Tempted by the fruit of another?
March 6, 2012 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Was my friend trying to cheat on his wife?

Several years ago, I became friendly with a girl who was dating a guy who lived in a city about three hours away. Occasionally, if he was down visiting, he would also come along if one of us had invited her to hang out with our circle. He and I immediately hit it off, with that kind of chemistry you have when you meet someone and just know you like them right away and are attracted to them but one or both are not available. The second time I encountered him, my best friend and ran into them at a casual reception after the wedding of another acquaintance of ours. This incident stands out because when they saw us, he all but brushed aside his girlfriend in his haste to greet me with a hug and a number of compliments about how great I looked. To this day, my friend who was with me jokes about it because she had to ask him if she was chopped liver to divert his attention.

A year or so later, she moved up to be with her boyfriend and a year after that (last year), they were married and they just had a baby this past fall. After she moved, our interactions were all Facebook-based, tho he and I more than she and I. Some good friends of mine recently moved to their town last year and I'd been up a couple of times but didn't have time to see this couple although they would ask me to make time the "next time" each time. Every once in awhile, the guy would be on FB at the same time as me, and he and I would chat about whatever. That was the extent of our interactions.

Cut to a couple Fridays ago. I get a message from him telling me they (and the baby) are coming down to visit friends and did I want to hang out. I reply that I had dinner plans that night but we could meet up for drinks afterward. Later that night, I get a text from him saying his wife and the baby had passed out and did I still want to hang out. I invited him to meet with me and my friends at a bar in my neighborhood. He gets there and proceeds to spend the next few hours pretty much up in my business, telling me repeatedly how hot/sexy/cool etc he thinks I am, that he would "love to have sex with [me]," that if we had babies, the babies would be so cute, or stuff like how he had seen a movie a few weeks ago and the soundtrack reminded him of me. Interspersed in this were also statements about how his wife and he joke about his crush on me, that I was his Facebook girlfriend, and that even as he was texting me while they were driving down, his wife was teasing him about meeting up with me later on. On the drive to my friends' house where we decided to all convene, we passed my house (I was driving him) and he suggested that we just stopped there and hang out by ourselves (I declined).

On the one hand, I'm not going to deny that I was flattered (I'm female, late 30s and am fairly often stopped by random ppl and complimented on my "look"; he is early 30s/she is late 20s and although a lovely person, would accurately be described as "plain"—if any of that matters). On the other hand, his statements had definitively crept over the line into inappropriate territory—and no, I am pretty positive that they do not have an open relationship nor would that be something that she would ever do. I guess I am just really surprised because this was not something that I had expected in the least from him based on our interactions previously. So to hear him say all these things, particularly that things reminded him of me or that he and his wife actually have a running joke about his crush really surprised me.

So, was he—as my friends think—looking to cheat on his wife? Pre-meditated? Spontaneous? And if yes, what's the thinking behind this—I mean, after all this time (and after they marry and have a baby) he lays this on me? I guess I am having a hard time because he just was not someone that I would have ever imagined would do such a thing. They've been together for several years, seem to have a great relationship, and just had a baby! (I mean, he was texting me pictures of their baby the next day!) Also, I feel like I should be more disgusted by his behavior (I have always been decidedly anti-cheating) and yet…I'm not really and have even mused whether I would have really turned him down if the point was really pressed. And how should I proceed? I like them both a lot, have fun with them when we hang out (and enjoy chatting with him on the occasion because he and I are similar and have a more in common than she and I do). I have a trip coming up to their town (to visit other friends) very soon and she (and he) have both implored me to give them a call to hang out when I am there. I just don't want things to be awkward, but I don't want not to be able to hang out with them because of this. Thoughts on how to proceed?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (62 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Any chance they are polyamorous?
posted by unknowncommand at 6:43 PM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


"I am pretty positive that they do not have an open relationship nor would that be something that she would ever do."

But are you sure that they draw the line about cheating the same place you do? Maybe she is okay with him flirting and joking around, and even talking about having sex with you, and maybe he was never planning to go further than this?
posted by lollusc at 6:46 PM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's human to be flattered by this, but please leave it at that. He sounds someone who absolutely does not care about hurting others and wrecking their lives, and he also sounds like he knows you think he's hot and he thinks he could have you in the bag if he really wanted to. I also doubt you are the only one on the receiving end of these attentions from him. You're tempted to give in to something that will most likely end in you being discarded once he's had sex with you, except for maybe booty calls. And something that could destroy the life of someone who is supposed to be your friend.

And if yes, what's the thinking behind this—I mean, after all this time (and after they marry and have a baby) he lays this on me?

If he wanted to be with you he'd have married you not his wife. I see nothing here that indicates he wants anything more than your online attention or a booty call. I think he is out for attention and validation.

