Need help with an awkward situation...

Hello All,

About 6 months ago I found myself unemployed after a layoff at my company. During my unemployment my oldest and best friend (pretty much a brother) offered to let me stay with his family so I would not have to move to Alabama to find work, which would mean leaving my son in Texas.

So my friend’s wife starts IMing me at work (I have found a job now :slight_smile: ) . You know…general BS. Do I have any idea what sounds good for dinner? That sort of thing. She has a friend that I have been dying to go out with and we were discussing her yesterday. She asked me what I thought of her friend and I said I though she was cute. What I actually said was that her friend was, “Well within acceptable limits”.

Her response to that was to ask me if I think that SHE (my best friend’s wife) was within acceptable limits.

I replied that if I did not know her and saw her in a bar that I would certainly point her out to my friends. I also told her that I look at her husband like a brother and her like a sister and it was not easy to tak those glasses off to be objective.

That was the only way I could think to get out of the situation. She seemed satisfied with the answer. Nothing else was said about it.

So fast forward to today…

She IMs me and asks me not to mention to her husband that we have been IMing so much during the day. It never occurred to me that there was any reason for us not to IM.

I need help in understanding:

A. Why my best friend’s wife would want to know if I found her attractive
B. Why the hell would it matter if her husband, my friend, knew that we chatted during the day.

Hopefully I am just paranoid and making a mountain out of this mole hill.

Sure sounds like she was interested in a closer relationship with you and was feeling you out.

It’s an unenviable position to be in. Sorry.

My guess is you’ve got some major light treading to do to keep this from blowing up and harming your relationship with your friend. I wish you well.

Oh, boy. It sounds like you have handled this situation perfectly, so far–you gave this woman a very tactful answer when she asked if you found her attractive. You made her feel attractive, while at the same time making it clear that you were not open to any inappropriate advances.

In response to your questions:

A: I don’t know this woman, but it sounds like she was testing the waters to see if you would be willing to have a relationship/one-night stand/what have you with her. She probably read a lot more into your friendly IMing than you did, perhaps taking them for interest or flirting, which is why she asked you what you thought of her. When you mentioned your buddy and made it clear that you wouldn’t betray him, she backed off.

B: Since she read more into your IMs than you did, they probably weren’t so innocent on her part. Maybe she’s feeling guilty or afraid that her husband will realize what she was up to if he finds out about them. Do you know if she has a history or infidelity, or if she and your friend are having marital problems?

I don’t think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill–this sounds fishy to me. But I wouldn’t go making a big deal out of it, either, unless something else happens. As to whether you should tell your friend, that depends on your relationship with him, his relationship with his wife, and the type of person he is.

As far as I know there is no history of infidelity. Not to say that there hasn’t been any, but not as far as I know. They have problems like any other married couple, but I think her main thing is that she feels unattractive due to her pregnancy weight she is still carrying. She knows from past conversations (in the living room, watching TV, with everyone present) that I like thicker women. You know…women with meat on thier bones. Not fat, but just heavier.

If any obvious advance was made I have no doubts where my true loyalties lie. I would lay down my life for my friend (or anyone in his family). My main worry is how I would put an end to it if she truely is interested in pursuing anything with me.

I’ve thought about pulling her over to the side and telling her how much I love all of them, and that it makes me very uncomfortable for her to ask me to keep ANYTHING from my friend. I have also considered telling her that if she doesn’t want my friend to know about the IMing, then she must think that he would not approve. I do not want to engae in ANY activity with her that he would not approve of.

Like I said, I would be saying this just between the 2 of us.

Any thoughts on that?

Greathouse, now that you are employed again, how soon can you move out of their house? This sounds like a precarious situation.

Because she feels like something is missing in her life and/or relationship? She sounds like she’s seeking some attention from you… which could be a big problem.

Because maybe there are problems in the relationship… maybe she has cheated before and he knows the signs. Maybe not, but it seems like she crossed the line a bit, and he would probably pick up on that.

Just my opinion here, but if I was in this situation, I believe I would stop IMing her and get a new place to live ASAP. Especially if you wish to remain friends with this guy; even though you haven’t done anything wrong, if he senses that she has interest in you, it could make him averse to y’all spending time together. Get outta there as soon as you can.

I agree. Sounds like you have handled it pretty nicely. No hurt feelings, though she may be feeling a little guilty. I don’t think that it’s time to go running to the friend and telling him, but don’t encourage her.

I don’t know that she could force you to do anything inappropriate, but you definitly want to nip this in the bud. Don’t engage in any more of that kind of Q/A session with her again. End it immediately.

My apt. hunt starts this weekend.

I cannot imagine how the hell I would ever say anything to him. It would kill him. I seriously cannot even think about it because it makes me sick to my stomach to try and guess what I would say to him.

i’d say all your instincts have been spot-on so far. you seem to have been handling this excellently to this point. if you just want our confirmation that you’re on the right path, i’ll give you my vote.

it’s possible your buddy’s wife was simply looking to bolster her sagging self-image, if she has indeed added some weight since a pregnancy. being a fairly new mom too (i assume) might cause her to seek some reassurance that she’s still a hot number, not just a baby-watcher now. it’s nice that you gave her the positive vote without putting yourself in harm’s way in the process.

i’d second the suggestions that you’ve gotten from others, though – sounds like it’s time to clear out, before someone inadvertently lights a fuse. the situation as you’ve described it sounds like it has “LANDMINES!” labeled all over it.

I would stop IMing her. It sounds like she is feeling you out for a potential affair. Already keeping secrets from the husband should be warning flag for you.

Do NOT end up alone with her. Things could get really sticky and you could wind up losing your friend!

