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You Asked: My Husband Took Advantage of Me

Dear Sugar,

My husband and I have been having problems for a while now. I wanted to leave the marriage, but instead we decided to seek professional help and go to counseling. Up until Saturday night, we had not had sex for two months; I'm struggling so much with our marriage that I'm just not able to be intimate right now.

But on Saturday, we went to a get-together then out with old friends. I had a few more drinks than usual and to make a long story short, I woke up next to him naked. He admits that we had sex, although I have no recollection of it. At first I was only angry at myself for drinking too much, but the more I remember of that night, the more I think it was his intention to get me into bed the whole time. Am I wrong to be so angry days later?

— Very Upset Vicki

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Very Upset Vicki,

Obviously you and your husband are grappling with some difficult issues, and though I can't make a claim about your husband's motives, I can say that if you feel violated in any way, you have every right to be upset. While it may be impossible to prove that his intentions that night were anything less than decent, you shouldn't even be in the position of having to consider the possibility that your own husband took advantage of your drunken state. Your relationship will be impossible to fix if you can't trust him when you're vulnerable.

I think it's imperative that you and your husband make a trip to your counselor to discuss the situation and your feelings surrounding it. Furthermore, if you're not already, it may be time to start making personal appointments too, because no matter what happens with your marriage, it sounds like there's more going on than meets the eye. Perhaps it's time to start talking through those challenging emotions without the burden of your husband's feelings or even his presence in the room.


