Wayne and Wanda: My budding romance has been a fantasy. How do I bring it into reality?

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I’ve been dating someone special for about five months now, and while I live in Anchorage, he’s based out of Juneau and travels constantly for work. Thankfully he comes to town a lot — both for work and just to see me. Our dates are incredibly romantic and even extravagant. He always has a good hotel room and I stay with him. We go out to eat at the best restaurants.

Sounds great, right? The problem is I feel like all this is very rooted in fantasy, like I’m on my own private season of “The Bachelorette.” We’ve never been to each other’s houses, cooked a meal together, gone grocery shopping, or woken up in a normal house and had coffee and thrown a load of laundry in.

I know I need to bridge this and invite him over. The problem is, I have a roommate, and despite her best intentions, she’s pretty extroverted and not one to hide in her room if a guest is over. Also, frankly, I’m kind of cluttered, and I get the sense he’s a neat freak. I’m worried about how he will react to my messy habits.

He and I have talked already about marriage. I know it’s time to shift from the romantic dream dates to the real world of our everyday lives, but how can I do that? I want to be honest with both my boyfriend and my roommate while ensuring that everyone feels comfortable and respected.

Wanda says:

Ah, a “Bachelor”/”Bachelorette” reference. I’m a big fan of that show — and its silly, overdone, super unrealistic dates. What person doesn’t love the idea of a no-expenses shopping-spree date, an evening cobblestone stroll through an exotic foreign country, or a helicopter jet-set to a nearby city for a lavish dinner?


But while it’s fun to consume as a TV viewer, it’s not real life, and frankly, it’s not what regular people want from a partner. Yes, treats splurges and adventures are fun. But the fabric of a relationship is the smallest daily interactions, the mechanics of running a household, and the steady undercurrent of companionship. Finding this balance and rhythm requires time, communication, and also the right environment. It’s about grocery shopping and taco takeout, versus elaborate, expensive constructs.

How about this: Instead of spending on a hotel room, get a room for your roommate for the night — with her buy-in, of course. Then have him over. Cook something together. Browse Netflix. Play Yahtzee. Start small, and most importantly, keep it real. It’s easy to be enamored when you’re being wined and dined, and a proper courtship is a great kickstart to a relationship. But now it’s time to sample each other’s authentic day-to-day to move forward with certainty.

Wayne says:

Two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off relation-shifts. Fly-in flings. Road-system rendezvouses. No dating scene does long-distance quite like Alaska!

Since Wanda perfectly covered the romance alignment angle, allow me to do a little life coaching. I feel like you’re at a pivot point, and not just with your relationship. You say you want a simple, normal and realistic routine, yet you’ve willingly chosen to have a frequent flyer boyfriend with bottomless dream date reward points, a rowdy roommate, and piles of laundry and dishes. Your eyes are on the future and your head is in the clouds, but here on Present Day Planet Earth your car probably needs an oil change, you’re likely running late on your taxes, and you’re freaked out about letting your boyfriend of nearly half a year(!) see any of it. Following me here?

Consider this an opportunity to do some serious adulting, decluttering, and setting the foundation for the life you say you want. I appreciate the pros of having a roommate in today’s ridiculous rental landscape, especially when it’s someone you trust. But at what point does this pairing prevent you from creating your own space, peace and life? And I know it’s easy for real life to get a little lost when you’re drowning in dopamine during those exciting early months of new romance, but sometimes you need to take a night off to clean your underwear, buy some groceries, and pay your bills.

It’s about balance, and you don’t have it. It’s attainable in one form or another. And hey, maybe you can have it all — the roommate to split the rent and share good times, the boyfriend who is comfortable in your apartment, a lessened stress level because of a cleaner life. You’ve proven to be a pro at juggling, but this is more about sorting, prioritizing and stabilizing than refurbishing a house of cards. If you really want it, it’s time to do some work. Good luck!

[Wayne and Wanda: It’s our first international trip, and his overplanning is overwhelming]

[My partner loves his job on the Slope, but I have doubts about a 2-week-on, 2-week-off relationship]

[Wayne and Wanda: When work ambitions get in the way of relationship quality time]

Wayne and Wanda

Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at