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Friends' husbands making passes

(215 Posts)
GettingItWrong Wed 19-Aug-20 09:29:08

I have lost a number of friendships with men and couple friendships over the past few years.

The friendships turn sour because, at some point, the man makes a pass of some description at me.

Ive had everything from a drunken move to kiss me when their wife is out of the room, to propositions for an affair to declarations of love.

Only one of these friendships has survived because his wife was a bloody star. She asked him directly if he had feelings for me, he said yes, they split up and she asked to meet me and told me she knew it was nothing I had done and she wanted to make sure we didnt lose our friendship because of him. It was awkward for a few months but now our friendship is stronger than ever. They have now reconciled and our friendships are (nearly) back on track.

Aside from that, I was friends with a couple for several years. We went on holidays together, our children were friends, we spent christmases together and then, BAM, he made a drunken pass at me. I turned him down. I didn't tell his wife for various reasons (I know she wouldn't ever leave him and I didn't want to put a bomb in the middle of it; I didn't want my family to lose their family; I didn't want to lose the friendships). Anyway, I rejected him, put it down to drink and it didnt happen again until 2 years later when he told me he loved me. Again I rejected him, tried to make light of it, I guess, but was also clear that he needed to sort out his own relationship and not drag me into it. All fine for a few months until he changed his behaviour towards me - made spiteful remarks about me when we were out if a man spoke to me; comments that I was 'ugly'; and eventually something happened and I haven't spoken to either of them since.

I don't make friends easily and these were the closest friendships I had.

I've had similar issues with male friends: some single, some married but where I don't know the wives.

I've never had an affair or been an affair partner. I don't flirt with married men. I don't feel flattered by it. I don't message the husbands/partners and always respond appropriately to any messages they send me (eg if it's the husband who messages to invite me over for the evening). I always make arrangements with the wife or I make a group WhatsApp chat to make plans and only ever message the men in that (eg if I ask to borrow something or answer a question they'd asked).

I'm perpetually single and, other than never socialising with couples, I don't know what I could do differently.

I'm aware I could tell their wives when they do it but I dont want to lose my friendships with them and, as I don't encourage it in any way, i figure that the onus is on the man to behave decently.

But i withdraw completely if its persistent.

Before anyone picks me up on this being only two friendships I've mentioned, that's because these are two friendships that were affected last year. There have been many more previously that have fallen by the wayside.

I've just become friends with another couple and I really don't want it to happen again.

What can I do that I might not be doing already to prevent this from happening? Might there be signals I'm sending that I'm unaware of?

The wives have never had an issue with me being friends with their husbands - I'm trusted precisely because I'm not a flirty person and I don't ever behave inappropriately around them.

OP’s posts: |
IdblowJonSnow Wed 19-Aug-20 09:35:34

Are you really hot?!
Why dont you just socialise with the female rather than the couple? I dont spend time with my friend's husbands usually, just in passing.
This hasn't happened to me since I was about 20 and cant imagine it ever happening again!
If you're not flirty then you are just very desirable in some way and cant see there is much you can do?
It's on them op, not you, from what you've said.

YorkshireTeaIsTheBest Wed 19-Aug-20 09:40:34

I had this is my past and I was very fit -like athlete fit.
Once I went out with his wife, went back to stay (drinking). He was up when we got home. She went to bed and he wanted to do it -right over the kitchen counter. I declined and said nothing and went to bed but I actually moved a set of bedside cabinets in front of the bedroom door but the friendship failed as I never wanted to see him again. They are still together 20 years on.............now I woud always suggest she came to mine.

WonderHike Wed 19-Aug-20 09:47:24

This has happened to me several times, in each case there had been no mutual attraction whatsoever from my side, no flirty vibes, nothing. I’m not some irresistible siren either. It’s fucking weird isn’t it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that simply being a single female friend of a couple means some married guys will try it on with you. Including the ones you would never expect it from.

It’s annoying as it then puts you in a horrible position – remain complicit or blow up their relationship. Twice where I’ve been principally friends with the guy or equally friends with them both I’ve said no, made it clear I’m not interested and will never be, but not told their partner. Once it was one of my oldest friends with a relatively new partner and I told her. She confronted him and she was a bit distant for a bit, but we were fine in the end. They later broke up and it turned out he’d tried it on with loads of her friends.

It’s not you, it’s them, although I understand how frustrating it is. I’d avoid spending time together without the wife there – think it’s the only definitive way to prevent it happening!

2ndnamechangeattempt Wed 19-Aug-20 09:48:51

Why do you have so many friends who are couples? Do you not just socialise with other women? I don't have any communication with my friends partners!

Also do you look like Mila Kunis?

Mintjulia Wed 19-Aug-20 09:55:38

Yes, it happens fairly regularly. I’ve been single a while and I no longer go anywhere where someone else’s husband is, unless there is a crowd present. No play dates, no drop offs or pickups, no swimming lessons. It’s not worth the grief.

It has coloured my view of middle aged men as well. What is wrong with them for God’s sake?

