How to deal with flirtly roommate & his female conquests?
February 18, 2009 1:43 PM   Subscribe

What makes more sense when trying to deal with feelings of irritation and jealousy towards someone who just so happens to be your roommate - coldness and avoidance, or cultivating a veneer of warmth?

I'll refrain from revealing every last detail about the situation, but not too long ago one of my roommates became exceedingly flirty and came onto me all in the same night. I soon learned, however, that his intentions were anything but serious and he basically only wanted me as a fwb. Since I find him very attractive and had already been toying with the idea of having a casual hook-up just for fun, I gave him some pretty clear hints that I would probably be up for that. But before anything else happened between us, we, okay mostly he, decided that we didn't know what we would be getting into, being roommates and all. Thus, it was determined that we would simply put what happened behind us.

Immediately thereafter, he started bringing another girl home with him during the nights, and although I feel that the situation has surely now been resolved, I find myself resenting him for having stirred up my interest in him, and frankly, my lust. Prior to this, I had tried not to think of him in that way, but now it irritates me that he's so blatantly having sex with someone else under the same roof. My plan now is not to dwell on it, and just continue meeting and dating guys who are more mature, if not necessarily quite as hot as the roomie.

What I don't know though is how to handle myself when I run into him either when he's alone or when he's with this girl. He often acts quite friendly towards me, and dare I say flirty, after what happened. Should I protect myself by acting cold and disengaged, or would it be better for both him and me if I make it a point to seem bubbly and care-free? If I didn't live with him, I would be so completely over this by now, but as things are, I'm somewhat worried that my resentment or whatever is going to have some longevity.
posted by afabulousbeing to Human Relations (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps it's best not to affect anything at all. Try to act how you feel. See how that works.
posted by stubby phillips at 1:46 PM on February 18, 2009

Treat him as what he is: a pussy-tease. He sounds like an arrogant prick who enjoyed seeing if he could have you and then toying with you like that. If you act cold and aloof, you will be playing into his ego, by making him think you are brooding about the fact that he didn't want you. So, I think you should act like you don't care, if you're stuck living with him. Ideally, you would move out.
posted by jayder at 1:54 PM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

veneer of warmth - i wouldn't say 'bubbly and care-free', but you can probably get away with ribbing him pretty good if it seems to be 'all in good fun'. This could be a good way to take out some of this resentment on him :P
posted by lizbunny at 1:55 PM on February 18, 2009

My plan now is not to dwell on it

That's always been one of the best plans ever.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:00 PM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

Why not actually try to like him? To be honest, on the basis of the information provided here, there is no basis whatsoever for thinking of this guy as having done anything wrong at all: he flirted, had second thoughts on sensible grounds, and now is pursuing a dating life.

Rather than starting with the impression you want to give on the outside, try getting over your resentment inside and the outside impression will follow.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:01 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Go out. Find a new man/men. Bring 'em home or don't, but get some attention from another direction.

And/Or make friends with the new girl- if you find out she's awesome, the jealousy might chill, and then you can act naturally around the roommate with no worries.
posted by nat at 2:06 PM on February 18, 2009

Treat him as what he is: a pussy-tease.

Ugh. He has as much sexual agency as you do, as "afabulousbeing" does, and as anyone does, and I hope you realize that if your situations were reversed, you wouldn't appreciate being thought of as a "cock-tease." Maybe he is a butthead, but I think we should all give each other the benefit of the doubt when we say "no."

That said, just take a deep breath and continue dating the mature dudes you are dating. After a few months of living with Mr. Hot-But-Unavailable, seeing his dishes in the sink and his wet towels on the floor, you will quickly lose interest in sleeping with him.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:13 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

I will admit that this is probably bad advice in the long run - but, since you still have feeling of jealosy then I think I can safely assume you still have feelings for him "in that way".

