'I caught my lodger in bed with one of my best friends'

Dear Coleen

Due to financial necessity, I rent out one of the spare bedrooms in my house. Currently, I have a guy renting it who’s been here for just over two years. I have to say, he’s an ideal tenant – he pays the money on time every month, gives the house a hoover and cuts the grass.

He’s quiet and doesn’t go out that much, but goes home most weekends. He’s also been really kind, giving me lifts when my car was off the road for example.

With Covid-19 things have changed. His office is closed and he’s working from home. One afternoon after getting some stuff from my office, I went home at lunchtime.

My plan was to work from home from the following day. When I pulled up at my house I saw my friend’s Ford Fiesta outside. I assumed she must have called in to see me or drop something off.

When I went in, no one was around and, I don’t know why I did this, but I opened my lodger’s door and found the two of them in bed. I was shocked and they got an awful fright. 

I was annoyed, but I do realise they’re both adults. After I’d calmed down, I asked them some questions and, in fairness, they answered them honestly. They’d had a ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement for months. 

I can’t help seeing my friend in a different light. I know she’s been single for a long time, but she’s nearly 20 years older than my lodger. I’m sort of disappointed that she didn’t tell me. I also see my lodger in a different light and I’m not sure what to do. Should I tell him to move out? And how should I deal with my friend?

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I was her bridesmaid when she got married in the 1980s.

Coleen says

I understand the shock of finding them together in bed, but I wonder why you’re taking it so badly.

I guess it had being going on behind your back (possibly in your house) for some months, which feels sneaky and
underhand. It feels like they’ve abused the situation – they were possibly too embarrassed to tell you about this arrangement or maybe they guessed you wouldn’t take it well.

I think you have to be careful not to overreact and make any knee-jerk decisions you might end up regretting. You have a good tenant, who sounds pretty perfect in all respects from paying on time to keeping the place clean and tidy, so don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

Maybe all you need to say is that you understand they’re both adults, but feel they’ve violated your friendship and that you don’t want them sleeping together in your house because it would feel awkward and uncomfortable.

I also think your friend has to accept that if it all goes wrong, she can’t pop over to yours for a shoulder to cry on, as he might carry on living there.

I would also ask yourself if perhaps one of the reasons you’re so upset is that a bit of jealousy has crept in – either because your friend has formed a relationship with this great guy who you’d grown to like and rely on, or because you have feelings for him other than friendship.

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