I'm a man in my mid-30s who was in a friend's wedding recently. One day prior, I got to hang out with an old friend I've known for more than 20 years, "Jeff." Jeff and I are both married with children, and as groomsmen, we had obligations to attend to the day before the wedding. Our wives stayed behind with the kids before joining me and Jeff at the festivities the following day.
Jeff was always an odd duck. He lives in Europe and just carries himself differently than most guys I know. A few of my other friends have always suspected that Jeff is gay, but I tend to shrug it off and insist that being a European metrosexual doesn't mean he's gay. Well, after this weekend, it seems my friends' suspicions are confirmed.
Jeff and I split a hotel room for one night. The moment we got into the room and put our bags down, he made a comment that if we pushed the beds together, there'd be an even bigger surface on which to "fool around." I laughed, assuming he was joking, and gave it no more thought. Later, we went to a nearby pub for dinner. He insisted on buying me dinner and then said that I didn’t have to sleep with him unless I wanted to. I feigned amusement and tried changing the subject to the draught beer menu. But he persisted, asking, "So, do you?" Humiliated, I replied, "No, thanks, and you’re not buying me dinner."
The rest of the evening went on without incident, but the next morning, Jeff made another pass. "Breakfast sounds good," was my terse reply.
Our wives arrived later that day. Once my wife and I were alone, I couldn't help expressing my relief that she was there, and I had to tell her what had happened with Jeff. She was wide-eyed and sympathetic. I admitted that I was not completely surprised, but certainly in shock, as I never expected to be the object of my friend's sexual advances.
Now what? The only person I've told is my wife. If Jeff had simply come out to me, I'd be honored and supportive. Instead, he hit on me and made me feel shamed and degraded. If I confronted him, I'm sure he would deny it, find a way to explain away his untoward actions, and I will in all likelihood lose him as a friend. Should I just forget it ever happened and leave Jeff to come to terms with his true sexual identity? And was I wrong to ignore his advances simply to keep the peace?
– Gloomsman, Maine
Your friendship with Jeff has changed forever, Gloomsman. There's no way to delete the weekend.
You can either ignore the issue because he's an ocean away, or you can bring it up and hope that he listens. And you never know -- he might be longing for someone to ask him what's going on. He might appreciate some honesty.
My advice, for the moment, is to give yourself more time to process what happened. You don't know what you want to do about this guy, and that's OK. There's no statute of limitations here. You can even wait to see how it feels the next time you see him in person.
For the record, you didn't make a mistake by staying silent and getting through the night. You were harassed in a hotel room by a guy who's supposed to be your friend. Your instinct was to set boundaries and make it to morning. That's understandable.
For now, you're entitled to time.
Readers? Should he confront Jeff? Will Jeff deny the issue? What should he say to Jeff? Did he do the right thing in the hotel room? Should he have this discussion soon? Help.