She’s feeling guilty - she might be telling you things that she feels she should only tell her husband. If she doesn’t feel comfortable with her husband not knowing you IM all day, maybe she shouldn’t be IMing you.

Excellent idea.

Best Wishes to you.

I just wanted to thank everyone for thier input on this. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t off base with my suspisions, and to check that you guys thought I had handled it the right way (since I respect you guys so much).

Hopefully it is over and nothing more will happen since I will not be IMing with her anymore, and I am trying to find my own place starting tomorrow. I’ll let you know if anything else happens over the weekend, but if all goes well this thread will die due to me having nothing more to report.

Again, Thank you all!!!

The weekend was rather uneventful (other than me getting escorted out of Six Flags which is covered in another thread). I was able to find an apt. and I move in 2 weeks.

Great! My main thought on reading this thread is that from now on I will be asking you for advice on MY awkward situations, heh.

I agree with others here that you handled that first situation with the uncomfortable questions with almost superhuman tact and care. Very impressive. And what I was going to say was essentially covered when you said “I have also considered telling her that if she doesn’t want my friend to know about the IMing, then she must think that he would not approve. I do not want to engae in ANY activity with her that he would not approve of.” If it’s something she’s not comfortable with then it should stop, and that’s easy enough to explain. At this point I’d say that nothing needs to be said to your friend.

Well, now that you’re moving out (very good idea!) you really ought to consider helping out your friend on this. Not by telling him (very bad idea!) but by trying to give him some hints about the weak state of his marriage. He doesn’t seem to be aware of this at all, and he probably should.

So wait a bit after you’ve moved out, then take him out alone some night and have a drink, then gently work something like the following into the conversation:

“Joe (or whatever his name is), are you sure you’re paying enough attention to your wife? Are you treating her like you did when you were dating?”

“You know, Joe, a lot of couple seem to drift apart after about x years of marriage. They start to take each other for granted, and forget about the things that made them love each other in the first place. And they neglect each other – they don’t do those little loving things that they did when they first met, and that can lead to them growing apart. I’d sure hate to see that happen to you & SHE.”

“Well, Joe, while living with you two for the past x weeks, I noticed that you sometimes seem rather casual toward each other – not doing much to show each other how much you love each other. SHE’s a lovely woman, Joe, and I know you love her very much, but I wonder how often you tell her how much you love her?”

“Joe, I have to disagree with you there. It may be so, but from living with the two of you for x weeks, I didn’t see that. It seemed to me like you weren’t paying much attention to her, not as much as she wants. That was just the impression I got. Maybe I’m wrong, but that was what I observed. I sure would hate to see your marriage get on the rocks just because the two of you forget to pay attention to each other.”

These probably aren’t worded the best, and you obviously have to adapt based on his responses. But I’d sure try to get this message thru to him.

Now you’re taking a chance here – he will not like hearing this, and may react angrily, toward you. That’s a risk you have to take. But you owe him this – he took you in and gave you shelter when you needed it. Try to keep the conversation calm, and back off and bring it up another day if he is getting upset.

And no matter what, even if he angrily refuses to hear this, and accuses you of exaggerating stuff, never, never tell him the details. Just say (honestly) I’ve never touched your wife, I’ve never, ever made any approach to her, etc. Do not ever mention that his wife seemed to be making an approach to you.

I know this will be real hard to do, and I can see why you dread the very idea. But if he really is a good friend, I think you ought to make an effort with him.

My thoughts run along two different paths here: either she didn’t have very good intentions when she started all this up, or she had the best of intentions and is now afraid her husband might take it the wrong way.

I can see it going either way. It certainly doesn’t sound good, but who here hasn’t said or done something totally innocent, and then stopped and thought, “Aw shit, that looked/sounded really sleazy”? I for one would be amused by a guy using the term “acceptable limits” about a woman, and would probably ask the same question just for shits and giggles. Then I’d probably think, “Hmm, some guys would take that entirely the wrong way and run to tell DrJ that I’m hitting on them.” Of course, my husband doesn’t tend to worry about stuff like that, but some men do, and a misconstrued comment can stir up a whole heap of shit.

You bring up a very good point. My friend and I have been best friends since the 7th grade. We can, and have talked about everything together. I know that if I approached him with genuine concern and best intentions for his marriage (without mentioning the IMs between his wife and I) then he would listen to me without getting upset.

not to be contrary, but i’d be VERY wary of making direct commentary on the state of your friend’s marriage, vice t-bonham’s suggestions.

if i were going to try and drop hints, i’d be trying a more generalized approach, to wit:

“You know, buddy, I’ve heard that a new baby can really knock the moms for a loop at times. Not only do both you guys get run ragged from the lack of sleep and new worries, but sometimes they start thinking that all they’re seen as is mommies anymore, instead of as the woman in your life.”

if he shows curiousity or interest, then gently suggest he try giving her some compliments or extra attention.

but i’d avoid making any direct commentary on their relationship (based on your observations while in residence) as if they were the veritable plague… unless he asks for specific f’r instances.

But thier child is 4 years old. She isn’t a new born.

Having been friends for so long we are quite comfortable discussing touchy subjects. He helped me though my marital problems and through my divorce and I helped him deal with the anger he carried around about his mother being a lesbian. We have both cried on each other’s shoulders before.

We have discussed his marriage before. They have had tough times, but that all seems to be behind them now and has been for several years.

I feel very comfortable bring up and discussing the state of his marriage (without bring up the exchanges between his wife and I). And he has no problem being open and honest in our talks. The only reason I don’t want to mention the chats between his wife and myself is because I am still not 100% sure as to what was going on, and I don’t want to throw up any red flags or cause problems if it was totally innocent. I would hate to cause a problem where one does not already exist. He may take it the way I was when nothing bad was actually intended on her part.