When it actually works out…

Will met Katherine during their stay at Victoria House last year, where they lived across the hallway from each other. They were both part of the same tight-knit friendship group, and after some alcohol-infused nights later in the year, the ‘friend’ boundary was forgotten. The next year they flatted together, and are doing well. The only people complaining are their friends who don’t see as much of them as they want to.

If Kate Middleton and Prince William can make it work, then plebs like us can, too. There are cases where flatting with your sweetheart at university is a success. One only has to remember to be honest and give your other half a lot of space—because you’ll be seeing a lot of them.

Names have been changed.

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  1. Eric Bractor says:


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