• Keeping Friends

My Friend Dumped Me Because She Thinks I Made A Play For Her Husband

Published: November 23, 2011 | Last Updated: August 23, 2022 By | 13 Replies Continue Reading

A friend thinks her friend has made a play for her husband. The person accused seeks advice on how to repair the lost friendship.

QUESTION

Hi,

I’d known my friend and her husband for about twelve years. I had always got along with her husband and we went on a group holiday about three years ago and that’s when her husband and I became friendly. We had a lot in common and could laugh and joke about things. I thought we were genuine friends.

After we came back from holiday I admit that there was an attraction that had built up but I never would have acted on it; I really did love my friend. But I think my friend thought I made a play for her husband.

I knew he was slightly attracted to me as sometimes we flirted in banter. I couldn’t always tell if it was innocent touches or accidental but the point is: Yes, I knew there was an attraction but not one I would have ever acted upon.

Time passed and we all did a lot of group things — went diving, hiking holidays — and I had boyfriends on and off throughout it all. I have never ever been alone with her husband, and I don’t want you thinking I’m a harlot for having an attraction to a married man.

We’re all human and unfortunately, sometimes you feel attracted to the wrong person but you don’t have to act on it or allow it to ruin things. It is possible, well it was for me.

However, the point is that my friend stopped speaking to me and then told mutual friends that she thought I fancied her husband. Now, of course, I feel sad about the loss of her friendship. She was dear to me.

My issue is that her husband has said that I made a move on him and that’s why they feel it best to cut me off. Keep in mind that neither of them has had a conversation with me.

I have tried to contact her and say I’m sorry that he and I might have flirted but I would never have hurt her.

I respect her decision to not be in contact with me if she finds it troublesome but what I’m annoyed about is being painted in a manner that isn’t true. I never ever made a move on him, in fact, once I think he groped me a little and said he was drunk but I never made a thing about it. I have tried telling mutual friends that this isn’t true.

I accept responsibility for an attraction but feel hurt that they think I’m the wrong one. He gets away with it and plays the victim and I’m the one ostracized.

I sent a text to my former friend and said I wish we had been able to talk. I think she doesn’t have the full story but I respect her decision.

But what do I say now?

  • That your husband was just as much to blame?
  • Or she doesn’t care that her husband was flirting too?

She sees him as some innocent person and I was the predator? I’m really not. I have moved on but there is a friend’s New Year’s party that we are invited to. I want to go but think maybe I shouldn’t in case I get the scarlet letter painted
on me!

Has anyone been in a similar situation? What was your experience? How did you clear your name? Or you never did and the husband got away scot-free?

Is there ever any point in telling a married friend that you need to trust people more and if you feel threatened by every female who is close to your husband then there is something wrong in your marriage rather than friendship?

I’m moving to another country for a year soon for work so it all won’t affect me so much and we all get on with our lives but I’m just curious.

Signed, Painted the Villain

ANSWER

Dear Painted the Villain,

Losing two close, long-term friends at once leaves a void that has to be upsetting, especially since you are being blamed as the one solely responsible for the breakup.

I agree with you that there’s a big distinction between feeling attracted to someone and acting on those impulses (and making a play for her husband). However, as you describe this situation, you may have been too flirty with a married man who sounds like he’s a bit too frisky with his wife’s friends.

His groping of you, whether drunk or sober, clearly crossed the line and should have given you a reason to pause and question the innocent nature of his previous touches. After that, you should have stayed clear of any situation that might even appear to be compromising (touching him, flirting with him, being with him when he was drunk, etc.).

My guess is that this isn’t the only time he’s done something like this or that you are the only person he’s done it with.

Your post isn’t clear about when, or after what, your friend stopped speaking to you. Being married to a husband she doesn’t trust has to be very painful for your former friend.

If she felt uncomfortable about your relationship with her husband, she may have found it easier to blame you than him. Or if she discussed her feelings with him, he may have denied the nature of his involvement and blamed it on you. Yes, this is unfair but their marriage takes precedence, to them, over their friendship with you.

While you aren’t the problem between them, per se, and I don’t think you deserve to be cast as a “harlot” or home-wrecker,  you should have been more aware of your male friend’s wandering ways and your female friend’s feelings.

In terms of the New Year’s Eve party with mutual acquaintances, perhaps you should miss out on this one (if the ex-friend couple will be there) in deference to your ex-girlfriend’s feelings. Your friendship with her probably isn’t repairable. If they have assassinated your character with mutual friends, there is little you can do.

I would try to minimize discussions about this situation with all but very close friends. The friends worth keeping know you and will be able to assess the situation for what it is.

Hope this is helpful.