Please, please, please seriously think about what you could possibly be getting out of this and what is missing in your life that this scenario would be at all appealing to you. There are other awesome men out there who aren't two-faced and sleazy, there are other ways of getting positive attention and feeling good about your sexiness.
posted by cairdeas at 6:49 PM on March 6, 2012 [34 favorites]


A hearty second to the first two comments above. I've been in a similar situation (eerily similar) -- I had always assumed from what I read online, but not from direct experience, that anyone engaging in polyamory or atypical definitions of what constitutes cheating would be really upfront in communicating that, but I learned that's not necessarily so.

Or, he could have been trying to cheat.

In any case, if your goal is to salvage a relationship with the couple, just pretend it never happened and move on. If it ever comes up again, just say something like "Yeah, I think you had a little too much to drink that night! You made some weird jokes!"
posted by telegraph at 6:51 PM on March 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


Well, possibly poly but I imagine the 'wife was in the whole crush thing' to be a lie.

For the record, some men start behaving like this just after their SO has a baby. This is probably nothing more than him just wanting to get it on.
posted by mleigh at 6:53 PM on March 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


"I am pretty positive that they do not have an open relationship nor would that be something that she would ever do."

You shouldn't be. It sounds like he was trying pretty explicitly to let you know that he has been open with his wife about his attraction to you, and that she is extremely easygoing about it.

It's possible that he's abusing her trust and easygoingness by trying to turn this into a "really could happen" kinda thing, but I think it's just as likely that he has permission to fool around.

If so, you have done a good job of not giving any signals that make it seem like you're up for that -- so if you're not, keep on doing what you're doing: nothing.
posted by hermitosis at 6:56 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"So, was he—as my friends think—looking to cheat on his wife?"
He gets there and proceeds to spend the next few hours pretty much up in my business, telling me repeatedly how hot/sexy/cool etc he thinks I am, that he would "love to have sex with [me]

we passed my house (I was driving him) and he suggested that we just stopped there and hang out by ourselves (I declined).
All signs point to yes.

One immediate and obvious step would be to decline any invitation to hang out with him without his wife present. Good luck.
posted by BurntHombre at 7:15 PM on March 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


Yes, he was. No question. And BurntHombre has the right advice: Decline any invitation to spend any time with him without his wife present.

Any chance they are polyamorous?

None whatsoever. If they were polyamorous, he would already have brought it up. And if they were polyamorous and he were not a creep, his wife would already have confirmed it.
posted by The World Famous at 7:31 PM on March 6, 2012 [17 favorites]


If sexytimes are something you would be interested in if this were not cheating, ask him to get his wife to bring up the idea with you first, the look on his face should tell you everthing.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:36 PM on March 6, 2012 [27 favorites]


If they are polyamorous, he's doing it wrong. Frankly, he sounds creepy as fuck, and rude to boot. I would be pretty pissed off if someone treated me like that! Did you not tell him to cut out the embarrassing gushy sexytalk, or were you just dumbfounded by his jerkiness? Gentlemen, "you are lovely" is a flattering compliment; slobbering all over someone in front of her friends and going on and on about how much you want to bang he is creepy and rude.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:44 PM on March 6, 2012 [17 favorites]


Lesseee....
Not only is his wife "plain" but she just spent nine months in a hormonal sea, possibly upchucking and certainly getting rotund. Now she has put forth fruit, and is totally immersed in dirty diapers and milky puke, and probably would rather sleep than have sex. My bet is she's doing ninety nine percent of the baby work while he does the phone pictures and bragging. So Mrs. Plain craps out with the babe while Mr. Gotthehots goes looking for the 'look.'

Please don't encourage him. Even if they were polyandrous, is this really the time? Shouldn't he be concerned with his wife and child at this juncture?

I think he's icky, and if you play into his game, you're doing active hurt to his wife, if not his marriage. (Although, maybe it's better for her if she finds out he's a cheat sooner, than later.)
posted by BlueHorse at 7:45 PM on March 6, 2012 [68 favorites]


I know jack about poly relationships. But, even if they are "open," I can't think of a worse time to get involved with a married couple than just after they've had a baby.

If I were you, I'd drop them. I don't think this guy can be "just friends."
posted by amanda at 7:47 PM on March 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


I agree with the suggestion that the simple way around this is to only hang out with him when his wife is around.

BlueHorse: "polyandrous" means the wife has multiple husbands ("andro-" meaning "man").

They might be polygamous/polygynous/polyamorous, and in fact his comments were strongly suggesting they were. If you're sure he was trying to deceive you about that, I don't see why it's worth even trying to salvage this friendship.
posted by John Cohen at 8:10 PM on March 6, 2012


Oh please. Poly people don't go hunting for new "secondaries" to play with together when they've got a newborn at home.

