the accidental other woman?
April 5, 2009 7:42 PM   Subscribe

I got drunk at a party last night, and I ended up putting myself to bed early on in the night. A few hours after I went to bed (alone, in the host's bedroom), a male friend of mine (who has been with his girlfriend for at least the past 3-4 years) came in and laid down. He was sort of spooning/pressing up against me, and in my drunken haze I responded and we ended up having sex.

Partway through I told him I was tired and he stopped, then I got dressed and told him to sleep somewhere else. I never said no or anything, and I was an active participant while it was happening, but I also feel kind of taken advantage of.

I feel really awful about the whole situation, especially since his girlfriend is a friend of mine as well.

I remembered thinking that the host of the party walked in on us while we were having sex, and I asked him about it this morning. He just said that he wasn't gonna judge and that he "didn't know what he had seen" so I don't think he's going to tell the girlfriend, but I'm still afraid the the story will come out one way or another.

I really don't know what to do at this point. I just keep coming back to wondering why the guy even came into the room in the first place, and wishing that it had never happened. Any advice on how to proceed would be super.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (48 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Just keep your mouth shut. There's nothing you can do to make this better, other than being quiet and discreet about it.
posted by jayder at 7:54 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

He's not your friend; he's your assailant. You should not feel awful, you should feel furious. He should feel terrified.
I just keep coming back to wondering why the guy even came into the room in the first place
The reason he came into the room while you were drunk was to take advantage of you—a polite euphemism for rape. You'd had too much to drink and you were in bed.
There was no accident here.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:00 PM on April 5, 2009 [9 favorites]

I would say that this encounter falls into that gray area between rape and consensual sex. You probably couldn't press charges, but you should definitely let him know that what he did was wrong. I would confront him about it, and let him know that what he did was definitely not okay. At the very least, it could scare him enough to keep him from doing this again to someone else.
posted by shannonigans at 8:04 PM on April 5, 2009

I don't know about you but this would change the way I felt about the male friend. One thing that would make me uncomfortable was why he decided to come in and start spooning with you. From your reaction, it sounds like you feel he was sort of taking advantage of the fact that you were sleeping off a drunk even though you are being honest about the fact that you were consenting and actively participating. Second, I would lose respect for a friend who cheated on his girlfriend (even if he was drunk himself at the time). If you are unhappy about what happened, you should let him know that you don't think either one of you should have done it and you want to avoid any repeats in the future.

In terms of his girlfriend, do you think this might be dumpable offense? If not, I would not say anything to her - if you do it will certainly damage your friendship with her whether or not she decides to do anything about it with him. (She might just get mad at you.)
posted by metahawk at 8:10 PM on April 5, 2009

Wait a minute.

I was an active participant while it was happening

That isn't rape. Predatory behavior on the guy's part, yes, almost certainly. But don't make it into something it isn't. He was a shit and she had a serious lapse in judgment due to alcohol. What to do about it? jayder is probably right.
posted by bricoleur at 8:11 PM on April 5, 2009 [31 favorites]

I'm someone who almost always finds there to coercion in heterosexual encounters (and vocally on this site) and this is a gray area without enough information for people to come to any conclusions about rape. If it were the poster's bed, it might be more obvious, but it's the hosts, so the friend could have been acting innocently. The poster said he/she was participating willingly and we don't know how much time had passed or how drunk he/she was, so we can't jump to conclusions. We don't know much about the nature of the spooning. Hell, while we know the other party is male and has a girlfriend, there's no reason to think the poster is a woman without more information. And the poster asked this question anonymously, so let's not jump to any conclusions and answer the question.

If you feel upset or hurt, talk to the person with whom you had this encounter. Do not directly approach his girlfriend, mostly because it won't bring you closure and won't help her. If he is a total shit about the whole thing, you may want to talk to the host, but only because the host has some stake in it already and might make you feel better. If you're still unhappy, talk to other friends. Talking to the girlfriend will only make you feel worse about it in the long run. You're not to blame and you're not responsible for his relationship problems.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:18 PM on April 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm always wondering to myself, what if the genders were reversed in such situations? I'll leave it to the reader to ponder that one...

In any case, back to the OP's question, I'd certainly talk to the guy in question. Let him know you didn't appreciate what he did, that you felt your judgement was being taken advantage of, and that it should never happen again. It takes two..., you were both cognizant enough to remember, and importantly, to consent, so you both must take responsibility for your poor actions. You need to be responsible regarding your poor judgement that night, doing so by confronting the guy. He need to take responsibility for this by first and foremost apologizing to you (and perhaps the host).

What about the other girl? I agree with jayder and say let sleeping dogs lie (no pun intended).
posted by whycurious at 8:18 PM on April 5, 2009

The suggestion of rape is baffling. If you want to approach it from that angle, maybe he was drunk as well! You could say that her response to his advances was taking advantage of him! Sounds like abuse to me!

