Noxious Confidence

26 Jun

Letterbalm Man Confiding in WomanDear LetterBalm: Something has happened that has disturbed me. My friend and I have known each other for decades. My husband and I are close with her and her husband. We travel together and share holidays and celebrations with our children and grandchildren. My friend’s husband recently told me in passing that they don’t have a good sex life. He said they don’t have sex very much and that when they do, it’s boring. He asked me what he should do about it. He seemed to be genuinely concerned, but I feel uncomfortable knowing this, and I don’t know what I should do. Should I say something to my friend?

–Ill at Ease

This is unsettling on so many levels. It’s no wonder you’re troubled. Is your friend’s husband eliciting sympathy, and, maybe, coming on to you? Is he sincerely upset about their lack of sex and wanting your advice? Is he bored and taking a stab at having an affair with you? Has he secretly been in love with you all these years? (Well, the last one is just speculation.)  He overstepped a line and sought intimacy with you inappropriately. Ms. L.B. says you have to have a brief, confidential chat with him the next time you see him and can’t be overheard. Stay centered – don’t be outraged or judgmental. Keep it matter-of-fact, but do be firm. You might want to tell him this:

Gabriel, I confess to being quite surprised when you told me confidential bedroom information about you and Elisa. I’m uncomfortable with this. Even if you were genuinely looking for my advice, it’s the sort of subject best handled by a husband and wife, not a friend. And, I don’t think Elisa would want me knowing such intimate information. I feel like I’m being asked to take sides, and I’ll never do that. I think you should be discussing this with Elisa. You might suggest couples counseling, too. Now, let’s forget all this ever took place. I don’t plan to tell anyone about it, certainly not your wife.

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