YES he wants to cheat with you. Obviously. He's making it jokey so he's got plausible deniability, but he's putting it out there so you can accept the offer or not. Ugh.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:18 PM on March 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


Ah, I missed that you were sure they were not in an open relationship, and I didn't mean to derail. Ignore me.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:26 PM on March 6, 2012


He sounds like a pig and I'd urge you to avoid him. Just hang out with the wife if you can't bring yourself to drop them altogether.
posted by orange swan at 8:30 PM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


1. Dude was 100% trying to get it.

2. Even if they're not poly or open, you don't know if his wife gave him a pass to sleep with you. It's certainly possible.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:47 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, he was trying to cheat on his wife. And no, I don't see them as open marriage or poly. Swingers/open couples tend to approach these things as a couple (that's been my experience, anyway), and I just don't see a poly guy being this insensitive to a partner who has just given birth. Honestly, I doubt his wife and kid were ever even in your city, visiting with him, at all.

He may very well love her, btw, and still want you. She is the one he chose to marry and have a kid with, but you're the elusive one that got away (at least in his eyes). She is still recovering from giving birth, trying to balance between breastfeeding and sexy times, while you he has only ever seen at your best, looking attractive and doing all these fun, single things with your fun, single friends. He wants a fling with you, not another reltaionship.

Which makes me want to ask you--are you really as naive as you've made yourself sound in this question?! You're an attractive person who is used to people paying her compliments, you know this guy is attracted to you because of the whole hugging you and ignoring his girlfriend incident you brought up.

So why is it that at NO POINT did you think to connect with his wife during this whole situation? You text back and forth with him exclusively. You listen to him making very pointed suggestive remarks all night without shutting him down. And then you drive him to your friend's place! I don't know, either you are way too invested in being the center of attention, or you are being disingenuous about your own part in this. Because if some married guy I knew came on to me that strongly, I'm not getting into a car alone with him.

Unless I want to take it to the next level and cheat, that is.

Sounds like you knew very well where this was headed. Maybe you only declined because your friends were expecting you two. It sure doesn't like wasn't because you care at all about his "plain" wife's feelings.
posted by misha at 8:50 PM on March 6, 2012 [48 favorites]


2nding what fingersandtoes said, plus this:
he's hoping you'll tell him it's OK to cheat.

Nothing happens - he's got plausible deniability.
Something happens - it was you, not him.
posted by Prof Iterole at 9:01 PM on March 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is pretty disgusting. That he'd be so forward, but especially after his wife just had a baby. I'm totally grossed out.

I'm almost inclined to say there's a sliver of a chance they're polyamorous just because his behavior is SO outrageous, but I seriously doubt it. (I also feel like if he was willing to tell you all that other stuff, he would have mentioned the open relationship. But really, while his wife's at home with their newborn?)

And, yeah, seconding misha. Is it THAT important to listen to your friend drool over you (not to mention practically pushing his girlfriend out of the way)? Have a little female solidarity, shut this guy down in front of all your friends and his wife.

And, yeah, only hang out with them as a couple. And seriously, shut him down, openly.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:18 PM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I advise you to read about the Johari Window, and think about the things other people know about you that you may not know about yourself.

The topics people choose to talk about tell you far more about them than their opinions on those topics.

When you look at the fact that this couple has a running joke about him having a crush on you, you're giving a ton of weight to the "joke" part, whereas I see the "running" part, the fact that it's an issue that continually comes up, as being far more telling, because it shows that this is something that is on both their minds.

Also... You clearly see the pattern. You made choices to include the events you included in this post because you recognize them as giving context to what's going on.

Your own emotional reactions also tell a story. This guy's behavior stands out in stark contrast to the behavior of other people in your life. It's this difference that makes it flattering. But since "safe" people more or less blend into the background, this contrast should tip you off that Something Is Up.
posted by alphanerd at 9:22 PM on March 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


I recently had an old friend reconnect on Facebook who wanted to chat about past sexytimes (which were a lot more vivid in his memory) and claimed my photo showed I hadn't changed a bit. Profile showed he was married with a baby. He lives several states away, so I assume he was just looking to flirt. I also assume that, despite my alleged memorability and desirability, this impulse wasn't really about me, but rather about his own structural situation and escapist impulses.

If the point is really pressed, yes, you do want to turn him down, because you don't want to be a CPOS, especially with a baby involved. (Unless the point is pressed by her. Even then, think carefully about what kind of availability he'll have, and what kind of availability you'll want him to have; if the two don't match up, stay away.) If you're not sure you would turn him down, don't socialize with him when he's in a position to proposition you.

You didn't ask, but: I would not tell his wife about this, or others in their mutual circle. He preserved deniability (barely), and it's possible he was acting out that night, rather than being someone who's determined to cheat on his wife. Let's hope.
posted by feral_goldfish at 9:45 PM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm in my late 30's too, and I can see how it would be flattering to be hit on by a younger man with an even younger wife. Reading between the lines of your question, you seem to be taking this guy's attentions as proof that you're hotter than a twenty-something and when you're knocking on forty's door that's a very appealing thing to think. I admit I'd be flattered by it too.

However, this man's wife is supposed to be your friend, but you don't seem to be treating her as a friend. You failed to shut down her husband's inappropriate behavior and you admit you think she's "plain". If you see her as "plain" then that's more a reflection on you than on her. He obviously doesn't think of her as "plain" or he wouldn't have married her. He chose her, and not you, and the fact that you met before they were married indicates he did have a choice. But really, it's not a competition.