Irene

Read prior posts on the blog on the topic of friendship and flirting:

My friend, the flirt

What do you do when a good friend hits on your husband?

 

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (13)

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  1. Tammy says:

    I just think it’s icky to flirt with your friend’s husband. I’ve never flirted with ANYONE’s husband. I like quite a few of them too, we’re friendly and chat about things we’re both interested in (and I’m a totally guy’s gal, I love fishing, camping, etc). But never has it ever crossed the boundary into “flirting”. My ex husband had a best friend who very overtly flirted with me when he first met me and and I shut it right down. I wasn’t rude, I was just very grounded and treated him like the silly boy he was. Maybe some of you all have different definitions of flirting, but I just don’t see how it fits into a friendship setting. I have a best friend who is a notorious flirt and she NEVER flirted with my ex husband or my present significant other. We never even had to talk about it, it was just understood.

  2. Rose says:

    Innocent touches, huh? Why would my friend’s husband always touch me innocently? Once, ok, twice, move away, thrice, of course you know what is happening. I once had a friend whose husband chose to praise me to his wife constantly. I had nothing to do with that, he just had issues with his wife and chose to highlight what I was doing vis-a-vis what she was doing (something of passive agressive behaviour). I am a homebody whereas she is a social butterfly and he chose to keep telling her why she cant be home like me. I had nothing to do with the situation, we were neighbours after all so they could see my comings and goings. Instead of the wife dealing with the husband, she chose to be bitchy to me instead of dealing with the husband. To date we dont speak with her.

    Having said that, as individuals we tend to be kind to ourselves. That playful banter you may have been having with him may have been hurting to the wife to watch. I am married and we do have friends of both sexes and they do not generally raise any alarms with me. However there is one particular girl I caught gazing at my husband (we were in church!!). Shortly afterward, she invites him for a drink, him alone and it was made out that it was innocent as she is a relative of my husband’s brother. Of course, I put paid to that idea. My point is that perhaps you thought you were keeping your attraction in check but you really werent. maybe you made comments to him which could have been interpreted both innocent or not. Or maybe, he had an affair which started out as friendship.

    Sorry on this one, I am not entirely convinced of your innocence. Ever watch someone with a crush pretending they dont have a crush. Perhaps your behaviour was not exactly above board.

    I am not excusing the husband. I dont think much of him, putting his wife in that awkward position, flirting with friends but this post is about you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Seriously? If a marriage is that fragile that simple talking, even light flirting, is enough to cause havoc like this, then it’s bound to dissolve soon anyway. I don’t mind when people flirt with my husband..hello, it is just flirting! But then again, he is French and I guess I have adopted their ways. Flirting is really not a big deal. Honestly, people who are that insecure give me the creeps.

    • LEXY says:

      People that have no sense of what respect is give me the creeps. It sounds to me like Anonymouos needs flirting in her life to validate her self worth. Whats tragic isn’t the boundaries people set but your evident need for attention due to the fact your husband is “French” and flirts with all. If that weren’t the case you wouldn’t post as “Anonymous”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I really think there has to be something going on in the marriage to where outside things can ever become a ‘threat’. Clearly the threat would be that the husband in question is not strong enough not to ever stray or might easily be attracted to other females or even cheat. Perhaps he is very insecure and looks for validation outside of the marriage. There is always something up with flirtations of married men. Either they just want to see if they still ‘have it’ or there is more going on. I do believe some flirting can be harmless and some flirting might not be. I have been naive too and did not realize that laughing a lot with a man and joking around with him was actually flirting too. I thought we were just people having a fun time, sharing the same sense of humor. What I did not know at the time was that it can be a way to manipulate a person too and try to get her on your wavelength. It can be an escape or an attempt for a ‘way out’, perhaps a way out of the repetetiveness or arguements that can come with marriage. Usually, the married couple really have some things to work out. It’s best to stay away and let them figure it out. I had to find that out the hard way, cause the guy I had an affair with certainly and unfortunately did not have any true feelings for me. Rosetta, learn from this and know that these things can become more than innocent at any time, but you certainly should not feel guilty for feeling attraction towards someone. It’s what we are programmed to feel!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Your story made me cry. I too felt very deeply about someone who was involved with another woman and when we were together as friends, it really did feel as if it was just the 2 of us. I cherished small things. It was a mistake what I did or ended up doing with him and it was very painful for me, but I still don’t fully regret it either. We are all humans and feeling genuine attraction… it happens. Sometimes it is absolutely mutual too. Distance is best, yes. I always used to jokingly tell him “Gosh why don’t u have a twin brother!”

