I went to a party with a bunch of friends this weekend. We are all in our early- to mid-twenties, and were doing a good amount of drinking that night. A good friend of mine’s husband, who I am also friends with, drank way too much and got kind of out of control. He was saying inappropriate things throughout the night, much of which was about me or directed at me – telling me how good looking I am, asking about men I’ve been with, asking other guys at the party if they would sleep with me, things like that.The comments were inappropriate, but he really crossed the line later that night. Toward the end of the night, he got me alone and started coming on to me. He stuck his hand down the back of my pants, grabbed my ass, and tried to pull me in toward him to kiss him. I pushed away and kept telling him to stop. This all was happening with his wife in the next room, and I was just in shock. He and I are friends, and we’ve always gotten along well, but I know that I have never done anything to give him the idea that I would be interested in him in any other way.
Now, I am a very friendly, open, sort of flirtatious person. I joke around and flirt with people all the time, guys and girls, and I’m nice to everyone. Part of me feels a bit guilty, thinking he could have misconstrued my naturally friendly personality as being open to more than friendship. If I had ever been flirty with him, it was always just joking around, innocent fun, and I thought that was understood. I am definitely closer with his wife than I am with him, and I would never even think about doing something like that to her.
After that happened, I got out of there pretty quickly. The next day, he apologized to me. I appreciated that he took responsibility for it and didn’t blame it on the alcohol or pretend he forgot it even happened, but that in no way makes what he did OK. I gave him a piece of my mind, and let him know that he is a bad friend and a worse husband. My heart breaks for his wife, and I feel terrible about the whole thing, even though I know I did nothing wrong.
Now I’m struggling with whether or not I should tell my friend. Part of me thinks she deserves to know. I don’t know if he has done this with other girls before, but it scares me to think that if it hadn’t been for me refusing, he would have cheated on her that night. On the other hand, I just don’t know if it is worth telling her. They’re married, and it was a fairly minor incident, so would telling her be just creating unnecessary drama? I guess part of my not wanting to tell her is selfish as well, because I know that it would put a strain on our relationship. If he were to ever do something like this again, I would definitely tell her, but after I told him off, I don’t see him trying anything else. What would you do if you were in my situation? — Friendly Pick-Up
You are right about several things, the most important being that what happened is not your fault. I don’t care how flirty you are, people are responsible for their own actions, and the only person to blame for your friend’s husband coming on to you is him, period. You’re also right that telling your friend what happened would likely put a strain on your relationship with her. Her loyalty is going to be first and foremost to her husband. That loyalty has very real potential to drive a wedge between you two as she processes the information you’ve shared with her. Even if she chooses to believe you — and there’s a chance she wouldn’t — she could blame you and forgive her husband, she could decide not to hang out with your anymore out of embarrassment or fear that her husband has feelings for you, or she could even go so far as to try to turn others against you. It’s really important that you weigh these risks before saying anything to her.
That said, you also need to consider what you know about her husband. You say you’re friends with him as well as her, so surely you have some insight into him. Was his behavior at the party out of character? Looking back, have there been any red flags that alarm you about him? Have you ever felt uncomfortable in his presence? If you can answer “yes” to any of those questions, that should inform your decision about whether to tell your friend. You also need to consider how comfortable you’re going to feel in his presence in this future. Was his apology enough for you to move on? If not, and if you feel like you simply cannot be around him, your friend may wonder why you suddenly only want to see her without her husband. It may be easier at that point to tell the truth than make up some excuse. Again, you need to weigh all the risks that telling the truth includes.
I know you want me to give you an answer one way or another — should you or should you not tell your friend — or at least say what I would do in your situation, but I can’t. I can’t tell you what to do, and the truth is, I’m not sure what I would do. It would really depend on the context of the situation and how I answered those same questions I posed to you. In the end, I would have to go with my gut. I trust my gut. I hope you trust yours, too.
Oh, and one more thing: please, please resist the urge to discuss what happened with mutual friends, especially if you decide not to tell the friend in question. People gossip — even the nicest people — and if word got back to her, then all the risks you would potentially take by being upfront with her would be tenfold because the news didn’t even come directly from you. If you decide to keep you mouth shut on this issue, then really keep it shut.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.
kerrycontrary August 30, 2011, 3:09 pm
My first instinct is to say “don’t tell her!!”. I know a lot of commenters may disagree with me, but honestly I don’t see any good that can come out of telling your friend. If this were habitual behavior (as Wendy mentioned are there any other red flags?) then maybe I would consider the situation differently. As it is, this was a one-time occurrence that happened when he was really drunk. Perhaps his wife even addressed those inappropriate comments with him the next day, I’m sure she noticed them at least. If you do tell her she’s going to trust him less and be suspicious of you. Your friendship may even end. I would just chalk this up to alcohol/poor decision making on his part and avoid getting too close to the husband in the future.
lets_be_honest August 30, 2011, 3:22 pm
If it were habitual behavior, I would tend to think the wife is already aware or somewhat aware of what a jerk her husband can act like. I was in this situation once, extremely similar. I decided not to tell my friend, which I struggled with for a long time as we remained close friends. In the end, I just couldn’t bring myself to hurt her. I was 100% sure she would believe me, so I wasn’t worried about that. But, she and her husband had some issues before that and I was fairly certain that had I told her, nothing would have changed in their marriage, other than more heartache about having a jerk for a husband. Come about 4-5 years later, they are divorced, because of the many issues they had. Bottom line, I believed that her knowing would not have changed anything, she knew who he was, they had their problems already and I thought it’d only hurt her more. In a twisted way, its comforting knowing that I was right in believing they would fail for their other many issues, including his inappropriate behavior with other women.
lets_be_honest August 30, 2011, 3:25 pm
The bizarre thing…I just thought about it and had I not been in the situation, I would give the opposite advice and say tell her. She deserves to know. Its a very tough call. In my situation, this was my life-long absolute best friend. We had seen each other through everything. I guess it depends on a lot of other details. I think, as others have said, think about whether this is or is not characteristic of him.
BGD August 31, 2011, 11:22 am
I agree – don’t tell. I did and it was a huge mess and I regret it all the time.
justpeachy August 30, 2011, 3:10 pm
I think Wendy’s right in the fact that the decision to talk to his wife depends on his previous behavior. If he’s always saying inappropriate things and seems like he’s pushing boundaries constantly, then she probably is already aware of the potential escalation in his behavior under the influence of alcohol. If this was behavior you’ve never seen before, she might not have either.
Either way, the safest behavior if you choose to approach her, and I kind of feel you owe her at least some bit of warning, is to lead with the fact that he was drunk. Leaving the actual physical contact out of it, mention something along the lines of you were amazed by the things he was saying at the party and how you were kind of surprised by his behavior. Let her know that she should probably keep an eye on him if he’s drunk. If it was a one time thing, she’s got nothing to worry about. If it’s consistent behavior, odds are she’ll find it herself with your tipoff, and you will not have ruined your friendship by saying how unacceptable his behavior actually was.
MonMon August 31, 2011, 12:12 pm
I think that this is really good advice. Rather than plunge into the rather ugly details of his butt-grabbing, maybe if the LW simply said, “I don’t know if you noticed, but…..some of your hubby’s comments were inappropriate and made me feel really uncomfortable.” That would open the door to conversation on whether the wife may say that yes, she noticed, and maybe that it’s happened before, or if not, then she’ll definitely address it with her husband. I think that this would clear the LW’s conscience without potentially messing up her friendship with the wife.
SGMcG August 30, 2011, 3:47 pm
I had something similar that happened to me pretty recently. It was similar in that it involved someone else coming onto me. It was also different in that it involved witnessing something that I may not be privy to witness as well. The LW doesn’t make any mention if she’s currently in a committed relationship or not, but if she is, she best tell the person she is involved with before she even thinks about telling other people. I know that when I told my husband what happened to me, it made it easier all around to seek advice about my incident in question.
That being said, my husband (not having that much insight on the group-friendship dynamic involved that contributed to the incident) suggested that I talk to a girl he considered a second sister. Not only did she give me encouraging advice, but she gave confirmation on some insights that I had regarding the dynamic. Based on her information, and the support of my husband, we decided to directly talk to the people involved with the incident in question and not mention what occurred to those who may have been secondarily affected.
Personally, I have yet to have that discussion with one of the people directly involved – my husband is a little hesitant to start his discussion too. I know now that one of the individuals who are secondarily affected is already fully aware of what’s going on. With the other – there is some uncertainty on expressed understanding of the situation I witnessed and it’s probably a sticky situation to best keep quiet about.
I think the LW already made her stance known to the husband that she DOES NOT WANT him in any sexual capacity. Does she trust the husband now to honor her wishes though? If she feels her point has been made AND it will be respected, then I don’t think she needs to salt the wound on the band-aid she just tore off. If she doesn’t then by all means, tell your friend, if only to get some support on keeping him back. Realize that your friendship may be damaged in the process, but if it keeps his creepy hands at bay (and a bare-ass grab showing intentional circumvention of clothing already worn is the creepiest of PDAs), then isn’t it worth the peace of mind?
Maracuya August 30, 2011, 4:04 pm
I found it a bit hard to follow your situation. Or rather, I guess I did but it’s so vague I can’t really compare it all that well. Who is secondarily affected? A friend of the couple? From reading between the lines of this situation that you witnessed that you were not privy to witness it sounds like an even messier mess than this letter writer.
SGMcG August 30, 2011, 5:16 pm
It was a messier situation. It essentially involved myself seeing a couple exchanging a more-than-friendly kiss, when the couple in question were married to different people. It then also involved a proposition for “playtime” from that couple, which was considered and demonstrated, but I wanted to make sure that the potential parties involved had spouses who consented to that kind of thing before taking it to a point that was MUCH worse.
Now my situation was worsened, only because I didn’t know my stance or the positions of the other individuals involved. Unlike myself, the LW is pretty clear about that what the husband did to her was wrong. From his apology, it sounds like he knew it was wrong too. If she can trust the husband from not being a creepy ass grabber again, then she should keep quiet about it and just proceed with caution. If she feels that the husband may try again, even after explicit instructions that she says no, then talk to her friend about what happened.
Jubietta August 30, 2011, 4:01 pm
What about asking the husband to come clean to the wife/friend? Now THAT would really be taking accountability for his actions while drinking!
Okay, that’s probably very wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be nice to live n a world of adults who behaved that way?
Sarah August 30, 2011, 4:24 pm
Yeah, I thought about that too, but if the LW did get the husband to confess, she’ll probably isolate her friend even more because her friend will want to know why she kept it a secret. She also probably wont like that they’ve been discussing it after the fact behind her back.
If she could get the husband to promise to confess, lock down a day and time he’s gonna do it, and then cockblock the bastard and tell her before he can, she’ll still look like a good friend and he will feel guilted into telling the truth still.
