My friend confessed to me that the husband of one of our friends is coming on to her. He sends her email from a new account and tells her how lovely she is. He also tells her, “I like and miss you.”
I went out with my friend and this couple once, and my friend paid the bill. She got a letter from this man criticizing his wife and me for not offering to pay, but he never went out with us before and doesn’t know we take turns paying.
My friend also sent him a DVD which his wife misplaced. He flipped out and was angry at his wife. He said he was so much looking forward to watching the show and his wife does not value her thoughtfulness.
My friend says she is not interested in him. My idea was to tell him that flat out, but instead I told her she is too nice to stop conversing with him. Now he hates me because I won’t drive my friend to their house, and, if we have no choice but to go, I insist on leaving early.
What do I do? I can tell him he’s a complete jerk, or I can tell his wife, or I can stay silent. If I stay silent I will never speak to him again. I feel my trust has been violated as well, not because he likes my friend, but because we are his wife’s friends and she considers us family.
Gwyn, women typically want to be polite and don’t want to make waves. They hope a problem will work itself out as some kind of misunderstanding. But the first time your boss slaps your ass or the first time your friend’s husband hits on you, you have to say no. When you don’t say a clear no the first time, he’ll think you’ve said yes.
This man criticized you and his wife for not offering to pay, and he criticized his wife for not being thoughtful. He did this to ingratiate himself with your friend.
Someone who takes your side when you didn’t ask for or need help, engages in what is called forced teaming. People who engage in forced teaming invite themselves into your life for the sole purpose of furthering their own aims.
This man put you and your friend in an awkward position.
He is punishing your friend by being the object of unwelcome attention. He is punishing you for knowing. He is punishing his wife for not knowing. Whatever happens, remember there is only one party with blame. Him. What he’s done can’t be walked back. You can only compound the problem if you don’t tell his wife.
Your friend could artfully sidestep the situation by forwarding an email to his wife with a note, “I think your husband accidentally sent me an email that was intended for you.” Or she could tell him, “One more text like this and I will tell your wife.”
But more likely it will fall to you to deliver the news.
If neither of you tell his wife, it makes you both an accomplice to his actions. You are not his friend, you are his wife’s friend. You need to stand up for your friend, even if you lose her friendship because of what her husband has done.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of October 3, 2016
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