Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“A Friend Groped My Wife At a New Year’s Party”

I’m looking for some perspective on a situation that occurred this past New Year’s while my wife of eighteen years and I attended a house party with some close friends we’ve known for about fifteen years. After a few hours of socializing, drinks, and laughs, I happened to glance across the kitchen and notice my wife standing next to a mutual friend/neighbor of ours, engaged in a conversation, facing away from me. I then noticed our friend’s right hand slide down onto my wife’s buttocks.

She did not pull away or remove his hand. I stared briefly and then looked away. I was shocked and felt uncomfortable; I wasn’t sure how to react. I don’t know how long his hand was there. I did nothing that night.

As the night continued, I did not see any more groping, but I wasn’t really looking, I seemed to forget about it, probably from more drinks.

The next day I remembered what had happened and asked my wife about it, that I had seen “Jay” grabbing her buttocks. She said he had, that he was telling her how “hot” he thought she was, and that he had told his own wife that he thought my wife was hot. His wife had already gone home when the “groping” occurred. She went further in telling me that he had told her once before that he thought she was “hot.”

I didn’t ask her how long he had his hand on her or if he had done this before; I suppose in hindsight I should have. We talked a bit more about it and chalked it up to alcohol, but in the past few days it’s been bothering me as I keep thinking about his hand on her and that he’s told her before that he thinks she’s hot. And this was the first time I’ve heard of it.

We have a great marriage and I’ve never had a reason to not trust my wife, but I’m having a hard time getting over this. I’m also reluctant to see him again as I’m not sure how I might react if we happen to be in a similar situation.

How should I feel about this? — Angry, I Think

Wow, so you see a man grope your wife’s butt at a party and rather than, I don’t know, ask your wife if she’s ok, confront the guy, or suggest leaving the party, you… do absolutely nothing. Until the next morning when you ask your wife about it and then start getting bothered — not because of how your wife might be feeling about all this, but because you feel threatened. You say you’ve never had a reason to not trust your wife, implying that maybe now you do. Because some other man called her hot and grabbed her butt at a party. You’re having a hard time getting over this, not because your wife might feel objectified, uncomfortable, or even victimized, but because YOU don’t like that someone is moving in on your territory. You know, maybe this neighbor friend isn’t the only guy treating your wife with less respect than she deserves.

You want to know how to feel about this? Here are some ideas: maybe you could feel concerned about how your wife feels being called “hot” by another man. Did it make her feel uncomfortable? Was she flattered? Did it make her wish you called her hot more often? How did she feel when he grabbed her butt at a party? How does she feel knowing you saw and did nothing?

I don’t see this so much as what happened between your wife and the other guy — it’s important, of course, especially if your wife feels in any way unsafe or uncomfortable — but I see this as more about what is (or is not) going on between you and your wife and how your immediate and most dominant reaction is concern for YOU and YOUR feelings rather than hers. If this is typical of you and your relationship, then perhaps your marriage isn’t as great as you say it is. And maybe that attention from the neighbor guy wasn’t completely unwelcome. That’s not to say it WAS welcome or that your wife did or said anything to prompt it. But maybe a wife whose husband would see such behavior and literally sit there and do nothing is desperate to be noticed.

Notice your wife. Pay attention to your wife. Regard your wife. Make your wife’s feelings in this scenario more important than yours because she was the one who was groped on her ass by a guy who isn’t her husband. Ok? And I guess in answer to you specific question about how you should feel, you should probably feel a little ashamed that I need to tell you this.

Recently I discovered that my girlfriend cheated on me. We have two kids together, one of whom is my stepchild. We’ve been together for three years and I have done my fair share of wrongs, such as cheat, lie, and call her names. I admit I wasn’t the best I could be. So she moved out, saying she didn’t know if she wanted to be with me or not, but the kids were still with me. I asked her during that time if she was seeing anyone and she told me no. A month and a half goes by and she decides to “give me another chance.” I recently found out she was involved with another guy. He messaged me saying how he loved her and how she cut him off. She said she wanted to tell me but didn’t know how, so she cut him off because she realized what she was doing was wrong and that she wanted to work it out with me.

