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Ask Ellie: Friend also at fault in unwanted sexual advances

Readers point our that the letter writer’s pal was just as responsible for the uncomfortable situation as her boyfriend

Dear reader: As I noted in an earlier column, my daughter, Lisi, will be handling the writing duties a few times a week. Enjoy her take on today’s questions. – Ellie

FEEDBACK Regarding the woman awoken by her friend and her boyfriend having sex in the same bed as her (July 15):

Reader No.1: “I’m flabbergasted by the response to the woman who wrote about waking up in her friend’s bed to find her friend and her boyfriend ‘in bed with me, naked and having sex!’ The boyfriend asked if she wanted to join them. She moved to the couch, left the next morning, and now her friend is calling, asking her to return.

“Your response focused entirely on the boyfriend’s behaviour, yet the writer seemed equally concerned about the behaviour of her friend. Why did you let the friend off the hook? The friend’s behaviour was equally creepy.”

Reader No.2: “I have been enjoying Lisi’s contributions since she joined the column and find we express ourselves in a similar way, perhaps because we share life experiences due to our relative closeness in age.

“I did have additional thoughts/reactions beyond Lisi’s response to the person who wrote in with this story, though I agreed with her. Based on what was shared in the column, this is what came to mind:

“Of course the boyfriend crossed a line asking the writer ‘to join,’ however that wasn’t the only line crossed and not just by him. Even if it wasn’t the friend’s idea to end up having sex in her bedroom where the writer was sleeping, the friend didn’t appear to do anything to avoid putting her guest in a potentially uncomfortable situation. If I had been in the writer’s shoes there would have been some trust lost with this friend and, in speaking with them again, I would have been honest about that. How my friend responded to this admission would be important to me. And if I returned to visit my friend in their city, I would visit their home during the day, plan to go out with them and opt for a hotel when it was time to turn in for the night.”

Reader No.3: “The writer awakened to find her friend was in the bed too, naked like her boyfriend and having sex with him, with no mention of coercion. She also crossed the line.”

Reader No.4: “Blaming the boyfriend for ‘crossing the line’ rather than the girlfriend for allowing any of this to occur, and then of course both of them for outrageous behaviour, is missing a key point. The girlfriend is as much, or more, to blame.”

Lisi – All four of the above readers agree that the writer’s friend was just as responsible for the uncomfortable situation as her boyfriend. And I agree with all of you.

Due to the length of the original letter, in editing, I omitted the fact that the friend had apologized but had then moved on quickly, putting the onus on the writer to move the friendship forward.

So I focused on the creepiness of the boyfriend. Truthfully, the whole thing makes me uncomfortable. I told her that “If (her friend) she’s free to visit you, and you’re up for it, great. But her boyfriend is NOT invited.” She definitely needs to talk it out with her friend, if she has any interest in maintaining the friendship.

Dear Lisi: Is it just me or is everyone really cranky these days? Everywhere I go people are just unfriendly, rude and dismissive. No one seems interested in being nice or helping out.

Is the sky falling?

Bad Mood Benny

Life isn’t easy. Sure, it’s the summer and the sun is shining, and loads of people are finding their way to the beach, locally or otherwise. But for many, COVID-19 has had an impact. Jobs have been lost, relationships have failed, people have suffered. Whether it was the nature of their work (eg restaurants and theatre); health issues; mental health issues; financial loss — it’s all added up. For many, life has been turned upside down.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who seem to be persevering, have compassion and empathy for those who aren’t. Change that grumpy person’s day by smiling your biggest smile. Do your best to deliver happiness, sunshine and love to those around you.

Some might reject the effort; others will be grateful. But you will stay above the gloom, protecting yourself from falling into despair.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: