Compounding Life Disasters
March 7, 2013 6:51 AM   Subscribe

I think my friend tried to fondle me in my sleep.

My life has been in a bit of a tail spin lately. I am in the process of moving back to my hometown to regroup after a series of hardships. I have been staying on my friend's couch for the past couple of weeks. I am female and he is male. Last night, I woke up and he was kneeling on the floor next to the couch touching my ass under the blankets. I was a little disoriented and turned my head towards him to see what was going on. As soon as we made eye contact, he looked surprised, shot up and left the room. He didn't come back. I sort of laid there a little stunned and couldn't bring myself to get up and confront him. I stayed awake all night, got up early and left. I think he was trying to fondle me in my sleep.

He is my closest friend and we have been friends for years (we have never been romantic). We are both in our early 30s. He has a girlfriend. I obviously am not staying with him anymore, I couldn't sleep at all after that. I have no idea what to say to him. My instinct is just to cut all ties and never speak to him again.

Additionally, I am a very heavy sleeper and he knows this. We even joked about it the day before. I have no idea if this was the first time he's tried this or if it has happened before and to what extent. I can't think if any other explanation other than he was trying to touch me while I slept. But maybe I am overreacting? Does he deserve a chance to explain himself? Could something else have been going on? I have seriously been through the ringer these past few months. Between the stress and hardships that led me to his couch in the first place and this, I have basically no reserves to deal with this. Right now I just feel kind of numb and whatever emotion "WTF?" is. Many of our friends are mutual friends and I don't want to tel them about this.

Do I talk to him about this or cut ties? Should I say something to his girlfriend? If I talk to him, how the fuck should I approach this?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (48 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You are not overreacting, you were sexually assaulted according to Minnesota state statute and almost certainly according to the laws of your state as well.

I'd recommend talking to a therapist and/or victims advocate to try to figure out a way for you to heal. I would also encourage you to report it to the police, but there's nothing wrong with you if you choose not to.
posted by kavasa at 6:55 AM on March 7, 2013 [17 favorites]

Give him one chance to explain himself. ONE. If his explanation is anything other than "your butt was on fire and I was saving your life, here, I have photographic proof," he is totally full of shit.

I would tell every single one of your mutual friends about this. What if he's pulled this shit before with others?
posted by phunniemee at 7:00 AM on March 7, 2013 [38 favorites]

You should take care of yourself. By that I mean you should do what you feel you need to do to help you process and deal with this. It sounds to me like you were assaulted, and at the absolute least your trust was violated by your friend, which is itself a pretty big, pretty hard thing to have to deal with.

Go slow, and maybe go with the help of someone who deals with this kind of thing. Your state sexual assault program should have advocates who will talk with you on the phone for free and who want nothing more than to help you deal with this in the way that you feel is right.

You can report to the police, you can confront your friend, you can talk to his girlfriend. You can absolutely do these things for yourself and your own peace of mind, and you might want to do some or all of them for the benefit of others (because it sounds like your friend is a creep). It's also totally okay for you to decide you don't want to do those things.

I'm sorry this happened. It sounds shitty to me. I'm glad you're not in that situation anymore.

Go slow, and take care of yourself. There's no wrong way to respond to this. Just listen to yourself and what you feel you need.
posted by gauche at 7:04 AM on March 7, 2013 [9 favorites]

When I am stressed out I have super weird dreams and anxiety at night. I would give him a chance to explain what was going on just in case it was one of those bizarre night brain things where you are half awake and see something that is not quite there once you are fully awake.

This is not at all to say that you don't know what you're talking about, or that you don't deserve safety and respect. You definitely do, and if he fucked up then he fucked up. Don't feel bad about causing drama if you need help getting out.
posted by skrozidile at 7:05 AM on March 7, 2013 [8 favorites]

If someone shoots someone in front of your eyes, you don't bother asking him to explain what, if and why he did that. Absent you having dreamt this, Clarification of ambiguity is no longer the issue in your case.

