DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently did the unthinkable. My friend and his girlfriend have been in a rocky relationship for two years now. They always come to me to fix their problems. Lately, it's gotten really bad. His girlfriend feels as though she should be entitled to his money, since he wants to be the breadwinner of the house and makes more than her. He doesn't agree. By "breadwinner," he means he wants to pay all the bills. He feels that her personal expenses (hair, nails, makeup, clothes, shoes, etc.) should be bought by herself unless he gives her a gift. He told me that ever since he said he wanted to be the breadwinner, she got lazy. She didn't want to work anymore and was fine with him having to pay for everything. He wants the feisty, independent girl he fell for back.
Last night she kicked him out, and he came to stay at my place. As we're talking about their issues he looked at me and said, "You depend on a man for nothing. Always getting what's yours and working toward what you want. I love that about you." In the midst of a simple thank you, he kissed me, and now I'm waking up next to my best friend with no clothes on. I hate that I actually engaged in sex with him, knowing he has a girlfriend. I feel bad that even though he started it, I didn't stop him. I don't know if it's because I just wanted him to feel better, or if I actually wanted it as bad as he did. If it's the latter, I'm afraid I won't be able to control myself around him anymore.
How do we discuss what happens from here? I don't want to rush into a relationship with him over one night of vulnerable sex. -- At a Crossroads, Philadelphia
DEAR AT A CROSSROADS: Take a step back and think about what values you and your friend share. He wants to be the breadwinner; he likes an independent woman. There is potential conflict in his stance. Translation: He may not be the man for you, regardless of his girlfriend. Figure out your sincere interest. Next, talk to him. Let him know you regret taking that action at a vulnerable point for both of them. Explain that if you two are ever to be more than friends, he has to be available. You will not cross that line again unless you are both free to go there. If you choose to just be friends, figure out how to do that together.