Honestly though this question has a pretty short shelf life. After that it becomes a much bigger “thing” and it will look like she was covering up something and will cause more harm than good. Her best chance would have been right after it happened, even at the party while he was still drunk and too stupid to deny it, that way her friend would know she only had honest intentions. Waiting….looks bad.
Quakergirl August 30, 2011, 4:03 pm
My major concern in this situation would be that the wife would find out anyway and the husband would start pinning the blame on the LW. I have no clue if this is a possibility given the circumstances (could anyone have seen? have you discussed it with others already? would the husband tell her?), but if LW thinks that might happen, I would head it off at the pass and tell the friend. If she finds out and it doesn’t come from you, she’s going to be way more likely to be upset with you, either because she thinks you initiated it, or because she’s upset you kept it from her. What if her husband tells her you came onto him? You don’t have to give her the gory details, but you can tell her what happened and frame it in a way that, while not accusing her husband, makes it very clear that you neither initiated the contact nor reciprocated his advances.
If you think there’s no way she’ll ever find out, then that’s a tougher call. I don’t know, this just seems like a series of incidents I would want to know about– from the running commentary to the fact that he groped you (not just came on to you, let’s be clear here). Yes, he was intoxicated, but that behavior is extremely concerning. But, that’s just me. Only you know your friend, her marriage, and your relationship with her well enough to know if telling her would cause more harm than good. If you do tell her, though, choose your words very carefully and be prepared for disastrous consequences, at least in the short-term.
Roxy84 August 30, 2011, 5:02 pm
So here was the situation I was in: I was friends with an engaged couple, although the guy was my friend before he started dating his fiance. One night I was out with him and a big group of our friends (she wasn’t out that night), and had way too much to drink. I’m typically a very flirty drunk, but in addition to that I was kind of a mess – passing out at the table sort of thing. Completely embarrassing, of course, and everyone decided that my guy friend should take me home. At some point (my memory is fuzzy) he kissed me, although I don’t remember what led up to it. I have no doubt I was being flirtatious and huggy though.
Anyway, he called me the next morning with a “hey lets not tell my fiance about this”. I agreed, since I wanted to forget it had ever happened and felt awful. Well, he called back in the afternoon to tell me that he had decided to tell her, and that he wouldn’t be seeing or speaking to me anymore. Not that I wanted to after that whole situation, but it quickly went beyond that to that whole group of friends no longer speaking to me.
So. This sounds like a case for telling her to avoid a mess like that, but I actually think it might be a better idea to keep it to yourself for now unless another event occurs. What happened to me could happen whether you tell her first or choose not to and she finds out about it another way. I’m having trouble verbalizing my point, but the husband could say what he wants no matter whether you say something first or not. She/your friends can choose to believe him or you in either situation. If he’s the type to tell her later and try to pin it on you, he’d probably try to weasel out in either situation. I can just picture him saying “she only told you that because she’s into me and is trying to break us up”. I think your major consideration should be whether you think this is a pattern or one-off behavior that is unlikely to repeat.
I feel like I could have made my point better and with less words…shoot.
Quakergirl August 30, 2011, 6:03 pm
I totally agree with you that if he’s that kind of guy to try to weasel out of it he’ll do it either way. My rationale was that if she’s better friends with the wife and she and the wife have a good relationship, she may be more inclined to believe the friend if she hears it from her first and when she confronts her husband and his side of things doesn’t add up. If the husband tells the wife or if the wife hears it from others, she may get misinformation. I have no idea if that’s how it will play out, not knowing the personalities involved here. This is such a shitty situation, I don’t know that there’s a great way forward, but the LW should consider whether he’ll throw her under the bus and turn everyone against her and what’s more likely to prevent that situation (telling the wife first or hoping no one finds out), because as your story illustrates, that is an unfortunate possibility.
Meaghan August 30, 2011, 4:10 pm
I have the same personality, and I went through a situation much like this with an ex-boyfriend’s of mine’s best friend. The guy was also naturally flirty, and I thought it was harmless (nothing specific or sexual in nature just joking around and I pretty much treated him like he was a girl and vice versa) until there were a few occasions where his statements would be very obviously sexual towards me and it only happened when my boyfriend would walk away for a moment to do something or another. His comments ranged from things he’d do to me, things he’d thought of me doing to him, and how he’d be a better man to me than my boyfriend.
At first I brushed it off, but when I started becoming uncomfortable and he started getting more ‘confident’ in his moves I point blank told him to stop or I would go to my boyfriend and the friend’s girlfriend to make them aware of what was going on. He apologized and even though it was weird for a while I got over it and we were back to our old ‘relationship’ until I broke up with my boyfriend.
My point is you can move on from this situation because you did the right thing by confronting him, and he did the right thing by apologizing and taking responsibility. So my advice is to keep quiet about what happened, and do your best to move on with your life. If it ever happens again go to his wife that second; not days later when you’ve had time to think about it.
Meaghan August 30, 2011, 4:12 pm
Oh, and what I mean by until I broke up with my boyfriend is that we no longer had contact after that since he was my boyfriend’s buddy not mine. Thought I’d clear that up.
Budjer August 30, 2011, 3:17 pm
Jeez…initial instinct is to back off of this one….but I’ll at least try and add some perspective that you can use to hone in on whether this was a one time deal or not.
IF you haven’t observed sketchy behavior by him in the past it is possible that he was having issues with his wife that made him feel inadequate and/or insecure…you (being the flirty and nice friend) probably make him feel good about himself when you are hanging around them so you ended up being his drunken focus. This doesn’t excuse the behavior at all, but at least may help you identify what the cause is if you know they are having issues….
