He Needs His Own Space

Q: I met a nice girl at my local deli. She's fun, pretty, and very talented. The last time I was in love was 20 years ago. We had our third date last night, after which she came back to my apartment for a little while. One thing led to another and, sort of organically, we started messing around. We didn't have intercourse but we were both undressed. It was about 12:30 and since we didn't know each other all that well, I felt it would be best if she were to go home. We were in the throes of a blizzard, and she asked if she could stay over. She said she would have slept on the couch but I felt awkward about it and wanted my space. I walked her to the subway so she wouldn't have to do it alone. This morning I texted her that I was sorry but I felt awkward about having her stay. She answered that she thought it was ungentlemanly to not allow her to stay due to the snowstorm and that neither of us "planned" that she would have stayed as long as she did. Is there something wrong with wanting my space? I'm not ready for that level of intimacy. —Nick, 38

Dr. Susan: Wrong? No. Ungentlemanly? Absolutely. It was a third date, with intimate messing around, a blizzard outside, and a subway ride home for her. Your insistence on her leaving shows you may be too set in your ways to sustain a relationship, or a relationship with someone not 100 per cent easy-going, to make up for your own hint of rigidity. That's my opinion only, of course, but it seems your date felt the same way.

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