I know I promised to make Sleeping with the Enemy, Part 2 about what happens in your community, family & culture when you go from over a decade of queer relationships to dating a straight cisgender man, but honestly, I’m fighting off some narsty illness that’s swollen my throat nearly shut and made me run a temp last night, and we’re still (unbelievably) debating the validity of gender essentialism in the thread for Sleeping with the Enemy, Part 1 (on working with men as feminists/feminist allies), so I’m gonna go a little lighter today. We’ll get into all that mess tomorrow.
For today, I need to tell you about my friend. (And if you read my last post, you’ll know that I’m frank enough about my own life that “friend” isn’t some slantwise way to refer to myself.) She’s an old friend. College roommate. The kind of good friend you can fall out of touch with for months or even a year or two and then pick up where you left off, because you just know each other and love each other and it’s all good.
Well, that recently happened — we just got back in touch after a period of not connecting, and she’s involved with this guy. Or, rather, she’s involved with That Guy. That Guy who makes jokes about wanting to watch when he found out she & I would be sharing a room on a recent road trip (not that she & have ever been sexually involved). That Guy who is hostile and condescending to waitstaff because he thinks it will amuse the people he’s with. That Guy who so couldn’t deal with the time my friend was spending on a creative, important, career-crucial work project last year that they broke up for a while. That Guy who doesn’t understand why she likes to read about people who are different from her.
My Current Guy & I had lunch with the two of them recently, and it was… surreal. I won’t go into all the details here, in the interest of maintaining anonymity for the innocent and the pretty darn guilty, but suffice it to say we spent the greater part of the afternoon listening to a story that featured prominently the theme of him treating a prostitute more nicely than anyone had treated her before. Say it with me gals: Our Hero!
My question for y’all is this: what can I do? I’ve learned through many mistakes that you can’t pass judgment on other people’s relationships, not only because you can never really know what it’s like on the inside of it, but because it doesn’t work — it generally makes the very people you think you’re trying to help get defensive and stop talking to you about anything negative relating to the relationship. But at the same time, I haaaaaate this guy and it makes my skin crawl to think of him touching my friend. My friend who is is particularly susceptible to people who suggest that anything she blames them for is actually her fault.
What do you do when someone you love isn’t in an abusive relationship, per se, but is really, actually sleeping with the enemy?
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