You've lost your closest friend in spectacular fashion.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:08 AM on March 7, 2013 [9 favorites]

In my opinion, going by what you are saying, he has inappropriately touched you, As kavasa mentions, it is sexual assault. You found his hand in contact with you UNDER the blanket. It isn't like he knelt down to speak to you and was trying to touch your shoulder ABOVE the blanket to wake you.

You feel violated? You are entitled to hearing the reason why he did what he did, not so much as give him a chance to explain himself. You actually have the opportunity to confront the aggressor. Have realistic expectations though. He may give you some nonsense answer but since he hasn't even tried to apologize shows he knows he did something terrible.

In any case, you should do what will unravel the "WTF?!" feeling you are having because it will only grow and get worse.
posted by Yellow at 7:08 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

My instinct is just to cut all ties and never speak to him again.

Follow your instinct. And then go talk to a trusted someone about this.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:13 AM on March 7, 2013 [16 favorites]

Okay, on rereading your question I suppose there is a maybe the slenderest of chances that this is either a dream or innocent in some way, and if you're not clear about it, you might want to ask your friend what the hell happened that night. If you want to, ask him in a public place somewhere, and while he is answering, watch his eyes. Notice how you feel about his explanation and his body language as he is giving it. Sit with that feeling a bit and decide whether you trust him and his explanation or not. You don't even ever have to tell him whether you believe him or not, if you don't want to.

This is if you decide the guy's explanation is worth getting, of course. And if you feel like he is lying to you, that's just more information about him. Again, I'm sorry this happened.

FWIW I'm a dude who has female friends, and if one of them were sleeping over I can't imagine touching them anywhere while they were sleeping. Unless, I don't know, there were scorpions crawling on them or something. That strikes me as totally inappropriate and fucked up.
posted by gauche at 7:18 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

The fact that he ran off when you woke up makes it really hard to think of innocent explanations (other than "it was all a dream," I guess--but then you should have a ton of messages saying "where did you go? What's up?" etc.). I guess I'd give him a chance to explain, but I'd be pretty quick to call bullshit on any explanation that A) sounds at all sketchy and B) fails to account for his behavior after you woke. So sorry you're going through this; it sounds like sheer hell.
posted by yoink at 7:20 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

I would give him a chance to explain what was going on just in case it was one of those bizarre night brain things where you are half awake and see something that is not quite there once you are fully awake.

While I agree that a "what the hell happened" discussion is not a bad idea, be very careful about the way you phrase your question(s). Any sort of "did I dream/imagine this?" wording opens an avenue for gaslighting.
posted by hanov3r at 7:22 AM on March 7, 2013 [38 favorites]

I doubt you dreamed this. Being told "Maybe you dreamed it" might be something you'll face here or there, and it's something I faced when I finally told friends I had been assaulted by someone they knew. "Are you sure? Maybe you were just drunk and misremembered it? He seems nice?" It's good to be prepared that some of your friends might have this inappropriate response but you should also know this is not a good response for your friends to have. Second guessing a persons recounted experience of assault is not a good first response to sexual assault reporting.

I would recommend you call a local sexual assault hotline and talk about your feelings. Before questioning your friend at all or telling your friends. You should be eligible for long term counseling if you want, or some immediate crisis counseling. Any hotline will be available for you to talk and ask questions on the spot and I would recommend asking them about the process of reporting, about any mixed feelings you have about reporting or telling your friends and about confronting him at all.

I would write down the things you want to ask BEFORE you call because it's easy to get disoriented and overwhelmed talking about this and forget some of the questions you want to ask. I don't think it will be useful for you to ask him about it. You already know what happened and he can only either conform it (how will you feel about that?) or deny it (how will you feel about that?). If you talk it over with a counselor and confronting him is something you want to do for your own reasons even if it's as simple as wanting to tell him off, it's perfectly ok to do so, it just requires some foresight and preparing to support yourself through it because it's likely to be more taxing and hard on you than therapeutic.

And yes DO tell your friends. I waited years before telling my friends and I was sure they were going to disbelieve me or somehow think bad of me, that I was exaggerating something or making a deal out of nothing. I discovered all the friends I told but one (who had dated the guy and didn't want to believe he could do that) were very supportive and cut him off and were appalled at his behavior. Most of your friends (if they are good friends) will likely be very supportive of you right now, and you deserve some support with this.
posted by xarnop at 7:22 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Does he deserve a chance to explain himself?

No. There is no possible legitimate explanation for touching you in this way while you were asleep. There is zero ambiguity here. There is no way that his actions were appropriate. This doesn't mean that he's a vicious person who wanted to hurt or scare you, but it does mean that he acted toward you in a way that was damaging, inappropriate, and wrong. He doesn't deserve the opportunity to make excuses for his actions.

Trust your instincts: if your gut says leave and cut all contact, do so. If your gut says tell his girlfriend, tell her; if it says don't tell her, don't. Likewise, you may want to talk to someone about this, and you could call an organization like RAINN, or you could talk to a therapist, but you don't have to. And you can tell friends, or not, depending on what feels right and safe to you. You don't owe anyone any particular feeling, reaction, or choice.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:27 AM on March 7, 2013 [7 favorites]

This is awful and it must be so confusing, especially after recent events in your life, to feel betrayed this way by someone you trust. I am so sorry this happened to you.

You will probably need some time to process this. It may be best to talk out your feelings with a therapist or counselor so you can mentally frame the situation in a way that makes sense to you. The cognitive dissonance you are probably feeling (how could my friend also be a predator?) has to be staggering. It also can't help that you are lacking stability in your life right now.

As for contacting him, this must be your decision and yours alone. If it were me, I would not try to do this by myself or in person. It may help to have a friend or therapist who can act as a reality filter be a mediator for the conversation, even if that just means having him/her read an email before you do.

Once again, I am so sorry.
posted by Lieber Frau at 7:27 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wow. If it had been something innocent, he would have explained himself right away instead of dashing from the room. And I'm trying to think what that could be...maybe "oh sorry! I didn't mean to wake you, but I left my cellphone on the couch and was just trying to grab it!" But like I said, if it was an innocent situation like that, he would have blurted out the explanation. It would appear he is a creep, not a friend.
posted by Eicats at 7:30 AM on March 7, 2013 [16 favorites]

I am not you, but I think I would (if anything) express my deep disappointment in him. I'd be angry, but jerks have a way of deciding that your anger is bigger than it ought to be. They don't much know how to respond to disappointment.

I'd email something like "I'm really disappointed in you, and I will miss our friendship. No one should have to tell you that it's wrong to involve a sleeping person in your masturbation. By the way, I'm being generous here, because it was actually assault. For my own sanity, I will remember it as 'involving me in your masterbation' ... But technically, it is sexual assault. Do not ever do that to anyone again! Jesus fuck! I really didn't need this kind of crap from you. You're a fucking idiot. Sex? You're doing it wrong."

I don't know if this is a healthy response, but if my reserves were low, I'd rather reflect on it as a critical disappointment and, in my own way, for now, purposely minimize the assault aspects -- which would send me into a tailspin and which everyone and their mother would have an opinion about and some would (assholes!) dispute and I wouldn't have the energy for debating. If my friends asked what happened, I'd say "I woke up and he was masturbatimg on me. I don't want to get into details, but it was gross and I can't be friends with him anymore."
posted by vitabellosi at 7:36 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding Eicats. Putting myself in his shoes, the only reason I would ever do this is if something was on you, like an insect or something. And if I woke you up trying to get it off you, I would immediately explain what was going on and apologize for disturbing you, not run off and hide.

You should feel safe with your friends. You should trust them. It doesn't sound like you do with him anymore, and it doesn't sound like you should.