    Now I know better and he is not for me. All he ever allowed himself to feel for me was sexual. To be really honest, if I had the chance to steal him away I would have. I was not friends with his girlfriend. Sometimes attraction can be strong. It’s human nature. We are programmed for this and I thought I was strong enough, but I wasn’t. It hurt me a lot, but I still don’t regret it. Funny.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to go off an a slight tangent but just the word married man and feelings made me remember something.
    When I was 18, I had a huge crush on a family friend. He was my mums age so about twenty years older. He was married with two children. At 18 though, I never thought about the wife and kids, I just knew I had a massive crush on him and looked forward to seeing him when they visited my family home. I probably crushed on him for about two years.
    It was my uncles wedding one time and I had the camcorder out and filmed him and teased him on camera about silly things. Nothing inappropriate but remember my heart flutterring everytime he was near.

    Absolutely nothing ever happened. They sort of drifted out of our lives and eventually we learnt they had split and he had moved out and was living somewhere far. I remember the burst of excitment at a young age thinking- maybe I could finally give him a kiss on the cheek if I ever saw him again.
    We never did. A year later we heard that he had died. He had a brain tumour and well….. I was devastated and had never told anyone of the crush.

    Years later, a part of me thinks sometimes, i wish i had just told him that i thought he was lovely and even if he gave me a kiss on the cheek or a hug- i would have cherished it.

    Im not condoing affairs or anything fo the sort but just that feelings have a way of taking you over. And well, its always nice when someone likes you.

    Rosettas situations is obviously completely different- but only that its hard being attracted to someone unavailable and try as you might, your heart sometimes wins doesnt it. Distance is best yes.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s peculiar why he did that to you? Now I’m curious to know what happened. You were obviously friends and must have been important to them. What happened between husband and wife … Well you’ll never know.

    Any insights anyone?

    I do think it’s a strange reaction of him unless he didn’t say anything and your friend suspected and confirmed his attraction to you and tore him apart and got rid of you.

    Surely it wasn’t easy for her either.

    You tried to contact her and she ignored it…something had to have happened and to keep their marriage intact, frankly honey you’re the better sacrifice. Marriage is always more important

  8. WonderWhy says:

    Thanks for responding Rosetta. I think we all had good intentions towards you with our posts. I know I was hard on you with my belief that one shouldn’t flirt with a friend’s significant other but it’s what I believe and practice, so that’s where I was coming from. I can certainly see why your struggle happened based on your follow up post because you thought the flirting was harmless without knowing what your friend’s husbands intentions were with his inappropriate groping. Flirting is never harmless; otherwise it would have another name and meaning. Flirting always leads to the same outcome; the flirter gets attention from their target whether they want it or not. Which is why I was so adamant in my posts that flirting with a friend’s significant other is not appropriate because the outcome is never good for any involved. Not thinking ahead of time about the consequences is the reason you got into trouble with your friend and her husband, I think because you were so relaxed. And although you may not have verbalized your attraction to her husband, there’s no question he picked up on your cues because that’s what happens. I think that’s where people get into trouble when they let their guard down without taking into account the other person’s personality etc. It’s unfortunate that your experience led to the demise of your long friendship. The silver lining of this experience to take with you is that now you have more awareness of your actions so that you can hopefully avoid this dilemma in the future, and realize that flirting with someone’s significant other will never lead to a good outcome.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hello,
    This is Rosetta. I didn’t realise the reaction to my post until now. Thank you for all the comments. I have read each and every one.
    I understand the strong reaction of some by saying you should never flirt with a married man. I too agree. And I never thought I would and still never would intentionally. That might sound odd after my post but I never set out to flirt ever with attached men. I’m not even a natural flirt.
    I hated the fact that I found myself attracted to him and went by sheer instinct that maybe he felt it too. It was nothing that we discussed and our chatter was never sexual or filled with any innuendo. I thought maybe it is harmless flirting because I felt the attraction. I can’t describe because perhaps it just doesn’t make sense until you are in that situation. He didn’t have wandering ways; he was very serious and never flirted with anyone so that’s why when he laughed and joked with me, I thought maybe it’s the attraction stroke harmless flirting.
    The last time I saw them together, it was a big group meal that went fine. The last time I saw her, a few of us female friends went for a shopping trip and lunch and it went well. Nothing happened which was why I was so dumbstruck . A then mutual friend told me all this and I tried to defend myself but I guess mostly bit my tongue as I felt the guilt of the attraction and wracked my brain in what I could have done that he could possibly have construed as a ‘move on him’. I came up with nothing, as I said; I have never ever touched him or been alone with him.
    He only ever ‘touched’ me that one time he was drunk and that was over a year and half ago. I was surprised that he did it but he had never touched me before or after that so I dismissed it at the time. That was the only time we ‘touched’ -when he had a bit of a feel. Any other accidental/innocent touches were a brush of an arm or a sharp poke or tap on the head. Playground stuff. And if there was no attraction- I wouldn’t even notice. That’s why I was so hurt that he had accused me of making an actual move on him and that’s why my friend thought I fancied him and that’s why they wanted me out of their lives. I couldn’t understand why he would say that. It’s like the attraction was some deep, dark, hidden secret inside of myself that I thought could stay there and decay there – and magically like truth serum, he unearthed it and decided he wanted rid of me so used it against me. That sounds irrational but that’s what it felt like at the time. I thought I had been a good friend to her and him all these years.
    The guilt of my attraction said sorry and accepted my friend’s decision to not have me around but I tried to say to her that I didn’t make a move on him, that I would never intentionally hurt her. She meant a lot to me.
    It’s peculiar because you think that you have the attraction under control, that you think you’re not flirting, or its just banter. That it will fade. In hindsight I was just naive and should have just stayed away from him… but seriously, you don’t think that at the time. You just don’t want to lose your friends over something that feels trivial to you.
    I didn’t speak to anyone about this- and mostly left that circle of friends entirely. I didn’t want to hurt her- it was obvious she was upset if she believed I touched her husband but I can’t help thinking that there was something in their relationship that made them behave that way towards me. I wished she had responded to my attempts of contacting her so I could explain at least if it was the last thing I ever said to her. I felt the mutual friends thought of me as someone ‘’dangerous’’ to their marriages and I felt like somewhat of a pariah. The one friend who has invited me to the party has been the only one who kept in touch and never said a word to me. At this point, I’m not even mad at the others as if they believe it to be true then they feel they are justified. It’s sad but there doesn’t appear to be much I can do.
    I am leaving soon so I suppose it’s the end of the chapter. I was curious as I had never shared this story with anyone and had any advice. I won’t go to the party. You’re right. No point opening old wounds.
    Rosetta