Your friends just had a baby. The only appropriate response to the husband's behavior would have been to cut it off at the pass as soon as he made his first statement about you being sexy, and feeling rather creeped out about the whole thing. But you didn't do that. I think you need to think about why not.

I think the best thing that could come out of this would be for it to trigger you to reflect on what's really important in life. Hint - it's not the competition between your "look" and his wife's appearance. Your late 30s is the time to begin to accept that you're aging and your looks are no longer going to be a major advantage for you, no matter how gorgeous you might have been in the past. But that's ok, there are other things that are much more meaningful, such as love and compassion. Practice those things and you'll get through this transition to middle age just fine.
posted by hazyjane at 10:37 PM on March 6, 2012 [25 favorites]


Honey, he's grooming you for an affair. RUN.

Additionally, please please examine why you were flattered by this and not utterly turned off and disgusted, as you should have been under most circumstances, but especially because there is a newborn involved.

Pity the wife. He sounds like a practiced cheater. Yes, there are others he's successfully bedded. He's been so brazen because he continues to get away with it. So far, you've been an interesting long-term challenge. Likely he has a regular thing going with their hot neighbor across the street, someone at his job, and a slew of others.

Don't join that list.
posted by jbenben at 10:51 PM on March 6, 2012 [19 favorites]


You are not in anyway obligated to police their relationship. Since he brought you into this, he is obligated to disclose. If he refuses or blatantly lies, you are free to tell your friend/his wife. If he tells you honestly that he has permission to go after you, politely decline if that is your wish or go for it.

None whatsoever. If they were polyamorous, he would already have brought it up. And if they were polyamorous and he were not a creep, his wife would already have confirmed it.

I am not so sure about that. People can get pretty skeeved out by poly folks and they might not wish to disclose the inner workings of their societally-disapproved of relationship. Their relationship agreement might be such that he is allowed to fuck anything he wants as long as she doesn't know about it. The rules for every relationship is different. And since poly relationships are so negotiated that is extra true for them. But still, this guy could be total skum trying to cheat on his wife and we have no way of confirming this without asking, sadly.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:55 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


For the record, some men start behaving like this just after their SO has a baby.

QFT. This guy would not be the first fellow to turn into a full-on scumbucket right after his wife has a baby.

he just was not someone that I would have ever imagined would do such a thing

Surprise! He is vast, and he contains multitudes. Sleazy, sleazy multitudes.
posted by sculpin at 11:35 PM on March 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


Uh... Something crazy just happened, OP! I'm pretty sure it is a message for you, so I am passing it on.

This comment of mine from just over a year ago got favorited again, just before I replied in this thread - and it's about someone I was involved with that informed my answer here to you and speaks directly to your issue, just from the wife's side.

In that answer I am you, not the wife or gf. You're not this guy's ex, as in the situation in that thread, but it is known that your guy has always been interested in you. This comment about my personal experience definitely applies here:

"Hi! In another life, I was that ex your husband contacted. And YES - he's cheating or looking to cheat on you.

My ex also showed his wife our emails to show it was on the up-n-up. HA! Turns out, he'd been stepping out on her for years, he knew how to dodge her suspicions. Some of the women he cheated with included their mutual friends. Especially one of the wife's childhood best friends. They're divorced now, she still doesn't know the extent of the cheating. Similarly, you'd be surprised how many of their male married and non-married friends helped the husband cheat.

-------
In short, the Best Man bowed out of your Wedding Day because of your now Husband's relationship with another woman?? You're not crazy. This weird soap opera stuff does happen. Get out now, while you can.
-------

Oh, and the wife from the story above? She ended up a little unbalanced by the time they divorced. Over 10+ years, this guy undermined every correct instinct she had about him, and it severely damaged her self-esteem. Don't end up like that.

I hated the way you started this post off, "Yep, I've got trust issues." Bullshit. Don't disparage yourself or your feelings like that from now on. That's why I am writing."
posted by jbenben at 12:02 AM on March 7, 2012


I'd like to point out that it's possible for poly guys to be /just as sleazy as nonpoly guys/. Being poly does not automatically make you more sensitive. Being successfully and happily poly might require that, but people can fail at poly just as they can fail at monogamous relationships.

So really, the issue isn't even "what are the relationship boundaries", because it's not something you can even find out without asking the wife, and asking the wife reveals you're thinking about them.

The issue is, do you think the behavior is appropriate? And you clearly don't. Enjoying thinking that you're more attractive than a younger woman does not mean you think this is cool. It also isn't a deadly, friendship-destroying sin. I have friends who are more beautiful than I am, and I have friends who are plainer than I do. Noticing this doesn't make you a bad person-but taking advantage of it would. Accept the validation without needing to press it into action.

I'd cool it a bit on the facebook-as previous commenters have mentioned, jokes often have some truth to them, and the wife might be a bit stung. Also, don't see him alone.