Anyway. What he did was sleazy but the poster willingly responded. She explicitly says so. When she wanted to stop, he stopped.

Anonymous, I wouldn't say a thing. Stick your head in the sand and hope this blows over. Good luck.
posted by Fairchild at 8:20 PM on April 5, 2009 [6 favorites]

I never said no or anything, and I was an active participant while it was happening

I think the immediate shouts of 'rape' are very harsh. The guy came into your room and (from your description) rubbed up against you - it sounds like (despite your post-action, sober, judgement) you responded willingly and tangibly and you both consented to have sex. You were just as capable of saying (it seems to me) "no". Yet you didn't. A better man would, yes, have called a rain check on you being too drunk, but that doesn't mean he's a rapist - maybe just that he assumed that you couldn't be too drunk to not know what you were doing.

You did something when you were drunk that you now, the next day, regret. This is a long, long way from rape. There is no context as to how much/if you were flirting/leading on/have history with the guy in question and there is no implication at all that he forced or even persuaded you (you suggest you did all this willingly). To suggest so forcefully that this is rape is quite sensationalistic, to me. That is actively thinking the worst possible scenario.

In short, there is nowhere near enough evidence to make that conclusion.

You did something you are ashamed of when you were drunk. It happens. If there is more to it, then we are unable to give an accurate answer (either for or against previous history with the person).

I just keep coming back to wondering why the guy even came into the room in the first place, and wishing that it had never happened.

Is there any way that he may have thought that you wanted to have sex with him? That'd explain it. Had you been flirting? Without that information, no-one can judge. If you have been flirtatious, and he'd come in to see how you reacted, and you reacted positively, he may be just as bewildered that you are regretting sleeping with him the next day.

There's always two sides to this kind of thing.
posted by Brockles at 8:21 PM on April 5, 2009

....I think if we needed to learn anything from the last "surprise!sex" thread, it was that only the woman thus affected has the final say as to whether or not she was raped. So maybe let's hold off on calling it unless we are expressly asked, eh what?

Now then.

Whatever it is you choose to decide about how consensual this was, it still was REALLY dickish of this guy to do something like this when a) you were drunk, and b) he had a girlfriend anyway. Feeling taken advantage of doesn't sound like an overreaction to me -- and you need to get straight with this guy that what he did was COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY out of bounds, and is something he needs to make right by you. However you want to define "make right" is entirely your call -- but he was a total shit about this, and he needs to know it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 PM on April 5, 2009 [7 favorites]

That isn't rape. Predatory behavior on the guy's part, yes, almost certainly. But don't make it into something it isn't. He was a shit and she had a serious lapse in judgment due to alcohol.

I'm no lawyer, but I think that in many places her being drunk prevents her from legally giving consent. Meaning, her "active participation" isn't proof of consent, at all, in that circumstance. How drunk one needs to be to be incapable of giving consent, and in what situations this comes into play, I don't know.

If the guy was drunk, too, then the questions about consent are even more complicated, obviously, and I have no idea how that gets parsed out from a legal perspective.

But my sense is that the OP is not so much asking "was I raped?" -- she is more asking about how to handle the social discomfort of having had sex with a dude who has a girlfriend, who is a mutual friend.

My take on this (as someone who did much the same thing a couple of times) is that it is up to him to tell or not tell the girlfriend -- that's a conversation you don't want to be in the middle of. You might want to talk with him, and tell him that you are embarrassed/upset/hurt/whatever by what happened, and that you want to make it clear that it was a serious lapse of judgment on both your parts.
posted by Forktine at 8:25 PM on April 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Here's what you need to think about.

First, do no other harm. You are going to feel guilty. You are going to want to confess. Don't.

Second, do no more harm also applies to you. Guilt, anger and self-loathing will come at you in waves. Acknowledge these feelings, but also acknowledge that they do not define you. I'd also examine your relationship to alcohol. I'm not saying quit, but find out when you drink, how much you drink and why. Also why you might be allowing yourself to act on impulses which might not be in your best interests in the long term. You are only human--dont forget. Oh and obviously don't interact with this guy again.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:29 PM on April 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

[PLEASE do not turn this into a "was I raped?" thread - that is not the OPs question, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:31 PM on April 5, 2009 [11 favorites]

As far as your friends go, you will have to let them work this out, like Forktine suggests. I hate to say it, but you may lose the female friend here. Definitely drop the male friend in any case.

I realize the rape issue is a derail (as these threads tend to go), but do look into getting some counseling. This is a gray area, but if you feel violated, you feel violated. These are things you should deal with so that they don't have emotional repercussions down the road.