Since I found out, she has been doing everything she can to show how much she wants this to work. My questions are: Should I give her another chance? Is the relationship worth it? Can this be fixed? — Mr. Wrong Sometimes

 
I can’t answer whether the relationship can be fixed and whether it is “worth it,” but you do have kids together and your girlfriend did give YOU multiple chances after all of your self-described “wrongs,” so it seems fair and logical to give her another chance and to do your due diligence to make things right for a change. It’s going to take you BOTH working together, going to therapy, building your trust, and making an investment and genuine effort to prioritize your relationship and your family. Give it at least six months and then re-evaluate. A family is worth at least that much before you walk away.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

55 comments… add one
  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine January 4, 2018, 9:46 am

    LW1 WWS. You watched a guy put his hands on your wife and turned away….if my husband did that to me I would be devastated. Honestly I would probably leave him.

    LW2, please use birth control. Neither of you are mature enough to be parents, don’t add another hostage to this mess. You can live a better life, for the sake of your kids please try. Stop the drama parade.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 4, 2018, 10:07 am

    LW1 I have a different take. I think you are upset because a man had his hands on your wife and she didn’t seem to react in any way. She didn’t act bothered or concerned or upset. She didn’t act at all bothered by his hands on her buttocks.

    In general, people don’t touch anyone below the waist unless they are intimate unless they are groping and it is unwanted. Your wife didn’t seem to act like it was unwanted so you are left with the concern that they are intimate. It is a real concern. They were both so comfortable with that touch that they did it openly in a group of people that know them. I’d be concerned too.

    Even now your wife doesn’t seem to be upset by that touch. You don’t mention her being angry or upset or hurt. She just says the neighbor thinks she is hot. I’m leaning toward them being in an intimate relationship.

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    • avatar

      Northern Star January 4, 2018, 10:29 am

      This. The wife didn’t pull away or end the conversation, according to the LW. Gropy neighbor has apparently commented about her hotness before—and she’s never told the LW. She apparently isn’t creeped out by his gropy nature.

      I think the husband is right to wonder what the wife’s thinking.

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    • avatar

      bondgirl January 4, 2018, 10:38 am

      That was my take as well.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark January 4, 2018, 11:50 am

      Glad you all went here — because as I read Wendy’s response I thought … EEEEP…. maybe I should sit this one out.
      .
      But yeah, I had the same take.
      .
      The wife’s reaction doesn’t fit the narrative Wendy put forth. Maybe the wife didn’t pull away as she simply enjoys a little mild public flirtation. Some do. God knows I used to when I was younger and hotter.
      .
      This doesn’t make her a bad person. Far from it in my book… Look — the idea that a grown women has to always be rescued from a public flirtation where all she had to do was slightly pull away isn’t exactly very empowering.
      .
      I think the husband is simply concerned that his wife WASN’T more upset. And who knows — maybe she wasn’t? I suspect this also freaks hubby LW out as friend is a wee bit hotter than he is…
      .
      They should talk about this. But I would love to hear from the wife. If she did in fact feel trapped and powerless, by all means, that changes everything. But at this point I am not at all sure she did.
      .
      PS — I am NOT trying to blame the victim here, merely stating that as it reads, I am not creating one either.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom January 4, 2018, 11:57 am

        I didn’t see her as a victim either. The one thing she wanted her husband to know about the incident was that the neighbor thinks she is hot and that this wasn’t the first time he has said she is hot.

        I think she liked it. She found it flattering. She would like to rub it in.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy January 4, 2018, 12:09 pm

        But why? I think that’s an important question here. I agree that it reads like there’s strong potential the wife wanted to rub it in, and when you take that in combination with the husband not doing a damn thing when he saw it happen and then not prioritizing his wife’s feelings about it — we don’t even know what her feelings might be bc he didn’t share that. did he even ask? — you have to wonder if maybe the reason the wife might want to rub it in (if she did, in fact, want to run it in) is possibly bc the husband/LW is giving her a whole to of attention.

