Dear Ms. Behavior:
A few years back, my wife, Randi, had an affair with an old friend of ours, Tammy. We somehow managed to work through it, and we all have stayed friends.
Recently, Randi and I purchased a house with a mortgage that’s just a little over our heads. The rental apartment in the basement was supposed to make up the difference. After advertising it for several months, we have had only one person interested in renting: our old friend, Tammy.
I keep telling myself that their fling is long over, and we need the money badly. Besides, Tammy is good with taking care of our dogs.
I am apprehensive, however, because Tammy does not have a girlfriend yet, and I think she still may have a thing for my wife. However, Randi and I have discussed it. She swears it is a thing of the past, and she has no interest in Tammy.
If we go for it, I actually could install cameras before Tammy moves in. My wife never would know.
—Need A Tenant
Dear Need A Tenant:
On the surface, it seems like a crazy idea to let Randi’s old secret lover move in.
Wouldn’t you be setting yourself up for a whole new level of lezzie drama?
However, you and Randi have endured together for years since this betrayal. It’s possible that particular flame—the cheating one—really may have burned out.
Just think of how many exes the average lesbian has.
One couldn’t possibly hold a torch for all of them without creating a forest fire, could one?
So, if you believe what Randi tells you, and you’re a forgiving person, you could try letting Tammy sleep beneath you for a while.
As strange as it may seem to have Tammy living in the basement, in actuality, your home isn’t the most likely place for reigniting the old spark anyway. Randi and Tammy could hook up more easily in hotels, parked cars, and elevators without stirring your suspicion.
If you believe you have nothing to worry about, you don’t need the cameras. If you suspect it really isn’t over, you probably won’t let Tammy move in anyway—unless you’re just itching to film lesbian porn, which is inadvisable for several reasons:
(1) The lighting in your basement is probably bad.
(2) So much free porn already is available online that you never will make any money or get famous.
(3) Watching your wife get it on with Tammy probably will annoy you.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
After a year of messy addiction (crystal meth and other drugs), and acting out badly, my boyfriend, Terry, finally spent some time in rehab. He now is doing a lot better.
Terry’s job involves traveling to New York, where he typically gets lonely, hooks up with someone, and then goes off on a drug binge.
After a leave of absence from work, Terry is being pressured to go back to his job. He promises me that things are different now, and that he has no desire to do drugs.
I’m afraid he’ll be tempted once he starts traveling again, which is a requirement of his job. I don’t know how to protect Terry or myself.
How can I keep Terry from hooking up with guys, and getting back into drugs?
You really can’t “keep him” from doing anything, but Terry is most likely to succeed in staying away from drugs (and superfluous sex) if he changes his habits.
Eliminating travel would be one way to help the odds, but if that’s not realistic, given the dismal employment outlook, help Terry to find support in the places he goes.
This may mean seeking other sources of entertainment (e.g., theater, film, fitness, museums) instead of crystal meth parties. Of all the places in the world, Terry won’t lack alternative forms of recreation in Manhattan.
If Terry’s rehab emphasized going to 12-step meetings, it undoubtedly will help, as will spending time with friends who don’t do drugs. He also can connect to meetings at home, so that he can store up his resources before he hits the road.
Meanwhile, you might want to check out an Al-Anon meeting, so that you can store up yours, too.
© 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.