YOU, YOUR BEST FRIEND AND YOUR BOYFRIEND

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Emma Hinton, 24, is an NHS course co-ordinator. She bought a house in Oxford three years ago with her best friend, Wendy Emanuel, 25, who is studying for a masters degree and works part-time as a law clerk. Last year, Emma’s fiance, Rob Softley, 25, moved in with them

Emma’s story

“When Wendy and I bought our house, we did discuss the implications of one of us acquiring a boyfriend, but it seemed so unlikely at the time (we were both very single!), we decided just to cross that bridge when we came to it Then, in April last year, I met Rob, and a month after we started going out, he came to stay for the weekend and never left. I asked Wendy if she minded him being around all the time, and, I have to admit, she was pretty dubious initially, as she didn’t know him that well. But now they get on brilliantly.

I love living with Wendy and Rob, but it has its ups and downs. It’s a small house, so there’s always someone around, which can be good and bad. It’s not so good if Rob and I want privacy. But, we can always go to our room or out for a drive if we need a bit of space.

Wendy and I do pick on Rob a bit because he’s the only guy. We get him to do all the jobs round the house, like mowing the lawn.

He tried to put up a security light a while ago and nearly electrocuted himself, and we’re still teasing him about that.

It’s nice to have my fiance and best friend living with me – I think I get the best of both worlds. When Rob and I do get our own place, I’m really going to miss Wendy, but I’m sure I’ll be popping round to hers all the time.”

Rob’s story

“I know it sounds cheesy, but the three of us don’t row that much and, if we do, it’s never over anything serious, so we’re usually back to being friends immediately.

There are advantages to living with your fiancee and her best friend. It means there’s always someone around if you want to talk something through. And moneywise, it works out a bit cheaper for the three of us to share a place. The only disadvantage is the space thing. You’re always conscious of not crowding anyone. But, all in all, it works well. My friends think it’s funny that I live with two girls – they probably think I’m quite lucky. If only they knew the whole truth!”

Wendy’s story

“Emma and I never actually sat down and discussed Rob moving in with us, it just sort of evolved. He started bringing clothes over and leaving them here and, before we knew it, he was a permanent resident. Rob moving in didn’t really change anything apart from

the fact Emma spends a lot more time with him, but we still have our girlie days out. Anyway, I’m the only single girl in my group of friends, so I’m used to everyone being coupled up. In the beginning, when Rob was spending a lot of time at ours, I sometimes thought it’d be nice to have a bit more space, but I’ve got used to him being here now and it feels weird if he’s not around.

The only thing I would say is that Emma and Rob are quite lovey-dovey, but, if I feel awkward, I just tell them to leave each other alone! I’m pretty forthright, so I don’t allow myself to be treated like a gooseberry. If they’re giving each other a cuddle in the kitchen, I’ll just walk through the middle of them to let them know ! live here, too.

Because Rob moved in with us, he’s had to adapt to the way we were living, and he is respectful of the fact it’s still mine and Emma’s house, If I ask him not to leave his stuff all over the living room, he generally listens, but the whole leaving-the-toilet-seat-up thing is a bit of an issue. Emma and I do tend to gang up on him, and he’s always out-voted. Sometimes, I threaten to put the door chain on so he can’t get back in when he goes out, but it’s all in good humour.

Obviously, Emma and Rob will want to get their own place one day, and it will be strange when they do. But we’ve talked about how we’ll work it out moneywise and I think we’ll be fine. Except that I’ll miss them!”

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