But about six months ago, while driving home from his house, I had a sudden sinking feeling that he had cheated on me with her. This came completely out of nowhere, but I was suddenly so sure of it. I asked him point blank if he cheated on me and he stated that he had not. However, to cover my bases, I messaged Julia on Facebook to ask why she had defriended me (somehow I believed the defriending and supposed cheating were linked). She messaged me back the next day indicating that my fiancé had hit on her one night a year ago and was “persistent,” in her terms. In addition, she stated that he had touched her inappropriately in her sleep (which is, of course, sexual assault) and that she could no longer be friends with us because of this betrayal. She also told me not to reply to her message as it would cause her too much distress, so I did not.
I confronted him with this information and he admitted to hitting on her, but did not believe it would go anywhere and was not prepared to follow through with what he was saying. He also indicated he was really drunk, which he said was no excuse. However, he said he would never have touched her in her sleep and left immediately after she declined his advances. I decided to forgive him because I firmly believe that this hadn’t happened before and has not occurred since. I also know that he truly loves me and wants a monogamous faithful relationship.
On the other hand, once in a while over the past six months, I am overcome with guilt for believing his side of the story because I am almost always one to believe the victim in sexual assault cases. I feel, in those moments of guilt, that I am betraying my friend for believing him, and I am torn. I have a very hard time believing that my fiancé would touch her inappropriately, but he also lied about hitting on her. What should I do to move forward? I have talked to him at length about this issue and he consistently denies the sexual assault allegations. Other family members have advised me that this seems very out of character and he is otherwise a very upstanding individual. I thank you for your advice and that of your readers. — Assaulted with Suspicions
You’re focusing on the wrong thing here and I suspect it’s because thinking about what you know FOR SURE — that your fiancé persistently hit on another woman (whom he has a sexual history with, no less) while he was dating (maybe even engaged to?) you is quite painful. It’s so painful that you seem to gloss over it and focus instead on the question of sexual assault as, if you could somehow find out for certain that your fiancé is telling the truth about that part, then things aren’t so bad and you can trust him.
But he HIT ON ANOTHER WOMAN. He was so persistent in hitting on that woman that she no longer wants anything to do with him. Whether he inappropriately touched her in her sleep — and who knows what that means exactly? Did he grab her boobs? Kiss her cheek? Braid her hair? Anything is pretty inappropriate when one person is sleeping and the other person is engaged to someone else — is beside the point. He intended to cheat on you. Whether you want to accept that or not, it’s the truth. A man doesn’t hit on a woman — persistently — unless there’s intention to act.
Do you want to marry a man who would get drunk and pursue an old flame? Do you want to marry a man whose actions are so inappropriate that a longtime friend wants nothing to do with him OR YOU? Do you want to marry a man who so easily lies to you about something so serious? Do you want to marry a man you can’t trust? Do you really want to marry a man whom you have enough doubt in that you’re wondering whether allegations of sexual assault may be true? He can deny sexual assault until he’s blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean anything when you don’t know exactly what it is your former friend is accusing him of. She didn’t use the term “sexual assault.” You did. She said “inappropriate touching.” Maybe your fiancé wouldn’t be so quick to deny being inappropriate (that sounds less serious — and less criminal — than “sexual assault). Or, maybe he would. He didn’t have any problem lying about hitting on her.
Look, at the very least, please do some pre-marital counseling. Hire a professional to help you sort through these trust issues, and DO NOT marry this man if you have even a lingering hint of doubt. That feeling in your gut you got six months ago about him cheating on you was a crystal clear warning bell. Please don’t ignore it. Our intuition is a powerful thing and can save us from danger if we’re brave enough to hear it and listen. A broken engagement is far less messy than a painful divorce. Be brave and listen to what your gut is telling you. Listen, listen, listen.
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