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      • avatar

        Northern Star January 4, 2018, 12:26 pm

        Well, she could also be sleeping with the neighbor because she doesn’t get enough attention from her husband, too, couldn’t she?

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom January 4, 2018, 12:35 pm

        I think there are so many words she could have used to describe the situation and/or the neighbor in a negative way and she didn’t choose any of them. She could have said he was disgusting, gross, douchy, handsy, an a**hole, or many other things and she chose none of them. If she didn’t like it she would say something negative or say that she wished he had come over when he saw what was happening or say that she froze and didn’t know what to do or that she was creeped out or that she was embarrassed. All she chose to say was that the neighbor said she was hot. She didn’t make any comment about being distressed or disgusted or hurt. She chose what she wanted to say and it was that the neighbor said she was hot.

        I don’t think it is fair to blame the husband for the actions of the neighbor as if the wife needed him to run over and save her. If she was distressed and needed saving don’t you think she would step back or flinch or turn to look for her husband for help. She did nothing to indicate that she was uncomfortable. Not when it happened and not later. I think the husband turned away because he was stunned and didn’t know what to do. If you aren’t the type to be confrontational and possessive and you are stunned and hurt you turn away to pull yourself together.

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    • Moneypenny

      Moneypenny January 4, 2018, 12:45 pm

      I had the same thought as well. It seems odd to me that she did nothing- not move his hand off or push him away.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny January 4, 2018, 12:46 pm

        And to be fair, she could have just froze when he did it and that’s why- but really the husband should ask!

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    • Lianne

      Lianne January 4, 2018, 1:15 pm

      I agree. I think the husband is warrented in his reaction. I think, however, he needs to have a frank and open discussion with his wife about the situation, and if she is in fact welcoming it, discuss the why. I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s wrong in thinking of his own feelings when his wife doesn’t seem upset or uncomfortable with the groping or being called “hot.” He’s entitled to feel a little threatened and worried that his feeling their marriage is a good one is maybe off-base.

      I think if a woman came on here with a similar story with roles reversed, the first reaction wouldn’t be to admonish her because she didn’t ask if her husband was ok. We would tell her that she should talk to her husband about the situation and examine if there is a reason he is looking for that type of validation outside of the marriage.

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  • avatar

    ktfran January 4, 2018, 10:10 am

    LW1. I’m not sure if your wife liked the grope or not. Maybe she liked the attention, or more likely she felt paralyzed, didn’t want to cause a scene and was counting the seconds in her head until it was over. Or maybe it was something in between. Did you ask her she felt about it? Or did you ask her how she’d prefer you act if you saw something like this again?

    Anytime I feel threatened by unwanted attention, whether it’s at work, on the street, at a party, on the bus, at the grocery store, etc. I immediately tell my husband about it. There’s really not much he can do, but it feels good to tell him some of the hardships women face. It’s cathartic. I think it’s telling that she didn’t mention it to you. Maybe it’s worth having a conversation about and perhaps you’ll feel less territorial and more understanding. And maybe she’ll feel more comfortable sharing concerns in the future.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom January 4, 2018, 11:13 am

      When he asked his wife about it she said the neighbor says she’s hot. She didn’t say he is a creepy, he disgusts me or anything derogatory about him. She doesn’t say she didn’t know what to do or that she froze. She just shared that the neighbor says she is hot.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark January 4, 2018, 11:54 am

        Exactly. No… “OMIGOD, that was SOOOOO fucked up, I almost died…”

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        Kali January 4, 2018, 11:56 am

        Just remember, we’ve only got one perspective on this situation and in my eyes, it’s skewed. I don’t trust LW1 to relate the story truthfully or fully as he is too concerned with his own feelings to accurately convey his wife’s.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne January 4, 2018, 1:24 pm

        Yeah, I feel like some folks are looking to make this about sexual misconduct when the information we have doesn’t indicate this at all. Maybe there is truth in there, but I find we often read into the information we’re given, or add information we just don’t have.

