Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Jan. 9 2003 10:42 AM

Too Close for Comfort

9_dearprudence_01

Get "Dear Prudence" delivered to your inbox each week; click hereto sign up.Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

Dear Prudence,

I have recently moved in with my boyfriend, who just purchased a house. To make ends meet, he has a roommate/friend renting a room. I am not a freeloader in this picture, mind you. I am responsible for my share of the bills. But here is the issue: The roommate's room shares a wall with the master bedroom, and unfortunately the walls are quite thin. The roommate brings home various "girlfriends," who end up in his room late at night making quite a racket. I think it is quite rude for the roommate to have no respect for anyone else in the house and to think it's all right to put me in a position where I am forced to listen. I have actually slept in the living room at the far end of the house to escape this. My boyfriend has the attitude that sex is a natural thing and I should not be upset or offended. I realize it is a part of nature, but in my mind, it is also a private affair. If the roommate is home, I take all precautions to make sure we are quite silent in our activities. Am I wrong to insist that the roommate move to another bedroom that does not share any walls with our room? His reason for declining is that not all his furniture will fit into this room. Am I deserving of these "you're too sensitive; it's not a big deal" comments I receive?

—Sleep-Deprived

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Dear Sleep,

Your boyfriend is an oaf, and the boarder a clod. There is nothing wrong with your stated desire to not overhear the soundtrack of someone else's love life, and in turn not wishing to be overheard. Since you're getting no support from your boyfriend/landlord, tell him that, yes, lovemaking is a natural thing, but so is flatulence, and you have no wish to listen to that, either. You should invite the renter to move his bed—since that is where he does his entertaining—to the third room and just keep the rest of his furniture where it is. Problem solved ... unless, of course, he finds a girl who is comfortable on the dresser.

—Prudie, decorously

Dear Prudence,

I'm 32 years old, work full-time, have three children, a husband, and a household to take care of. My husband and I have been together for more than a decade and used to have a wonderful sex life. Since our last child was born (she's almost 5), I have had hardly any interest in being intimate. I'm up at 4:45 a.m.; I work from 6:15 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon. I pick up the kids from school, go home, do homework, cook dinner, get clothes out for school, dishes, etc. My husband usually doesn't home from work until after 7 p.m. By the time he gets home, I'm already wiped out for the day. I usually go to bed about 9:30 p.m., and my husband doesn't go to bed until about midnight. I'm too tired and worn out to be interested in intimacy anymore. Let's just say my husband complains about lack of intimacy, but doesn't do anything to make it happen. At times I want things to change but don't have enough energy. And when my husband tells me "he's got to have it," I just want to slap him. Tell me how get things heated up again before they die completely.

—Too Young To Be Done

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Dear Too,

There is no woman in the world who can arise at 4:45 a.m., work from 6:15 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon, pick up the kids from school, go home, do homework, cook dinner, get clothes out for school, do the dishes, etc., then put on a black slinky and seduce the man of the house. It is not a slam-dunk that anyone can improve the old boy's romantic skills, but a session or two with a couples' counselor might show him the wisdom of pitching in with some of the jobs having to do with house and children ... and of refining his "request" for pitching woo.

—Prudie, hopefully

Dear Prudence,

My boyfriend came to me a couple weeks ago and said he didn't know if he could handle being a couple anymore. He said he feels I will only end up finding him boring and break up with him. His reasoning is that his life is so simple while I am very social and "know everyone" and am "so loved by everyone" that it's too much to "live up to." He also said he wasn't sure if I'd be able to settle into such a "boring" life (his words, not mine). It is the simplicity of his life that I love, and as for settling down, he's almost 40 and has never had a relationship that lasted more than nine months. He says he has a "personal affliction" that causes him to get quite depressed and let me know that he said all these things during an "attack." I want to be with this person and have been beating myself up like crazy over the situation. He continues to tell me how he has deep feelings and wants me in his life but distances himself because he feels he cannot trust himself around me. From the outside, what do you think?

—Tearing My Hair Out

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Dear Tear,

Prudie would be most interested to know what it is this man does not trust himself around you to DO. Or is it to not do? Aside from being a closet commit-o-phobe who cannot make it past nine months, he sounds altogether quite strange. Alas, he is trying to tell you goodbye, but he wants you to be the one to wave adios. And you don't need to be a shrink to know that there is no "personal affliction" causing depression triggering an "attack" of telling a girl it's over. Start the new year right, hon, and give this man his wish: Take your social self (the one who knows everyone, and is loved by them) out of his life so that he won't have to live up to ... whatever it is, and then he can't bore you, but he CAN  spare you his "personal affliction."

—Prudie, skeptically

Dear Prudence,

I am in the middle of the biggest dilemma of my life! I have a boyfriend I have been seeing for four years. I love him, but our dates are drinks and a walk ... and that's it. Maybe on the weekends we'll go biking. He's also not very good with my 6-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Here's the problem. I've met someone else, through a chat room, and he is wonderful. We have fun together, he's great with my daughter, and he treats me the way a woman should be treated. The only problem is ... he's married. He told me if things worked out, he was going to leave his wife. My question is, do I leave my boyfriend and see what happens with this other man? I'm at a dead end here and don't know what to do. HELP!

—Love Times Two

Dear Love,

Welcome ... for you obviously are a new reader. The old ones, of course, already know that borrowed husbands are never worth the trouble or the complications. Yes, occasionally it can work out, but the Sid Basses of the world are few and far between. As for your chat-room friend, allow Prudie to interpret his remark about leaving his wife "if things work out." Translated loosely, this means things are NEVER going to work out, as there will always be an impediment to his leaving ... be it health, money, children, position, responsibility, employment, Happy, Sleepy, and Doc. And Prudie will go further and make a radical suggestion: Ditch both of these dudes, and look for someone who is both available and heart-stoppingly wonderful.

—Prudie, optimistically