I'm always wondering to myself, what if the genders were reversed in such situations?
This is a false equivalence. Rape is about power dynamics, and if you reverse the genders, you reverse the power dynamics.
posted by spiderskull at 8:34 PM on April 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

The people who are suggesting you were raped are insulting true victims of rape.

You were drunk. Your partner may also have been drunk. You both acted stupidly and irresponsibly, probably because you were drunk. No crime has been committed. To suggest otherwise is also stupid and irresponsible.

As to whether you confess to your error, that's completely up to you. I doubt it'll solve any problems and in fact suggest it will just create different problems.

If you are planning on telling your friend, I strongly encourage you to talk to your partner in this mistake first. It is possible that he is also feeling guilty and the only reason he has not confessed his own error is because he's trying to save your hide. At the very least, with the stupid and irresponsible act behind you, talking to him first will be smart and responsible.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:34 PM on April 5, 2009 [22 favorites]

As difficult as it may be, you should tell the girlfriend, especially if she's your friend. If her SO is having sex outside of their committed relationship, she has a right to know, if for no other reason than to protect herself from STDs.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:35 PM on April 5, 2009 [5 favorites]

wrt. to rape: insufficient information. As a dude I can imagine drunkenly getting in bed with a close female friend, sort of forgetting that this warm, squishy, sweet-smelling mass next to me wasn't the same girl I'd spent the last three years sleeping beside, and snuggling up close. I can also imagine that drunk female friend snuggling back against me, and things progressing like they do. Where did the platonic contact end, who initiated sex? There are many ways for the OP's sequence of events to happen that cannot be called rape, unless all sex ever undertaken while intoxicated should be called rape. Also, the OP points out that he did stop when asked to--and she wasn't blacked out, or she wouldn't be telling the story.

So, OP, if you feel that your trust was violated, I can understand--he should have had some self-control as well. It's also possible you were raped. But, nothing in your question indicates that to me. Rather, what you seem to be concerned about is the fallout.

Keep your mouth shut. Carry it to your grave. The dude might wind up confessing, at which point you'll have to deal with the fallout. But, overall, nobody's going to feel better if you tell--except maybe you, if you're the guilty sort.

But, I guess I wouldn't expect the relationships involved to go unchanged. Well, theirs might go unchanged... maybe he cheats all the time, who knows?
posted by Netzapper at 8:36 PM on April 5, 2009

Regarding wishing it never happened, we had a simple solution for this in college: When we went to parties/bars, we knew to watch out for our friends- particularly females- to make sure nothing like that happened. There were a few occasions were something sketchy might have happened, but we intervened and basically told them to fuck off because he or she was drunk. Never once did our friend the next day say, "Gee, I wish you would have drunkenly let me sleep with them!"

As far as future social interaction? If you want to keep it quiet, so be it. However, I would seriously reconsider your friendship with him. In contract to Netzapper's opinion, I slept in the same bed a number of times with close platonic friends, some of whom I may have even had feelings for, drunk. We liked to drink together. However, there was also an explicit understanding between us that that would not happen. When laying in bed drunk, hazy as my thought might have otherwise been, I knew damn well that spooning her and trying to get some could have very easily screwed up some awesome friendships. Don't delude yourself that it was simply a "drunken mistake" on his part. I've been there enough to know that drunk or no, it's still a violation of that trust and had I acted otherwise in the past, I wouldn't expect my female friend to think otherwise.

If you're considering anything more than just friends with him...just ask yourself, if you two were to ever date, what would stop him from acting the same way (ie, cheating) in the future with you?
posted by jmd82 at 9:40 PM on April 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

My advice on how to proceed: First, Plan B Second, I don't think you need to tell the girlfriend. I don't think you need to hide anything but if she finds out, it doesn't have to be from you -it's not really you job. Third, I kinda think the guy who (tried to have?)/had sex with you is a huge jerk and I don't think there's enough detail given to know whether it was rape but if you feel uncomfortable with what happened, I think you need to find an adult or someone in a counselor-type role to talk to. Maybe after figuring out a bit more, you can decide what, if any, legal steps can be taken. But you shouldn't feel like this was your fault. Yes, you drank too much but that doesn't absolve anyone else from bad behavior.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:42 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

OP: some of the responses you'll get here are tinged with the fall-out of a previously intense and long-lasting thread (and a discussion on MeTa) from another woman who experienced another form of unconsensual sex (which is the term designated for sex which was not actively consented while in a good and sober mind). So, please, do NOT take personally this discussion of whether this was rape, what it was if it's not, and the anger in many folks' voices. Some of this is left-over anger and frustration from that previous thread.