At the very least I would inquire to his wife if they are having issues and tread carefully with the details you choose to divulge. Express why you think he may be unhappy (if they are having issues) and focus more on the comments than the ass grab…hopefully that can result in them fixing their issues rather than blowing up their marriage and potentially your friendship.
kittyk August 30, 2011, 4:39 pm
I agree with Wendy in that you should take into consideration all that she mentioned, and then trust your gut, but wanted to add a personal anecdote of a similar situation…
Years back I had a good friend who’s boyfriend would get pretty flirty and say some suggestive things to myself and at least one other friend of ours (that I know of). Usually this was in an alcohol induced party-type atmosphere. He never crossed any lines with me but it did make me a bit uncomfortable- I knew he would never behave this way if his gf/our friend were in the same room. I never said anything to her. My friend told her about one particular incident between them, he denied it, she believed him, and their friendship was strained.
Fast forward a few years later, we’ve all gone our separate ways by then, they’ve moved in together, and she catches him cheating. I can’t help but wonder if I had spoken up and we had made a bigger deal out of his actions, if we could have saved her from the inevitable. He seemed like a nice guy on the surface, maybe just overly friendly, but this guy was clearly an @$$hole who didn’t respect her, not deep down. If he did he wouldn’t have been acting so innappriopriate with people close to her. Who knows what else went on behind her back all those years if thats how he behaved with her friends.
Just my two cents. Good luck LW!
ape_escape August 31, 2011, 4:31 am
can’t save someone who doesn’t want / isn’t ready to be saved.
which is to say, please don’t blame yourself.
Maracuya September 2, 2011, 2:40 pm
Plus, hindsight is 20/20. It’s hard to see clearly until the whole thing was said and done.
Emma August 30, 2011, 4:50 pm
I have a couple of friends who are dating, and the guy (especially when he is drunk, drugged up, etc.) comes on to me all the time. He does this to other girls (and men, including my fiance), too. His girlfriend is well aware, and they have some major issues in their relationship (not limited to his indiscretions), and she often comes to me for advice. I have told her what has happened, and she doesn’t blame me, because she has witnessed my discomfort with the situation. This is an extremely rare, bizarre situation. I don’t know any girl who would still be comfortable with another woman if their significant other was hitting on them all the time, much less come to her for advice, but we have an understanding.
In other situations, where I haven’t been so close to the lady, and it’s been a one time thing (especially if they just met me; I tend to seem extremely flirty, when I am just trying to be friendly), I don’t bother saying anything. It would just complicate things. I am friends with a lot of dudes who have jealous ladies, and learning to gain that trust is difficult.
Generally, I would tell you not to say anything, because it can’t help the situation, and it can often hurt it. But if this is a regular thing that you think she is aware of, and you are close enough, test the waters. I might even wait until she brings up a similar topic. It’s a hard situation to navigate, and only you can know how she will take it, and how that will affect your relationship with her, and her relationship with her husband. I’ve found it’s almost never a good idea to tell someone that their significant other is a creepy; it’s a sure-fire way to get you on the ‘DO NOT TRUST’ list.
bittergaymark August 30, 2011, 5:11 pm
Hah. If he is drunkenly hitting on men as much as you claim, then she is probably quite relieved when it’s only other women he is hitting on because deep down she knows all too well that another women is so NOT what he REALLY wants…
Pankakes August 31, 2011, 1:39 am
Are you one of those people who believes there’s no such thing as bisexuality? I’ve seen you on here several times implying “he’s probably gay.”
My husband is bisexual and hits on women and men frequently. He is very charismatic, outgoing and flirtatious with pretty much everyone, even more so when he’s been drinking. I’ve been with him long enough that it doesn’t bother me. I trust that he won’t cross the line. We both had our wild, adventurous days in college, and things are a lot milder now. Even if he does flirt with men, if that’s how he satiates that part of his sexuality, what harm is it doing me? It would be doing *more* harm to ask him not to, to expect him to suppress his sexuality in the interest of strict monogamy.
Sorry to the LW for getting off topic. I would probably be on the boat of don’t say anything and wait it out. He’s made amends to you – maybe he already told his wife and she’s the one who made him apologize. Chalk it up to a bad night and move on – unless, as other commenters have said, this is just an example of a pattern of behavior towards other women. Then it might be worth telling her.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 5:52 am
Oh, I believe bisexuality definitely exists in women. As I’ve simply run across many more females that claimed to be bisexual and then actually remained so.
Which brings me to my meetings with bisexual males… Ah, yes, my early college experiences with men included quite a few “bisexuals”, but in the end they all wound up with men. That said, I am guessing I am older than you… See, the whole gay thing was a much bigger deal way back when, so pretty much every questioning guy used the term bisexual as a layover to gay town…I know I did. So it is very possible my pool of research there was simply quite skewed.
demoiselle August 31, 2011, 11:08 am
That makes a lot of sense. I wonder how much things have changed in recent years?
Emma August 31, 2011, 2:25 pm
You should meet my brother. He’s as bisexual as they come.
And for the record, hitting on the same sex, or even making out with them does not constitute sexual attraction for the same sex. In my group of friends, kissing is a sign of affection, so this is normal, mostly hetero behavior for them.
bittergaymark August 30, 2011, 5:01 pm
I’d let it go. THIS time. But if it ever happens again…yikes. Well, I think that I would then tell my friend.
EmmieEm August 30, 2011, 5:41 pm
Tell her. If she’s a rational person, she won’t react negatively (towards you). If my husband did something that inappropriate to any of my friends, I’d want to know.
