Dear Harlan: I am a 23-year-old female and I live in an apartment with two other roommates (both guys). We all have our own bedrooms, but we share a bathroom. I never expected to fall for one of the guys here, but we have become really close friends this year. We still have six months on the lease, and I don’t want to make things weird. I also think it could be kind of difficult sharing a place with someone who I’ve just started to date. Then there’s the possibility that we will get together and hate each other in a month or two. I don’t want to be stuck living with my ex. I also don’t want to miss out on being with someone so great. I can tell he’s interested in me, but we haven’t gone there. What should I do? How do I tell him without making it weird?
Dear Roommate: Most first dates end at the door. Your first date would end at the bathroom door. That’s just one of the strange elements of weirdness that goes along with dating a roommate. It can be complicated. You guys are going to need to talk about all of the possible scenarios before crossing the line and kissing. You have to discuss what would happen if it doesn’t work. At the same time, you need to explore what would happen if it did work. There’s a good chance in either situation that one of you would want to find your own place to give each other and the relationship room to breathe. The most important thing you can do is make it safe for him to be honest about his feelings. Unlike strangers who fall in love, you have this whole living situation you need to manage. If it doesn’t work out, you want to make sure you’re not sharing a bathroom and kitchen, and living with your new ex-boyfriend. All that said, get it right and you might end up living together for the rest of your life.