I need a new flatmate but looking for one is even worse than dating - Alexander Brown

My flatmate is moving out, and with him the stability and routine I had come to love.

Flat sharing - who washes and who dries? Picture: H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images
Flat sharing - who washes and who dries? Picture: H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images

Firstly I should make clear this is an amicable split, he’s not met someone else, unless moving for work is an overly elaborate ruse.

And it’s gutting, truly gutting, to lose someone who was not just a flatmate, but my one constant through the pandemic.

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Moving into the flat in February 2020, we had a good month or so before Covid hit and all we had was each other.

What’s more, we had met just twice beforehand, making a bad situation potentially even worse.

But it was great. He’s clean, funny, doesn’t leave his washing up, and crucially shares my love of wine with dinner.

He waters the plants inside, I do the ones on the balcony, I wash he dries, and we’re both equally lazy about putting our washing away.

I tried to get into golf, he pretended not to mind checking my writing, and we made lists of restaurants we’d visit when it was all over.

It’s been lovely, and with different working hours there’s a closeness between us but also the space so as never to be overbearing.

But now I have to get back out there, looking online to find someone I will have to make small talk with potentially every day.

It is a huge gamble, and much like dating, I’ve been hurt before.

I’ve lived with people who would throw up in the bath and leave it, use my food without replacing it, or even invite friends to move in for months without asking.

I obviously don’t own the place, but having lived here so long it feels like a home, and I want to find someone to maintain that.

Moving is absolutely horrible, but somehow looking for somewhere new is even worse.

Give your details and budget to an estate agent and you get calls every day, offering you a building not where you wanted, for £300 more than you budgeted, and usually having more mould than windows.

The burden of being in the generation that doesn’t get to own means I cannot just buy my own space, I have to share it until I find someone who loves me enough to split the bill.

So I’m trying to stay having made a Spare Room profile, something I now check more relentlessly than Hinge in the days after a break-up.

And it’s exhausting, trawling the internet looking at pictures of someone and a message then deciding whether or not I want to see them every day.

It is so much worse than dating, with even more pressure.

This isn’t hoping to meet someone and seeing what happens, accepting it can be a nice thing that doesn’t have to go anywhere.

I can’t pretend I’m content on my own and wait to meet someone naturally.

It’s inviting them back but with a thousand pound plus entry fee, knowing that if I decide I don’t like them they’re still staying over.

I can end a relationship if it’s not working out, you can’t ghost someone with an 18-month contract.

Looking for a flatmate online is all the time consumption of dating apps, and none of the fun.

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