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 4, 2018, 2:44 pm

        If you read my response, I did say that maybe she liked the attention. Or maybe she was completely skeeved, or maybe it was somewhere in between.

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      • avatar

        dinoceros January 4, 2018, 5:51 pm

        I wouldn’t say it doesn’t indicate sexual misconduct *at all*. Based on the actual facts (and not assumptions), it’s a friend who should not be grabbing her butt. If it turns out she’s cheating on the LW with the guy or something, then of course it’s not sexual misconduct. But there’s no true evidence of that either. Not calling someone creepy isn’t hard evidence.

        I think this is a letter where there’s no real advice beyond “get more info” and “communicate with your wife.” There’s very little relevant info in the letter, and I don’t see how a stranger can say one way or the other what happened.

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    Bossy Italian Wife January 4, 2018, 11:39 am

    LW1- I think you have reason to be concerned from the perspective that your wife seemed unperturbed by the “affection” this neighbor showed. It’s strange— her reaction, that is. My advice would be to re-approach your wife and tell her you’ve thought about this and you are upset.

    Tell her that you no longer feel comfortable with the neighbor, so much so that you feel the need to talk with him about this behavior. Be willing to do it and explain to this guy that it’s way over the line, and inappropriate. Tell him you have to think about socializing with him in the future.

    This will give your wife an opportunity to know that your concern is two fold: her physical space and integrity and the marriage. It can also give her a chance to say how she feels… if it made her uncomfortable, etc. I find her non reaction strange… but you need to talk with her about it and also tell this guy “oh hell no!”

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  • avatar

    SweetT January 4, 2018, 11:58 am

    Something similar happened to me while I was with my husband. We were out at a high end bar by a lake near our house with out of state friends. An old man (probably in his late 60’s) up to talk to my husband. The nice drunk kind saying come out on my boat this summer. It will be fun. During that time, the old man grazes my butt. I thought for sure it was an accident but nope, he did it twice.

    Anyone who would have seen it happen would have seen no reaction from me. I didn’t want to cause a scene and I simply ended the conversation between him and my husband so he would move on.

    I told my husband later but I thought twice about it. He was upset and wanted to go find the old man. He was upset that another man put his hands on me without my consent and disrespected our marriage and me, as a person. Not once did he say anything about HIS feelings or not being sure he could trust me because of what another man did.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark January 4, 2018, 12:08 pm

      That man was a creepy old stranger… which is, frankly, quite different.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny January 4, 2018, 12:50 pm

        Yeah, to be fair, the LW’s situation was with someone she knew- so it makes it a little more complicated. Who knows, she could have just froze rather than slap his hand away (which would have been my reaction), but her explanation to her husband (he thinks I’m hot) without any discussion of how she actually feels about that, is a little odd.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor January 4, 2018, 12:57 pm

    “The next day I remembered what had happened and asked my wife about it, that I had seen “Jay” grabbing her buttocks. She said he had, that he was telling her how “hot” he thought she was and that he had told his own wife that he thought my wife was hot. His wife had already gone home when the “groping” occurred. She went further in telling me that he had told her once before that he thought she was “hot.””

    I don’t think that the people saying she was flattered/receptive are necessarily wrong, but I don’t know that this is the only reading. The above could just as easily been her recounting a pattern of boundary-crossing behavior that she didn’t like and didn’t know how to deal with. I think that absent more context it’s hard to say.

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    • juliecatharine

      Juliecatharine January 4, 2018, 3:35 pm

      That’s how I read it also. We really don’t know. I wish the wife would write in.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros January 4, 2018, 5:45 pm

      Yeah. It’s honestly just her describing what he said. She literally just said what he said to her. I feel like it’s just too little info to immediately determine more meaning than that.

