DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently started dating a woman who really likes to play video games. You would think I would be happy about this wonderful discovery; however, I am not a big video game player. My girlfriend says playing video games really relaxes her, but I prefer to go to a lounge to have a drink or two in order to relax. I really like the woman I am dating, but I need help to develop patience in playing video games with her. Do you have any suggestions on how I can accomplish this feat? -- Not a Gamer, Jersey City, N.J.
DEAR NOT A GAMER: Who says that you have to do everything together -- at least all the time? What you can do for starters is to accept that your girlfriend has a big interest in video games. Give her space to play them when she is excited about that. You can also have her teach you her favorite game. Though gaming is not your favorite activity, do your best to learn it and find fun in it, if only because it brings the two of you together.
Similarly, invite your girlfriend to put down the game and go with you to a lounge. Make it a date night where you get to spend time talking and enjoying each other's company. If you both make space to respect and enjoy each other's preferences -- at least some of the time -- you may come to a place of acceptance that makes your life together much more enjoyable.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband needs your help. Our household includes my husband, me and three girls. They are 3 months old, 4 years old and 5 years old. I can only imagine how my husband feels being the only male in our house. Between him being a dean at the local high school and running our household, he does not really have any male friends. My husband needs an injection of testosterone in his life. As his wife, how can I help him find a good man to become his friend? -- Find a Friend, Chicago
DEAR FIND A FRIEND: Have you talked to your husband about this? You may be making a presumption that is inaccurate. You and your daughters are his family, and he could be perfectly content with the limited universe that defines his life and relationships.
Before sleuthing to find him a friend, find out if he wants that. If he is feeling claustrophobic thanks to so much estrogen in the house, encourage him to take up a hobby or sport that he enjoys that is typically male-dominated. He will be in the company of other men if he engages in such an activity. But be mindful not to push him out of his family cocoon.
It might be wiser for you to identify other couples you both like and create shared experiences with them.