My wife and I are in a difficult situation, and I hoped you could offer some perspective. We have a mutual friend (let’s call him S), who I met through ballroom dancing (S and I are both dance instructors), and have known for about 7 years now. My wife has been taking lessons with S for about a year, and they are most of the way through a showcase performance they’ve been working on. Yesterday, she came home and told me the following story:
She was midway through her lesson with S, when she mentioned she was going to have breast reduction surgery. He “jokingly” expressed sadness at this, and added, “I’ll have to grab one before that happens as a farewell.” She felt uncomfortable, but laughed it off, as their relationship is based on humour and sometimes a bit of harmless flirting. Then later, still in the (empty) studio, he DID grab one. And then laughed it off like it was part of the joke. My wife was understandably shocked, and couldn’t come up with anything more than a passive-aggressive response. She allowed the lesson to finish to avoid the risk of things turning ugly.
A few other important details:
1. This is not the first time he’s done something like this: He was previously inappropriate towards her one night a couple years ago when we were at his place and got drunk on too much scotch – he apologized afterwards, and she didn’t see him for several months. I also just found out he’d previously behaved inappropriately towards another instructor, but management defended him when she tried to out him (he’s a big money-maker at the studio).
2. It’s possible that his actions were captured on the security camera. I want to have the tapes pulled (as far as I’m concerned, our friendship is over), but my wife is still sorting out what she wants to do and I’m letting her take the lead on this one (while still offering advice, of course).
So I guess the question is, what’s the appropriate response to this? My wife feels terrible because she wishes she could have stood up for herself more, and she definitely wants to cut ties but is also frustrated because of how much work went into the dance routine they made together. I’m being as supportive as I can, while trying to figure out how to not punch him in the face when I inevitably see him at work. We even had a tabletop session planned with other friends this weekend, and I’m trying to figure out a graceful way to just bow out of it. My wife said she’s fine if I just behave like everything’s normal, but I’m not buying it, and it’s not possible anyway.
Any clarity you can offer would be wonderful, thank you.