New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. Read some of the most popular Dear Wendy posts here. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), do a search in the search bar, or submit a question for advice at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
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.
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.