The rise of the over-40's in shared accommodation

The news that increasing numbers of over-40s are being forced to share accommodation as rents go through the roof and their marriages crumble is no surprise. It may even, for some, come as a small comfort, because – here is the typical career path of the over-40s sharer – being kicked out from your own home into living with sharers is not actually very funny. In fact, it is downright humiliating unless you take on board the following tips:

1 Consider the alternatives. And not in a "see if there's any other thing you can do instead" way. Because there isn't. You can't afford a one-bedroom flat unless it's in one of those areas that never made it into Crap Towns because it was too scary. And as for a two-bedroom flat – you might have kids who will want to visit you every couple of weeks – you won't find an affordable one within a radius of anywhere closer than Romania. You also, love them though you do, don't want to live with your parents. So you just have to Suck This Up.

2 Live with a friend. Nose about, see if there's a friend of yours in a similar situation. I managed this for a couple of years and it was extremely pleasant. The sex, as we joked, was lousy but we never had a cross word between us. That we were both irresponsible idiots with a shared tendency to dull the horror of the situation with alcohol helped.

3 Keep your distance. If you can't manage the above, then carve out as much space for yourselves as you can. If you work from home, make sure no one else there does. You won't get anything done, and you'll drive each other crazy.

4 Be lucky. No way round this. Lucky with location, lucky with flatmates. The goddess Fortuna turns her wheel continually, and sometimes you come up on top, and sometimes you're down among the condemned goods. I nick this riff from Boethius's 1,500-year-old classic The Consolations of Philosophy, and if that sounds pretentious, it won't when you're in a similar state because, if you can't get lucky, you're going to have to get philosophical pretty soon. See point 1.

5 Find someone else. It can happen, even in your 40s, even when you share a house. Move in together, and then you can watch the whole cycle start over again.