If he raises this again, though, definitely talk to your friend about it. One bad night after drinks doesn't mean he's a completely foul human either. He may just not be able to handle his liquor. If his wife just had a baby, she probably hasn't been drinking for some time, which means if he's a decent partner, he probably hasn't been drinking as well.

Maybe Pollyannaish, but thought I'd at least raise the possibility.
posted by corb at 2:22 AM on March 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


As to the question of how you should you proceed because you want to continue hanging out with them, I think you should keep yourself away from this guy, in real life and on Facebook.

You're not best friends, he isn't a family member by marriage so frankly, there's no reason for you to have any involvement in their lives anymore after he's hit on you.
posted by kinetic at 3:59 AM on March 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Vis a vis the poly thing - although it doesn't sound like the dude is poly/open- even if he's poly, you shouldn't default and assign all cheaty behavior to poly-ness. I'm in an open relationship, and I tell people precisely because I don't want people to think that I'm asking them to help me cheat. To my mind, that's the ethical way to handle it. The fact that he's hinting around rather than clearly saying that he'd like to get involved with you and that his wife is okay with it....that says that he's okay with giving the impression to you that he's cheating, and making you feel that you are helping him hurt his wife, and he thinks you're the type of person who won't care about cheating. No matter what agreement he has with his wife, that's not very nice and you are not obliged to play along.
posted by Frowner at 4:34 AM on March 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thoughts on how to proceed?

Indeed.

1) Say nothing to her. They just had a baby, he may well be having some sort of identity lame crisis, whatever - you can afford to give him the benefit of the doubt here and there's no compelling reason to put a rocket launcher in their marriage.

2) Address this directly with him, saying something like "Last weekend was very weird and made me uncomfortable. I like you and Mrs Whatever and am very happy about your new family unit and Baby Whatever. Button up and fly right."

3) As to yourself, make sure you draw firm and safe boundaries. Only see them together. Do not be available for FB chats with him. Commit to yourself to not use him for validation about your looks or attractiveness. Shut him down, clearly, if he pushes boundaries again.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:57 AM on March 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Additionally, please please examine why you were flattered by this and not utterly turned off and disgusted, as you should have been under most circumstances, but especially because there is a newborn involved."

This.

I don't see any ambiguities here. He's told you straight out what he wants.

I also don't get the "oh but maybe they're poooolllly" excuses that are being proffered here on his behalf. He says his wife kidded him about fancying you, therefore you don't know for certain that they aren't poly so maybe this isn't as disgusting and morally reprehensible as it looks? Is this the "my wife doesn't understand me" of the 21st century? Since we're dealing with nano-slivers of doubt here, let me turn this around for you: what if his wife, in his presence, smilingly handed you a signed affidavit from her confirming that they are poly and she totally thinks it's hilarious how he's dying to have sex with you and urges you to go for it. How could you be sure he wasn't forcing her to say that? Right after having a baby is when she's at her most vulnerable, both physically and economically. There's a reason why it's common for bad men to choose that moment to reveal their badness. It's because they think all the risk will fall on their wives. And it does.

And it's great that you're such a looker and the wife is so plain, especially right now so soon after giving birth. Being more attractive than her is like beating someone with their hands tied behind their back, so you don't have to fuck her husband in order to prove yourself.

As to how you should respond, kick him in the goolies. Not literally, because that would be violent. Just block him. This isn't a long-established friendship, the only thing connecting you is attraction if you're honest. You don't owe him an explanation, it's enough that he was propositioning the shit out of you while his wife was at home with the baby. Maybe it will hurt her feelings too, but cutting them off abruptly is probably the closest you can realistically get to warning her.
posted by tel3path at 6:09 AM on March 7, 2012 [17 favorites]


I don't think it's a total given that he is a slimy cheating SOB who should be shunned. A lot of guys I know have had struggles in immediate post-baby behavior. From what I can see, it's incredibly stressful and destabilizing, all of a sudden their wife may no longer be interested in them sexually and they are walking around town holding a diaper bag (read: not exactly getting lots of female attention), and all this on top of the sleep deprivation.

So fairly often, they get kind of hungry for female sexual attention -- not necessarily an affair (though I know guys who have done that), but more like drinking in bars with younger, single, attractive women, or long late night email chats with exgirlfriends. It's a way to know you still got it, you know?

And in return, from what I've seen these guys have no problem finding women who welcome that attention from someone who is "safe" -- he's probably not going to do something over the top, he's definitely not going to leave his wife and new baby, and he goes home every night. It's definitely a "takes two to tango" situation; you can't go flirt in bars unless there are women who want to flirt with you, if that makes sense.

I'm in no way defending him -- I think he's operating in a way that might be hurtful to his wife, and will probably be embarrassing to him later. But I think that there is a context for this, and it has a lot more to do with the new baby than it does a serial philanderer wanting to get some strange.

