He Tries to Take Advantage
Q: Twenty years ago, this guy and I dated for a month but never had sex, and we've been close friends emotionally ever since. Recently when he was drunk he expressed that he loved me and always would. We are both married. I'm going though a rough patch in my marriage, he knows this, and we talk a lot. We went to lunch (normal) and then we went for a walk on the beach (not something we usually do). He proceeded to try to hold my hand and talked about if I would now tolerate him, where before he knew I wouldn't. He acted somewhat wild. I'm really confused. He says he's not going to leave his wife. We still have never had sex but he continues to throw out ideas such a spending a weekend away, etc. I have asked him not to do this because he is confusing me and I am very vulnerable at this time and I would never have an affair (personally I feel I am above that), but my concern is that in a weak moment I might fail in my decision making. I have very strong feelings for him and always have but always managed to keep them under control. Any thoughts or ideas as to what he's up to, if anything? -- Sandy, 50
Dr. Susan: It's easy to figure out what your guy friend is up to. He's trying his mightiest to take advantage of your confusion and vulnerability in order to get you to have an affair with him. Asking a bear to stop nibbling on your toes in preparation for eating you is rather foolish and short-sighted. You can't leave the boundary-setting up to the bear! If you're concerned that you'll be too weak to resist your so-called friend's entreaties, then I'd strongly advise you to stay away from him (no lunches, no romantic walks on the beach!) until you work out the "rough patch" in your marriage. It's not a healthy situation for your relationship with your husband that you keep seeing someone, alone, for whom you have strong erotic feelings. That's definitely a kind of betrayal right there. Fix it up at home. Then maybe you can risk being friends with this guy, but only if he observes your rules and stops asking you to lower yourself to his level, a level that's really too sneaky to trust.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.