I'm a 42-year-old happily married man (15 years) with kids. I adore my wife. There is a man in our friend group who often (especially when drinking) is inappropriate toward all of the wives in the group. Examples include shoulder rubs, physically sexually aggressive hugs, following the girls to quieter more discreet areas of the party to talk, sexually charged commentary, flirtatious eye contact from across the room, etc. I explained to my wife that his behavior makes me uncomfortable; I would prefer if she does her best not to participate in his creepy flirtations. My wife was offended.
Part of me thinks that she enjoys the attention, especially because he's funny, good looking, and friendly. Long story long, we've been avoiding this guy and his family, which hurts us socially, for several weeks now. I happened to be using my wife's phone to find my phone when he texted her. It was one of those avatars of himself shouting "Happy Mother's Day!" I opened the phone and there were other messages "Happy Birthday, I hope your husband does something special for you." The other texts were links to articles and carpooling info. Now, to me this crosses the line. I don't text my friends' wives. I also think that my wife should have told me that he has been sending her texts, especially after I had voiced my concerns.
My instincts tell me that something is wrong. I am not an anxious person, but when we're going to be around this family, I'm tweaking. I feel like I'm the bad guy – or that if I do something, I'll come off as aggressively overprotective. I don't know what to do.
Side note: I've got trust issues because of some childhood trauma. Is this something or nothing. Any Advice?
– Something or Nothing
You say you don't text your friends' wives. But ... do you text your own friends?
Is it possible that your wife and this man have had an actual friendship? If so, the article links make sense. So do innocuous Bitmojis. The "I hope your husband does something nice for you" text kind of weirds me out, but more in an eye-rolling way (but that's just me).
The missing information here is how your wife feels about the attention. You say she got offended when you mentioned avoiding this man. Is that because you placed the burden of setting boundaries on her – to make you comfortable? Maybe the problem is that you've made this about you instead of asking her what she thinks about the whole thing.
Ask her about the friendship and how she'd like to proceed. Tell her you feel like you might have gone about the first conversation in the wrong way. Listen to her answer and explain that if she needs to think about her feelings before sharing them, that's OK too.
Really, it's time to listen instead of jumping to conclusions.
If you're on the same page about taking space from this man, you can invite a few people over on your terms. The one big group isn't the only way to be social.
Also consider that it's a good time for counseling – to process that trauma and to exercise communication skills. It helps you figure out what's something or a whole lot of nothing.
Readers? What do you think is happening here? Would you talk about the texts? Do you have someone like this in the friend group?