The interview: What’s it like to date your flatmate?

I spoke to Belinda and Steven, who live in the South-Western suburbs of Sydney, about their relationship and how they make it work. You see, when you’re deciding tho choose a flatmate, one of the most basic cardinal rules is to choose someone you won’t inevitably end up getting together with. Because things can get messy from then on in.

However, if you’re Belinda and Steven, that messy stage just hasn’t settled in. They’ve been happily dating for two years now, and don’t see an end in sight. So we caught up with them to ask some of the basics: how do you do it?

Interviewer: So let’s take it back to the beginning. How did you meet?
Belinda: I was flatting in an apartment with two other guys when one of them decided to move out to be closer to his job in the city. I couldn’t blame him, it was a bit of a trek, but he did leave me and my other flatmate in the lurch. We needed to find someone else to stay with us ASAP to make ends meet.
Steven: And I just so happened to be looking for someone…
Belinda: I posted an ad online and got a tonne of responses. But when I looked up Steven, I mean, how could I not pick him for the interviewer…[laughs]
Steven: Never mind if I was a raging psycho!

Interviewer: The interview obviously went well then.
Belinda: Absolutely. Steven was warm and easy to talk to, and said because his family is mostly made up of hardworking women he’s pretty domestic. Who doesn’t want someone who is going to cook and clean when they can?
Steven: Well, not ALL the time, but I’m willing to chip in whenever I can. And maybe I was also trying to impress Belinda…
Belinda: Yeah, he doesn’t clear up nearly as often enough as I’d like [laughs].

Interviewer: So what did your other flatmate think of you choosing Steven?
Belinda: He was happy for me to take the reigns and make a decision. He trusted I’d make the right decision. Who knows, he probably regrets it now that Steven and I are… well, dating. He’s the ultimate third wheel!
Steven: He takes it so well though. A lot of his work revolves outside the house, so having him around isn’t as much of a pain as you might think. Plus, he enjoys the fact we cook for him.

Interviewer: Where you worried initially that if things didn’t work out on a personal level with you two, the house would be a shambles?
Steven: That didn’t really cross our minds to be honest. We’re so happy together, any kind of issue that cropped up could be easily dealt with. We kind of skipped that whole initial part of a relationship though and jumped straight to the moving in part, which was something neither of us were used to. I think even if things didn’t work out, we’d be able to live together in some kind of harmony. We’re easygoing people.

Interviewer: Would you encourage other people to get into a similar situation.
Belinda: I think it’s definitely only suitable for certain types of people. There has to be a lot of ground rules about what you want as a housemate and as a partner, and these need to be established early on. You don’t want to end up in a friends-with-benefits kind of arrangement by any means. You’re either friends or your partners in my opinion.

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