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  • avatar

    donna January 4, 2018, 1:01 pm

    Re: LW#1, I read between the lines (maybe it’s just me) and I think what’s bothering this person is that his wife didn’t seem to mind. Like maybe it’s happened before, or if it hasn’t, it’s in the husband’s mind now that these things might happen and not be stopped. That was, at least to me, where the concern came in…

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  • avatar

    Anonymous January 4, 2018, 1:16 pm

    LW1: I think she liked the attention. You don’t necessarily react strongly in such a case, especially if you know the person as a friend. They say it was related to drinks, and it happens at such parties. But if I were the LW, I would have a talk with the neighbor, tell him I saw this inappropriate gesture and warn him to stay away and respect my wife and my marriage. You can handle such a conversation, without getting too angry, just in order to set clear boundaries. You can also ask your wife about her feelings, how she would like him to react if such a case reoccurs.

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  • avatar

    Hannanas January 4, 2018, 1:17 pm

    The fact is that LW1 didn’t give any information about his wife’s feelings, which she must have spoken about. Or at least shown to him – he should be able to read her by now, right? So I think that in itself is very very weird – like it doesn’t matter.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy January 4, 2018, 2:15 pm

      Yep, exactly how it seemed to me too.

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    • avatar

      MMR January 4, 2018, 2:28 pm

      Yes! What I got from the letter (although it wasn’t specifically stated) was that the LW – for reasons unknown – thought the wife enjoyed or didn’t mind that the neighbour touched her.

      But the night it happened, he just… stopped paying attention? She didn’t pull away immediately, but did she excuse herself from the conversation shortly after? That’s a pretty common response when women are uncomfortable, but don’t want to make a scene.

      And his description of her response when he brought this up was even more vague and gave no indication of what she was feeling. Was she upset? Was she talking about it conversationally? Was she being evasive or vague herself?

      I don’t think it’s fair to call him out for not marching over to protect his wife, but he’s left out literally any description about his wife’s emotional response to literally everything. Almost to the point that it seems like he can’t recognize other people’s emotions. And his regret about the conversation with his wife is that he didn’t ask if this had happened before, and how long it happened for…. like information gathering must be strictly quantitative?

      Maybe she was horrified and embarrassed and just wants to forget it? Maybe she was horrified but wants to use this incident to make her husband pay attention to her? Maybe she’s sleeping with the neighbour? It’s impossible to give any meaningful advice with so little information.

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      • avatar

        Northern Star January 4, 2018, 2:38 pm

        Maybe she shrugged about it. Maybe she only talked about how “hot” the guy thought she was (the only info we have). Maybe she wouldn’t have brought it up at all unless her husband said something—because she didn’t know he saw at the time. There are a lot of maybes.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark January 4, 2018, 3:04 pm

        That’s how I took it as well. Considering the fact that women are more apt to talk about their feelings than anything else (wink!) or at least far more prone to do so than most men… the fact that she instead said nothing struck me as quite revealing…

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    Sarah January 4, 2018, 2:16 pm

    My take was more along the lines of worrying about the wife enjoying that a little too much. To me, harmless flirtation does not involve any touching.

    That being said, Wendy brought up some good points. I would want to explore the wife”s feelings.

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  • avatar

    Sky January 4, 2018, 3:10 pm

    I think a normal reaction would be to confront the situation right then and there. Since he didn’t he is either a wuss or skeptical of their commitment to each other. Something ain’t right. If the wife was so OK with it then that’s a sign that something is off not to mention the other guy is a creep!