LTC039 August 30, 2011, 6:09 pm
I had a huge issue with this. One of my very good friends was dating this guy that my boyfriend was best friends with. They had all known each other since middle school, I was new to the group but me & her became pretty close & now she’s one of my super close friends. Her boyfriend would lie to her left & right, told her he was in school when he never enrolled, would sell weed to make $ & also STEAL girl’s iphones/cameras etc & then sell them & she’d ask him “How’d you get that money?” & he would tell her he went to work with his dad.
For a yr & some I would here these stories about what he would do, girls he’d hook up with, he slapped my ass once & would repeatedly tell me how “sexy I was”. I never told my friend while they were dating bc I always felt she’d confront him, he’d lie to her, she’d believe him & then I would be the “horrible person”. Well sure enough, one day she caught him when his phone butt dialed her & he was at a club when he told her he was asleep. She dumped him & that’s when I told her everything. She was thankful, but I knew she didn’t believe me. I felt it. To this day (she still talks to him, sees him, flirts with him,etc..) I’m positive the only reason they aren’t back together is because she knows we would all “judge” her. However, if they ever do officially get back together she knows that none of us will say anything bc at the end of the day, she is a grown woman & if she chooses to giver herself that little respect & self worth, the only one getting hurt is her. She knows the deal. & to this day she’ll say “well I never got any confirmation on anything you told me,so I just push it aside & think of him as the good guy I knew.”
I believe it depends on your friend. I know if I told my other friends their boyfriends were liars, cheaters, etc… they’d believe me. How strong is your friend? You know her so you decide. There’s a 50/50 chance in this situation. Sometimes it’s damned if youdo & damned if you don’t.
LTC039 August 30, 2011, 7:28 pm
Thumbs down, no explanation. Figures.
AnitaBath August 30, 2011, 7:36 pm
I don’t know about everyone else, but I was just personally offended by your neglectful omission of the space between “you” and “do” in your last sentence. I took personal offense to your use of ampersands, and I can’t tell what your avatar is but it looks downright sinful.
No, but really, people are purple thumbs happy. I’ll chalk it up to being one of those days of the week that end in -day.
LTC039 August 31, 2011, 8:19 am
Gosh, I had no idea I was so offensive… Next time I’ll triple check my grammar.
Lets_be_honest August 30, 2011, 9:10 pm
You call this girl a really close friend and yet she tells you she “never got confirmation” on whether what you told her was true? This girl doesn’t sound like a very good friend at all. Have you ever asked her why she doesn’t trust you?
LTC039 August 31, 2011, 8:17 am
No because I know why. She is a girl with very low self-esteem. Ever since her & that guy broke up she’s dated 2 guys that have screwed her over & the only one that’s “there” is this guy, in her eyes. I believe she really does believe me she just won’t admit/verbalize it because she wants an excuse that she can say if she does decide to get back w/ him. We are a close group of 6 girls, I’m the “newest” one to the group, & everyone knows that’s who she is. Its her personality.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 10:39 am
I hear ya. That’s really sad for the girl.
ReginaRey August 30, 2011, 5:25 pm
If I were the female friend married to the douchebag in this situation, I’d certainly want to know about my husband’s transgressions. I don’t care if you’re passed out drunk or totally sober, it’s NEVER acceptable for your husband to stick his hands down another woman’s pants and try to kiss her. Fundamentally, this shows a complete lack of respect for the LW’s friend, and I doubt their marriage will make it very far if he has the ability to do something like that. Most people know their boundaries, even when drunk, and making a pass at someone other than your wife isn’t something that occurs to most husbands, no matter how wasted they are.
That said, it isn’t the LW’s responsibility to tell her friend about the douchey husband. LW – you feel bad, and that’s understandable, but it doesn’t mean you have the responsibility of telling the wife. Think about it long and hard – the potential consequences either way, how long you might be embroiled in potential drama, whether or not this will affect your friendship with the female friend, and whether this might affect mutual friendships between you. If you weigh all of those carefully, you should come to the conclusion that’s right for you. Unfortunately, your friend will likely find out about her a**hole husband one way or another (if she doesn’t already know).
demoiselle August 31, 2011, 11:09 am
It also shows a complete lack of respect for the LW…
AnitaBath August 30, 2011, 6:34 pm
I had a similar thing happen to me. I was drinking with one of my best friends and her boyfriend (who have been dating since they were 13), and he started to come onto me pretty intensely. The only difference is that she was RIGHT THERE (you know, and we’re a bunch of college kids and none of us are married). She seemed to mind a little bit, but at the time she was drunk and just acted like she had always known he had a crush on me. Then she got more upset when he started saying things like, “Sometimes I just wonder what would have happened if I had met AnitaBath first” (Uh…I would’ve broken up with you forever ago). Then she went up to bed, and he tried to kiss me.
It was all super awkward, and I didn’t really know what to do. The next morning I asked her how much she remembered, and tried to nicely tell her about the things that she didn’t remember and how he had tried to kiss me. It didn’t really blow up in my face (because she loves me and isn’t the type to get mad), but I could tell she was hurt. She talked to him about it and he just said he didn’t mean any of it and that he was drunk, and so she believed him and kind of acted like there was no reason to be upset over it.
So, I agree completely with Wendy’s advice. Depending on the type your friend is, I think the likely possibility is that she’s either going to make excuses for her husband or blame most of it on you. I would be more inclined to not tell her, unless you decided that it was just too much for you and you wanted to start distancing yourself from them, in which case I think it would be best to let her know why. But you also have to consider that, if it happens again (which my advice is to just not drink with them anymore and avoid some awkwardness) and decide to tell her, she may be upset you didn’t tell her about it the first time it happened.