That said, I'd also question your role in this, and make sure you are always comfortable with the path you are taking. If the flirting makes you feel icky, don't do it; you know what hanging out in intimate situations with him will be like, so don't seek out those situations. You can just passively avoid this, or you can tell him, as was suggested above, that you are uncomfortable with how he is talking -- it might well be a good wakeup call for him, and better to hear it from you now than later.
posted by Forktine at 6:14 AM on March 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


The more I think about this, the more I think that the only way to handle it is to assume the best of the guy - he's not actually a cheating type, he's having some weird identity crisis, he would actually be horrified if he ended up cheating and ruined his marriage, he doesn't want to hurt his wife in general and particularly when she has just given birth. So you support this best-possible-him by not encouraging him to cheat. You treat it as just a goofy little aberration due to stress and life changes, bringing it up with him if he continues but otherwise agreeing to let drunken foolery be drunken foolery.

I do have a friend who went through sort of a "fantasy cheating" phase at a stressful point in his life - he didn't really want to cheat, he would have been appalled to hurt his partner and lose his relationship, but he did flirt a bit much and have a little more daydreaming about "what if I could BOTH be in my real relationship AND get a bit on the side and have it all work out" than was really healthy under the circumstances. There was never any question in his mind, as far as I know, that he would ever actually cheat or risk losing his relationship. The best possible interpretation here is that your friend is just acting out a little bit of wishful thinking without considering the consequences.
posted by Frowner at 6:19 AM on March 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't understand why you're even asking this. He tells you he wants to have sex with you and then wants to hang out alone after the bar at your house. You know the answer to this question.

Even if they were polyamorous even though you think that's an impossibility, he doesn't tell you anything about this, but goes with the weird manipulative, "she thinks it's funny I have a crush LOL!" Yeah, maybe he's going through some identity crisis or something, but what he did the night you describe is seriously super creeper territory. It would be even if he were single. Again, I find it hard to believe you don't know this.
posted by cmoj at 6:40 AM on March 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd like to focus on this: "she thinks it's funny I have a crush LOL!"

This is a way of implying she'd be okay with this, without actually saying so. I don't know if this is customary among the poly people. I do know it's customary among the cheating people.

What you know for a fact:

- he is married
- his wife just had a baby
- he told you, repeatedly and in private, that he wanted to have sex with you and then asked to go back to your place

If you're inventive enough, you can devise all kinds of backstories where this isn't what it looks like. I suggest you take it at face value though.
posted by tel3path at 6:45 AM on March 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


As metafilter will often tell you, it's Fine to have crushes on people, even when you're married, even when they're married. And it's often best to get it out in the air and tell your SO instead of letting it fester. However, I've been the woman with low self-esteem who figured that the married guy who's wife I liked was just Flirty when he had my hands down my pants and told me how attractive I was, and wow, later when I found out he was maybe more than flirty with other similar women? I realized I'd been giving him Way too much credit, had been far too naive in my desire to be desired by this seemingly great guy.

So I know where you're coming from. This is so tempting. However, you know the answers: he wanted to cheat with you, he told pretty much told you that. Sure, feel flattered if you like, but take note of what the others say above: he doesn't say good things about him. Stay friends with them if you'd like, but only hang out with them together. And go find what you're looking for from him with some other, even cooler dude. One who wouldn't try to sleep with someone else when you'd just given birth. You deserve better.
posted by ldthomps at 6:57 AM on March 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


In addition to the by-the-book good advice above, consider this:

If you're going to fuck a guy who complements you and makes you feel good, don't cash that card with this loser. Any guy who spends his time validating his appeal by using his wife's words of "cute" & "funny" etc. instead of actually closing the deal with you on his own merit is no winnner. His meek suggestion of stopping off at your place on the way to your friend's is indication enough.

Higher standards.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:06 AM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, was he—as my friends think—looking to cheat on his wife?

Yes. As tel3path has said, there was no ambiguity. He asked you straight out, several times.

Pre-meditated? Spontaneous?

What does this matter? Not a rhetorical question – this together with your "plain" remark sound like you either have low self-esteem, and/or terrible boundaries for whatever reason. I know this could be from bad childhood experiences, but whatever the reason is, you could do with some introspection. Why? Well, how would you feel if you were the new mother and a woman you thought was your friend, upon being propositioned by your husband, remarked about you, "although a lovely person, [she] would accurately be described as 'plain'"? If someone said that about a married, new-mom friend of mine, heck, just reading your words, without even knowing you or the wife involved, my instinctive, immediate response is a string of profanity, and deep sympathy towards the wife. I mention it so that you can, I hope, comprehend the sort of boundary you crossed and think about what possessed you to cross it. You will be a better person if you understand this.

And how should I proceed? I like them both a lot,

What? You like his wife so much that you weren't disgusted by her husband's propositioning and cattily called her "plain", going along with her husband's manoeuvering? Do you actually like her? Is your behavior the sort that you associate with appreciating someone and having fun with them? I mean, if you're going to make his propositions all about you, then you might as well go all the way and really, deeply make this whole thing about you. Including your reactions and what they say about you. I'd say that's the best way to proceed. If/when the guy propositions you again, let him know you're working on yourself and suggest that he work on his marriage and new baby. Hey, his wife might even be up for sexy-sex if he helps her out more so she can have more energy, solving everyone's potential cheater-dude problem. (If that's even really his problem, and he hasn't actually been a cheater all along.)
posted by fraula at 7:18 AM on March 7, 2012 [18 favorites]


I get a message from him telling me they (and the baby) are coming down to visit friends and did I want to hang out. I reply that I had dinner plans that night but we could meet up for drinks afterward.