Wondersense Wed 19-Aug-20 09:57:07

Could you explain the other circumstances that lead you to being friends with couples? How do you meet these people? At work? In a pub? If you haven't done so already you need to start aiming to make friends with women alone I'm afraid. I know that can be really difficult. Some people are really attached to their partner at the hip......maybe there's a reason for those women always making sure that their social lives are tied together - maybe it's because they can keep an eye on their husbands that way!! With others, they spend so little time with each other as it is that when they do go out they only want to go out as a pair.

Try joining clubs or groups that tend to attract women more than men. Those women will already be there without a partner so maybe they are more likely to want to meet up with you without their partner too. Maybe it's a lack of experience on my part, but I wouldn't really want to be friends with a couple and do everything with them as a couple. I lived with a couple once and even that was slightly awkward at times. There's nothing wrong with just wanting to friends with the woman.

JorisBonson Wed 19-Aug-20 09:58:44

This has never happened to me, never mind repeatedly hmm

WarriorsComeOutToPlayay Wed 19-Aug-20 10:02:20

Is your name Samantha Brick?

epythymy Wed 19-Aug-20 10:14:16

I'm just wondering, are the women this happens to predominantly single women with husbands?

My husband and I socialise often with other couples. I'm often told by other people than I am a good looking and I can be mildly flirty (although not with my friends husbands) and this has never happened to me.

I've noticed a lot of you say you're single. What is it about men that they think it's ok to cheat on their wife but not to "betray" a friend by sleeping with his wife?

thinkofausername Wed 19-Aug-20 10:17:46

Unless you are a complete stunner then has it ever occurred to you that you might be acting flirtatious and maybe you don't realise it?

BlueJava Wed 19-Aug-20 10:17:49

I've had similar OP (although not repeatedly). I was going to a work event with a male colleague and his wife. When I turned up she told me she wasn't well and wasn't coming, so I took a taxi with her husband. As soon as we got in the cab he went from being a perfectly reasonable colleague who was the husband of my friend - to having a completely different attitude and trying to get close to me. I quickly moved to the other side of the cab out the way and kept the conversation strictly about work. When we got to the event I avoided him - easy as it was large. When it was time to go home I snuck off a few minutes early and got my own cab back although normally I'd prefer to be with someone I knew as it was very late. I was really careful after that to never be alone with him, but it is difficult - especially if you have a meeting at work or something. Otherwise the only advice is to avoid - meet your friend away from her home or at yours.

GettingItWrong Wed 19-Aug-20 10:26:45

Also do you look like Mila Kunis?

Ha no, if only!!

I'm mid 40s, short and a little overweight. I'm presentable and haven't 'let myself go' (whatever that means!) But I'm really ordinary.

I’ve come to the conclusion that simply being a single female friend of a couple means some married guys will try it on with you. Including the ones you would never expect it from.

Sadly, I think you're right. It's so shit though.

Why dont you just socialise with the female rather than the couple? I dont spend time with my friend's husbands usually, just in passing.

Tbh, of the couples I'm friends with, I'm equally friends with the husband and wife. Sometimes, I've met the woman first; sometimes I've met them both together; sometimes it's the husband I've met first and been introduced to the wife through them.

With the friendship that suffered most last year, I had actually spoken to his wife a few years earlier because she kept pushing he and I to do things together that she didn't fancy doing. We spoke about it once and she said she trusted that he'd never have an affair and that he wasn't the sort to go looking for it and she didn't think I would either. But then he ruined it by doing exactly what she was so sure he wouldn't.

I'd say that, in many cases, my interests are more in line with the men's interests and so we've often ended up going somewhere together (only ever with the wife's support/encouragement and sometimes at their suggestion) because she doesn't fancy it. And the majority of time that's not a problem. But somewhere down the line, when a proper friendship has been forged, this so often happens.

OP’s posts: |
DBML Wed 19-Aug-20 10:28:11

In my experience men like this are often intimidated by beauty and attracted by vulnerability.

You may not be doing anything particularly, other than appealing to their ‘knight in shining armour’ complex - especially as you are, as you say ‘perpetually single’.

So I don’t think this is a looks or behaviour thing...it’s an opportunist thing on the mans behalf and they clearly think that because you are single, you might be so desperate as to give them the time of day.

My advice, try not to be the third wheel in a couple friendship and instead take opportunities to meet independently with the woman. Shopping trips, out for a jog whatever it may be. (That is of course assuming you weren’t originally friends with the fella as I wouldn’t want to advocate that women cannot be friends with men).

takenbywine Wed 19-Aug-20 10:31:21

I truly understand you. I have my DH's cousins who will gaze and handshake/kiss me during greetings and make it uncomfortable as it lingers for a few seconds longer. Yes I am younger and better looking than their wives but it's family. Surely they should think about DH and their wives. I avoid being left alone and always follow DH everywhere we go around the house or garden but you just get that uncomfortable feeling that they look at your direction and stare longer than usual. I get scared DH would pick up on this and it will cause a fallout. With friends, I think you could avoid doing the couples thing. Me and DH only have a couple of friends that are married and one of his friend always sends porn gifs to DH, so when he is around it makes me uncomfortable as he also sort of lingers longer during handshakes and I'm really close to his wife and it makes me sad. I normally meet the wife as she's a sahm when her husband is at work and DH would meet the husband at the pub or for a meal. DH once suggested a holiday and I was like no way! Just try to meet the wife/or your friend separately and avoid doing couples activities.