AnitaBath August 30, 2011, 6:39 pm
Oh, but unlike Wendy’s last part of advice, I did tell one of our really good mutual friends (because it was all just too weird to me). She made me promise not to tell the other friend that I knew this, but I guess a couple months before this incident she had found him talking on online forums and searching for the best way to go about asking for a threesome with your girlfriend and her best friend (me). Sooo….
I guess I’m saying what could seem like a more straightforward problem (her husband is a creep and hits on me when I’m drunk!) could have layers of sensitive, unknown information further complicating the matter.
LTC039 August 30, 2011, 7:34 pm
Apparently, people on here don’t have a clue.
The reality of it is this situation is not one that could be answered with one solution. As you, I, Wendy, & others have pointed out it depends on the FRIEND. On her personality. It’s a terrible situation but you got to make your choice based on her. Unless you really don’t care about the possible negative outcome (her not talking to you;friendship ruined), then by all means, let it all out.
ReadingIsFundamental August 30, 2011, 6:41 pm
Wendy’s got plenty of good advice on this one and she’s spot on as far as she goes but there’s one piece missing. If you decide that it’s important that your friend know what happened, grab the husband and give him an ultimatum to (a) fess up and (b) tell his wife to ask you about it, or you’ll do it for him. It doesn’t really matter how much he plays down what actually happened — your objectives in the scenario where you decide she needs to know should be limited to (1) give her the information she needs to make her own decisions, (2) make him repent if possible, and (3) don’t damange your friendship with her while achieving (1) and (2).
You can’t really control the results of any “tell her” scenario — there are all kinds of ways it could go. It’s also probably not wise for you to actually carry out the threat to tell her, but the results of it will tell you what kind of guy he is, with possibly the least risk to your friendships.
AnitaBath August 30, 2011, 6:51 pm
I don’t know, the only thing about making the husband tell the friend is that you don’t know what the husband is ACTUALLY going to tell the friend. If he’s scummy enough to do what he did, I don’t think he’d be too concerned about lying about the events and maybe even painting the LW in an unfavorable light and turning the wife against the LW instead of him. Then the friend might be mad that the LW didn’t tell her about it (along with whatever else she decides to be mad about).
JK August 30, 2011, 8:26 pm
As someone with zero tolerance for cheating (of any type) I would definitely want to know if my husband pulled something like this.
Like others have said I guess it depends on the friend, and the relationship the friend has with her husband (if the LW has any information on that).
It really is an ugly situation to be in, I can just iagine how awkward future get togethers will be!
Nick August 30, 2011, 8:45 pm
I call on you to spill the beans. But here’s the deal, I must be nuts because it sounds like I’m the only one here who doesn’t think this is that big of a deal. A (bad) party foul.
So he’s drunk, so he’s horny, so his judgment is impaired and he goes in for some friskiness with you. Wires get crossed, things get said, advances get made. Yeah, it’s not just another routine night, but it’s also not exactly a tragedy. The world will continue to turn. It’s not like you slept together and now have to deal with it. I’d be forgiving of him and hope that your friend can be too. Strike 1.
It’s impossible to say what you or your friend really are like, but if you have some sense of proportion when you tell her, maybe it’s just a thing you warn him about and move on from.
I’d think you holding it inside would be the worst of all outcomes. Why be the martyr?
AnitaBath August 30, 2011, 10:54 pm
He stuck his hand down her pants. Don’t know where you’re from, but from where I’m from “bad touch” is a form of sexual assault. But, hey, dude, you’re right! Woopsie, party foul! No biggie!
Jay August 31, 2011, 6:50 am
I believe that what Nick was trying to say is that if she decides to break the news to her friend, she shouldn’t make it sound more than it really was. As in what happened is less of a big deal (not her fault) than if they were to actually sleep together (both, hers and the husband’s fault).
If I were in the wife’s shoes and wasn’t aware about my husband’s misbehavior, I would like to know and I would expect my friend to tell me if they knew something.
By not telling her, I see it as omitting an important information that if known, it could help open her eyes. Things like that shouldn’t happen.
Skyblossom August 31, 2011, 9:04 am
People who cheat tend to have an I’m sorry in the back of their mind in case they get caught and are actually surprised when they use it that it doesn’t work. There is no such thing as a party foul in a marriage. What a lame excuse.
Nick August 31, 2011, 1:11 pm
You are probably right, but don’t forget–this was among friends, at a party, with drinking involved, and a first time offense.
I just wanted the LW to know that not everyone is wound so tight (Sky, Anita). That there are other ways to be, other ways to think. That not everything that is wrong is a felony. And that knowing this also does not excuse it. IMO, this is a misdemeanor, with no damage among friends. A party foul, no more. That unless this is a pattern and a destructive one, just telling her friend and moving on is a viable approach.
But holding it in is a different thing. By holding it in, she would be playing judge and depriving her friend of some perspective. If the guy did this to someone else, she would surely share That. Holding it in is pretty selfish and short-term, and a little cruel.
AnitaBath August 31, 2011, 2:27 pm
OBVIOUSLY there is damage among friends. You can deny, deny, deny (and deny that sticking an unwanted hand down a girl’s pants when she tells you to stop is sexual assault), but that doesn’t mean that it happened. It did happen. Whether the LW likes it or not (and I’m going to go with not), this has completely changed the dynamic between her, her friend, and her friends husband.
