Dear Amy: “Mary”, “Tracy” and I have been good friends for 15 years.
About three years ago, Mary married “Steve”. Steve is a lovely, generous man when he’s not drinking. When he drinks, he gets very handy with me, with Tracy, with every other woman in the area.
He kisses us on the lips, grabs us, hugs us, etc., all in front of Mary and our own partners.
We gently try to distract him or squirm away, but never forcefully say, “This is not appropriate.”
We all spent a weekend together recently and it was awful! Mary either chooses not to see what is happening or is genuinely clueless.
She also seems a little insecure in her marriage in some ways.
Tracy and I worry that if we forcefully say “stop” to him, or if we sit down with Mary and tell her how uncomfortable he’s making us, our friendship will be hurt – if not destroyed.
We imagine that she would support her husband and tell ourselves that we are overreacting.
At this point we do not wish to spend any future weekends with them.
Do you have any suggestions on how we could address this issue without destroying a 15 year friendship?
– Hands off
Dear hands off: It is important to remember that “Mary” does not create or cause this problem. “Steve” is the problem, so you should deal with him directly.
Tell this kind, generous man (when he’s sober), “The last time we saw you, you kissed me. You act like this when you’re drunk. I’ll let you know that if you ever touch me inappropriately again, I’ll call you.”
When this leads openly to an incident (unverified, that’s where his behavior leads) and Mary witnesses that attack and then denies or defends it, you understand that she can feel trapped in a situation she doesn’t believe she is capable of.
Urge them to Al-anon (Al-anon.org) and keep your distance from Steve, but not from her.
Dear Amy: My husband, who I was almost two with, does things behind my back that he knows would hurt me.
While we met, we promised each other exclusivity.
I was faithful to him and he dated about 30 women for a year and a half. I stumbled across his “rating” chart after we lived together.
He recently made arrangements to meet with his ex-wife while I was safely at work.
I feed the birds, squirrels and chipmunks in our garden and love watching them. When I wasn’t home he would take an airgun and over the course of a couple of months he would kill every chipmunk.
When I came home from work one day last week, I saw him running in the front yard with the airgun and shooting at a little rabbit. I admonished him because he might hit a kid riding his bike or a mother walking her baby.
We have already had counseling sessions. He only goes along with it until he gets bored.
He has told me that he will do what he wants to do and he doesn’t care how I feel about it.
– At My Wits End Wife
love ending I don’t want to alarm you, but you’ve asked for help, and I want to make sure you’re clear on my thoughts on the future of your marriage.
It has to end.
Regular readers know how seldom I say this to married people:
Don’t go to counseling with your husband. Don’t negotiate, don’t set boundaries, and don’t agree to attempts at reconciliation.
leave this relationship.
Please be careful when doing this.
The way you present things, apart from never being honest with you, this man seems quite dangerous. Also, his aggression seems to be escalating.
People who kill small and truly defenseless animals (not for food) sometimes hasten their violence.
To look for ways to stay safe when you leave your relationship, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has lots of helpful and important information and tips on their website: thehotline.org. You can also call their hotline to speak to an advisor: (800) 799-7233.
Dear Amy: “Casual?” wrote to you about her current relationship and the fact that she is looking for “her person”.
You encouraged her by telling her “he’s out there”.
How about telling her that she already has “her person”, which means: herself?!
Dear Disappointed: A wonderful answer and absolutely true. Many Thanks.
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