Dear Barb – New Year’s Kiss

Dear Barb;

My husband and I went to a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s house. There were four other couples at this party and we are all good friends. One of the couples is having marital problems. During the party the husband of this couple kissed me and it was not just a “Happy New Year” kiss. I was upset, but because I had been drinking my reaction was probably not appropriate. Initially I responded to the kiss, but then realized what I was doing and stopped. The gentleman apologized and we tried to continue with the celebration. The next day I told my husband what had happened and he was upset, but understanding. A few days later this fellow called and wanted to meet with me to apologize in person. Should I meet with him, or am I just asking for more problems?

Karen in Belle River

Hi Karen and Happy New Year. It sounds like you had an interesting New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately the situation you describe happens more often than most of us like to admit.

From your question it is apparent that there were precipitating events to this “New Year’s kiss.” The couple who are in the midst of marital problems are in a vulnerable state to begin with, so add a little alcohol and a few old friends and you’ve got an emotionally charged situation.

Your decision to tell your husband what happened was a good move. If he had heard about this through someone other than you he may not have been as understanding. I’m a little concerned that you initially responded to this kiss. This was a violation and a betrayal of your friendship with this man and his wife. A healthier and more fitting reaction on your part may have been anger. However as you say the alcohol may have affected your judgment, as it is known to remove inhibitions, especially in women.

You need to resolve this issue as quickly as possible if you want to continue the friendship with this couple. You don’t mention if this fellow’s wife knows about this. If she does not know, her husband should tell her. Once this has all been brought out in the open, if there are any further apologizes to be made they should be done openly with all parties present.

Consequently I would advise against meeting with this man by yourself. He may have misinterpreted your initial response and if you agree to meet with him, he may see this as interest on your part. Because this fellow is having marital problems, he may be looking for a new partner to ease his pain. If you are not interested in becoming a part of this, you need to be definite and clear with him about your intentions.

Unfortunately, events such as this can destroy marriages and friendships. On the other hand it is possible to work through this and have your friendship survive, but only if everything is out in the open and upfront.
Good luck Karen. Hopefully you and your friends will still be able to celebrate New Year’s Eve together next year.

E-mail your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.