awesomeaircraft Wed 19-Aug-20 10:32:06

I happened to me once in my life so far and it was a bit of the DH being an arse and a bit of @thinkofausername's take accentuated by cultural differences (I am not from UK and we are more warm where I come from)
I could not change the first but I could the latter. I common female friend helped me on that. I know it is anti-feminist, etc. but there somehow being friendly/fun is sadly often misinterpreted.

Menora Wed 19-Aug-20 10:34:01

I gotta say, this has happened to me too. I was also single a long time

Perhaps there were times I came over too friendly but not on purpose, but it hasn’t just happened with couples, it’s happened at work, on adult learning courses, married dads from school, a married scout leader, an estate agent and a man who stopped to help me when my car broke down.

To me it felt opportunistic rather than anything I was doing or saying wrong. And I still don’t know why it happened but it was quite demoralising

TheStoic Wed 19-Aug-20 10:34:03

Wait for the outraged women who will say you’re imagining it, while simultaneously causing it.

Oh wait, there’s already been one. #samanthabrick

Many women on MN are married to the very type of man who is hitting on women like you. They don’t want to know.

There’s nothing you can do, because it’s not about you. Unless you want to stay away from men in general.

Menora Wed 19-Aug-20 10:35:18

To clarify all these men were married I am talking about. Apart from the adult learning course but it was so inappropriate and he ended up losing his job over it

VictoriaBun Wed 19-Aug-20 10:36:13

Some men are chancers, it's probably not because your stunning or that you've flirted or anything like that. It's simply that , given an opportunity that type of man will change a quickly with any female. It's in his DNA -

fortunacookie Wed 19-Aug-20 10:39:25

Yeah happened to me with my cousin's husband , he made a pass her daughter came in and then went and told my cousin. She took his side and we have never spoken since. sad I was single at the time but when I was with my ex DH we did holidays and camping and my husband always said he had a thing for me.

Thing was before me he'd had an affair with his sister-in-law (my cousin's brother's wife) and she found out about that and still forgave him hmm

FinnyStory Wed 19-Aug-20 10:40:31

Well, I must be a right minger. I worked in a male dominated industry most of my career, have a sporting interest that means many of my friends/acquaintances are men and am part of a long standing friendship group of 10 couples.

I like men, I enjoy their company, I work well with them and often have more in common with the men than the women in a group and I believe they like me, on the whole, but I can honestly say that in my 50 years I have never been propositioned by another woman's husband. At least not one who knew I knew they were married iyswim.

I'm going to guess it's because they understand what the likely response would be. I'm not saying for a minute it's your fault OP, the men are of course responsible for their own actions but I am a bit confused at "woe is me, all these husbands want me".

seensome Wed 19-Aug-20 10:42:00

I've never been able to be friends with men for this reason, they will try it on! I have been told I'm good looking, maybe that is the reason or an excuse I'm not sure. I also dislike any partner of mine having female friends because of this.
Actually funnily enough my XH went to live with a very frumpy 'friend' the day we split, maybe some of them are chancers always trying to line the next one up

GettingItWrong Wed 19-Aug-20 10:42:23

Unless you are a complete stunner then has it ever occurred to you that you might be acting flirtatious and maybe you don't realise it?

Yes it has.

I asked a female friend about it and she said that she thought I had an 'air' about me. Not that I was flirtatious - almost the opposite. That I seem so disinterested that it might be a challenge.

In the 3 months prior to lockdown starting, I was invited on a lads' night out (with the full knowledge and acceptance of the wives); went on a night out with my male friend because his partner just didn't fancy it and went out for dinner with a husband because I was supposed to be going round for dinner with them and the wife felt ill so she suggested he and I went out for dinner instead. Tbh, she's often asked if I want to go out with him because their babysitter has cancelled or something and they have tickets.

The reason none of the wives have an issue with me spending time with their husbands (and will often drop out of arrangements last minute because they don't feel well or due to the children etc but insist we still go) is precisely because I am completely unthreatening!

I often have comments made by the wives that I am more like 'one of the lads'. So definitely not 'dolling myself up' and going out on the pull. I rarely wear make up, never wear perfume, don't wear revealing clothes...

OP’s posts: |
Mycatismadeofstringcheese Wed 19-Aug-20 10:50:22

thinkofausername

Unless you are a complete stunner then has it ever occurred to you that you might be acting flirtatious and maybe you don't realise it?

Nice bit of victim blaming there.

She’s explicitly said she makes sure not to give signals, but even if she did, the guy has the option NOT TO MAKE A MOVE ON HIS WIFE’S FRIEND!

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