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September 17, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Roxy Heart

Hiya Roxy. I’m a third year law student who currently lives in a flat with my two best friends. We do everything together and are super close. The problem is that they have suddenly announced that they are dating. They’ve both just left relationships and I guess I could see it coming, but it’s totally freaking me out. I’ve heard horror stories about flatmates dating, and I think it’s going to be really awkward for me being the flat’s third wheel. Do you think I should make one of them move out? The other option is that I could move out, I guess, although I really like living here. Do you think I am overreacting? 

Yes, you are totally overreacting. While everyone has heard stories of flatmates forming relationships and then going rogue, Roxy is firmly of the opinion that this is just because no one talks about the flatmate relationships that are normal and un-crazy (i.e, boring). In all likelihood the world will keep on turning, and you won’t have anything to worry about except for the occasional awkward PDA, and loud angry post-fight sex. Chill out.

Roxy also suspects that a lot of what is happening here is plain ol’ jealousy. It’s often difficult for people who have a really tight knit group of friends to handle it when some of those friends get together: it changes the dynamic of the group, and it can feel like the third-wheel is suddenly less important. Don’t let your grumpiness over this (imagined) slight become the issue that actually destroys the friendship. It’s easy to overact to everything the couple does, and blame their relationship for every problem the flat has and if you create a situation where they’ve got to choose between their relationship and you, you’re going to have a Bad Time.

<3 Roxy

Yo Rox-yizzle. My flatmate has recently got a new girlfriend. She seems nice enough, although we really don’t talk that much, but she’s becoming a bit of an issue for the flat. She’s always around, like always, and she’s starting to take the place over a bit. Our flat’s not very big, so a fourth person kinda gets in the way, and we don’t like having to pay for the hot water and stuff she uses. She’s also a bit of a nana, and goes to bed at like 10pm which means we can’t be rowdy or anything at night which sucks. We really like the flatmate, and don’t really want him to leave, but I think it’s becoming a major issue. What should we do? 

Roxy totally understands where you’re coming from here. A big part of successful flatting is having a good fit with your flatmates, and it can get really awkward when someone essentially moves in unilaterally, particularly in a small flat. This is a case where communication is key. You need to voice your concerns and see how your flatmate handles it. If there’s no recognition of your issues, then it is probably time to start looking for a new flatmate.

People who bring in their boyfriends or girlfriends into flats would also do well to remember to be courteous about it.
It’s awkward for flatmates to ask for a contribution to the rent to cover the costs of the hanger-on, which means unless you offer it up resentment is just going to build and build. You also really need to put some thought into what they want. They signed on to living with you, but didn’t sign on to sharing their personal space with your partner. You owe it to them to find out what they think, because if they don’t like it you really only have two options: move her out or find a new flat that doesn’t mind. Otherwise things are just going to get more and more uncomfortable, then they will explode, and then you will have a Bad Time.

<3 Roxy.


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