Happening:

My married friend was grinding on my crush. What to do?

Ar 171019471
Carolyn Hax
Ar 171019471
Carolyn Hax

I’ve had a crush on my brother’s friend for years. I invited him to the birthday party I threw for my brother, and I also invited my best friend. Bestie had never met Crush before, but she knew of my crush. They spent the evening together, flirting and getting more touchy-feely the more they drank. She was grinding on him by the end of the night.Bestie is married with kids but has a desperate need for male attention and has cheated several times. Putting a man in front of her is like putting a drink in front of an alcoholic.Toward the end of the party when I finally got Bestie alone, I reminded her of my crush and asked her to stop flirting. She apologized and that was that. But the next day, I saw that they are now friends on Facebook and feel she might still be overstepping. Now I’m wondering if I can trust her. Could they be talking behind my back? Would she do this with someone I was dating or even married to? And it isn’t the first time this has happened.I can’t stop her from doing these things (and probably don’t even have the right to tell her not to flirt with my crush) so I’m wondering if I should step back from this friendship. We’ve been friends since childhood and she’s been a great friend otherwise.Crushed

Of course you can’t trust her – to be anyone except who she has always been. Though that’s a kind of trust, I suppose: You can trust her to choose cocktails and tail-chasing over you or anyone else.

And I think you’re onto a lot more than you realize with the drink-in-front-of-an-alcoholic analogy.

She grabs at male attention even when she knows it hurts her best friend, not to mention, presumably, her husband and kids. That’s the stuff addicts do – prioritize the satisfaction of their physical and emotional cravings above the consequences to themselves and others.

And her drinking lowered and lowered her inhibitions until she was drunk (right?) and grinding some guy who wasn’t her husband and who mattered to someone she was supposed to care about. There may be two dependencies here.

Knowing you can’t trust her is the easy part; she has made it plain.

Whether you choose to distance yourself from her over this, or instead to see her as still your friend in her flawed and compromised and compartmentalized way, is up to you and is much more complicated.

But I urge you to say your piece about her behaving like an addict when male temptation is present – and about your being codependent, which also isn’t just about substance abuse. Ask her if she can see her role and yours in shielding her from the consequences.

Thereafter, when she does this, say you won’t be a party to it and then disengage. For the night; for as long as you need to cool off; for good. Your call.

Finally, you were available but your crush opted to grind with the drunk married mom friend. I hope he’s looking a lot less crushy today.

Adapted from a recent online discussion:I plan to ask my girlfriend’s father for permission to marry his daughter. How early is this commonly done before proposing and, if possible, should it be in person? I’m not planning on proposing for another three months. However, the parents live a considerable distance away and we are visiting her family next month. Do I wait until it’s closer and ask by phone, or, take the opportunity to do it in person?I guess my only concern is keeping the secret for that long. I’m fairly sure the father will, but while her mother is great, she may have more difficulty keeping it quiet (I’m assuming he’ll tell her) – maybe I should just trust her father to keep it a secret from her mother if he thinks she’ll let the cat out of the bag. Thoughts?Asking Her Father

Do you think your girlfriend wants you to ask her father for permission to marry her? Something that many women, this one included, see as a profoundly offensive paternalistic holdover from a time when women didn’t make their own decisions like any other fully realized adult human being?

If your girlfriend is “traditional” this way, then I’m happy you found each other. Ask both parents when you see them – elder deference > male deference – and ask them to keep a lid on it, though I recommend proposing immediately afterward and not waiting, because keeping secrets from people you’re supposed to be in an intimate relationship with is incredibly counterproductive. Especially when the secrets are about them.

Re: “Secrets ... about them”:You think this way about a surprise birthday party? So no planning ahead because it’s keeping a secret?Please ...

You got me. Because cake and the course of one’s life are genuinely equivalent.

This topic blew up the queue when it ran live. A sampling:

Before I proposed, I spoke with her father – “I wanted to let you know that I love your daughter, and I’ll be asking her to be my wife.” I knew she really wouldn’t appreciate the “property” overtones, but she’d appreciate me and her dad having a pleasant conversation and being on the same page.

How about asking for his (and her mom’s) blessing. Or support. But the idea of permission is antiquated and offensive.

Our now-son-in-law didn’t ask permission but instead came over to say he loved her and hoped we would be happy they wanted to get married. And we are delighted!

The comments make it even more with the nope. I am not chattel. I am a person. And if you want to ask anyone, ask my mother, she’s the one in charge anyway :).

Don’t do it. Even my super-conservative father rolled his eyes and replied, “You’ll have to ask her.”

I have to wonder how those having a chat with the future father-in-law would feel about their girlfriends having the same chat with their (the guy’s) father. Or mother. You know, having a pleasant conversation and being on the same page.

Our now-son-in-law asked. My husband said, “I have no permission to give.”

Holy crap – way to rain on the (sweet, traditional) guy’s parade!

Persuasive arguments for choosing a partner who shares your beliefs. Thanks all.

Carolyn Hax is a syndicated advice columnist for The Washington Post. She started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. Email her at tellme@washpost.com.