Her Husband, The Jerk

Last weekend I went to a dear friend’s birthday party. It was held in her big, fabulous house in the suburbs.  It being in the suburbs is relevant only because that’s where I’m most likely to find parties made up of all couples…and me. Actually there were two other single women there, but we were a mere blip amongst the 20 or so couples. Or maybe we weren’t a blip; maybe it was more like a beacon.

Shortly after I arrived, a guy approached me. He was handsome and smiling and I thought, “Oh, birthday girl invited a single guy for me.  How nice.”  We chatted for quite awhile, flirting a bit, and laughing about his day and mine, and various and sundry life events. He was especially interested in my book, The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree, and asked lots of questions about my experiences as a single woman.

Then, his WIFE wandered over.   I guess he forgot to mention her.  At no time in our lengthy conversation did he mention a wife…or his kids. It didn’t even occur to me to ask if he was married because surely a married man wouldn’t monopolize my time so blatantly, right?  Silly me.

What’s worse is that Wife is a woman with whom I am friendly. Awkward. The three of us chatted for a few more minutes and then I excused myself.  Brazenly, he continued to show up wherever I happened to be.  He clearly saw no reason for us not to continue interacting…though I did. I wasn’t interested in spending lots of time with my friend’s husband.  I was conscious of how it might feel to her and look to others. So I avoided him.  Or tried to.

On the dance floor, I felt someone come up behind me, grab my waist and grind his pelvis into my backside. I turned around, shocked to see it was Douchebag Husband!

I’m still pissed at myself for only pushing him away and moving to another part of the dance floor. Here’s what I wished  I’d done:  Slapped him. Yelled “WTF are you doing?” Snatched him by his collar and said “How dare you touch me that way!”  Any one of those would have me feeling better right now.  But I did none of those because I knew what followed would have changed the tone of the evening. I didn’t want to make a scene at my friend’s birthday party. I didn’t want to embarrass his wife. And I was also cognizant of the fact that this very thing is the reason lots of married women don’t want single women in the social mix: we cause trouble…even when it’s not our fault.  We are the dreaded femme fatales.

And I really do believe it was my being single that made him think he could behave that way with me. If he had been interested in one of the married women at the party, I truly think he would have approached her differently. Like many men, he apparently thinks a single woman is desperate…and perhaps a little loose… and would welcome a blatantly and inappropriately sexual move.

And at that moment I also realized why his wife –a lovely women– drinks so much. And she’s a sad drunk. And clearly she has reason to be.

It’ll be interesting what happens the next time I see him.  How do you think I should handle it?


NOTE: The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree—  is available here and  here, and on Amazon.

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24 Responses to Her Husband, The Jerk

  1. Nissa says:

    What to do if you saw him again? On one hand, he already knows he was wrong and inappropriate, so telling him that is pointless, unless you feel that venting it will make you feel better. In my mind, whatever you feel you need to do, to not be victimized by him, is appropriate. (Whether he knows you or not, grabbing or groping someone against their will is not just inappropriate… it’s a crime…which can be prosecuted). While it is probably sufficient to steer clear of him when feasible, if he approaches you again, I’d tell him that you intend to press charges for any further action, and that he’s going to get to explain that one to his wife, kids and business associates. His self interest should keep him, far far away from you after that.

  2. daphne says:

    Nothing makes me madder than when I’m talking to a man and apropos of nothing he tells me, “I’m married”. It’s a sad life we all live when random conversation between strangers can’t be enjoyed.

    If I’m laughing,smiling and being witty with a man I am not having a private conversation in my brain about bedding and wedding the guy. I’m not that simple or shallow to size up every man like that.

    • Nissa says:

      I used to get irritated by this because I thought the man in question was implying that I was acting inappropriately or was “on the make”. It’s actually not that. It’s that, in a man’s mind, this comment is not appros of nothing. It’s a function of the fact that he is, in fact, being a gentleman. He’s attracted to you, so he is reminding himself, “hey, I’m married/taken…I don’t want to hurt my wife, so I will let this person know I’m not available for fun”. Also he is wanting to let you know right away, so you don’t feel tricked about his intentions. With that out of the way, you can then have a lovely, respectful conversation…isn’t that nice?

  3. Kath says:

    Poor you, and your poor friend too. I hope she surrounds herself withpeople who treat her nicer than the man she married. Sounds like you did a very right thing – the only addition could have been to say something quietly to him about the appalling way he was treating his wife, that she didn’t deserve it (no-one does), but if he was really drunk this too could have escalated. Sigh. People not respecting each other. Glad you got through it relatively unscathed!

  4. Thanks for sharing this eye-opening post.

    (btw, I just found you – I'm a fellow BlogHer blogger!)

    Rock on sister!

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  6. pinkfeatherboa says:

    As a divorced and child-free woman I have experienced things very similar to this. Recently I had a married male acquaintance approach me wanting to “discuss” divorce as supposedly he and his wife are seeking one. We had a lengthy talk where he poured out his heart about how miserable he and his wife are together. I was very polite yet purposely remained distant as he is only an acquaintance. I gave him my attorney's information and wished him luck. As I began to leave the concert were we had run into each other(we share several mutual friends and there was a large group of us in attendance, minus his wife of course) he looked at me with a shocked look on his face and said, “Well aren't you coming back to my hotel room with me tonight?! I told you I was in an unhappy marriage!”. I was so infuriated that he had attempted to play my emotions so that I would sleep with him that I now avoid any event where there is even a chance he might be in attendance. I gave him NO inclination whatsoever that I was open to ANYONE'S advances, let alone a married man's.

  7. lauren says:

    If you did address it with him later, he'd probably act as if he didn't know what you were talking about. As if it didn't happen. Do it if you'll feel better, though. Effed up situation.