- if you feel violated, you have a right to that feeling. Generally women who are asleep in a bed, from being too drunk, are taking themselves out of a situation in which they no longer feel in control and want to remove themselves from that situation.
- no means no, silence doesn't mean yes: This is where active agreement to things like this (not just a reactive 'no') are necessary. If he had woken you up and said, do you want to have sex? The answer may have been different (maybe not).
- You can tell him these things, or talk it out with friends, or talk it out with a medical physician when you go get tested for STIs (which you should - if your unprotected genitals were touching, let alone having penetrative sex without a condom. Who knows who else he's done this to/with?), or even just a counselor if you want to figure out how to deal with this (meaning how to handle telling, not telling, etc.)
- If you had unprotected sex (OR MAY HAVE) it is NOT TOO LATE FOR PLAN B. You have 72 hours, although it works better the earlier you take it. You can get it from a pharmacist if you are over 18.
- You don't have to tell him if you don't want to, but it might be better to get it off your chest and understand what he's doing regarding his girlfriend
- You don't have to name this encounter - you can feel it without naming it - sometimes emotions are more complicated than a historically-laden term
- The question of "what to do about it" may be answered by some of the previous questions.
- You may feel some guilt about this, which is also normal. You are not a horrendous person and you will absolutely get through this. I hope you have some good friends -- I'd really encourage you to call one of them and just blurt this out - "I had a really effed up situation happen, I'm totally upside down about this, I don't know how to say it, so here's what happened...".
- You don't have to tell the girlfriend, although if she finds out, lying about it might be worse in her eyes.

Also, there are helplines. I know it feels 'crazy' or 'over-the-top' or just too much to call one since you say it was at least partially consented in a drunken/semi-unconscious haze. But this is today. You MAY feel differently tomorrow or in a week or a month. Those helplines are
- anonymous
- open 24/7
- trained to talk with you ESPECIALLY in what you feel are "grey areas" and the resulting mortification, embarassment, fear, annoyance, guilt, whatever
- non judgmental about what you said, what you say, what you feel, what you want to happen, how you say it, and whether you call now or in a year

Good luck - take care of yourself, don't isolate yourself, talk to your trusted best friend.
posted by barnone at 9:52 PM on April 5, 2009 [21 favorites]

I forgot to say: if you are anywhere near your fertile period, or if you have no idea when that is, EVEN IF HE DID NOT EJACULATE you could get pregnant. If people say, "don't worry about it, I've had unprotective sex lots and nothing ever happened!" Smile, and congratulate them. And then go get Plan B. Because, really? This could get more complicated.
posted by barnone at 10:14 PM on April 5, 2009

posted by mlis at 10:24 PM on April 5, 2009

Unless this is some sort of stereotypical-out-of-the-movie frat party, I can't imagine what he was doing in that room either. When a guest puts herself to bed, they should be left alone. You removed yourself from the party. WTF.

As for handling the aftermath...well, it's touchy. If it were me, I'd talk to the host and explain exactly what happened, how you feel about it, and come to a mutual decision about what will be said that hopefully involves a heavy dose of Mind Your Own Business discretion while you decide what to do with dude and GF.

To the dude? Well, it's up to you. Yes, he took advantage of you. If it were me, I'd be pissed and limit discussion with him whatsoever. I guess it depends on how good of a friend you consider him to be as to whether he deserves much of your respect now.

To the girlfriend. It depends on how close of a friend she is. I could envision taking the position that she'll find out anyway (you don't know who else peeped into the room, or who else squawked) and that there's perhaps a Greater Good in telling her yourself.

If you really like these people and want to stay friends, you could tell BF that you're going to tell his GF, then lay it out for her as straightforwardly and clinically as possible, apologize for your part in the drama, and back off to let them work it out. That'd probably be the morally best idea, from my point of view.
posted by desuetude at 11:19 PM on April 5, 2009

1. Plan B right away, then an exam and bloodwork to rule out STDs.

2. Do you have a friend you can trust, who won't tell anyone and would accompany you, if need be, to achieve #1? Call that friend now.

3. As for the guy and his girlfriend, some advice I once received: see how you feel and do what's easiest for you.

You're understandably disturbed by what happened and probably not in the calmest state of mind. Your immediate priorities are your health (#1) and mental state/support (#2). Don't feel pressured to do anything because you think you "should."

4. Make a deal with your friends to look out for each other at parties, clubs, bars, wherever the booze flows. There are those who will say that in theory, this shouldn't be necessary. I say that in practice, it sometimes is.

5. If you value your privacy, resist any urge to tell a lot of people. Limit it to one or two trusted friends for now. Especially if this guy and his girlfriend are in your bigger circle of friends. Not out of shame or guilt or to protect him or anything like that, but to take a little control of the situation and protect yourself. The best way to do that right now is to limit how many people know about this. If you really need to talk to more people, pick friends who don't know the players, friends who live in another city/state, etc.
posted by Majorita at 11:21 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm going to basically 2nd what majorita said.