Lexington September 1, 2011, 11:03 am
I am personally offended by your multiple uses of the phrase “party foul”. Since when did frat boys start frequenting Dear Wendy?
Calle August 30, 2011, 10:33 pm
I really don’t think the LW should tell her friend for a couple of reasons. From the LW’s point of view, I did not get the feeling that the husband had behaved like this before. The husband is a complete scum bag but he did acknowledge that he acted inappropriately. Anyway, I could see the LW’s friend lashing out at the LW if this was the first time she had ever heard of such behavior, especially because the LW said she was a flirtatious person.
rob ottapocalypse August 30, 2011, 11:47 pm
Nobody is even questioning the fact that the LW stated that she’s easily perceived by many, including herself, of being overtly flirty and that she copped to being flirty with the guy but then used the total cop-out of “I only flirted with you for sport.” Seriously, nobody is questioning that? Does nobody know of people who flirt for sport? Their tastiest game is the spouses of others. They eat the hearts of both spouses by creating a drama pit, luring the couple in and then devouring the insides.
If the wife has a brain in her head, she will leave both the man and the “friend.”
You really do get back complimentary energies to those you put out. If you put sexual energy out, you get it back. If you put violent energy out, you get it back. If you put out weak energy you attract strong and vice versa. She shouldn’t be putting certain energies out to people if she doesn’t want them back from those same people. Is it not okay to tell that to our daughters/wives/sisters?
Everybody seems to be coming down on this husband and picking motives for him. It’s obvious that this is a staged attack. This is a total sally-trap, and the LW is on here to brag about her new leverage in the situation. Her friend married a dumb skeez, and she wants to break them up so she uses her sexuality to do so. Has nobody else seen similar scenarios many times?
This bullshit about being understanding is sad at best. If she doesn’t know, unless consentual, what he did is sexual assault. If she really has a problem with sexual assault, this isn’t even close to a healthy way to deal with it. Nobody I know is like “Oh, this total skeez cornered me in a room and shoved his hand down my pants. I’m an adult and couldn’t figure out what to do. There were tons of people in the next room, but he got out of there quietly and unscathed. Now, instead of reporting it, I’m going to blog about my new leverage over my friend.” Nobody I know would counsel the victim of sexual abuse not to tell anyone either. WTF is that? I mean seriously?
She was either abused, or she wasn’t. She is either an enabling victim, or a manipulative bitch. I’m guessing since she met up with him afterward to talk about feelings….
And seriously, did this guy learn to go around the bases backwards? Since when has a down-the-pants been less serious than a kiss? Did I miss the memo?
Skyblossom August 31, 2011, 9:15 am
I agree that it is not okay to be constantly flirting with married men, especially the husbands of your friends. It seems a pathetic way to build your self-esteem or make you appear the center of the group by holding the attention of all. You can be warm and friendly without flirting and I wouldn’t want a friend who didn’t know how to relate to people without the flirt.
That said, the husband is at fault for the groping and trying to kiss her.
The friend whose husband was such a jerk will also know that her friend is a huge flirt and won’t know who came on first and who came on the worst and so might not believe in the innocence of the friend.
Budjer August 31, 2011, 8:40 am
One good thing your post high-lights is how the heck they got alone in a room together for it to happen in the first place…that was (conveniently or not) left out of the letter and would be a way to determine if what your postulating is true.
Ashley August 31, 2011, 9:42 am
I’m glad someone else here touched on this! I’ve known a few women who have said “I can come off as really flirty…” OK well then tone it down when you’re with someone’s husband/boyfriend/fiancee etc. If you are aware of your actions/behavior then you know how to control yourself. Placing the blame on the fact that someone misunderstood you seeming to come on to them isn’t fair.
Women aren’t the only ones who do this either, men do as well. One of my best guy-friends is VERY flirtacious and for the longest time he gave off very confusing signals. If you flirt with someone, they obviously will think you are flirting with them. Simple. You can’t flirt with people then feel surprised when they become interested in you. Add in some drinks to the mix and I can see how the situation got out of control the way it did. Maybe LW needs to learn how to tone-down the flirtiness with men who are in relationships.
BUT! What the friends’ husband did is WAY out of line. Being flirty or not.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 10:44 am
Yea, seriously. I would NOT accept it if my friend came to me and said my husband was hitting on/flirting with her if I saw that she was flirting too. WTF. How about not being a flirty attention-getter with my husband! Glad this was touched on too. Doesn’t give the husband a free pass, but really would not want this girl near my husband, let alone call her my friend.
Skyblossom August 31, 2011, 12:31 pm
And if the husband was asked about it he would be honest in saying she came on to me first and I responded to it. It in no way excuses his actions but he also wouldn’t be dishonest and the friend/wife wouldn’t know who to believe. I feel sorry for her because her marriage has little chance of lasting.
Chilosa161 August 31, 2011, 12:12 am
I’m with those who’ve mentioned that it was a form of assault for him to stick his hands down the LW’s pants. It was good of him to admit he was wrong, but her friend needs to know about this behavior so that she and her husband can make the choice together about how to address whatever his issue is. Otherwise the LW is leaving her friend out of a discussion about her own marriage.
Mary August 31, 2011, 2:08 pm
Yes!!! If my husband sexually assaulted one of my friends, I would DEFINITELY want to know about it. I deserve to know what kind of man I married.
I agree with others who’ve said that the LW needs to tone down the flirting. But no matter how much she may have flirted, it was still 1000% wrong for this man to stick his hand down her pants. He needs to be held accountable for HIS actions, HIS choices. Nobody forced him to sexually assault the LW. He did that all on his own.