Look after yourself first and foremost. Talk to someone. Make sure you're okay. I'm really sorry this happened at a terrible time. It always sucks to have a friendship shift from underneath you, particularly at stressful moments like you're going through.
posted by dry white toast at 7:36 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am so sorry this happened to you.

I suggest you talk to a professional (therapist, counselor) or at least someone unconnected to the situation before talking either to him or to your mutual friends. He may try to turn it around on you, and your mutual friends' first reflex may be to defend him. Abuse is a troubling subject and many people will get defensive/in denial about it, which can make you feel doubly betrayed. So get very clear what you think about this, and then stand up for yourself in whatever way your conscience tells you.
posted by BibiRose at 7:37 AM on March 7, 2013

Weird things can happen when people are asleep. Possibly not in this case, but you never know.

If he's your closest friend, and you've been friends for years, I think he deserves one chance to explain himself.
posted by ComfySofa at 7:44 AM on March 7, 2013

I have basically no reserves to deal with this.

And it's fine if you want to just cut ties now, worry about getting to a safe place and your basic survival needs taken care of, and made additional decisions about it later. You need to take care of you first, and if that means all you say to anyone is "it's not possible for me to stay there anymore, unfortunately," that's fine. He can't do it to you again if you're not there, and he probably doesn't get a chance to do it to your other friends, so I don't think you need to speak up for reasons of safety.

And I don't think you have to give him a chance to explain himself. He may choose to do so - I assume he has some sort of contact information for you - but there's so few rational explanations for that particular behavior that I don't see why you need to be the one going to any lengths to help him out here.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:49 AM on March 7, 2013 [7 favorites]

By the way, I actually think support from friends and family can turn out to be more meaningful than therapy sessions. HOWEVER the reason talking with a professional knowledgeable about these situations is that weeding out people's knee-jerk and unhelpful reactions is something that's hard to do without knowing how normal it is for people to disbelieve a nice person could do this. Disbelief is one of the most normal reactions to sexual assault reporting.

People don't want to believe nice people do these things. You were THERE and you don't want to believe this nice person did this. Others will find any escape route in their minds they can find to continue believing relatively nice trustworthy people would never do something like this.

Relatively nice trustworthy people do things like this. It really happens. It is not your fault. It is not your job to convince people working through their own denialism about this he really did this. You need support, just choose the people who are good at giving support or at the least believing you and validating you, and avoid the rest. You will likely have some friends that don't believe you, some friends who MAYBE believe you but want to rationalize it as forgivable and stay friends with him anyway. This is the kind of time where you find out who your real friends are. And... I am so sorry you're faced with this.
posted by xarnop at 7:50 AM on March 7, 2013 [9 favorites]

I woke up and he was kneeling on the floor next to the couch touching my ass under the blankets.

You aren't asking for legal advice, and I'm not offering any. But as an attorney with some experience dealing with these situations, I find that it is sometimes helpful for a person to know, just for herself, whether or not what she experienced is actually a "crime." Isolated from context, just your quoted sentence—or rather, the event portrayed in it—is indeed a crime. In my home state, for instance, what you described in that sentence constitutes the crime of indecent assault and battery. It is punishable by up to five years in state prison. There is no provision for punishment by fine.

That's not to say that a first-time offender would necessarily get prison time. But many crimes we choose to punish by either imprisonment or fine, or by some combination thereof, while other crimes we designate as more serious and we do not consider a fine to be sufficient penalty. This is the latter type. It is characterized in legal terms as a crime against the person, and it is very serious.

My instinct is just to cut all ties and never speak to him again.

Instincts are important things. If you are lucky enough to have and to recognize an instinct, do not be so unwise as to ignore it. This is general advice.

In my experience, people react to sexual assaults very differently. For some people, talking makes it worse. For others, talking is crucial. My generalized advice is that you should try to be sensitive to whatever your needs are, and be wary of any attempts by negative emotions (eg, shame) to dissuade you from pursuing those needs. Your particular needs do not make you stronger/weaker than anyone else, and you shouldn't be shy about making sure they are met.

