Group Therapy is a relationship advice column that asks readers to contribute their wisdom.
A reader writes: My friend and I are two women in our 50s who regularly vacation together, sharing rentals. On our last trip, I invited a guy friend to visit me for a few days. My girlfriend had met him and knew he was coming. But after his first night, she left abruptly and went to a hotel. Later I learned she expected him to sleep on the couch. It's been months and she's still mad at me. Was I wrong to invite the guy?
Too close for comfort?
Have you not heard the adage, "Two's company, three's a crowd"? What's more, you tried combining two kinds of vacation – the girls' getaway and the romantic interlude – which was never going to work. Obviously you didn't make your planned sleeping arrangements clear to your friend, so could it be that the idea of you and your guy getting it on in the next room was just a teeny bit off-putting? What you did was insensitive and she had a right to be upset.
– Dave Moores, Oakville, Ont.
No one likes to be a third wheel
Your friend was expecting a friend who happened to be a guy, but you brought a friend with benefits. That changes the atmosphere of the vacation for your friend, who now has to act like she has a guest instead of kicking back and relaxing. Chances are your guy friend was a bit uncomfortable, too. It's almost always the case that when a single is with a couple, the couple makes most of the decisions about meals, leisure plans and everything. That's okay if everyone knows what they are getting into, but clearly your friend did not. You should have worked all this out with everyone involved way in advance. You owe her an apology.
– Lorie Truemner, Chaffey's Lock, Ont.
You both need to grow up
Both you and your friend are at fault. She for not expressing her discomfort with your friend's visit when you initially told her. The fact that she bolted after one day and now refuses to talk to you leaves me thinking she's somewhat passive aggressive. But you have no business asking a lover to horn in on what appears to be a cherished and enjoyable tradition. Can you not go one week without seeing your "guy friend?" Frankly, you both sound like you need lessons in communication, empowerment and, oh yes, maturity.
– Diane Carol Campbell, Brantford, Ont.
The final word
As a cheap honeymoon, my husband and I went to a Muslim retreat in Winnipeg where I gave him a hickey on the neck. Turns out everyone else was single, and before long, the ascetic atmosphere the organizers had so carefully cultivated was dashed and I was quickly applying cover-up to hide my amorous skills. The moral of this story: Sex changes everything.
As Dave says, you shouldn't combine two different types of events. I should have gone to Niagara Falls and your male friend should have stayed at home. You and your female friend aren't fraternity brothers, where such exploits would be documented with a notch in the bedpost.
She wasn't expecting a vacation with benefits (for you) – she was expecting the usual tradition of painting each other's toenails and braiding each other's hair.
Diane is right that the fault lies with both of you.
She should have spoken up when you mentioned you were bringing a friend. Obviously, he wasn't coming over for a play date and planning to snuggle up in a sleeping bag by the fire. More than likely she didn't want to disappoint you or let you think she was a prude.
As Lorie mentions, you didn't realize how weird and awkward your male companion's presence would be for her. Perhaps she forgot her industrial fan to block out your copulatory engagements and fled to the hotel for a decent night's sleep.
So swallow your pride and admit fault. Keep a straight face and tell her you can't believe how insensitive you were. The good thing is that pride regrows like weight lost during fasting season. And if you can handle temporary celibacy, try another vacation.
In the meantime, if you feel like the company of your male companion, the good news is he functions just as well in the city as he does when he's on vacation.
Regina-based Zarqa Nawaz is the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Next week's question
A reader writes: My husband has a friend of whom I don't approve. He seems to use my husband when he needs business ideas, help moving or help fixing his motorcycle. But this friend does not reciprocate except for giving my husband bad advice. Frankly, I want my husband to have nothing to do with this man, whom I see as destructive to our marriage. I am totally flummoxed and have no idea how to handle the situation.
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