Q and A With… ER’s Mekhi Phifer

The ER star chats about office romances, exes, and the pros and cons of dating later in life.

In the past season of NBC’s ER, we’ve gotten to see more of your character’s love life. Your gal on the show (Gina Ravera) really wanted to make sure you were serious about her before the two of you started a relationship. Do you think that women need men to prove something to them?

I think every woman wants to feel safe and secure. And I think every man has to prove that to her, so she can feel comfortable about letting down her guard and really allowing herself to let go. It’s hard to allow yourself to be vulnerable—that goes for both men and women.

And just like my character, there is always that transition time, when a man goes from his life as a bachelor to wanting something with more substance. It’s a natural progression that everyone goes through.

Would you ever date someone you were working with?

I have, actually. But then your mind is on the relationship and not the work! But I wouldn’t want to date an actress! They’re crazy! I’m engaged, so I am off the market anyway!

Do you think the older you are, the more difficult it is to meet the right person?!

I think the older you are, the more specific you get in terms of what you are looking for…pickier but also more knowledgeable. Guys can definitely get set in their ways!

What have you learned from your romantic relationships overall?

That you really need to treat your woman right! I was young and didn’t make the right decisions the first time around, but I definitely do now!

That’s right, you’ve been married before. Are you friends with your ex?

Yes absolutely! She is wonderful. And we have a child together, so I think a good relationship is really important too.

Do you have any advice for guys that are dating?

Be truthful to yourself. No matter what, that’s very important. Be communicative, whatever your needs are. It’s really a compromise though. It has to be fifty/fifty, or else it never works.

Contributing entertainment editor Susan L. Hornik is based in Los Angeles.
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