After you make sure you're physiologically ok, talk to a friend you can trust.

Again, as for the guy and his girlfriend, do what feels best to you.

Personally, I would feel the need to communicate directly with the man involved, but if that's not an avenue you would want to pursue, then don't do it.

This is a hell of a situation, and I understand how you would feel ambivalent, sad, taken advantage of, or confused. It's not the kind of burden you should shoulder on your own. Not knowing you, there's only so much advice that the Metafilter community is going to be able to offer you beyond "go see a doctor." You're going to have to feel that out for yourself. But I think it's important that you don't feel so ashamed or angry with yourself that you don't talk to someone. It's important that you have a support network that helps you deal with this.

Most importantly, be good to yourself, and honest with yourself.

Good luck.
posted by orville sash at 12:31 AM on April 6, 2009

Anon, how you handle the situation with the guy, and with your friend, is ultimately a personal decision that will depend on your relationship with her and with him. But you might find some of the comments in these questions helpful:

- Someone knows a guy is cheating on a girl, she's friends with both people, what should she do?
- Someone's boyfriend's best friend is getting cheated on by his gf, should she tell him?
- Woman has one-night stand, then realizes the guy has a gf, was it wrong?
- Married friend visits, cheats with someone else while in town, does the host tell his wife?
- General question about the morals of being the third person

And I'm sorry you're going through this. For what it's worth, it sounds like you handled it pretty well, and like you'll make good decisions about how to deal with it.

Also, I have a second Meta request. The question is not about possible pregnancy.
posted by salvia at 12:56 AM on April 6, 2009

I'm shocked by all these accusations of rape flying around here. Two drunken people got into bed. They wound up having sex. It happens.

I second the emotion on taking Plan B. But beyond that, it might be a good idea to let this one pass into the night as an event you're probably both embarrassed about, and wish hadn't happened.

This is why you want to not drink so much at parties, really. You wind up doing things you later regret.

I think any issues of infidelity are really up to the guy and his girlfriend. It is not your responsibility to blow up his relationship for him. You didn't say "what about your girlfriend?" when you "responded," so it's a bit late now to become judgmental.

People do dumb things when they get drunk. Just be thankful the bad judgment didn't extend to driving.
posted by musofire at 5:17 AM on April 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

A lot of the confusion in this thread could have been avoided by the OP asking an more coherent question. I presume this is it though:
"I really don't know what to do at this point"
OK so what should you do?

Relax. Hang out with some friends and be sober for a few weeks. I'm presuming you're in college since this is the collegeyist question of all time, so do some non-drinking college activities to clear your head and think about what happened, as well as talk to your buddies (and probably a nurse at your health center) about the situation. Whatever you do, do not feel guilty or ashamed about the sex. Stopping it was probably a good idea, but there's no need to obsess about how it started or whether you're some adulteress. Either it was a mistake or you were taken advantage of--either way it doesn't make you an asshole.

Any other kind of advice is useless without knowing lots and lots more details, but whatever the dude's intentions, he doesn't sound like someone you should be friends with, so probably it's best to stop talking to him altogether. Even if it was a total accident that he was there spooning with you, he did start it, and even if he's in love with you secretly, he definitely should have known better.

Hope that helps.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:36 AM on April 6, 2009

If there is a women's center or rape/crisis center where you live, your visiting would be a good idea. You could talk over what happened with someone both empathic and informed.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:44 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

First, try not to be hard on yourself. You were drunk and did something foolish. It happens, try not to make the same mistake again.

Second, take care of yourself in getting tested for STDs or pregnancy.

Third, do you know what you want to do? It's ok if you don't , but first try to figure out if there's a certain path you want to take. Don't judge whether it's right or wrong, just think to see if you know what you want to do about the situation. If you do, it'll help you decide what direction to go.

Fourth, find someone to talk to. This isn't something you should have to deal with alone, so do find a friend or two you can talk to. Perhaps the host of the party, who wasn't trying to judge things?

Fifth, apologize to the host for having sex in his bed, that's rude and just nasty.

Keeping in mind that I don't know the history of you and your friend and I'm only getting one side of the story, what he did sounds creepy. Is there some past history there some mild flirtation? Is it common for friends in your circle to cuddle with each other, even if they're in a relationship with another person? Did you know it was him that was cuddling up to you? If it had been someone else, would you have been less willing to have sex or more willing? Did he say anything to you before, during or after about what happened? Was he drunk? There seems to be lot of details missing from the story, which is totally understandable, it just happened, you're still reacting to it. I'm just pointing out that it's hard to authoritatively say who was right or wrong based on the details given.