    I can see why you didn't want to ruin Betty's birthday buy acting out as you wanted to. That would have been awful. But its probably the only thing that stops that kind of isht from men.

  8. Anonymous says:

    That's why i always have an imaginary boyfriend and a fake wedding band on my wallet all the time it help a lot.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Aunt Danny….address it with him. I had something like this happen 35 years ago with a girlfriends husband. I told him to leave my house the first time, he did…but has continued to try over the years. I have ignored it every time and of course it makes it awkward when I'm with her. I just received an invitation to their 40th anniversary and they are going to renew their vows…….I feel bad for her, but what good would it do for her to know?! I can't attend because I will be out of town. What a mess. But, yes your “friend” won't give up. You may have to slap him up side the head!

  10. Aunt Danny says:

    After he brushed up on you, you should have told him in no uncertain terms that he is never to do that again. It is disrespectful to both you and his wife. And of course you have to make sure when you say it, it's safe and that the wife or no one else can overhear. At some point he needs to know you do not approve, and since you say the three of you know each other, chances are you will meet again and this incident left unaddressed may make him think he can try again. Aunt Danny

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am in a country, not the US, where single women are even more at disadvantage and there is gender segregation or separation even sometimes at events like dinners. I am a mature women who knows her way around, and I don't know which is worse, an acquaintance female who sees hanky panky on the part of her husband when there isn't any, or one who pulls away because she thinks it may happen in the future–and never brings it out in the open.

  12. I think you did the right thing, too. But the one thing your post doesn't address is, to tell or not to tell the wife? Not at the party, but at some other opportune time. Because I have always wondered, if something like this happened to me, what would I do? To tell or not to tell? I mean, as a 50 year old woman who has been single most of her life, I have been hit on a lot by men I suspect are married. But what if it happened in an intimate setting (like a house party) and I was friends, or friendly, with his wife? To be honest I think the question would taunt me, because some women don't want to know, and according to them, are better of not knowing; others would feel betrayed if you DIDN'T tell them.

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  14. Patricia says:

    Forgot to add: if he's alone, be direct and tell him how his behavior was disrespectful and he better not do it again. If he's with his wife, keep the conversation short and keep it moving.

  15. Jana says:

    Goodness, that in itself is a case to stay single! Your next meeting will largely depend on what the situation is at the time. Treat him like you would anyone else and if he gets too friendly again, tell him off in no uncertain terms, discreetly of course because you know you'll be ostracized, not him. Not fair but I guess that's life.

  16. Patricia says:

    It sucks to be put in that situation, but you handled it with grace and more class than the jerk deserved. Similar situations have happened to me so many times that I actively avoid spending time with couples for any length of time unless I have a date with me.

  17. shelley says:

    Awesome blog as usual El!

  18. "Q" says:

    It's unfortunate but we (single women) are put into these situations more times than we think or asked to be! You did the right thing and I applaud you for not even softly saying and smiling at the same time blessing him out. He deserved it and more. Women will continue to blame other woman even though we might be at fault sometimes but it is usually the “poor fragile” man who starts the drama. I “had a friend” who is married, and her husband is just a really nice person. We are no way near as close as before and I don't know what caused the change. I looked back over the years and thought about our friendship. INSECURE – too bad!

    Single women who have their own (no matter how much or little), do what they want, have a career, own a business (without the mans funds), can discuss intelligently almost anything with men and women, attractive and dress nice. The list can go on…. we will never be made to feel comfortable in a setting of mostly couples or a group of married women. Plane and simple and it is really sad.

  19. michelle j. says:

    I think you did the right thing. Maybe your friend will read this blog and find out what a fool she married?

  20. Michael Ann says:

    Last weekend I went to an outdoor music festival by myself. ( My husband and I are separated and seeking divorce.) The festival was in my own town so there were a lot of people there that I knew. A man came up to me that I know. He is married with 4 kids. He asked how I was etc.. and then asked where my husband was. I told him we had split up. As soon as I said that, he sat down next to me (very close) and proceeded to chat me up. When he left, he leaned over to kiss me! I moved my face so that his lips got my cheek but he was aiming for my mouth .He had been drinking, clearly, but that is not excuse. I did NOT expect this type of thing as truly dumbfounded. Opened my eyes!!

  21. Tricia says:

    Yep.. You did the right thing- for sure. I used to ask myself why my married friends would gradually push me away.. And then 1 day it dawned on me: they push me away because there is no greater threat to a marriage than a single woman. But then when they are divorcing, they come crying to you.
    It is definitely NOT our fault.. But it's like the wives know ( ESP with bad husbands) that he will try something around us. Even with good husbands- they often don't want us around.. Never knowing what we 'might do'.
    I know there are exceptions to the rule.. I do have a few married gal pals that embrace me.. But most? Once they are married, you are put on the mega- back burner.

  22. Sorry you were put in this position. It's a no win-win because you want to be civilized in the face of an obnoxious man for the sake of not disturbing the peace, but in the end, you're the only one that really suffers. It's unfortunate but I agree, women are catty and the blame probably would have been thrust upon you and a big deal would have been made about single women this, single women that. I know a few married women who unfairly say that they have to watch other women around their husbands, because it's not like their husbands can control their own behavior!

    Please keep posting your stories though so these views can change!

  23. Girl, you did the right thing! And, you are right, married women don't want single women around, especially if they have JERK husbands.

    My dad passed away last October. He and my mom had been married for 67 years and she never lived alone. While walking through the mall in December, my 90 year old mom said: “Gee, had I know that it (single life) was like this I'd never had gotten married”! My reply to her was, “you did not have that option 70 years ago”! LOL!!!

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