I am very sorry this happened to you. If you do want legal advice, you should seek licensed counsel in your jurisdiction. Whatever help or advice you choose to seek, I hope you find it. Good luck.
posted by cribcage at 7:52 AM on March 7, 2013 [32 favorites]

You both joked about how you are such a deep sleeper in the past? Oh god I hate to say this, but this has probably happened before. I mean this is pretty brazen and predatory behavior. There's not reason why he was even in the room, let alone why he was kneeling next to you with his hand under the blanket. Follow your instincts. Don't let anyone tell you that you are overreacting.
posted by whoaali at 8:19 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think as your closest friend, he doesn't deserve a chance to explain himself. As your closest friend, he, at your discretion, only deserves one chance to be told that what he did was a hurtful, hurtful, shitty thing, and that your friendship is irreparably damaged, and that you would like to see him get some help.

He should also be told that he has negatively impacted your life, your pysche, your spirit, and possibly all your relationships with male friends for the time being. His one "quick cop" has changed something permanently, and it cannot be undone or forgotten.

Again, he is sick, and he needs help.

In my younger life, I have had female friends I was "secretly" attracted to, sometimes for years.

I'm not proud of it, but I will admit that there were a few occasions that in seeing them sleeping, the desire passed through my head to "lovingly" caress them... though usually while I was severely under the influence. However, this was immediately followed by the check of: "Umm.. no? Keep walking, buddy" thought.

Someone who follows through on the thought or desire, definitely needs help. Hell, I needed significant help even though I never took action on those thoughts, though it was for a whole myriad of reasons.

I say this as a guy, who at one point understood the impulse your friend acted on, and am just currently grateful I had the internal checks and balances to never proceed. He needs to understand that he has hurt you, this is real, and it is something he needs to deal with so it doesn't happen again with someone else. He's not evil or broken, just sick. And the shame and guilt will just make him sicker. Unless he's a sociopath, I'm sure he's very ashamed of this, and just wishing beyond wishing that this just magically goes away, and there by it is "undone."

Of course, as the victim in this you need to do whatever it is to get yourself right, but you do stand to have a greater impact on his life, possibly based on the past friendship to get him some help and have him deal with his own inner demons, shame, and guilt.
posted by Debaser626 at 8:27 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Do whatever is best for you.

If sending him a terse email makes it easier for you, do that. If never communicating with him is better, that's okay too.

It's your life, you get to make the rules.

If you want to send an email, I'd send this one.

Douchy-McDouche Pants,

I am so disappointed and angry with you right now I can't bring myself to speak to you. I trusted you and you violated not only my trust but my actual person. I never want to speak to you again, nor do I want you attempting to contact me.


At least then there's no ambiguity, you KNOW what he did and he's not going to be able to gaslight you about it.

Good for you for getting the eff outta there. Hang in there. The thing about shitty times is that they get better.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:34 AM on March 7, 2013 [9 favorites]

I'm sorry this happened/is happening to you when you're dealing with a bunch of other crap in the first place. Just nthing what others have said. You don't owe him anything. I would definitely call a sexual abuse counselor or hotline just to get some perspective from a professional (if you feel up to it). Definitely trust your instincts and don't second guess yourself.

I just wanted to add that I too am a very heavy sleeper (and a woman) and over the years I've told friends/lovers/roommates because it sometimes freaks people out. Sometimes I wake up and in every instance my friend/lover/roommate *talks to me* and say something that explains what's going on. e.g., "I came in here to turn off the tv, I'm just getting back from the bar, the phone's ringing, you were talking in your sleep" or whatever. "Sorry if I woke you."