Join The Conversation
tbo tbo 9 years
If two people get very drunk (to the same degree of intoxication) and have sex, did a rape occur? Did they rape each other? The answer can't depend on the sex of the participants. It also can't depend on something that occurs the next morning (or days later), such as whether one of the participants regrets it. snowbunny11: you're basing your position on some incorrect assumptions about male physiology. I could go into the details, but the long and short of it is that men can and do get aroused even when they're completely unconscious. For instance, men regularly get physically aroused while sleeping, regardless of whether they're dreaming about sex. It would be entirely possible for a woman to rape an incapacitated man. Depending on the "drunkness threshold" for consent, it would be quite easy. You're also assuming that the fact that the OP "blacked out" meant she was unconscious. It doesn't--alcohol can cause what is essentially amnesia without making the person unconscious. Google alcohol and memory impairment. The OP doesn't know what happened, because she drank too much. Maybe he raped her. Maybe she raped him. Maybe (depending on your criteria) they raped each other. More likely (if they were both drunk and we use a reasonable definition of rape) no rape occurred. In any case, she needs to talk to him, find out what happened, then make a decision about whether the marriage can be saved. She's certainly not going to rebuild her trust without talking to him. Some people have said we're not being sympathetic enough to the OP. What about the husband (assuming he's not a rapist or total jerk)? If the OP wants to save her marriage, she's going to have to come to an understanding with her husband, and that means understanding him and his feelings. We can help both of them by helping her understand him. For starters, I'd suggest she try to be as non-confrontational as possible when asking him about the events that occurred during her "black out". If he *did* rape her, he's not going to say so if he feels threatened.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
What if he was a drunk as she was?
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
I'm with snowbunny11. We were all taught a saying when we started college..."Yes means yes, and everything else means no!" Mainly for the guys of course. If she was that drunk, anything she said, no matter what it was, doesn't count because she did not have true control of herself. The husband should have taken care of her and worked on the problems in their relationship. He shouldn't have been worrying about getting laid.
jessy777 jessy777 9 years
I tried to read the other posters but there was just a convoluted stream of thinking and attacks I lost track. IMO I think the OP needs to talk to her husband about her feelings and try to find out what happened that night. It is possible he took advantage or he misread her cues. It is possible he thought she was consenting. Either way, she doesn't feel safe with her husband and clearly doesn't trust him. These issues need to be worked out for any progress to be made. I would like to say though, marriage doesn't equal sex whenever "HE" wants. If she wasn't in a position to clearly consent to sex then he shouldn't have taken advantage of that situation. This is different than a one night stand, this is her husband. He should know her behavior, sexual cues and how she would react or approach sex if she were intoxicated. The most important thing is to talk about the night with a counselor and try to figure out if this marriage is worth saving. If not, let each go their own way and have a chance to be happy. IMO.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
The first question that pops into my mind is did your husband realize that you didn't want to sleep with him? If you can't remember any of it how do you know that you didn't say yes to him. How does he know that you're not saying what you really want. I assume he's seen you drunk before and you've probably had sex with him when you were drunk so he probably thought that it was okay and what you really wanted. If you feel that this is not the case and he knew that you didn't want to be intimate than I suggest you take some time apart. Tell him what he did is not okay and move out or have him move out. You need space to think about these things. It's a tough decision to make especially if there are kids involved but you need to make the decision for you. This might be the last straw in the relationship or making love could have been the best thing for you whether you remember it or not. It's totally up to how you feel about the situation. If you feel he did something to you that you didn't want I would say that you were justified in feeling this way. You should speak to someone because this is an issue that is much bigger than anything DearSugar can deal with.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
Bearwoman, I too am a feminist, but an old school feminist. The kind that wants true equality not preferential treatment.
Fallen85 Fallen85 9 years
No, bearwoman, that helps you be bias. Feminism has done alot for our gender and I support you in your choices and commend you for your "go women!" attitude but at the same time, just because women are often treated badly doesnt mean we always are.
Bearwoman Bearwoman 9 years
You are right, G.S: I am a feminist. And THAT is what helps me see things clearly here.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
ups = up :nerdgirl:
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
Fallen, exactly. :notworthy: And Bearwoman, I am putting myself in her shoes and her husbands. I am objectively looking at the situation, which most on here are not doing. I am not getting my feminist hackles ups and losing site of the facts.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
there isn't any trust here. even if you continue to work on the relationship in counseling there's always going to be this night in the back of your mind. i think you need to just focus on you and how you feel about all that has happened in the marriage. is this something you can build a future on? if not it's time to move forward on your own. good luck to you whatever you decide.
Fallen85 Fallen85 9 years
