“You looked so sexy last night, I could simply go home with you.”
“Why did you marry that oaf? You can do better. Trust me.”
“There are a lot of things you & I can do. Wanna know what I’m thinking?” *wink*
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And these are just a few text messages he sent me. Apart from these, there were so many other things that confirmed my doubts. I sat there feeling like a fool because how hadn’t I not noticed this before now? It had been happening all along, and I had simply dismissed it as his regular harmless flirting.
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He was like that with most women he knew, so I thought it was charming for a man to have a way with women like he did. It was different. He could talk to any woman he wanted and sweep her off her feet. He didn’t have to try too hard; it just came to him. Women were also easily drawn to him; it was as if he were a lady magnet. Also, what helped his cause was his good looks. Being tall, tan, and with a great body fetched him a lot of attention from women all over.
When I first met him, my husband (who had been my boyfriend then) had warned me that his best friend was a ladies’ man and that I should be careful of him. He had chuckled when he had said that; and my inhibitions took a back seat when I finally met him. Because he instantly put me at ease, made me feel like I was his best friend. Got me into conversations I thoroughly enjoyed, and made me giggle like a schoolgirl. I had concluded that he was a ‘harmless flirt’. Women usually like the type, and I was no exception. I liked him instantly. There was no doubt.
Putting his arm around me, gently touching my cheeks, playing with my hair were things he did even in front of my husband. Everyone knew that’s how he’d behave with any woman. I didn’t mind, not in the beginning at least. Then something happened that changed the way I felt. The constant staring, the messaging, speaking in riddles, and trying to touch me and get close to me confirmed my doubts that, yes, my husband’s best friend is hitting on me.
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One morning, he showed up at my house unannounced while my husband was away and stayed over for lunch by inviting himself. It wouldn’t have been awkward if it had happened were a few months ago. I would have simply treated him like any other friend. However, as the conversation progressed, he made several suggestive remarks, he couldn’t keep his hands off me, and I felt more than a bit uncomfortable. It was like he was wooing me and it was strange because he was who he was and I was me.
He was my husband’s best friend, and I was married.
My heart still said that he couldn’t have possibly done anything stupid with me lest he bear the consequences from my man and ruin their 20-year-old friendship!
Nonetheless, he carried on with the same demeanor and it was really getting to me. I felt like something was crawling on my skin. A feeling I was definitely not comfortable with. It had to stop – stat. I didn’t know how I was gonna stop it, but it had to stop. I knew very well that my husband would be torn between his love for me and his bond with his best friend. So I decided to take matters into my own hands.
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So first things first. I let this particular incident go, and began mentally preparing for what I wanted to tell him. He left soon after lunch that day, but I knew he would come back again. I had to be prepared for such an eventuality because I didn’t want to get caught off guard again. I had to keep my husband apprised that his friend wasn’t just being himself with me, that there was more to it.
I wanted to confront him, but I knew very well that a confrontation wouldn’t help in this scenario. What if he just denied the whole thing and said I was imagining things? I knew very well, this wasn’t my imagination but I just didn’t know how to go about it. So, I came up with an idea. Firstly, I decided to take several steps to drop hints for him to back off. Then, if that didn’t work, I knew I had no other option than to confront him in front of my husband. But that was the worse-case scenario. Deep inside I was hoping it didn’t come to that.
Suggested read: I had an affair with my married teacher when I was 16…
Here’s what I did:
1. Using diplomacy
Earlier, I would either blush or simply laugh off his flirtations. But now, I became a little more aware of what he was saying or doing and I started dealing with him in a very diplomatic manner. I gave him formal responses to each of his suggestive remarks. At times, I did have to snub him, which I did with great poise. Soon, he began losing interest in me and would say I was being ‘a prim school teacher.’
2. Having a strong reaction
What I mean is, the last time he said I looked ‘ravishing and sexy,’ I simply smiled and said, “I’m flattered. But you could have said I look nice and it wouldn’t have made me feel awkward.” So, you catch the drift?
3. Using sarcasm
On a couple of occasions, when he still wouldn’t stop hitting on me, I had to resort to sarcasm to drive my point home. Taunting and a little bit of shaming did work. Sometimes I simply put it out in the open that he was being ‘creepy,’ or annoying me with his ‘unnecessary affection.’
4. By showing
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So when I knew he was watching me, I’d simply hold my husband’s arm and squeeze it a little, rest my head on his shoulder or do things that would show him that I was being affectionate to my husband and that I wasn’t interested in him at all.
5. Ignoring him
After a point, I simply started ignoring him. I just wouldn’t react to anything he’d say or do. Simply acted like I didn’t hear or understand what he meant. That ultimately put him off, and I was able to get rid of his unwanted and unwarranted advances.
It did take some time until my methods started showing results though. It was hard in the beginning, because he was my husband’s best friend after all. A very delicate situation to be in, because I knew I would risk being laughed at, if I had brought this up in a group. I would have been termed as a silly and imaginative woman. But my womanly instincts kept telling me that this wasn’t just mere ‘harmless’ flirting. He sure was making advances at me, he was hitting on me, and I was uncomfortable. A woman enjoys attention only up to a point where she is comfortable. This man here had crossed those lines, and I wasn’t going to simply sit down and let him be.
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Then one day, I opened up to my husband and told him everything. Everything that I felt, the things his friend said to me, did to me, and how it had creeped me out. And the things I did to keep him at bay without his knowledge. Surprisingly, he understood my plight and appreciated my thoughtfulness in not confronting his friend and making a mess but for dealing with it in the most effective, intelligent, and mature way. A way in which no one was hurt and the issue was addressed by me driving the point home – once and for all.
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Ever since, our relationship with this friend still stands, but now he doesn’t do the silly things he used to with me. We still hang out as much as before and nothing has changed on that front. But now he maintains his distance with me which I really appreciate. The messages have stopped, the touching has reduced drastically, and the suggested comments have disappeared too.
So, I’d like to tell every woman out there who is reading this post to go with your instincts and do what is right for you. When someone makes you feel uncomfortable, you have every right to tell them to stop. Don’t simply accept anything that comes your way, don’t keep quiet. The person making you uncomfortable may or may not be aware of their actions, but it is only right that you inform them. If you can’t do it directly, adopt subtle ways and make your point clear.
When we fail to address such concerns, people end up taking advantage of us. Don’t let that happen. Stand up for yourself, it may be hard in the beginning to make everyone believe what you are going through, but don’t let that hold you back. If you don’t enjoy something, you have every right to express your feeling and make it stop.
Featured image source: Today’sWomanNow