Disengaged Boyfriend…Roommate Crush…Rude Awakening

Q: I’m a straight woman in my twenties, and ever since the first few intense weeks, my boyfriend of eight months has been more distant than I would like during sex (he closes his eyes or watches porn, for instance, and doesn’t initiate things as much as I do). When questioned, he said that I’m “so beautiful and smart” that he has trouble seeing me “like that.” It wouldn’t bother him at all that our sex life has faded if it weren’t for my complaining: He says I stress him out by overemphasizing it, but he’s completely happy and just about ready to ask me to marry him. Meanwhile, I can’t help feeling lousy and rejected. Do I have unrealistic expectations?

A: Watching porn to spice things up a bit? Fine. Closing his eyes? Probably not a big deal. But saying, point-blank, that he has trouble seeing you “like that” because you’re so smart? And then telling you you’re a shrew for complaining? Yikes! What you should be wondering is why you’d consider marrying someone who can’t see you as a simultaneously sexual and intelligent being. You need a partner who’ll satisfy you on multiple levels at once—by putting together a bedroom double feature of Kurosawa and kama sutra, say. Unfortunately, your boyfriend’s Madonna/whore complex leaves him incapable of such versatility. There are men out there who will worship both your brain and your body; being split in half hurts too much to endure any longer.

Q: I have two roommates. One’s a friend from college; the other is the love of my life—only I haven’t told him yet. I have secretly adored him since he moved in six months ago. This isn’t about desperation: I’ve got no lack of suitors, but they don’t matter. And while I know he likes me—we’re buddies—the question is, does he like me? I don’t want him to get away, but I don’t want to kill an amazing house vibe, either—or lose a good deal on a share (with a deck, no less!). Meanwhile, I live in fear that he’ll bring home another girl one of these nights. Help!

A: There’s only one thing harder to find in the city than a great share with a deck, and you can guess what that is. If you’re wild about this fellow even after seeing him in his skankiest sweats and bed-headiest hair, you’re too far gone not to say something. You don’t have to propose marriage or prepare a PowerPoint presentation; just hand him a beer and say, “Wanna have sex?” If he says yes, voilà: You can enter the weird, wonderful world of dating your roommate. If he says no, it’s time to wave a fond farewell to your deck, but inaction would have led you to the same place anyway—eventually, he would have brought some girl home and you would have attacked her on her way to the shower.

Q: My upstairs neighbor wakes up very early—4:30 a.m. She slams her futon shut and is so loud in stomping around getting ready for work that I worry she’s going to crash through my ceiling. Though she has complied with building rules and put some throw rugs on the bare wood floor, it doesn’t help. I’ve tried to approach her in a friendly way, but she acts chilly and then, I swear, is louder the next morning, as if in revenge! How do I handle this?

A: Ah, the loud, stubborn neighbor, a New York tale as old as time. Assuming you’ve tried a white-noise machine and earplugs; a counterattack where you blast music at night while she’s trying to sleep until she caves; and a kill-her-with-kindness campaign of fruit baskets bearing notes like “Friends fold up their futons after dawn,” you don’t have much choice: Drastically change your schedule to complement your neighbor’s, or move.

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Disengaged Boyfriend…Roommate Crush…Rude Awakening