By Joyce Oglesby
Q: “He has outwardly flirted with me even when my husband is present, but my husband is so trusting that he thinks he’s just being ‘friendly.’
Last month his friend showed up at my door while my husband was at work and stayed for a lengthy time. Since then, he has dropped in twice and made me feel very uncomfortable both times by touching my face, my arm, and my hand. Here is the big problem: this man is my husband’s lifelong friend. They have been best buddies since elementary school. They played sports together in high school. They went to college together. They are more like brothers. My husband often chooses his friend’s wishes over mine. I would love to tell my husband, but I’m not sure he would support me. If his friend denies this, it will be my word against his. We have had problems in the past with his friend. I know where I stand. What am I supposed to do?”
Joyce: It’s one thing for two friends to share championship playoff memories; quite another for one to make a move on the other’s wife.
I’m struggling to find who I am more disappointed in — your husband’s choice of friends, his friend’s lack of judgment, or your weak backbone. I’m happy to explain.
Your husband saddens me, as I detect he has disheartened you as well. There are multiple conflicting issues at hand. Apparently, the exchange has been an ongoing “affair.” No woman wants to compete for her husband’s loyalty, let alone with a longtime friend who poses a threat to her fidelity. Your husband is obviously aware of his friend’s flirtatious spirit and, apparently, is far too trusting of him when it comes to you. Consequently, his friend has felt comfortable crossing a line that no loving husband would appreciate.
A friend should never trump the wellbeing of a man’s faithful wife. Longtime friend or not, your husband’s first obligation should be for your safety and security. You have every reason to expect his protection, as well as demand it. If, however, he is going to abdicate his duty and responsibility as your husband, the burden falls upon you to protect yourself. I would encourage you to do one or all of the following:
- Discuss with your husband what has transpired with his so-called friend. Give him a detailed description of how uncomfortable these occurrences have made you feel.
- Explain to your husband how the competition between you and his friend has been an issue in your marriage for quite some time. The time has come for him to choose his allegiance.
- If he refuses to confront his friend with the breach of trust, the burden lies with you. Draw the line in the sand. There can be no future occurrences, whether at your direction or your husband’s.
- Your lack of judgment in opening your door while your husband is not home may have been innocent the first time. To be willing to expose yourself to this kind of intrusion twice more is to have not considered carefully the value of your personal safety or your marriage. Your husband’s friend might well perceive your open door as an invitation to take his flirtatious gestures much further. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t crack the door for him, nor find myself alone with him in any setting.
- To cover our bases completely, one last thought: Are you certain you are in no way encouraging his advances? It deserves an honest assessment.
- These suggestions won’t fix your marriage and, in my opinion, there is a problem. A husband who aligns himself with anyone over his good-intentioned wife should assess his devotion and commitment. These sorts of infractions to the integrity of any marriage will soon find a way to destroy it. I would encourage you to address this and other aspects of your marriage that might need fine-tuning. Your legacy depends on correcting harmful actions before they manifest into damaging outcomes.