As to the situation itself, I'd lean towards the girlfriend having to know what happened. Again, keeping in mind I don't the whole history of the relationships you guys have or the future of those two, as her friend, you're supposed to be looking at for her best interest, making sure she isn't screwed over, even if it's you who's done the screwing over, however mistakenly you did it.

Talk to the guy and give him the chance to tell her himself. If he doesn't do it soon, tell her yourself. Yes this would be hard to do and painful and almost certainly destroy the relationship. But it is the right thing to do, in the sense that you know your friend has been betrayed and you want to inform her of that betrayal.

Look, you're not a terrible person, but you did make a mistake and there are consequences to your actions. I'm not trying to judge you or make you feel bad, but based on what you wrote, you initiate the sex and thus bear part of the responsibility for what happened, drunk or not. Accept that and try to do better in the future.

But mostly, find someone you can talk over the situation with.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:09 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

While trying to decide whether to tell the girlfriend why don't you put yourself in her shoes? Maybe that would give you some guidance.
posted by saucysault at 6:23 AM on April 6, 2009

Seconding that this was a mistake, and to let it go. Please ignore the posters that are trying to make you the victim of a terrible crime.
posted by xammerboy at 6:34 AM on April 6, 2009

"a male friend of mine... came in and laid down. He was sort of spooning/pressing up against me, and... we ended up having sex.

How long between these two events? Do you know?

I ask to try and understand the level of abuse that your 'friend' showed. He is an asshole, no doubt of that, but I wonder whether you make it sound worse than it was.

If he had been sleeping there for a while before this started then there is less evidence of maliciousness. In this case you have both made a stupid mistake, thoughtless and hurtful, but not malicious.

If he came in and immediately started foreplay with you then that shows deliberate and malicious intent, you have a much more difficult situation to deal with. I agree with all the above about the inappropriateness of calling it rape but it's still a serious issue. I am generally averse to getting outside agencies involved anyway; call the police in and you give up all control of the situation and just become a passenger in an unpleasant and potentially dangerous ride.

In the first instance you need to clear your head and be very clear about what happened and what outcomes you expect from the situation. I'm sorry to say but I cannot see any way which doesnt result in hurt to someone; you, him, or your friends.

You need to speak to him first; ask him "why (he) even came into the room in the first place". Let him know the hurt he has caused and the trust he has abused. Dont expect him to agree.

If he has come into your room uninvited, knowing you are asleep, knowing you are drunk, intending to have sex with you then he is no friend of yours, he's a sexual predator who is a continued threat to you and your female friends. 'Fess up to his girlfriend. Just tell it like it is; you might have been stupid, but you were taken advantage of by someone you thought you could trust. I'd say that she is in the same boat really. It's going to cause trouble, and upset, and hurt, but you have to do the right thing.

Seconding: "Most importantly, be good to yourself, and honest with yourself.

Good luck."
posted by BadMiker at 6:51 AM on April 6, 2009

I think the most important thing is to put yourself first. As you can see here, there are a lot of different ways people could interpret what happened, from blaming you and calling you stupid, to calling the guy a rapist. I would take a little time to process the incident for yourself, first, and find out what you think happened, before you decide what to do about it.

Because the thing is, when your friend finds out - and she probably will find out - you have no way of knowing how she is going to interpret it. You don't know how your friends will interpret it. And I do not have high hopes for how the guy is going to interpret it. I wish I could say that when a woman feels she is taken advantage of (if this is what you decide happened) the world reaches their arms out to support her, but they don't. Absolutely seek out whatever help you can - a counseling center, a good friend you know will be on your side - but steel yourself for some pretty nasty accusations. I hope if those accusations come, you will be in a healthy enough place to respond to them without internalizing them or coming to believe them. Of course, you might decide that you deserve the accusations, that you bear full responsibility for what happened. That's fine - but please, figure that out before the hurtful words start heading your way. You don't want to be shamed into an interpretation of events you that you don't really believe in.

Now me, personally, I would tell the girl, for the following reasons:
1) I doubt it would stay a secret forever.
2) I wouldn't feel any loyalty to the guy after what happened.
3) I would feel that she deserves to know.
4) And I would guess that she'd hate me slightly less if I was the one to tell her then if I kept a secret from her.

I would probably take her aside and just explain, simply and compassionately, my version of what happened. If she got upset at me, I would explain that I understand that she's hurt but that I was not the one who cheated on her, and that I am still processing events myself. Rather than argue with her, I would tell her I was sorry, and quietly leave.

Finally, I agree with those who say you should get yourself checked for pregnancy and STIs.

