Dear Harlan: My best friend of 16 years left her husband for the woman she was having an affair with. I've been heartbroken over this situation. He is a wonderful man and they have three amazing kids. He didn't deserve this. I met her now-girlfriend a year and a half ago. I didn't care much for her girlfriend. She has an attitude that she can change a straight woman into a lesbian.
I am having a hard time adjusting to my friend's new lifestyle. I am a Christian and struggle to accept that she is all of a sudden a lesbian. Still, I love her no matter what. Next weekend I am having my annual Christmas party. She has always been a big part of this. Since she lives a few hours away, she usually comes down the day before and stays all weekend. Her husband never came with her in the past.
The weekend has always been our time to hang out. Last night, she told me that she is bringing her girlfriend. I am upset. She has never brought her husband before! We have talked about how I have not warmed up to her girlfriend yet, but that didn't seem to make a difference. How do I tell her that I look forward to hanging out with her, but I don't want her to bring her girlfriend? – Christmas Surprise
Dear Surprise: You don't tell her. First, unless your best friend's dating a woman with super lesbian powers, this woman didn't turn your best friend gay. Your best friend is responsible for her love of women. She's the one who left her husband and kept this a secret throughout your entire friendship. I get that you're upset. But it doesn't sound like you've been very warm or welcoming of her girlfriend. You might be the cold one.
Think about the following before telling your best friend that you do not want to hang out with her new girlfriend. Let's just assume your best friend has always been bisexual or gay. And she's been hiding this secret through her marriage, her social life and her professional life. She's kept this from the people she loved the most in life. Now, finally, after years of dealing with the private anguish, she's stepping out and being authentic. Yes, people are getting hurt, and you're one of them, but this is when friends matter most. Resist the urge to fight and blame. Instead, accept her and her personal struggles. This is your best friend. She needs you – and more than ever this holiday season.
If you want to spend time with your best friend at the Christmas party, tell her. But don't make it about her girlfriend. Tell her that you're so happy she's found someone, but you cherish the time you get to spend together every year. Ask her if she'd be OK bringing her girlfriend another time or having her friend come later. If she's reluctant, accept whatever she decides and support her. If you're having a hard time accepting this, turn to a spiritual leader for guidance. Whatever you do, do NOT make her choose between her new girlfriend and you over the holidays. If you do, there's a very good chance you'll lose her as a friend. Unless you plan on running away with her husband (not a good idea), be a best friend for her. She is going to need you – now, more than ever. (c) Harlan Cohen 2012. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.
Harlan is author of "Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober)" (St. Martin's Press). Write Harlan at harlan(at)helpmeharlan.com or visit online: www.helpmeharlan.com. All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan!, 3501 N. Southport Ave., Suite 226, Chicago, IL 60657.