• Resolving Problems

A disturbing encounter with another couple

May 4, 2016 | By | 26 Replies Continue Reading
A woman asks how to handle her friendship with another couple and whether the woman, a psychologist, is acting professionally.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

My husband and I are rather recent friends of a couple. The woman happens to be a psychologist. I understand from our other friends who made the introduction that she handles very difficult cases such as sexual abuse.

As we are getting to know both of them I’ll call them X-her and P-him, I’m discovering that X has a tendency to psychoanalyze just about everything. She asks many, many prying questions. Although at first, I do realize that this is what we go through when we are just getting to know someone, I do find her questions to be a bit much because then she begins to theorize. Additionally, she seldom reveals the same information about herself. P, her partner is a rather humble and quiet guy. She is an extrovert and flamboyant.

There’s an added element to this new friendship. She and my husband are from the same foreign country. So they exchange and joke the way people of this country do, which at times can include some vulgar expressions. So in other words, they have their own connection in that way.

The other night X and P were in our home for a visit. She brought up the subject of films, of which she is a fanatic. We’ve gone to see films with them. At some point, she asked my husband if he’s been in some films, (he’s a performer), and he said, “Yes.” She asked him which ones, etc., and he was beginning to tell her. Out of nowhere, she said to both of us, “Maybe you guys should make a porno film, I can just see you (my husband), hanging from that lamp, to which she pointed, and I can see you (me), lying on your back on the dining room table.

I must tell you, that I was quite unprepared for such a comment. It made my hairs stand on end. Her partner P was sitting on the couch but said absolutely nothing. I’ve witnessed that in their relationship, she says many shocking things, and he just never seems to mind. He’s quite passive as it relates to her being very overbearing.

I really didn’t respond to this at all. I may have muttered under my breath something like, “WHAT?” But that was all. Meanwhile, my husband, laughed, and rather went along with this stupid remark. He said something like, directing the comment to me, “You see, people are doing this kind of thing, blah di blah.” Well, as if the comment in and of itself weren’t bad enough, now my husband basically was okay with this.

Well, I felt quite violated in my own home by her comment. I’m of a mature age, and so is this couple. I’m not given to so-called trends, as my husband tried to imply by his response. Plus anything having to do with our sexual life, I consider very, very private and sacred.

X has shown also that she is a big one upper, in our recent friendship. Honestly, I can’t believe she works as a psychologist, either. Does this not go against a professional grain of sorts?

Could you please give me some advice as to how to handle someone like this? I’d really appreciate it.

Signed, Nadine

ANSWER

Hi Nadine,

It sounds like you are asking for a reality check:

  • Whatever someone’s profession (whether the person is a psychologist, medical doctor, lawyer or anything else), it is uncomfortable to feel like the person you just met is interrogating you with intrusive questions. You are not this woman’s patient; your relationship is social. This is inappropriate social behavior.
  • That this couple comes from another country doesn’t excuse their use of vulgar, shocking or provocative language in your home. You probably should have expressed your discomfort at the time although I can imagine that you were stunned at this encounter.

You haven’t offered any reason why you would want to be friends with this couple. To the contrary, the woman seems very off-putting and her values seem to be discrepant from your own. Since this is a new friendship, you should consider ending it immediately.

I’m not sure what your husband’s motivations may have been in “laughing it off.” Perhaps, he was as speechless and uncomfortable as you were. But you infer that he may have been amenable to X’s proposal. If this is the case, you need to make your feelings crystal clear to him.

While this woman’s behavior may not be consider acceptable professionally, your issue with her is a social one than a professional.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: Friends with different ethics, RESOLVING PROBLEMS

Comments (26)

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  1. lua says:

    Yeah, I would drop those people like a hot potato. I would rather spend time alone than be with people like that. Clearly these people are not a good match. Its unfortunate when trying to meet new people that this stuff happens.

  2. Nadine says:

    Beth Anne,

    It does take time to get to know people. I try and be open to new friendships, but yes….if people show other colors were not into, well thats different. Thanks so much for your input on this, and am distancing.

