Dear Ms. Behavior:
My partner, Molly, and I have a close friend, Tina, who is my athletic buddy. Molly doesn’t like to hike or bike or swim, so Tina and I sometimes have “outdoorsy” time on weekends.
Tina recently confessed that she has feelings for me, which feels complicated, because we’re supposed to go on a biking fundraiser weekend together, sharing a hotel room (with two beds).
I haven’t mentioned Tina’s feelings to Molly, because I don’t want Molly to be upset, or to force me to stop hanging out with Tina.
Should I still go on the bike trip?
You’ve mentioned Tina’s feelings for you, but you haven’t said how you feel.
Are you intrigued? Do you fantasize about Tina crawling into your bed at the Holiday Inn?
Sometimes, crushes—or even feelings of romantic love—pass, if they are allowed to shrivel. But a confession can make feelings, particularly if they are shared, grow.
If you don’t want anything to happen, you need to be the one to uphold the friendship boundary. That means no mixed messages and no sharing hotel rooms.
Hotels (and tents) are, by nature, intimate places. Secrets get shared. People walk around in their jockey-for-hers. Sometimes, a goodnight kiss turns into a fuckfest. (Have you watched Brokeback Mountain lately?)
Keeping a secret from Molly only will make matters worse. Tell her that Tina has feelings for you, and let Molly throw a damp towel on the fantasy. If you have no secrets, over time, the situation may normalize.
Meanwhile, repeat after Ms. Behavior: Hotel rooms are for tribadizing.
© 2010 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. She is the author of Do What I Say: Ms. Behavior’s Guide to Gay and Lesbian Etiquette (Houghton Mifflin). Signed copies are available directly from the author.