Following are similar-experience responses to the May 20 column which asked: If a partner’s close friend or relative suddenly comes on to you without invitation, should you tell your partner?
Reader – “My brother-in-law made an unwanted sexual advance at me when I was younger. I’ve never spoken about it for many years.
“It still haunts me because I wonder if I should’ve told my sister. I fear that she might not believe me.
“They’re still together. I’m happily married.
“As I get older, I feel stronger to settle this issue. Whenever I’m in his presence, I think about it and wonder if he remembers.
“Would anything be gained by saying something now?
“I believe it’d devastate my sister whom I greatly love.”
Haunting Sexual Advance
After so many years, the disturbing news might hurt your sister deeply because 1) you withheld it; or 2) she doesn’t allow herself to believe you.
It’s likely that you’d get more personal satisfaction from telling your brother-in-law privately that you never forgot the incident.
You’d be letting him worry about whether you’ve ever told his wife about his lechery towards her young sister.
However, I add a warning:
If you suspect that he might try to come between you and your sister to prevent you from telling her, or by his inventing a story that makes you appear to be in the wrong (now or back then), do not raise it.
In that case, keep your own marriage happy, maintain closeness to your sister, and tolerate her husband’s presence only when necessary.
Reader #2 – “I was young, single, and good friends with a couple. We’d spent our university years together. They’d met there while I was roommates with the woman.
“I attended their wedding.
“Years later, the husband drove me home one night after dinner at their home (they had a small child by then).
“He suddenly came on to me, uninvited. He was confused as to why I declined, saying, "Is it because you and my wife are friends?"
“I was flabbergasted by that. Then he said the ugliest thing I’ve ever heard a man say, “My marriage is so secure, I can afford to fool around.”
“He added, "If you ever need anything (meaning sexual) just call.”
“Nothing happened and he left. I was thoroughly shocked and appalled. I’d never interfere in my friends’ marriages.
“It took a year to get up the courage to tell my girlfriend and she just blushed. They’re still together, but I hope she put him in the doghouse for a good long time. We eventually lost touch.
“I hope he’s matured and that he treats her with more respect. What still turns me off to this day is the fact that some “family men" think this way, and think they’re clever to (get away with) hurting their wives, betraying their kids, etc.
“It’s beyond selfish and ignorant. I hope young men growing up today don’t have these old-fashioned chauvinistic ideas.
“My advice: Don’t get married if this is how you truly feel because you’re not ready yet and definitely not “man" enough.”
Reader #3 – “I feel badly that the woman writing to you suffered for so many years over the sexual harassment she endured from her husband's friend.
“I hope she now understands it was not her fault in any way, and she has nothing to be ashamed of.
“I welcome the day when people will stop being embarrassed because they’ve been sexually harassed, abused, or hit upon.”
I was in a seven-years-plus relationship with a married man. He constantly promised me he'd leave his wife.
He blamed me for everything that went wrong.
I caught him in so many lies that he’d manipulate his answers so that I was left wondering what I did wrong.
He’s a narcissist. I’m healing but it's taking time. This monster lied about everything that was real to us.
He lied about loving me. He shattered my dreams.
Please give victims of narcissists time to heal.
Only you can make sure you take that time to heal and use it proactively, since it won’t just happen by wishing it so.
According to psychiatric literature, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) includes behaviour characterized by, among other traits, “a lack of understanding of others' feelings,” plus “taking advantage of the people around them.”
I believe that getting therapy for yourself is essential for healing.
Tip of the day:
Speak up about an unwanted sexual advance immediately and out the aggressor.