LW, your friend will probably be confused by and hurt by the truth. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve to know it. Don’t leave her in the dark. Tell her the truth and leave it to her and her husband to figure out what to do next.
leilani August 31, 2011, 9:45 am
There is no way in hell I would say anything. I would not want to risk being cast out of my circle of friends because a dude who got drunk got a little handsy one night. It sucks that he did that, but really, it has nothing to do with you. He’s the one with the issue, and I’d leave it up to him to solve it while I’d stayed as far away from it as I could.
Foodie September 21, 2020, 4:03 pm
Definitely, causes a weird dynamic between friends and I seen 1st hand a friend that got casted out of the circle.
On another note and as to why I am here….I also experienced over the weekend where my friends husband inappropriately was kissing the back of my behind. We were all passed out in the same movie room including his wife after a night drinking. I had on a dress with my shorts, and was a lil out of it…but did not know how to act and moved around so he would stop. Im mortified about losing the 20+ year friendship with the both of them. I am more friends with the wife. But I do feel weirded out and have not confronted him. I acted like I didn’t know what he did.
bagge72 August 31, 2011, 9:58 am
Yeah this is kind of a tough situation, and I really feel like the LW shouldn’t tell her friend what her husband did. The reason I say this is because I really don’t think the LW actually thinks this is that big of a deal. I think it is, but I don’t think the LW does. This guy PUT HIS HAND down your pants, grabbed your ass, and all that you did was push him away, and tell him to stop. I’m sorry, but I feel that something like that deserves a much bigger reaction than that, but that could be my jealousy coming out, because I’m envisioning it happening to my SO, and me hurting someone haha. But you also said you are very flirty with him, and I’m guessing you were drunk too, so I’m guessing you might have had a little bit of a part in this aswell. It still doesn’t excuse what he did, but you are the one that didn’t make a bid deal out of it.
rob ottapocalypse August 31, 2011, 7:55 pm
I agree, most people I know would not just be ho-hum unless they knew they provoked THAT sexual of a response.
H August 31, 2011, 3:30 pm
This man could bring STD’s home to his wife.
Thumbs me down if you’d like, but the wife deserves to know her husband is gross.
rob ottapocalypse August 31, 2011, 7:58 pm
she probably already knows the friend is gross…
LeahW. August 31, 2011, 3:47 pm
Here’s a thought. Most of the debate revolves around telling your friend or not telling your friend about the fact that he grabbed you and tried to kiss you when no one else was around. Why don’t you start a discussion about the horrible behavior he was displaying around her and everyone else at the party?
You can tell her that you got the impression he was being serious and was interested in taking things too far with you, and that it made you incredibly uncomfortable. You can ask her if this behavior was out of the ordinary or if they’ve talked about it since. If she seems sympathetic, you can tell her that his behavior was so over-the-top that you’re not comfortable being around him any more. That way, she knows that something major happened without you having to spill the beans about him making a full-on pass at you, or the conversation may naturally lead you to a full confession anyway.
I think you’ll be able to make the decision about what to tell her much easier if you test the waters with her anyway, and you don’t have to feel like you’re just pretending that nothing happened.
Kate August 31, 2011, 3:49 pm
This is the best idea.
rob ottapocalypse August 31, 2011, 8:23 pm
he wasn’t the only one displaying bad behavior at the party. The LW just calls her bad behavior “friendliness.”
mf August 31, 2011, 5:09 pm
I can’t really offer any advice. I do know that if I were in your friend’s situation, I would want to know. Even though you consider this a relatively minor incident which probably resulted from his drunkenness, I would feel seriously betrayed if my husband stuck his hand down another woman’s pants.
But that’s just my perspective. Wendy is probably right – go with your gut.
cookiesandcream August 31, 2011, 8:30 pm
LW, I hope this helps–once I was actually in the situation of the girlfriend where my boyfriend at the time and one of my closest friends were at a party (which I didn’t attend). They, along with everyone else at the party, started playing a drinking game and they ended up making out and taking suggestive pictures (fully clothed) of themselves. I actually didn’t find out about what had happened from either of them; I actually found out through Facebook when I scrolled through pictures to see what the party was like. I know that it’s vastly different from what you experienced, but I’m hoping to offer a different perspective.
The thing is, the friend actually didn’t give me details about what had happened and I was so furious at the both of them. What I ended up doing was forgiving my boyfriend but then I stopped talking to my friend. In hindsight I definitely would have handled the situation differently; I would have reached out to my friend and I would have been more forgiving because she was one of my oldest friends.
Anyway, to be perfectly honest here, LW, I think you’re kind of screwed. These things have a way of getting out, so I get the feeling that the wife will find out anyway. From my perspective, I definitely think that you need to have a talk with your friend because I think you’ll have a stronger chance of saving your friendship if you do. Personally, I think justpeachy and LeahW. gave some of the best advice, and I’d keep out the gory details. You might want to consider starting the conversation by emphasizing how much her friendship means to you and that you wouldn’t willingly do anything to hurt it. With all that said, I’m very sorry to say this, but I think you might have to be prepared to lose her friendship. I very much hope that she’ll be able to be mature about the situation, but she could also get really upset and not want to have anything to do with you.
Good luck and I really do hope things work out well for you!
Jshizzle September 1, 2011, 6:24 pm
Def should have told the wife in the moment, since all of his comments would be fresh in everyone’s mind. A friend of my boyfriend’s has hit on the wives in the group (not me thank god) but when he does, he gets publicly called out on it and mocked for it, hopefully deterring future occurrences.