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    • avatar

      dinoceros January 4, 2018, 5:42 pm

      Eh, I could see someone thinking “Oh, he’s drunk, I don’t want to embarrass him” or “I don’t want to draw attention to myself” or not knowing what to do. Just because we all assume that we’d immediately handle the situation properly doesn’t mean a person is going to when it’s actually happening. I think it’s best to have more info than assuming a woman wanted to be groped.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros January 4, 2018, 5:41 pm

    LW1: I think there are two scenarios. Either she didn’t care much (for whatever reason), or she did care. You’re implying that because she didn’t move his hand, it must mean she liked it, but I think you should be careful making that assumption without any information. Some women freeze when something crazy like that happens, some women think their husbands will just get jealous if they tell them (sort of like you did), some women don’t know how to feel. It’s possible that it DID bother her, and she didn’t know what to do. Nobody gets a guidebook about what to do when a friend/neighbor grabs your butt at a party. Instead of sitting around and trying to figure out how she feels or wonder how long it went on, why not ask her? If after 18 years, you can’t have a simple conversation like that, you have bigger problems. Just say, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about what happened at the party. How long did he do that? How are you feeling about it? Are you OK?” You can convey concern for her, while also getting more information about how she feels about it, instead of guessing.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 4, 2018, 6:55 pm

    This question comes from curiosity. How many women on here would need their husband to specifically ask how she felt about the situation before she would tell him?

    I personally find it odd that he would need to include how did you feel about that.

    In the second year of our marriage we were at a party and I was sitting with a group of people and as I turned to my left to talk to someone the guy sitting there on my left kissed me on the lips. I didn’t back up because I was sitting. I froze a touch and then pulled my head back. I’m sure my face looked stunned and then disgusted. I didn’t make a scene. On the way home I told my husband about it which included exactly how I felt about his friend and how disgusted I was and that I thought he needed better friends. There was no doubt about how I felt.

    Am I unusual in speaking that way? I assume that all of my friends would speak up and include what they felt as part of telling what happened. I don’t know how you talk about something like that, if you are disgusted or hurt, without including how you felt about it.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros January 4, 2018, 8:32 pm

      I’m not married, but I know that if I told one of my friends that a random guy grabbed my butt, I don’t know that I’d go out of my way to say “that was disgusting” or “i feel upset.” I’d sort of figure that was obvious? My friend told a story about someone groping her, and she didn’t really specifically tell us it was a bad thing or that she didn’t like it, but we all understood that it wasn’t a happy story. I don’t know if husbands are different — I’d like to think that whoever I married would be enough on the same wavelength as me that if we were talking about a friend/neighbor touching my butt that he would think it was not good/gross without me telling him that. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t bring it up or comment on it, but just knowing how different I might respond to something than someone else reminds me that some people really do respond very differently than others. So, is it a little odd? Yes. Is it enough to assume she’s cheating (or whatever the LW assumes)? No.

      All I know about their relationship is they’ve been together a long time and the LW calls it “great.” But I do think that if in the absence of the wife explicitly saying how she feels, the LW’s automatic response is not to ask any follow up questions and just sit and wonder about things, I’m not sure if their relationship is as great as he says. I can’t imagine seeing what happened, bringing it up, getting a minimal response and then not asking anything else.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom January 5, 2018, 7:05 am

        I agree that the relationship isn’t great. Otherwise he wouldn’t have turned away and not mentioned the incident for days. I don’t think he felt comfortable bringing it up so there is some gap there in communication.

        I assume that he did read the emotion in the situation and she didn’t mind being groped and that is why he is upset and writing in for advice. If she had been bothered by it he wouldn’t be concerned in the way he is. I’m not saying he wouldn’t be concerned but it would be a different concern.

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        Kate January 6, 2018, 12:11 pm

        I don’t think the guy needs to ask himself what is the norm where he lives. That wasn’t my point – just that not every woman in every situation is going to be traumatized by a butt grab. Not every woman is going to stand there freaking out and frozen. Not every woman is going to cry to her husband about how violated she was. If she feels that way and expresses it, that’s valid. If she feels that way and doesn’t express it because why bother even getting into it with her clod of a husband, that’s problematic but also valid. If she doesn’t feel violated, that’s okay too, and does not mean anything is amiss. He doesn’t have to ask himself what are the regional norms where he lives, he needs to ask his wife how she felt about it and accept that there may be different explanations for why she may not have been bothered other than she’s sleeping with his friend. You came to the conclusion that there’s something regional going on; I don’t know that there is.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom January 6, 2018, 1:39 pm

        I think he needs to ask himself for his own peace of mind.

