First rule of flatting: Don't screw the crew.
The logic behind this catch phrase is simple - when you start sleeping with your flatties, things get complicated, quickly. And unlike a standard fling, in-house relations ultimately lead to someone having to move out.
And moving is a bitch.
So best just to avoid the situation to begin with.
But what if you can't?
Last week, a reader asked me that very question. She is in lust with her flatmate and although she knows it's a strict no-go area, she still wants to.
To quote her: "He is the nicest guy I know. And I want. Help? Advice?"
Without more details it's hard to comment (not that that's ever stopped me before . . .) but I say go for it. If you actually see a future with this guy and are prepared to shift house.
The fact is, whether it works out or not, you're going to need to move.
Because if things do go well and you stay living as flatmates, you will put unnatural pressure on the relationship, which will quickly see it disintegrate.
Perhaps the better solution would be to move out anyway and then begin dating. (Or scoring as is the Kiwi way).
The thing is, when you spend a significant amount of time with someone, it is common to develop feelings for them (or so anecdotal evidence would suggest).
It's the same phenomenon that sees so many co-workers fall for each other.
But those feelings aren't necessarily real or sustainable.
When you see someone every day, you are naturally going to form a bond with them. Whether that bond translates into a viable relationship isn't guaranteed.
By taking yourself out of the situation, (ie. moving out), you will soon realise whether your feelings for your flattie are genuine, or just because he is there.
Having said that, I suppose the reason so many flatmates and co-workers end up together is because they do know each other so well and have got to know each other in a no-pressure situation.
They've seen you at your best - and worst - so there aren't as many surprises.
You essentially skip the first three months of a relationship and "getting to know you" period.
So give it a crack. It could be great. One of my brother's mates recently got engaged to a girl he met while flatting.
But be prepared for things to go pear-shaped.
And start looking for a new house.