They have an infant, want to meet with you, and you suggest drinks? If he'd been my husband, he'd be receiving a huge rash of shit for playing along with your thoughtlessness.
posted by Feisty at 7:38 AM on March 7, 2012 [14 favorites]


Possibly it's just me, but your question read to me a lot more like "I like this guy, does he like me back?" than "how can I salvage a friendship with my boundary-crossing friend and his possibly unknowing wife?" And given that you gave a lot more reasons for continuing the friendship with him (and his wife) than not, I'm pretty sure you already know how you'll proceed.
posted by sm1tten at 7:50 AM on March 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Even if they were polyamorous even though you think that's an impossibility, he doesn't tell you anything about this, but goes with the weird manipulative, "she thinks it's funny I have a crush LOL!"

It's not just that--it's a way to dismiss what could be genuine concerns from his wife as silly and ridiculous and a big joke. Basically, he's telling you this to absolve himself from guilt.

Which is bullshit. Because he's obviously looking to cheat on her with you. Seriously, why would you want to be friends with someone like this? He's not a good guy--he's trying to get booty calls while his wife and newborn stay at home. I know you probably feel the old familiar thrill of the chase, and it feels good for your ego to have a younger partnered guy laying it on so heavily, but it's all really icky and if you get involved in this, you're going to be entangling yourself in some really massive drama.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:06 AM on March 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


that he would "love to have sex with [me]"

If a married person told me this I would be completely grossed out. This guy sucks.
posted by something something at 8:06 AM on March 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, consider what this entire history looks like from her perspective:

She made friends with someone who, on the second occasion of ever meeting her boyfriend, accepted a huge hug from him and proceeded to flirt with him pretty relentlessly. She's committed to him and they moved in together, marry, and have a baby, but he frequently chats with her on facebook. She knows how interested he is in this woman--she's older, but she's hotter than she is. She might feel uncomfortable about it, or she might feel secure in her relationship. For whatever reason, she teases her husband about it. He turns around and shares that (private) marital teasing with this woman, on a night when she's home with the baby, and he's gone out drinking. He flat-out propositions the woman while his wife is asleep after caring all day for their infant.

Have you seen the movie Young Adult? I think you should. It's pretty much what you're headed for.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:14 AM on March 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Talk to the wife. Pick up the phone right now. Do you hesitate? Do your palms sweat? Do you feel something in the pit of your stomach? Then you know in your heart that something is wrong. Put the phone down. Have no further contact with him outside the presence of his wife. Just shut down all Facebook chats with him. Don't worry about being "rude" - he was rude with you and certainly rude to his wife. Really think about why you need this validation from men - are you really that insecure?

His wife might joke about his crush, but unless you know FOR SURE that she's okay with you pursing him (see above about calling her), there's a non-insignificant chance that she will be completely enraged. Is a night or two of drunken sex worth your friendship? Worth hurting a new mother?
posted by desjardins at 8:26 AM on March 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


I also have to say it sounds like he has a really good idea of how to manipulate you.

He gets there and proceeds to spend the next few hours pretty much up in my business, telling me repeatedly how hot/sexy/cool etc he thinks I am, that he would "love to have sex with [me]," that if we had babies, the babies would be so cute, or stuff like how he had seen a movie a few weeks ago and the soundtrack reminded him of me.

Are you at a point in your life where you haven't had children yet but are kind of really longing for some? Even if you are not he probably thinks you are because of your age and singleness.

I think he's dangling the idea of having babies with him in front of you as a way to entice you into sex. I think he has none, nada, zero, zip zilch intention of having babies and starting a life with you and even if you know intellectually that it was "just a joke" there might be another part of yourself thinking "but would a man really joke about something like that?" Yes, lots of men/people will say anything, imply anything, even promise ANYTHING to get what they want out of you.
posted by cairdeas at 8:44 AM on March 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


He wants to have sex with you. That is all. No, really, that is all.
posted by unSane at 10:07 AM on March 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is a way of implying she'd be okay with this, without actually saying so. I don't know if this is customary among the poly people.

It is not a custom among the responsible and respectful poly people. It may well be a custom among the sleazy, cheating, agreement-breaking poly people (I don't know because I don't hang out with those asshats).

Look, it doesn't matter whether they're mono or poly. He is acting like a sleazy cheatbag. If you want some of that sleazy cheatbag peen, that's up to you. For myself, I would run so fast in the opposite direction that it would look like a Road Runner cartoon.

Do you want us to tell you that the guy wanted to bang you so that you can feel flattered (ew), or do you want us to tell you that the guy wanted to bang you so you could disengage from him?