Good luck, and I'm sorry this happened to you.
posted by shaun uh at 7:20 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

shaun uh wrote: from blaming you and calling you stupid

I don't think anyone is blaming the OP, just pointing out that when you get drunk, sometimes things happen. Calling that blame is like blaming the sky for being blue. It just is. No judgement.

Personally, I don't think it's the OP's place to get involved in someone else's relationship, and agree that Plan B and an STD test are in order here.

Whether or not the OP ought to stop associating with the man depends entirely on the specifics of the event. For all we know, he was drunk and tired and went in the room to do the same as the OP..sleep/rest it off. Of course, for all we know he could have gone in there and immediately started laying it on thick. We simply have no basis for any sort of advice there, other than baseless assumptions.
posted by wierdo at 7:59 AM on April 6, 2009

follow-up from the OP
I don't think I can settle the rape/not rape discussion because I feel like it falls into that weird confusing grey area of consent where it is impossible to name.

To the people who are worried about my alcoholism: I'm a *very* occasional drinker and am most often DD for our friends, but the host of the party had explicitly said that he expected most people to crash at his house, and I drank more than I ought to have in celebration of not being DD. When I realized I was too drunk, I went to bed. I did not invite, nor expect to have a bed partner, and the guy I hooked up with is not someone I've flirted with or have ever had feelings for that way.

RE: health/reproductive concerns: I already have an appointment to get STI tests run, and took Plan B just to be safe.

The range of responses/opinions is something I value in Metafilter, and I appreciate everyone's responses thus far. I know there are often questions about whether relationship-filter questions turn out to be helpful, and I can honestly say that having asked the question, and read the responses, I feel like I have a better perspective on the situation, and how to proceed. Thanks you crazy MeFites!
posted by jessamyn at 8:13 AM on April 6, 2009

It sounds like the OP does not have to worry about her drinking--that's good. I don't know if I said this above, but I do think that if you are asked directly, you should tell the truth but otherwise, you might not be helping the situation by telling.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:45 AM on April 6, 2009

[seriously, there is a metatalk thread on this thread. If you are not giving constructive advice to the OP, please go there, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:13 AM on April 6, 2009

When I was a university student the exact same thing happened with some friends of mine. Girl A was interested in Guy (who was thought of as a sleazy type by the rest of us, but you know how it is). We all were drinking, Girl A goes home to sleep it off, I go off with my guy to sleep it off, and Girl B and Guy sleep together. They're both drunk.

The next morning Girl B told me about it. I didn't tell Girl A, Girl B didn't tell Girl A and Guy certainly didn't tell Girl A. Girl A & Guy ended up having a long, weird relationship. Girl B found a guy of her own. Neither Girl B nor I saw it as anything resembling assault, just her getting drunk and making a bad call vis a vis sleazy Guy.

I think your male friend also seems like a bit of a sleazebag but that's based solely on what you've said. Whether or not you tell your girlfriend is up to you, but you know what the consequences could be. I'd give it a week or so before deciding so you can see if the feelings fade or not. After awhile you might find you can live with it, but I suspect this will redefine your friendship with your male friend regardless of how things turn out.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:42 AM on April 6, 2009

But she's right to wonder what the fuck he was doing coming into the room

There are all manner of possibly innocent answers here. OP stated that it wasn't her bed she was sleeping in, it was the host's. Perhaps the host had also offered his bed to the spooner? Perhaps the spooner assumed, when he got in to the bed, that he was sharing it with the host? Perhaps he -- like the OP -- was just too rat-arsed drunk to have any clear idea what the hell was going on?

Going on the basis of the original description, it doesn't sound as though the spooner initiated anything besides a bit of spooning. I quote:

"He was sort of spooning/pressing up against me, and in my drunken haze I responded and we ended up having sex. "

If I was drunk and in bed with somebody, I'd almost certainly find myself doing that too, regardless of my intentions, because that's how I sleep. I've slept that way for so long that it's kind of instinctive by this point. The OP's description of 'responding' to someone in that situation actually makes it sound as though the sex was something that was mutually initiated in a drunken stupor.

Sort out the std/pregnancy issues, keep your mouth shut about it but get used to the fact that you're probably going to lose a friend over this. You did the nasty with her boyfriend. Even if she never finds out, that fact is probably going to undermine your relationship with her -- if only because you'll start to struggle with that fact.

In fact, I'm assuming that struggle is the real reason why you've posted this here in the first place. You could tell her what happened, but she isn't going to thank you for it, and neither is he. It might have been a blip in what could turns out to be a satisfactory long term relationship between them, or it could signify something darker. But whatever it is, it's none of your business, and they are entitled to the time and space to work this out for themselves.

Flag it in your head, and move on.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:53 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Good for you for getting testing, OP. Keep in mind that some tests won't show anything for six months, so it would be a good idea to get retested then.