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree with everything Irene has said. I also think that getting out of the country is such a great opportunity! I know that when I get away even for a weekend, I get a better perspective on things. Sadly, we can’t control what others do or say, and I’m sure I would be very hurt if I were in your situation. But I think your future actions will define your integrity, not the things your former friends are saying about you.

  11. Irene says:

    Sounds like you handled it so well and your advice to others is very sound. Happy Thanksgiving! Irene

  12. Anonymous says:

    What a great response!

    I have had a close friendship with a woman since we went to high school together in another state. We are now in our 40’s and live near each other in a large city. We are both married, me happily, her not so much. If I had been asked to choose a life partner for my friend, her husband would not have been on the short list. Before they married he broke up with her three times and while he didn’t, to my knowledge, ever act on his wandering eye, his ogling other women was so over the top I wanted to put horse blinders on him.

    The problem with my childhood friend came when after a decade of knowing one another, her husband Mr. Googly Eyes suddenly decided that he found me extremely appealing. The old proximity law of attraction. When we got together as a foursome he would start commenting on my looks or my hair or my sense of style. He asked my friend to contact me and ask me for the name of my hairstylist and colorist. He asked me to take her shopping to update her wardrobe. He would come up behind me and rub my back, bow elaborately in my presence and ask my husband in front of his wife, “What’s it like being married to blah-blah hmmm?” Both my husband and I were mortified and I would tell him him each and every time that he was being absurd and to knock it off. I felt embarrassed for my friend who would sit in silence and stare at the floor during this buffoonery. I made sure to clearly show her without coming right out and saying it that I thought her husband was being a clod. Despite my efforts, she started being hostile towards me. She was often cold and antagonistic and would poke at me around something her husband had complimented or his requests to me to make her over.

    I was clearly not the guilty party in this strange situation, but I think my friend felt powerless. I suspect she thinks her husband is a dog but they have two small children now and it probably felt more comfortable for her to let out some of her pain on me than to confront her husband and create a wider rift in her marriage. It hurts me that she directs her anger at me, but I also understand that she feels she is operating from a position of weakness with him with two babies and now having cut back her job to part-time

    I would never cheat because I love my husband. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have married him nor would I stay married to him. However, If I were the cheating kind I think I could cast my line further than my friend’s mate in any case and certainly understand that a man who acts as he does is not a good candidate for a sustainable relationship.

    These kinds of triangulations are tricky, but Irene is absolutely right about the tendency to be loyal to a mate over a friend. If you become the target of an overzealous flirt who happens to be married to a good friend, I think the best you can do is to show your friend in some way that you have compassion for her and that your loyalty is to her and that her husband’s inappropriate overtures are lost on you. Whether or not your friend appreciates your loyalty, you keep your integrity intact.

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