I say that you go for it - a guy may say no, but he surely can't resist if you just happen to leave the door open when you shower, forget to close your bedroom door when you are changing, or if you happen to mistake his room for yours in the middle of the night so you crawl into bed naked with him....

What guy doesn't want a hot roomate who will have sex with him and it's understood it's just for fun? While that may be impossible to achieve (a la Seinfeld) i don't know one guy who wouldn't at least give it a try. Not one.

Get what you want.
posted by Brettus at 2:16 PM on February 18, 2009

....'kay: on the one hand, he's someone you slept with and now it's not what you thought it would be.

But on the other hand -- he is your ROOMMATE, and I see no reason why you can't deal with this like you would handle any other roommate dispute -- by pulling him aside for a quick chat to clear the air.

in fact, people ideally should handle other relationships that way, too -- by having quick chats to clear the air.

Just talk to the guy. Figure out what the ground rules are -- who's interested in what, who's not interested in what, etc. -- and then come up with some house rules accordingly. Maybe you decide that if he's not interested in you being a fuckbuddy, that you just agree that he NOT bang other chicks in the house while you're there too. Or maybe you decide that sometimes you will and sometimes you won't. Or maybe you decide that if he wants to bring a girl home, he has to invite you as well and make it a threesome...whatever.

But these are things that you can only figure out by talking to the guy about what you feel and seeing how he feels, and then figuring stuff out together. And you have TWO justifications to do so -- a) as a person with some kind of nebulous association with this guy, and b) as the guy's roommate.

And trust me, roommates have hammered out weird shit like this all the time. I had a male roommate once, and he and I were each attached to other people at the same time -- and he had a habit of leaving his bedroom door open. And he and his girlfriend slept late when she stayed over. And the morning that I was getting ready for work and caught a glimpse of them having sex, and then spent the entire morning in a high state of sexual frustration because my own boyfriend was out of town and I couldn't similarly jump HIM, I called an official house meeting that night when I got home in which it was established that Bedroom Doors Must Henceforth Be Closed If Sexing Is Happening Please For The Love Of God.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:41 PM on February 18, 2009

Move out, then sleep with him.
posted by Lucie at 2:42 PM on February 18, 2009

Why not just sleep with him if you want to? By letting him decide you're giving him more power than he deserves. You want a FWB? Make him a FWB. Then bring home someone else, not to irritate him or make him wonder if you were just teasing him... just because you can.
posted by raconteur at 2:56 PM on February 18, 2009

Did you guys read the actual post at all?

I say that you go for it [...] if you happen to mistake his room for yours in the middle of the night so you crawl into bed naked with him....

This is totally unacceptable behavior; please do not do it.

....'kay: on the one hand, he's someone you slept with and now it's not what you thought it would be.

She never slept with him.

You want a FWB? Make him a FWB.

He does not want to be FWB.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:10 PM on February 18, 2009 [4 favorites]

She never slept with him.

wait maybe she did it is a pretty confusing post to be fair
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:11 PM on February 18, 2009

Whether she slept with him or not, OC, my advice to "just freakin' talk to the guy" still stands.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:14 PM on February 18, 2009

Whether she slept with him or not, OC, my advice to "just freakin' talk to the guy" still stands.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:14 PM on February 18

I agree with that; I don't think the other person's advice - glorified sexual assault - is very good though.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:21 PM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: thanx so much for the replies. just to be clear, no we did not have sex. but we did do some vigorous making out. and in the name of preserving some semblance of self-respect, i think i would much prefer not to initiate anything further. cuz hello, it's not like he doesn't know where to find me! also, i'm sure he's already picked up on the jealousy, based on some catty comments i made to him. but now i mostly just want advice on how to preserve appearances, even though i'm still not 100% happy about what happened.
posted by afabulousbeing at 3:27 PM on February 18, 2009

I'd switch off the two: when you really feel attracted, be cold, when the feelings aren't so strong, be warm. It isn't either or.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:25 PM on February 18, 2009

I second the advice to make friends with the girl, if possible. It'll probably make you feel less resentful of her presence, and she might end up making you feel better about the whole business by complaining to you about all your roommate's annoying habits. Regardless, it'll help ease the tension.