If I were in your position, I'd probably confront the guy and tell him how the experience made me feel. That being said, I'm a fairly confrontational person, but telling him, straight out, that his behavior was inappropriate and that it made you feel uncomfortable, not only because you're friends with his girlfriend but also because you were not in full control of your faculties, might restore some sense of power to you. If you do confront him, I'd also pay careful attention to his reaction. If there's anything that gives you an indication that he's done this kind of thing before, while in a relationship, I'd probably tell his girlfriend. You'll almost undoubtedly lose both of them as friends through this, but because her sexual health is involved, she has a right to know
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:57 AM on April 6, 2009

Anonymous, the most troubling part of this to me is what on EARTH he was thinking. No matter how drunk he was, it was enormously intrusive and rude of him to go snuggle up to another party guest who retired for bed alone. It's not as if you passed out on the floor in a heap of other passed-out people.

I would bet that he is not going to tell his girlfriend, and will assume that you are too ashamed to do so. If she hears from another source, he's going to be ready with the spin. Luckily, you're now prepared with many examples of how this could be spun. Depending on the dynamics of your group of friends, you may want to think through a few of these scenarios in your head to decide which you'd prefer.
posted by desuetude at 11:04 AM on April 6, 2009

You should talk to him. Maybe he's panicking about what he did, or maybe he was so drunk he doesn't even remember, or maybe he's just callous. It's worth finding out, both for your own closure and also so you can decide whether to tell her or not. Just my two cents.
posted by creasy boy at 12:40 PM on April 6, 2009

[comments that are not advice to the OP go to metatalk, please stop the back and forth fighting in this thread, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:42 PM on April 6, 2009

OP, there is one thing I really hope you take away from this, no matter how you eventually come to terms with this experience. From your follow up response, it sounds to me as if you don't have a great deal of experience being very drunk, but now you know for a fact that there are at least two people in your life who are untrustworthy when you are drunk, and you are one of the two. I don't mean this in an accusatory way, or to absolve the asshole who took advantage of you. This isn't about blaming the victim, it's about looking forward. This is important information for you to come to terms with. When you are very drunk, you have the capacity to actively betray your friends and act against your own best interests. Everybody reacts differently to intoxicants, and now you know that extreme intoxication will make you very vulnerable to suggestion, even in situations in which you would normally feel safe. Do yourself a huge favor and limit your drinking from now on. If you can't trust yourself, who else can you trust? Sincerely wishing you all the best.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:17 PM on April 6, 2009

Obviously, like everyone else here we can barely speculate because there's a lot of information missing (even with the subsequent addition) and drunk people's ability to think and remember is not famous in a good way.

One thing that is not clear is what expectations the couple (meaning the male participant and his gf who was not a participant to the best of our knowledge) have of each other. If they had an open relationship or did not have the expectation of dishonesty, then the rest of my comments do not apply.

Assuming the couple had a traditional concept of relationship, it's over. If OP wants to be a couple with the man, just say it and maybe you get him maybe you don't. Your friendship with the other woman is also over, if it was ever there to begin with. You say you wish it had never happened; maybe that's the case, and maybe it's not, I don't take my own word when I say things like that because there are usually two sides of it even in my own mind. Give it a real think - if you really do want to be with the guy, go for it!! Of course, realize that if you do so, that you may be accepting that he would do the same thing to you after 4 years.

I personally don't think things are accidents, or that they can be ironed over. A bit fatalistic, I know, and if you have a different worldview, that's fine.

If you don't want to be with the guy, just move on, end your friendship with them passively (acquaintances from now on), never bring it up unless one of them asks you directly, never tell anyone else unless you agree to confidentiality and even so try to do it without mentioning the other people's identifying information.

Don't do it again, because (in my view) you'll be tested and the more times you engage, the harder it will be to break the habit.

Glad to hear you were smart to end in the middle (if that's the case as it appears to be) and also glad you took proper precautions after, hope the side-effects of those were not too bad.
posted by peter_meta_kbd at 5:59 PM on April 6, 2009

Whatever else you decide, make sure the girlfriend knows what happened. It's best if the boyfriend tells her, but if not, you should. It's not fair to have her staying in a relationship where she's being lied to; she deserves to know the facts and make that decision herself. It will make her feel bad to know, of course; she was cheated on, and with a friend. That feels terrible. But now she should be able to decide if she wants to be romantically or platonically involved with either of you.
posted by timoni at 7:01 PM on April 7, 2009

Your friend needs to know. Spooner needs to tell her. You will be the bad person.

Good luck and you should be heartily commended for taking responsibility for your actions. I mean that. Hopefully Spooner will take responsibility for his actions too.
posted by fullerine at 6:38 PM on April 11, 2009

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