The guy wants to bang you. So the fuck what? Your self-worth isn't tied up in whether a cheating asshat with a new baby at home wants to fuck you, is it?
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:08 AM on March 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'd like to point out that it's possible for poly guys to be /just as sleazy as nonpoly guys/.

Yes, what corb said. But you don't want to cheat with a sleazy poly guy any more than you want to cheat with a sleazy mono guy, do you? People can indeed cheat on open and polyamorous relationships. This guy's creepbag behavior is certainly suggesting cheating to you, regardless of what his relationship agreements may be.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:10 AM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you want to stay friends with this couple, drop her a line now and then. See him only when his wife is with him. Also, change the subject when his compliments get out of the platonic-appropriate range. And you could say something like, "I know it's all in fun, but I'd feel more comfortable without all the flirty talk."
posted by wryly at 11:26 AM on March 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Urgh. I am reminded of a male friend of mine who once spoke wise words, I thought, about the phenomenon of women who are like, "He seemed to be hitting on me? But maybe he was kidding?" He said this: "If there's any chance that you're not kidding, then we're never totally kidding."

What you are being offered here is something that I firmly believe will make you feel gross. That's all there is to it. Some people wouldn't feel gross, and you're trying to feel less gross by pointing out that maybe it's flattering that he's better-looking than his wife and he kind of wants to trade up to your better "look," but this is gross, and if you don't nip it in the bud, you will feel gross.

You seem to be tempted to feel validated by this. DO NOT. This is not the kind of approach from a guy that is truly motivated by thinking you're awesome. It's motivated, I think, by thinking you're going to be cooperative with the rules he wants to establish.

Feel validated instead by having the good sense to tell him to leave you alone.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 11:48 AM on March 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


Also:

He and I immediately hit it off, with that kind of chemistry you have when you meet someone and just know you like them right away and are attracted to them but one or both are not available.

Are you sure this wasn't mirroring? Mirroring is a specialty of people without a conscience (like people who leave their wife at home with an infant to go out catting around and telling other women how much they want to sleep with them.)
posted by cairdeas at 11:52 AM on March 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Mirroring
posted by cairdeas at 11:52 AM on March 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


And in looking for that last link I came across this one too, worth a look to see if you think it reminds you of his behavior towards you so far. Think about that "our babies would be so cute" line he gave you. Have you ever mentioned wanting babies one day, to him?
posted by cairdeas at 12:01 PM on March 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


You sound like you are thinking of pursuing this flirtation when you visit their town. That's really the question here, right? "Should I have sex with this guy when I visit their town very soon." The answer is "No, you should not."
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:29 PM on March 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


You know... it's really telling that you think of him as your "friend" and the "plain" "wife" (who it looks like you met first?) is just "his wife."

Why are you on his side, instead of your own? He's definitely trying to cheat on his wife and he is totally not your friend!
posted by spunweb at 12:39 PM on March 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's probably trying to hook up with you. At the very least you should limit yourself to only interacting with him while his wife is there. If he compliments your looks or anything like that in the future tell him you're not comfortable with that, and if he keeps it up leave.
posted by drezdn at 1:01 PM on March 7, 2012


He was clearly trying to have sex with you. This isn't ambiguous.

It kind of sounds like you're into it, but if you're looking for permission to go fuck a married guy -- a guy who is married to your friend -- you won't get it from me. How to proceed? Don't hang out with them. Especially don't hang out with just him.
posted by J. Wilson at 3:45 PM on March 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think you're getting a lot of undeserved hate for describing the wife as plain, and for being in this circumstance in general. Maybe she is plain, and you were just noting it in an attempt to present the facts and process the situation.

Being flattered by this doesn't mean you're obligated to be open to his agenda. Chances are, you're more target of opportunity than anything else. But still, it's nice to be a target of opportunity, now and then. It's a compliment, if a cheap one.

I think you deserve more than someone who would cozy up to you to escape the charms of his shiny new family, in whatever capacity. I'd focus on strengthening your friendship with the wife and only deal with the husband as an extension of her. Maybe he's being squirrely right now and will calm down in 6 months or whatever and be privately ever so grateful you had the good judgement not to give the green light.
posted by griselda at 4:22 PM on March 8, 2012


There are a lot of posts that more than directly answer your question, so I am skipping on that bit.

The guy to me comes across as what he clearly is. But more interestingly, you, being a late-30s woman, come across as someone who is fishing only for compliments. You love to be flattered and mark my words, that does not make the guy any worse than he is, however detailed your description of his advances may be.
posted by xm at 9:16 PM on March 8, 2012


…you, being a late-30s woman, come across as someone who is fishing only for compliments.

huh? bc, clearly, all women in their late 30s are only fishing for compliments.
posted by violetk at 8:26 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Leave these friends alone and focus on your other friends. Tell them you're too busy to visit and drop off a nice baby gift at the front door.
posted by Clotilde at 3:46 PM on March 12, 2012


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