She didnt feel violated right away, she was mad at herself for getting drunk. This usually means she didnt feel any pain, she didnt have bruising, she didnt feel forced or anything.. she initally just felt mad at herself for getting drunk and getting laid... c'est la vie. But then, days later she decided it wasnt her fault but her husbands fault! She figures he must have plaaaanned this all out, sitting in his garage twisting his handlebar mustache planning how he could 'violate' his own wife! He must have tricked her into having that 3rd martini.. and the 4th and the 5th! And he must have tricked her into having sex with him, I bet he told her he was actually Brad Pitt! It all makes sense now!! How dare he? How dare he trick her into willingly having sex with her husband? It definitely was his fault because now her blackout is slowly coming back to her and she realizes he was planning on this! He wasnt planning on her loosening up or getting her to have a good night out or getting her to stop stressing out and being so angry all the time... he didnt want to make love to his wife... no... he wanted to "violate" her! The best payback out there, he is obviously a dastardly fool! She thinks she knows his whoooole plan. Now shes looking for sympathy from the women at teamsugar and everyone is ready to cry "rape! save the women! Burn in hell, men!!" Now she can finally make him the bad guy and she is scott free. Excellent work ladies, another bad man cast down into the bowels of hell. So what if it ruins his reputation or gets him fired or loses him the wife he's been working so hard to keep... she's free from the grasps of her awful husband who must have forced her to drink so she would forget about the sex... good job ladies. Another one ends in divorce.
Bearwoman Bearwoman 9 years
Can you guys PLEASE STOP being so harsh? This woman feels violated. Yes, she got to drunk. Big deal. Happens to the best of us. And even though he is her husband it does not mean that he can do whatever he wants with her body. Try to show some sympathy instead. Have you never felt that somebody crossed your boundaries, or are you just so lucky to not have had any bad sexual experiences or know anyone who has? Put yourself in her shoes. Do you think posting this kind of stuff is easy? Especially when you have hoards of women battering you in stead of trying to offer advice?
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
Just because you are drunk doesn't mean you aren't responsible for your actions. If you can't remember, maybe you came on to him.
taffetacupcakes taffetacupcakes 9 years
*When I said she needs to move on if she was violated, I meant leave her husband (not just, get over it).
taffetacupcakes taffetacupcakes 9 years
I'm sorry that the poster felt violated by the drunken night with her husband, and I think she needs to look at why she doesn't trust him to begin with before trying to sort out a night she can't remember. I have seen this happen before. Girls at a party or a friend's house get really wasted and are all over some guy. Then the next day when they hear about how they were making out on the couch or went upstairs together, the girl panics because she can't remember what occurred. Now in this situation I would say its important for a girl to go out with friends who will watch-out for her. But in a marriage, a friend might assume that the husband IS looking out for her (and he might be, innocent until proven guilty). And in either case, if a woman or girl seems to just be heavily intoxicated but coherent (it happens more than most people think) rather than blacked out, there would be no way for most average people to see need for concern. Once again, if the poster was indeed violated by her husband than it's horrible and she needs to move on. But I cannot say with the details given in the poster's account of the events that her husband definitely did something wrong. Even if they were fighting. Ever heard of make-up sex? This guy either committed a horrible act, or was terribly confused about the situation. My opinion leans in neither direction because I do not have any other side to the story (the husband, or the friends they were out with that night).
happiness80 happiness80 9 years
Snowbunny, I think we agree more than we disagree. My main point which I have said in an overly verbose manner is that I dont like that the assumption of rape is so wide and unclear - and this makes life more difficult for real victims. And I am sure we both agree the OP hasnt provided enough information for proper analysis to be given. I like to argue too much sometimes. Cheers though! :-)
Beauty Beauty 9 years
This is a tough letter. I've read it over and over again, and since the original poster said that she hasn't wanted to be intimate — and she doesn't remember sleeping with her husband — I'd say that this is NOT OKAY. We weren't there, so we don't know what happened, but it's clearly something that needs to be discussed (and yes, I'd say that rape may have occurred depending on the circumstances). I think yellowbanana's post was spot-on. But the poster's question was originally, is it OK for her to be angry? Absolutely. I once had a boyfriend who was groping me (and himself) while I was asleep. It made me feel so violated and gross — so I can sympathize on some level. Good luck to the original poster, and like Dear said, I would recommend therapy.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
"You keep on talking about this case failing to realize how profound it is to suggest drunk women that have sex have been raped. Just think of the MILLIONS of women who got "raped" just last night." I didn't say all drunk women who have sex are raped. I said that there is the POTENTIAL for rape if a woman is so intoxicated she is blacking out because she cannot give consent at that point. I explicitly said that usually happens pretty rarely, I myself have only gotten drunk to that point once in my life. However, I would advise any male friends I have just NOT to have sex with a really drunk woman, because how will you know if she's at that point? Not knowing if a woman is okay to consent is NOT a good reason to have sex with her. I even said that I like to have drunken sex with my boyfriend, and I am sure many other women are the same, and that certainly isn't rape. But I'm not BLACKING OUT, I've had 4-5 drinks, and my boyfriend knows beyond all certainty that I am okay with having sex in that state. He knows I am okay to consent. If you DON'T know that, then DON'T have sex with the woman. Saying that DUI is an anomaly is not saying that it's okay. It's not, driving while intoxicated is not a good thing, I certainly was not implying that. It's a really complicated legal theory on why it is somewhat of an anomaly, and I'm not going into that here. "The statement that a "man who was completely intoxicated and blacking out couldn't rape a woman because usually they can't get it up and it would be difficult to rape a woman if you were passed out." is interesting. Because you imply a man that is blacking out is also raping! Your entire philosophy is that women are perpetual victims of sex." No, I literally just said the OPPOSITE of what you said I implied. I said a man who is blacking out COULDN'T rape a woman. I literally said that, I don't know how to make that clearer. I even said that men who were too intoxicated to consent can be raped. Right before that? "Actually, men can claim that they were raped too because they were too intoxicated to consent. " Quietriot- thanks for sharing your story. I'm sorry about everything that happened to you. I don't get why people are so quick to blame women for being a "victim" when men have sex with them without their consent. I can never understand why women can be so critical of each other. I think we just feel like, "but that could never happen to me, I'm so careful, I can hold my liquor, etc." It sounds like you do have some good friends too.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
