No nooky on the dinner table!

Joey Garcia

I’ve got a great housing situation (cheap and near my college), but it’s becoming a problem. My roommate (we’re both female) and her boyfriend are all over each other, 24/7. At first it was extended, noisy kisses. Then fondling with clothes on. The other night, I walked into the dining room where they had been eating dinner (my backpack was in there). He had her pinned against the table, naked from the waist up. I’m not a prude, but I don’t need to see this stuff. How can I explain this to her without sounding like I’m totally uptight?

By taking an acting class? That way you could continue pretending that you’re not uptight. OK, I’m being annoying. So let me grab my bullhorn: IT’S PERFECTLY HEALTHY TO ADMIT THAT YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE. That’s all “uptight” means—uncomfortable. The real work for you is to care as much about yourself as you do about how your roommate perceives you. Right now, worrying about sounding uptight is more important to you than feeling comfortable in your own home or having an honest relationship with your roommate. That’s not fair to you.

I suggest that you and your roommate have a house meeting to cover all icky roommate stuff, including PDA. If you want the meeting to go well, be direct and vulnerable. That means you admit that, when she is entwined with her boyfriend, you feel tense and you want an agreement between you to keep such behavior out of the public areas of the house. Then stay calm and non-argumentative, no matter what her response. One last thing, don’t be so afraid of losing your habitat that you fail to support yourself in designing an equitable agreement. An even better space may be waiting for you.

Three years ago I met the most astonishing woman. She was brilliant, beautiful, sexy beyond belief and the most compatible companion I have ever had. We dated happily for two years and then she left me because she wanted to get married. I have been separated from my wife for four years, but I can’t get divorced because my wife has had major health problems and needs my health insurance. I would feel like a schmo if she lost coverage because of me. I have spent a year searching, but have not found anyone like this lady that I once dated. I feel like I did the right thing (it’s better to have loved and lost, right?). I guess I’m writing to see if you think so, too. I read your column every week and value your opinion.

The secret password is: C-O-B-R-A. Not the svelte, hooded serpent, but an acronym for the insurance that your wife is likely eligible for post-divorce. Even if she was denied, however, I would imagine that you could agree, in your divorce contract, to fund her health insurance payments yourself. So, your wife’s need for health insurance is not the true reason for your investment in remaining separated. You didn’t state a religious reason, either. Thus, the clue to your reticence is probably in those tragic words, “It’s better to have loved and lost [than never to have loved at all].” Melancholy is depression for spiritually lost romantics. If you prefer pining for a lost love to actually being in love, you made the right choice in staying separated. I suggest that you check in with God about your choices. Then either find a way to mend the relationship with your wife or get a divorce and marry your “most compatible companion.”

Meditation of the week
The poet Samuel ha-Nagid writes: “War begins like a pretty girl / with whom every man wants to flirt / and ends like an ugly old woman / whose visitors suffer and weep.” What war have you been waging against yourself? How is that reflected in the world?

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