Like others have said, the thing that completely clinches it for me is his *completely icky and creepy* reaction to making eye contact with you when you woke up, and the fact that he didn't say anything to explain/orient you to what was going on. I cannot think of any "above board" scenario where he would behave that way.
posted by loveyallaround at 9:23 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

From the OP:
Thank you all so much. I did text him to ask why he was touching me. He said his phone had gotten wedged in the couch and since I was such a heavy sleeper, he didn't think he'd be able to wake me up. He said he didn't know he had woken me up.

I told him I felt really weird about it because from my angle, I just found him with his hand under the blankets touching me and as soon as I woke up he went out of the room. Why hadn't he woken me up or explained what he was doing after I woke up? He said he knows how bad it looks but that it was totally innocent.

I don't know. I just honestly don't believe him. If it is true, it's a supremely weird way to handle phone-in-couch retrieval. And I do remember that we made eye contact, so how can he tell me he didn't know I had woken up? I don't remember him pulling anything out of the couch (i.e, phone) and the timing of him jetting out of the room immediately after I saw him is just too weird a coincidence.

Also, if this was the only "off" incident I'd ever had with him I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But the truth it, he is a boundary pusher, and I know he is attracted to me and has done some shady things with other female friends in the past. So I honestly, just do not believe him and my gut says he was up to something shady. I also have a history of being taken advantage of sexually when I was a teenager so I am particularly sensitive to this stuff. At this point, I just don't have the energy to really hash it out. I just want to not talk to him.

Thanks again. I really don't know what to believe, but I'm just going to shelve this for a while and deal with other things that are happening. I do have a great therapist that I see regularly, but I don't even know if I want to talk it through with them right now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:48 AM on March 7, 2013

Also you got up and left the following morning without saying a word to him and you had otherwise not planned to leave so soon? If he hasn't called you within 24 hours to say hey where did you go? What happened? He has waived his right to explain himself. He knows you are upset and left. If there was some perfectly innocent explanation he would call asking where you went and if something is wrong. If he hasn't done this it's because he knows perfectly well why you left and has no explanation. Under normal circumstances a houseguest leaving at the crack of dawn with no explanation is a cause for concern that would naturally lead to the host picking up the phone in fairly short order to check in on their guest and make sure they are ok.

He'll probably give you your space for awhile and then try to nonchalantly reestablish contact as if nothing happened. That is really the only answer that you need.
posted by whoaali at 9:49 AM on March 7, 2013 [15 favorites]

I really don't know what to believe,

This is genuinely a question?
posted by Kruger5 at 9:57 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

But the truth it, he is a boundary pusher, and I know he is attracted to me and has done some shady things with other female friends in the past.

Done and done. You know what happened, and so does he. It's up to you whether you want to tell him to his face, to tell him WHY you don't believe him, or just cut him out of your life -- but he gets no more chances.
posted by KathrynT at 10:03 AM on March 7, 2013 [15 favorites]

Given his explanation. I'm still in the camp of, "DTMFA".

That's it.

Hang in there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:05 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ok my original response was based on this:
He is my closest friend and we have been friends for years (we have never been romantic).

But your new info means my response is completely different. Find somewhere else to stay where you feel safe and don't feel bad about cutting ties with him in the process for right now.
posted by skrozidile at 10:07 AM on March 7, 2013

He has a history of being shady? Hell no. Write him back, tell him "I don't believe you, and as such, fuck you for violating my safety and our friendship in this way. Do not ever come near me again. Our mutual friends will know about this, and if you try anything else with me I will take action against you."
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:09 AM on March 7, 2013 [9 favorites]

Overly-complex, artfully unlikely, and intricate explanation=garbage.
posted by oflinkey at 10:11 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

I really don't know what to believe

I do: He's totally full of shit and can't even be bothered to come up with a good lie. Just walk away and don't deal with this guy anymore. You don't need it and you don't need him.