Well, quietriott what you say is true and the reason why I have never told one single member of my family or truly close friend. It was my first time too, and I had never even been kissed before then. I was very sheltered, very naive and as equally in shock afterwards. I was neither under the influence of alcohol nor drug, so I remember most (but definitely not all) of it. I stayed silent for years, before finally telling one person whom I trust. He was very understanding... I admire your strength in discussing it.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
"however, i have had some friends who are women really question (not in a caring manner), doubt, and flat out deny that i was date raped. i could show them the doctor's report and everything, and they will say i "deserved it" or was just "confused" and more than one friendship has been broken due to this." Quietrott, I am dismayed to read this. I think it's terrible that some women regarded you in this manner. I've come to learned that women can be misogynistic, too. It's a chilling notion, but sadly, I think it's true. Well, I truly regret what you gone through. I haven't been sexually violated, but I have symapthy for you, and I hope you moved pass that event.
quietriott quietriott 9 years
you are welcome eilonwy. i think it is more common than a lot of women would like to admit, but there is so much shame and stigma attached to it that a lot of people stay silent and feel very isolated and alone. i think what the problem also comes down to is other people's judgment about a victim's action - often it is easier to lay blame on someone who did nothing wrong than to admit that perhaps there are people who are capable of creating that much hurt. that being said, i have found that boyfriends and friends who are men are much less judgmental and questioning when i tell them about what happened and more concerned about my well-being and feelings than the particulars and details of the event. they often take what i say happened at face value, believe me, and most importantly just listen. however, i have had some friends who are women really question (not in a caring manner), doubt, and flat out deny that i was date raped. i could show them the doctor's report and everything, and they will say i "deserved it" or was just "confused" and more than one friendship has been broken due to this. it's that type of judgment that really is sad to see, women distrusting and making judgements about other women. i am not saying that there aren't women who lie about things like this, but i really think that the number of women it actually happens to outnumber them by far. and more people need to talk, share their experiences, and (what was the hardest for me) realize that they did nothing wrong and do not have to feel ashamed, or that they deserved it, no matter the situation. no one should ever be made to feel violated in that way. but i also have many loving, caring and thoughtful women friends who support and listen and care about me as well, and not entirely surprisingly, many of them have had similar experiences.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
quietriott - I just wanted to say that I am so sorry you went through what you did. Thank you so much for sharing. You make me feel less alone; it hits somewhat close to home for me too.
quietriott quietriott 9 years
and before anyone starts to attack or question my own situation, yes i do know for a fact it was rape, i had only had half a drink (that he made),i was bruised very heavily and it was my first time, and the lab results came back as positive for GHB. we had been having a discussion that i was not ready to have sex nor would i be for some time, and had never even gotten close to being that physical in our relationship.
quietriott quietriott 9 years
as someone who has been date-raped (GHB-induced) by her own (now ex-) boyfriend, i understand what it is like to feel violated and confused about a situation like this with someone you trust and would do anything in my power to make sure no woman ever has to go through that situation like i did. as someone who has also blacked out twice from drinking (sadly i developed depression and a slight alcohol problem after the whole date-rape situation), i also know how differently it feels to be drugged versus just drinking too much (in my experience). however i would not recommend blacking out either, as it can be a bit confusing. however when prompted, i am able to remember flashes of the night and only lost a few hours, whereas with the GHB there was an entire 12 hours that i have no recollection of. i do have a few friends who will joke or make comments about being raped or "rufied" and i gently try to remind them of what i went through and that i do not find their jokes/comments funny or something to shrug off but as something very serious - if someone says they were raped, i will take it initially at face value, and try to get them help, and on more than one occassion my friends have said "oh i just regretted it in the morning." but i always follow it with the fact that if they do feel they were raped, violated, drugged, or taken advantage of in any way that they need to get help or at least talk to someone to sort out what really happened and how they feel about it. and i think the poster needs the most is that - to talk to someone - a therapist, a doctor, a trusted friend (whoever SHE feels most comfortable with) about the situation and how she feels about it. i know firsthand how hard it is to "get over" something like this, and whether it was rape or not is inconsequential, but her feelings about what happened with sex is extremely consequential to her overall mental, emotional, and physical health. i do think that since she is in a relationship, she should talk to her husband about this as well. part of entering into marriage (or any other serious relationship) is an implicit idea that you will trust, respect, and work through problems with your spouse because of the commitment you have made to them, and at the very least she needs to tell him how what happened has made her feel - and to attempt to ensure that it does not happen again to her/anyone else. the two things i did right when i was raped (and still in shock) were to go directly to a doctor to be checked up and to tell the man who did this to me that i was NOT okay with what had happened, (and this was before i knew drugs were involved). sorry if i sound preachy, this is a subject that really hits close to home with me. i really hope that no one ever has to go through a situation like mine or the poster's, and ask that every mom with little boys takes the time to sit them down when they are old enough and really emphasize respect and a woman's right to choose to be intimate/physical.
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