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      Kate January 4, 2018, 8:48 pm

      Ffs, she didn’t have to be horrified and scandalized and traumatized by it and do a feelings dump to prove she wasn’t into it. It was a party with probably a bunch of drunk middle-aged suburban people. This kind of thing is not too uncommon, and she may not have been all that fazed by it. But that doesn’t mean she LIKED it or is sleeping with the neighbor. Lordy.

      And what Dinoceros just said.

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      • avatar

        Kate January 4, 2018, 8:54 pm

        And it would totally depend on who it was, and the circumstances. There are certain guys who might grab my ass and I’d be like whatever, some I might be a little annoyed, and some I’d be completely pissed. It is quite possible she didn’t think much of this incident, and didn’t go on about how disgusted and angry she was, because she wasn’t. Or maybe she did and the husband didn’t get it. Either way, I’m not seeing any evidence here that the guy “can’t trust” his wife or she’s intimate with the dude. At most she maybe was flattered.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom January 5, 2018, 7:00 am

        That’s interesting. I think part of that must be regional. We’ve lived here for nearly thirty years and I have never been to a party where men groped women. If someone acted that way I think they would be totally ostracized.

        The one incident I mention was in a college crowd in a different region of the country. The guy who did it was from New York. Maybe that is an east coast thing?

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        Kate January 5, 2018, 7:52 am

        I have no idea if it’s regional, but I think middle-aged married people in the suburbs have been getting drunk and doing weird stuff for ages – think “key parties” in the 70s. There are couples who swing. There are individuals who get drunk and grope people and try to make out with them. There’s a woman in our friend group who does that – she actually sticks her hand down guys’ pants and grabs their junk. She’s nuts. She showed her breasts to my husband at a Halloween party. People just laugh her off and say she’s crazy. I can totally see a middle-aged woman getting her butt squeezed by an old friend at a party and not being too bothered about it. Maybe, tbh, she’s dealt with a lot worse from men. Maybe she feels like, “yup, still got it.” Maybe she legit thinks nothing of it. Or maybe she’s disgusted and over it but knows there’s no point in getting into it with her husband because he wouldn’t get it. There are plenty of reasons she wouldn’t be crying and wailing about a little grab-ass that AREN’T “she’s having an affair with this guy.”

        Now, that said, I can’t picture my husband ever writing a letter like this. If his friend groped me, he’d be pissed at the friend, not jumping to “can I trust my wife??” There’s something off here with these two.

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        Kate January 5, 2018, 7:59 am

        And there’s nothing *bad* about her not being terribly upset about this. It doesn’t make her sketchy or suspect. When this woman asked my husband if we “like to play,” and if he wanted to see her boobs, he wasn’t upset or angry, and neither was I. That’s how she is. She attack-kisses people too. She’s not ostracized. People think she’s weird and has issues, and they get she does this shit to everyone. Her husband is fine with it. I think it’s gross and kinda sad, but I’m not upset. It’s possible this gropey guy friend is just kind of an idiot and a sad sack and not worth getting all upset about.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom January 5, 2018, 8:35 am

        @Kate I’ve never seen anything like that here. Everyone keeps their hands to themselves. I have no doubt you would be ostracized for crossing that line and getting drunk is no excuse here. I’m 55 so going right on through the middle age years. We socialize with friends and with groups like theater and work and I’ve never seen anything remotely like you describe. I think we are a zero tolerance community. I think that probably reflects how we each see the situation.

        I work in a public place and even our patrons have strict rules. One man kept making sexually suggestive double entendre jokes and our manager kicked him out for several months. A young man was coming in following our younger staff around trying to talk to them and get dates and he was kicked out permanently. We are no nonsense around here.

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        ktfran January 5, 2018, 8:36 am

        What Kate and Dino said. 100%.

        The reason I said this LW should talk to her more about it is because it doesn’t seem like he really knows how she feels and he jumped to “I can’t trust my wife.” It seems like there is some kind of disconnect between the two of them.