As to whether or not you should tell his girlfriend: In a perfect world, yeah, but we don't live in a perfect world. It wouldn't accomplish anything and he'd just spin it to make you look crazy. She'll find out on her own, but even if she doesn't, you need to worry about yourself first. Walk away from the whole mess.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:18 AM on March 7, 2013

This is genuinely a question?

It is not at all uncommon for people who have experienced sexual assaults to feel considerable self-doubt about what happened. "Did it really happen," "Did I do something," and "Did I misinterpret" are common examples. It is also common for people to talk themselves aloud through all the evidence—here's what I remember, here's something he did last year, here's a similar story my friend told me about him—and yet to still feel those self-doubts persist ("But still...maybe I misinterpreted?"), even though what the person is saying aloud would be more than enough to convince any detached observer several times over.

I note this for the OP's benefit.
posted by cribcage at 10:24 AM on March 7, 2013 [29 favorites]

I just honestly don't believe him.

I really don't know what to believe...

That first one, I think that's your instincts. The second one is probably your mind trying to process and think through and re-arrange the parts of your world that are adjacent to this guy. It's okay if that process takes a bit of time -- it will take a bit of time -- and you don't have to do it all at once.

You might be feeling a little resistance to the idea of holding on to your truth about what happened, which is that you know what happened and you don't believe his explanation. It would be so easy, wouldn't it, to just let go of your truth and smooth things over. I bet a part of your brain is encouraging you to do that. Just let it go, right? Surely there's some explanation.

I think you should listen to your instincts. What you do about it, in terms of filing a police report or telling his girlfriend, is totally up to you, but I think your instincts are true and valuable and will protect you, and that you should keep them sharp by listening to them now.

Guy sounds like a real creep. His line about how he knows it looks bad sounds practiced, to me.
posted by gauche at 10:46 AM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]

Yeah, echoing cribcage. It's totally understandable to feel conflicted and confused given the fact that you have a long history with this person, but from an outsider perspective these events and this guy's story match up perfectly with the pattern of a guilty sleaze bag. Your instincts are almost certainly correct and worth trusting. Do what you need to to take of yourself -- whether it be cutting ties with him and focussing on other things in your life as best you can, or whether it be reporting him. I agree with others that telling his girlfriend will unfortunately probably net you more trouble than anything else, because people have a hard time hearing things like that about other people they're close to and usually react with denial and anger, but it's worth noting that the police have no such ties with this guy. In any case the main point is that you should listen to that voice inside you that does know what's going on. Good luck OP, this is an awful thing to have to deal with.
posted by invitapriore at 10:52 AM on March 7, 2013

Thank you all so much. I did text him to ask why he was touching me. He said his phone had gotten wedged in the couch and since I was such a heavy sleeper, he didn't think he'd be able to wake me up.

So... uh... his explanation is almost exactly one of the possible 'excuses' offered earlier in this thread? Imma have to call a HELLZ NO at this point.
posted by hanov3r at 11:04 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

He's full of shit. You need friends who truly value your company, not "boundary pushers".
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:15 AM on March 7, 2013

Please please please let the last words he ever hears from you be "You are so full of shit. Goodbye forever." Then tell all your friends what happened.
posted by Specklet at 11:34 AM on March 7, 2013 [10 favorites]

He's lying.

It's worth considering, though, that even if he weren't lying, his behavior would still be wildly inappropriate. If an adult believes his phone is wedged under his sleeping friend's body, he has two choices: try to wake his friend or wait for his friend to wake on her own. Touching a sleeping person other than maybe on her shoulder to wake her up is really never appropriate unless you have already established consent for that type of touching.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:44 AM on March 7, 2013 [17 favorites]

If I needed to touch my sleeping friend's butt, whether above or under the blankets (!), to retrieve my phone, I would manage without my phone. His lie is pathetic.

I'm so sorry this has occurred and I hope your recovery from it, and your other troubles, is quick. If you can, tell your friends so no one else experiences this too, and so you're not left cringing whenever he comes up in conversation. But do what you need to do.
posted by Anwan at 11:57 AM on March 7, 2013 [13 favorites]

I had something like this happen to me a couple of years ago and it sucked. In my case, I was away from home without much money and I felt somewhat dependent on the person who did this to me.

