Kitchen rendezvous in the refrigerator light, sneaking into each other’s rooms, going out together and then going home together, keeping secrets from your other housemates - becoming involved with someone you live with can be a source of major excitement, and also major risk. Controversial, as it could go horribly wrong - but could it go oh so right?
Recently the TV show ‘The Flatshare’ (based on the book by Beth O’Leary) grabbed our attention as a cute, slow burn love story between roommates. We spoke to four people who have hooked up with their housemates, with varying results. Each of their stories could be its own TV series.
Greer, Hospo Worker (They/Them)
“A new housemate moved in as a stranger from a Facebook group. We are both sapphic and immediately felt a strong connection and started getting very, very close, hanging out constantly, going out to gigs and parties together and talking late into the night. For a long and lustful time, neither of us admitted we had feelings for one another. There was lots of intensity and sensitivity, and there would be tension when one of us would flirt with someone else. Eventually, it all came to light that we felt mutually, but we both decided it was a bad idea to pursue it. Things took a turn when I brought a date to a house party that we both hosted, and my housemate got upset. They moved out and we don’t speak anymore.
Cassie, University Tutor (She/Her)
“Everyone warns you not to shit where you eat, but I’d say sometimes it feels really fucking good and you should just go for it. Hooking up with my housemate was basically the best thing I ever did. It’s naughty and hot and you get to date in the comfort of your own home. We were originally friends with benefits, then got together, then took a three year break while he lived overseas, and now 5 years after being housemates we’re madly in love and in a committed relationship. I wouldn’t change anything about it.”
Alyce, Consultant (She/Her)
“I briefly dated someone I lived with years ago. When the relationship went sour he threatened to throw everything I owned onto the street so I had to call the police and get out a restraining order. It pretty much sucked. Would not recommend, would not do again.”
Lilian, Teaching Student (She/Her)
“Recently I moved out into a new sharehouse, and the most beautiful and wonderful lady lived there. It all happened so fast and naturally, and now we’re dating. Because we live together and the relationship is so new, we need to intentionally plan cute dates and nights in and make each other feel valued, otherwise I think we would fall back into a dull routine. I think getting involved with someone you live with is always risky but there’s also the potential to find a lot of happiness and joy, right next door to your room.”
Handling the unique situation of catching feelings or falling in lust with your housemate involves a lot of communication, care, fear of rejection and renegotiating the dynamics of your relationship. Thrilling and sexy? Yes. Do the feelings of forbiddenness amp up the stakes and sexual desire? Absolutely. But we can’t ignore the moral grey area at play when you consider the other people living in the house. It’s important to always ensure that your home remains a place of safety and support, no matter where your personal connections may lead.