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        Kate January 5, 2018, 9:03 am

        @Skyblossom, isn’t your community pretty evangelical Christian? I’m thinking Pence, and how he won’t even be alone with women. I can see how this kind of thing would not be common in those circles. My parents are pretty religious and hang out with a lot of people who are too, and I doubt this casual grab-ass stuff goes on at all with those folks. But yeah, it’s not unheard of and not a big deal in every situation, depending on the people involved and the context. There are things I’ll shrug off in a party setting under certain circumstances.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom January 6, 2018, 11:13 am

        @Kate Sorry to take so long to make it back. I had a busy day yesterday.

        We live in a conservative, religious area. Many of the people belong to more mainstream religions but we also have quite a number of small, evangelical churches. Almost everyone that I work with who is my age attends church. Those in their 30s not so much and those in their 20s not at all. Even those who don’t attend church don’t approve of groping.

        In many ways I find it sad if women have gotten so used to men groping that they just ignore it. It is such a blatant disregard for personal space and personal boundaries. You can’t respect a person that you are groping, whether you are a man or a woman doing the groping. It is all about doing what you want in the moment with no concern for the other. I feel bad for any woman who thinks she has to stand there with her neighbors hand on her because she feels she can’t make a scene. He would be the one considered to be making a scene here so maybe it is a different outlook. It is one thing to go to a party where people swing because that’s what you want to do and another to go to a neighborhood party and find your neighbor groping you.

        I do think that each of us sees this through the rules of where we live. This husband needs to ask himself what is the norm where he lives.

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        dinoceros January 6, 2018, 12:00 pm

        I think one of the issues here is that folks are taking what they have seen firsthand regionally or in their own social group and extrapolating that. And sure, we all provide advice or comment based on what we’ve personally experienced, which is fine. It’s what we know. But I think that there’s an issue when that sort of anecdotal evidence is being used to back up an LW’s implication that his wife is cheating, slutty, or whatever. Particularly when it comes to the subject of people touching other people in a sexually inappropriate way. I don’t think it’s appropriate to use that sort of info to decide that a woman who had her butt grabbed must be a cheater or untrustworthy because she reacted in a way that is different from how other people we know would react or how we speculate we might react.

        Even if a community is a safe place to speak up, not everyone knows that or feels that. It’s a lot easier when you’re not in the position of actually saying something. And unless it’s actually played out, no one can really know for sure.

        My main thing here is the LW gave very little information. The advice really should just be for him to talk to his wife because nobody here knows what’s going on in her head and no one here was at the party. The way I would handle a situation or how I think my friends would react has no bearing on how any other random person out there would handle it or how their friends would react.

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    000 January 4, 2018, 8:16 pm

    Agreed. I could not talk about the experience of a surprise butt-grab, to anyone, without including some kind of info about how I felt about it. I can’t picture relaying it in pure facts unless I was in court or something.

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      dinoceros January 6, 2018, 12:04 pm

      I think folks just communicate differently. My friends rarely list out their emotions to me because we know each other well enough that one’s emotions are pretty obviously. My friend was seeing a guy and he ghosted her. She never straight out said “I’m sad.” or “I’m angry.” I knew she liked him, and that she would be upset that he ghosted.

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    Sarah January 4, 2018, 8:36 pm

    I am really having a hard time getting past that you saw this man that you know grope your wife and you looked away, and didn’t pay attention to her again all night. Then on the way home not a word and later in bed that night you didn’t even bring it up. You saw this happen to your wife and all you did was look away and didn’t pay attention to your wife again so you have no idea where this went or how people/neighbors treat your wife. Stop worrying about how you are going to re-act when you see them again the time for that is over. You missed that boat, you didn’t even show up to the dock. I am so sorry for your wife whether she was assaulted or your implication that she liked it, she is married to a man who doesn’t care enough to check on her. I would never be able to forgive my husband if I was in the same situation and he saw it and just looked away and didn’t pay attention to me again all night.

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