I ended up having to tell a couple of new friends what had happened so I could find my way back home (and these people were great about it, absolutely and went above and beyond to get me home safely). I absolutely know how weird and confusing this is to feel so betrayed by someone you liked and trusted.

Like others have said, take care of yourself. It's OK to have conflicting feelings toward this person. Be ready for other people to be confused too, and for them to tell you that there was more you could've done or for people to minimize it (and in a lot of ways, that's what was the worst part of it for me).

But absolutely: Don't be afraid to reach out and ask people for help. You deserve that. I hope you won't need to ask too many people, and give as many details as you are comfortable with, but keep telling people "I am in a bad situation and I need help right now" until you manage to get to a good place.

This is awful and it sucks. I'm sorry you're going through it. It's going to be tough, but it will get better.
posted by darksong at 4:35 PM on March 7, 2013

Your follow up convinced me he's a creep.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:45 PM on March 7, 2013

OP, I am so sorry this happened to you, and I nth everyone here urging you to trust your instincts. Your follow-up is valuable, because it shows how easy it is to second-guess ourselves, which is something that predators rely on in order to keep doing what they feel entitled to do. It is perfectly understandable that this is difficult to wrap your head (and heart) around, and that processing it will take some time. It's OK to go at your own pace on that score.

I just want to call out a couple of details in your follow-up that make it clear to me that you're absolutely correct about what happened to you.

He said he didn't know he had woken me up.

This is a lie, because -- as you note -- you guys made eye contact, and he fled as soon as you did.

Why hadn't he woken me up or explained what he was doing after I woke up? He said he knows how bad it looks but that it was totally innocent.

Notice how he didn't actually answer your (perfectly clear and direct) question here; instead, he deflects it (because he has no answer) by trying to get you to doubt your own experience of the event and take his word for it instead.

I don't remember him pulling anything out of the couch (i.e, phone)

Precisely. Presumably you didn't find a phone in the couch at any other point, either.

But the truth it, he is a boundary pusher, and I know he is attracted to me and has done some shady things with other female friends in the past.

Done and done.

Again, I'm really sorry that you're going through this -- not only the assault, but also the loss of your friendship (which includes the loss of the person you thought he was before all this happened). Be gentle with yourself, and let yourself talk to your therapist and friends as you feel ready. Please remember that none of this is your fault.

My best to you.
posted by scody at 6:02 PM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]

Via whoali: "He'll likely give you your space for a while and then nonchalantly reestablish contact as if nothing happen."

When that happens, I hope you use Specklet's script: "You are so full of shit. Goodby forever."

It's OK to shelve this for a while, but be prepared for him to reach out in the future, and be prepared to slam the door in his face when he does.
posted by jbenben at 3:11 PM on March 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

I would think that most people would either a) wake up the sleeping guest (by tapping on the shoulder), apologize profusely, and explain about the missing phone; or b) dial the missing cell phone to find it.

If he knows your history of being taken advantage of, it's especially skanky.

Don't expect any sort of sincere apology from him if you haven't already gotten one.
posted by SillyShepherd at 2:51 AM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm a little late following up on this, but holy cow, I can't believe I called that bullshit of an excuse! So I'll reitterate what I said earlier when the phone thing was the only possible excuse I could think of: if it was something innocent like that, he would have blurted out the reason right away when you woke up! And he didn't even try to volunteer that as an excuse shortly thereafter—it took you texting him to ask for him to try to cover up his actions.

From your follow-up, I'd say trust your gut. You know he's lying. Don't beat yourself up about this, over "maybe" or "what if"; he's counting on you to doubt yourself. Trust your gut and just cut this guy out of your life.
posted by Eicats at 12:02 PM on March 13, 2013

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