‘I had a drunken night at my friend’s house and think her husband assaulted me but I’m worried I could be wrong’ – Lalala Letmeexplain

‘I had a drunken night at my friend’s house and think her husband assaulted me but I’m worried I could be wrong’ – Lalala Letmeexplain

October 23, 2023

In Lalalaletmeexplain 's hit column, readers ask for her expert advice on their own love, sex and relationship problems.

With over 200k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping womankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers. Every week thousands turn to her to answer their questions (no matter how embarrassing), and her funny, frank approach to love and relationships has made her the ultimate feel-good guru.

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Dear Lala,

10 years ago, I had a night at my best mate’s house with her and her husband. We all knew each other very well and were drinking. These nights were not unusual. We were in our 20s. I ended up staying over in their spare bed. In my sleep, I had the feeling of being touched intimately. I remember opening my eyes and a figure, just like my friend's husband, was standing over me then left the room as I stirred. I immediately passed back out again to sleep. When I woke up the next day, I still had the memory of what had happened. But he acted entirely normal. And because I'd been so drunk, I couldn't be certain if it really happened, or it was a vivid dream.

My friend and him have two children together and a home. I went home and cried. I felt so incredibly dirty, but also never felt that I could say anything. How could I potentially jeopardise her marriage and family for something I wasn't sure had happened? Things were never the same, as I've never had a secret from her before. I had to make myself forget it and we managed to stay normal somehow, although I never ever felt comfortable around him again. He made me feel sick.

Sadly, we’ve drifted, especially in the last year. They've actually split up now and I miss the close friendship we had, so I'm wondering if I should say something now? Do you think I should tell her what happened if I ever want to get our friendship back to how it was.? I'm due to see her in a few weeks and it's all just playing on my mind a lot.

Lala Says,

I’m sorry you experienced that, it’s a big thing to have had to keep from your best friend, and such a hard thing to make sense of. Of course, therapy would really help, you can find a list of registered therapists here or contact Rape Crisis to speak to a trained adviser 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Look after yourself first and foremost. I believe you, and I understand how easy it is to question ourselves, to not be entirely certain whilst also being certain, but not enough to ‘destroy a man’s life’ which is what we’ve been so conditioned to worry about and put above our own safety and needs.

It sounds as though your friendship became distant because you couldn’t be around him, but also because you felt like you were hiding something huge every time you saw her. It seems like you feel that to repair the friendship you need to explain to her what came between you. You feel like you need to be completely honest. I think that’s fair enough and it makes a lot of sense. Being honest and open with her is probably the only way to feel like you can move past that barrier.

What I think you need to consider is that she may not react how you’re expecting her to. Have you thought about how she might receive the information? People don’t always do what we expect them to do in situations like that. The mind is a complicated thing – she may well feel guilty about not protecting you and become defensive in her guilt, she may hear it as ‘we had an affair’ and get angry, she may question you, she could call him. Or she may know exactly what kind of man he is and comfort and console you and cry with you over the friendship you lost because of him.

He's the father of her children, so maybe she knows exactly what he’s like, and knows what he’s capable of, but if she doesn’t then she may well have a defensive reaction. The best way to prepare yourself for this (aside from therapy) is to really think about the outcome you want here. Ultimately, if you feel that you can never move forward with your friendship whilst this huge secret is in the closet then you have nothing to lose, if she rejects you following your disclosure then it’s a loss of a friendship that was dying anyway. It’s sad but it’s life. Some friendships end, and perhaps this one comes with so much attached to it that it could be better to find the closeness you had with her with someone else.

I do think that it would help you to be in a position of clarity before you speak to her. I completely understand your position and your ‘knowing but not knowing’. I think it’s important to know that if she doesn’t listen, or reacts badly, that doesn’t invalidate what happened to you. She’s a person who probably doesn’t want to think about her baby dad on the sex offenders register. Just like your brain did everything it could to make it not true, hers may do the same. Own your truth. Even if the truth is – “I don’t know what happened to me that night but this is what caused me to back away from our friendship…..”

I would plan how you want to say it, plan for the words you want to use, ensure that you are clear about why you are telling her. You’re telling her because it’s the truth of why your friendship fizzled, not because you’re blaming her, or because you want her to hold him accountable. Ensure that she knows that. Do you have a support network separate to her? It might help you to discuss this with another friend before you tell her so that if her reaction is bad, you have someone to support you following that. Always remember that you did nothing wrong, you were subjected to something awful and illegal, and it’s taken you a while to process it. You’re trying to take back some of your power by speaking your truth and it’s good that you’re doing that, whether she takes it well or not.

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