Ask your roommate to please not act flirty with you. It isn't fair to you, and it clearly isn't helping you put this behind you. Since you are stuck living in the same space and can't avoid him to give yourself time to get over things, the least he can do is avoid sending ambiguous signals.

I guess that falls under "veneer of warmth", although hopefully that will one day become actual warmth.
posted by fermion at 5:01 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hmm... My approach would be to make myself so busy that I was never around and when I was, I was too tired or on-the-go to spend energy thinking about how he interpreted what I said. I would pick up a bunch of shifts at work, or I would join a softball team, or I'd sign up for a wine tasting class or a half-marathon or a swing dancing social club. Or, I'd tackle a bigger goal, like getting into grad school or trying to buy my own house or something.

Then for about three months, you'll only see him as you dash in from work, change into your dance clothes, call your advisor to write you a recommendation, slap together a PB&J, and run back out, and so your conversations would naturally be "hey man what's up? I'll see ya later." Meanwhile your feelings and the larger situation will settle themselves out.
posted by salvia at 12:38 AM on February 19, 2009

Read "He is just not that into you"

- because he is just not that into you. If he was he would have taken it further. He was actually acting restrained and honerable by not sleeping with you as he knew he could have.

So either deal with it or move out.
posted by lamby at 5:09 AM on February 19, 2009

I dont get it....I have had hot female roomates who thought of me as "very attractive".....there is always some sort of sexual tension in the air but that happens even with people that you are not rooming with (I mean ever worked with a hot co-worker, taken a class at the gym, or a salsa lesson).

I had the opportunity once of hooking up with her..but I didnt take it....God knows I wanted to but I knew I wanted to be single at the time and hooking up with her will bring me issues with dating other people......It wasnt that I wasnt interested is just that she lived with me and even if we are just FWB (as the OP implied she would have liked to be) the option of bringing other people back to my apartment is out of the question (because you see, even if you are not FWB roomate still gets jealous) I decided not to just because I didnt want to get into those type of issues......

If you want to hook up with him then go ahead and do so but know that if you are "just" an FWB then you will have the issues of him bringing other woman. If you dont want to deal with that stuff (and who would?) then what is so wrong of just keeping to yourself...yeah i understand he is flirty and what not but listen can you really live with this guy if he turns all cold and now only says hi and bye? How would you feel in that situation? All of sudden you will have a bigger monkey in the room.........

My solution is just keep on dating whoever you are dating and if male roomate gets flirty with you either flirt back or just smile and go to your room he will understand what he did and turn it down a bit.......
posted by The1andonly at 8:32 AM on February 19, 2009

The attitude you want to give off is pleasant to be around and forgiving, not catty and jealous, at the very least so you can continue to live with the guy. If you're having trouble doing this, avoid them (politely). It can't be too hard when they're around to go read a book in the kitchen or your bedroom so that you're not tempted to get annoyed by their snuggling.

Moreover, stop spending large portions of alone time with this dude. He hasn't broken any ethical laws, but he has played pretty fast and loose with your emotions (even if the emotion is just animal lust). I wouldn't try to talk to him about it, there's nothing more to say--he doesn't want to date or even bed you right now. Maybe he will change his mind if he feels like it, but do you really have time to wait around for it? Make the choice to hang out with other people more, without a big speech or anything, and cheerfully deny him the opportunity to flirt with you at will.

Finally, if you get a chance try to help this roommate seek immediate mental health counseling. What kind of sociopath passes up the opportunity to have a f-buddy relationship with his cute roommate? Have him dial 1800-Sa-bro-tage for more information.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:38 AM on February 19, 2009

How about you sit down and talk to him?
posted by Macallister Vagabond at 10:55 AM on February 19, 2009

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