I’m a woman in my early 30s. My housemate is a man in his mid-20s. We became friends through work this year and decided to become housemates. It was a good personality fit and an economic benefit for us both. We have separate bedrooms and a shared living space. It’s pretty plum in every way, except that he seems to think I’m his girlfriend. A few weeks after moving in together, we had a couple of drinks, and he dropped some hints that he was attracted to me. I find him attractive too, we were both a little tipsy, and we wound up making out on the couch. (I know, I know!) It was fun and, I thought, casual and harmless. Nothing much changed between us afterward, although we became a bit more touchy-feely. Otherwise things went on like they had before, we never discussed the encounter, and we haven’t had sex.
But I’ve started noticing him saying things like “I’d always hoped I’d meet someone like you” and “I’m not very good at this—I don’t have a lot of experience in relationships.” Then he also mentioned feeling jealous about other men in my life (at work, etc.). He made a joke once about “having to fight these other guys off.” I had been fine with our slightly increased physical closeness, but this made me uneasy. Then I overheard his family members refer to me as his “girlfriend.” Now my feet are very, very cold.
How can I tactfully break it to him that I don’t actually want to be “in a relationship” with him? I really, really don’t want to hurt him. I’m just not looking for a partner in him either.
—Don’t Want to Date My Roommate