Touchy Feely Cousin-in-Law Irks Her
Q: My cousin's husband is creeping me out. My cousin and I are best friends, and so they hang out with me and my boyfriend a lot. Her husband does this weird thing, and when everyone is hugging, he hangs back and hugs me for too long after his wife is walking away. One time he even ran his hands down my back and squeezed my butt as he took his hands away. My cousin noticed my face was red and asked me what was wrong. Her husband interrupted and told her to get him a beer. I didn't know what to say or do. This guy seems to find extra excuses to touch me, like when I'm in the kitchen cooking and have my hands full. He'll come up behind me and squeeze my shoulders. Or we'll all be talking and he puts his arm around my shoulder and pulls me against him. My cousin doesn't seem to mind, but it makes me feel yucky. I told my boyfriend and he asked me if I wanted him to say something to the guy. I don't want to cause a fight, but I'm tired of his creepy touching.
Should I tell my friend? Should I ask my boyfriend to tell him to stop? What can I do? —Keesha, 43
Dr. Susan: Take charge of your own body and comfort level. Tell your cousin's husband to stop. It's that simple. Hiss at him, "I don't like when you do that. Quit pawing me. Do you want me to tell your wife? And my boyfriend?" That should slow him way down. If you have to, give him a little shove, stare him down, and say, "Enough!" You wouldn't be the one causing a fight if one resulted. He would.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.