    Nadine

  3. Lynn says:

    The same thing happened to us with a couple we met and had already gone out to dinner with once. At the time, I laughed it off, feeling very uncomfortable and tried not to show it. We were at their home for dinner, by the way.
    At some point in time, I realized they were checking us out for swinging. We gave no positive responses to their unbelievable remarks. They contacted us several times after that evening to get together, and we ignored them.
    Now it’s our best anecdote when meeting new couples!

    • Nadine says:

      Lynn,

      This situation you’ve described must have been so uncomfortable for you.
      Honestly, I don’t seem to get this feeling from this couple. The guy is actually rather on the very humble and shy side. I know for a fact that he seems to suffer from having been in a previous marriage, and there’s some sticky residue going on as a result from that. He appears to be totally enamored of his current woman, loud mouth. She, I know for a fact just doesn’t have a filter, and actually I know she enjoys being the center of attention. In this way, this also includes saying things for shock value’s sake.

      After this incident, I spoke with the other mutual friend who introduced us. She had some things to say to that end about her behavior.

      This would be a great anecdote for sure.

      Thank you for commenting,
      Nadine

  4. Deborah says:

    I think sometimes when people are highly sexual, they make these explicit comments inappropriately. My husband does this, inspite of my telling him it is inappropriate and embarrassing. It would help if someone else had the courage to call him on it. With only me responding, he chalks it up to repression on my part.

    • Nadine says:

      Deborah,

      I completely understand what you have said here, about your husband making embarrassing remarks.
      This woman likes to present herself definitely as a highly sexual person, especially the way she dresses.
      You have hit the nail on the head, about his chalking it up to repression instead of very bad taste.

      Thank you,
      Nadine

  5. Maddie says:

    These weirdos are vetting you for swinging. The husband knows exactly what is going on. Distance yourself.

    • Nadine says:

      Maddie,

      Do you think this is what’s going on? That really didn’t occur to me.
      This couple is in mid-life, or may be early seniors. I’m a believer also that mid life crises
      can manifest in a variety of ways, people blatantly talking about sex, in inappropriate circumstances is one of them. It could be true also, who knows, and this made me laugh!

      Thanks Maddie,
      Nadine

  6. Nadine says:

    Irene,

    Thank you so much for the advice about this dilemma. I really appreciate it.
    Well we met this couple through other very nice friends of ours. Geographically speaking,
    they don’t live too far away. X invited us to some film festivals, which my husband and I like to attend, so we did, and just to meet other people.

    Thank you so much for your input on the topic, and I have now distanced myself from them since this meeting.

    Really appreciated,
    Nadine

  7. lottie says:

    Hello,

    First off I agree with Grace,turn the question round and ask what about you. I have done that in the past with people if they question too much.

    She is rude making you feel uncomfortable in your own home.Your husband probably couldn’t think of anything else to say so laughed it off.

    If she thinks she is clever showing off she isn’t.

    You ask what to do. Drop them immediately she is not in your class.She is cheap.What I would have done is open the door for them and said good night. You don’t need their company. Take care. Lottie

    • Nadine says:

      Completely agreed, Lottie she crossed my boundaries.
      My husband……I wasn’t exactly sure why he reacted this way.
      But sometimes, these bizarre encounters don’t seem to phase him.
      He like she, are total extroverts. I noticed after our second meeting that she enjoys making provocative statements. Now I know.

      Thank you for your input.

      Nadine

  8. GraceW says:

    Without commenting on the entire post, I will say one of the fastest ways to shut down questions where you feel the person isn’t sharing the same information about herself is (1) give a vague, flippant reply and then (2) ask “And what about you?” at the end.

    Q: How much money do you earn?
    A: Oh, enough that we’re not homeless. [Insert laugh here]. And what about you?

    Q: Don’t you like to cook homemade meals?
    A: Cooking? Oh honey, I cook as little as possible. [Insert laugh here]. What about you?

    I’ve found this often shuts down really nosy people fast.

    • Nadine says:

      Grace,

      This is a good idea. I guess if I were to be around her in a general social way, (like they attending same event), which is a possibility since we have mutual friends, I’m going to have to remember to do this, if we cross paths.

      Thank you for your advice.

      Nadine

  9. Lovey says:

    I completely agree with the other comments.

