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Housemating at University: Is it a good idea to live with your significant other?

Deciding to live with your other half is a decision most couples don’t take lightly. But at university choosing to live with your partner doesn’t seem to be such a big deal. With a surprising number of couples jumping in at the deep end, Impact investigates whether co-habitation is making or breaking these relationships.

In the ‘real world’, moving in with your partner implies a commitment longer than a 12-month lease, which could be one of the reasons student couples don’t over-think the move. “Living amongst friends in a student house is kind of like dipping your toe in the water”, second year student Natasha Gregson says. “There’s not the pressure of a mortgage and other factors like there are in the real world”.

Natasha met her housemate and boyfriend of two years in sixth form, which influenced her decision to live with him: “If I had met my other half at university I’d feel it would be too soon to move in together”.

 “I know if something happened it would put our housemates in a really awkward position”.

When asked what would happen if she broke up with her boyfriend, Natasha argued that there is just as much risk that two regular housemates will fall out. “I know if something happened it would put our housemates in a really awkward position, but you could fall out with any of your housemates and still get in a similar situation. Living together has brought us closer and I don’t regret it!”

The couples may be living in relationship bliss, but what is it like for the single students who share their houses?

“We never really see either of them on their own”.

Rosie Lees, a second year student, has lived with a couple since September. She doesn’t regret moving in with them, but acknowledges that it is very different from living with single housemates: “We never really see either of them on their own”.

Overall, Rosie doesn’t mind living with a couple. “They aren’t the kind of people who need to eat each other’s faces the whole time – I’ve actually only seen them kiss once”. She owes her close friendship with Sophie*, her only other housemate, to the pair, joking that “we act more like a couple than they do.”

Rosie and her housemates have made their dynamic work, but for some unlucky students, living with a couple becomes more house-of-horror than happy families. Third year student Jon Umber* is one of these unlucky few.

“Relationships destroyed my house”.

“Relationships destroyed my house. Two of my housemates were together, and broke up, so now they virtually ignore each other. Another couple formed, and began spending every minute of every day together – it’s like they aren’t even there. We went from having a happy, friendly house dynamic, to awkwardness and boringness”.

One of many couples to meet during Fresher’s Week, Hannah Delaney and her boyfriend Dario had been seeing each other for just four months when they made the decision to live together the following year.

Now in second year and settled into Lenton life, Hannah couldn’t be happier: “It was hard at first because it was so different, but we make it work by having our own space”.

“She’s my favourite person at University, so why wouldn’t I want to live with her?”

For third year student George*, deciding to live with his girlfriend, Caitlin*, was a natural decision: “She’s my favourite person at University, so why wouldn’t I want to live with her?” He says that the choice to live together completely depends on the relationship. “We were friends before we got together so it’s like living with a good friend”.

Making the decision to live with your other half can be risky – will you still like them after you discover their annoying habits or their inability to take the bins out on time? Housemating can be tricky, but there are always those who make it work.

Isabella Millington

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Image: Woodleywonderworks via Flickr

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