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Doing the Sofa Samba

Dear Philippa,

My fifteen-year marriage ended a little while ago and I've moved in with my brother and his family. I like the kids and the company, but it doesn't afford me any privacy when it comes to my new love life. The woman I have recently started dating has roommates. I find it uncomfortable getting romantic on the sofa when people are in and out all evening. Should I ask her to tell her roommates to get lost so we can be alone? I could get my own place but the idea of being on my own right now doesn't appeal to me.

�Fred, St Paul, MN


Dear Fred,

Ah yes, the romantic logistics issue. Makes you feel like you're in a TV sitcom; doesn't it? It's tough trying to get romantic on the sofa when there's someone walking through the living room and foraging for food in the kitchen.

Privacy is important. When you are getting to know someone it's natural to want spend time together on your own. Maybe, however, you are not reading this ladies signals correctly. If she were really interested in getting "closer" to you, wouldn't she arrange with her roommates to have time when they would be away to give you both some privacy?

Try backing off a bit. Take things back to talking over dinner and in the car. If this progresses to the next step, and you're starting to steam up the windows, let her ask you back to her place. Then point out that you're just getting back into the dating scene and you're less than comfortable with her roommates around. She'll get the message and appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. She'll also feel like she has some control. Make sure you say this when you're both away from her apartment. This will give her two options: She might say that she understands how you feel and later arrange a quiet evening when the roomies are gone. Or, she might say that she prefers taking things slower for a while.

Then both of you will know where the other person stands. You can work things out, get to know each other more, or move on.

Maybe the lesson here is to take things slower. First, get more comfortable just being with yourself. Enjoy the company of different women and discover how you feel about yourself when you're with each date. This is your opportunity to learn about yourself and to live your life exactly as you want. Fred, you're just starting your life over---don't rush it.



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