    It is understandable that you put up with this woman’s overbearing nature at first since you felt the little ethnic jokes she shared with your husband was entertaining for him. Now that you have spent more time together, her off-putting qualities seem to be coming out more and more. You probably would not have become friendly with them if this was her behaviour when you first met, so I see no reason to continue seeing this couple. (and may I add … her poor husband!!)

    Sometimes people make those kind of “edgy and off-colour” comments just to see the reaction of others, and would have no real interest in pursuing them, but then again, you don’t always know their motivation. I hope your husband’s reaction to the porno conversation was just going along with her because he was too shocked to think of something else to say. You would probably feel better if you cleared that up with him first. That conversation should clear the path to discussing whether to see these people again at all.

    • Nadine says:

      Lovey,

      First of all, I posted something to you, intended for Mrs. Chen, sorry about that.

      Yes, now that she’s shown that she’s willing to be rude, brings up the question whether I’d want to further get involved with someone like this. She definitely likes to make “edgy and off-coloured remarks.
      Thank you for your advice.

      Nadine

  10. Mrs. Chen says:

    Personally, I don’t find the woman’s comments disturbing. Americans tend to be very puritanical when it comes to sexual matters. So the fact that she comes from another country probably explains why what is normal to her is coming across as “disturbing” to you. Your husband, being from the same country, probably found her comments normal and fun.

    In any case, as others have said, you should end this friendship right away. You and the woman clearly have different humor and values. You’ll never get along. So why waste everyone’s time.

    • Someone says:

      The author never said she was American. Why would you assume that?

    • Mrs.Chen, says:

      Mrs. Chen,

      This doesn’t have so much to do with the fact about any ethnicity, nor what country a person is from.
      I found it to be rather a complete invasion of my privacy, and lowering my relationship w/my husband to a bad joke of sorts. Quit stereotyping, because when the doors are shut you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.

      Nadine

      • Mrs. Chen says:

        Nadine,
        I realize that what I said wasn’t what you wanted to hear. But this is an open forum and you have to expect different opinions.
        I am sure you agree with me that it has something to do with ethnicity and country of origin — otherwise, you wouldn’t have mentioned it in your original letter. AND, it is why your husband was not offended, while you were.
        And if I am “stereotyping” you, it was just a happy smart guess on my part. And I guess I was right!
        In any case, like I said, you should just drop this friend. You obviously have nothing in common.

        • Lovey says:

          Thank you Mrs. Chen.
          This is not about that I don’t want to hear something or people’s opinions just because they differ to mine. I wouldn’t have posted this question if I felt like that.

          Maybe to YOU it appears that ethnicity/country matters. I still say, that this for ME was offensive because of the privacy and personalizing issue. That’s all.

          Nadine

          • Mrs. Chen says:

            Yes, Nadine, I absolutely KNOW that country of origin matters. I am an immigrant to this country. I KNOW, it matters. And that is why I always try to be more forgiving when I know someone didn’t grow up in this culture.
            But if you don’t think that different cultures make for different understanding of norms, then I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

            • Irene says:

              This conversation has gotten personal, contentious, and unhelpful. Please end it here. It’s not helpful to the original poster or anyone else.

              Thanks! Irene

  11. Beth Anne says:

    Oh my, I totally agree with Irene! This friendship is relatively new, and if I were you, I would back away from it as quickly and cleanly as possible. It sounds to me like you’re uncomfortable with it, and I think you have every reason to be. Trust your instincts. If the woman is this bold and off-putting early on, I cannot imagine that things will get any better. And her porno film comment is truly inappropriate and scary.

    So I’d avoid initiating any more contact with the couple. If they contact you about getting together, you should politely decline and say you’re busy. After a while, they will get the hint. As Irene says, I would also talk over your concerns with your husband.

    • Beth Anne says:

      I meant to add in my first comment that I also believe it takes lots of time to really get to know people, because we’re mostly on our “best behavior” when we start hanging out with new friends. Sometimes you have to take a chance.

      It took my husband and me a year or so before we realized that we were no as comfortable with a best friend’s husband. He was nice when we first met him, but his true colors showed up later on and we didn’t want to spend as much time with them as a couple. All in all, I believe we all have a right to change our minds about people — and we shouldn’t feel we “have to” be friends with everyone who wants our friendship, especially if we feel uncomfortable with them.

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