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'I accused my friend of projecting after she accused my husband of cheating because he fishes, AITA?' UPDATED

'I accused my friend of projecting after she accused my husband of cheating because he fishes, AITA?' UPDATED


My friend thinks my husband is cheating on me because he likes fishing, I think she's projecting.

Substantial-Fox-4386 writes:

For context, I (31F) have been with my husband Jay (34M) for 10 years. We met through mutual friends, began dating shortly after, and became engaged after being together for about 2 years.

We aren't legally married yet, as we both agreed we wanted an all-out wedding and to travel for our honeymoon, but that is expensive, and we wanted to prioritize spending our money on things like our house, vehicles, medical expenses, and so on.

We bought each other matching rings that we wear as if we are married, refer to each other as husband and wife, and present as married socially; we just haven't actually had a wedding. Our families understand this, and since we are both children of divorce, our parents were fine with us not wanting to get married, given their somewhat skewed opinions of marriage.

Most of our friends also don't comment on our lack of being officially married, as they either don't care, agree with our logic that there are more important things to spend money on, or believe that the point of a legal marriage isn't as necessary as it has been in the past.

Then there's Tricia (28F). I met Tricia through an old job, and we got along really well. We enjoyed the same music, food, and had similar opinions on things like movies, books, and clothes. Tricia is a lovely person, and I do genuinely enjoy her friendship, but she occasionally goes through these odd phases where she analyzes the behavior of the men in our social circle.

She will present her "theories" to us ladies based on things like social media posts, "odd behaviors" she says she noticed during group barbecues or beach trips, and so on. While I have no problem calling out potential s^&*ty behavior in a friend, the things she deems "suspicious" don't really hold water in my opinion.

For example, she's never quite let go of considering a male friend gay, and her "evidence" is that he's a bit of a perpetual bachelor. According to him, his bachelor status is because he's holding out for a girl who doesn't mind his transient lifestyle as a man who has to travel a lot for work and would want to join him rather than wait around at home.

However, according to Tricia, he must be having gay dalliances across the country and refuses to tell us, even though many in our friend group are gay, out of the closet, and even bring their partners to social events.

Then there's my sweet Jay. Jay has never been a very physically affectionate person, and he is likely autistic, but he isn't interested in having a formal diagnosis. He took the RAADS-R (a test to screen for autism in undiagnosed adults) about 4 years ago when he was seeking treatment for chronic migraines, and the results suggested strongly that he may be autistic.

Once he got those results back, he sort of got over the idea of "wanting answers" for some of his mental health questions, preferring to just go to therapy and work on finding good treatment for his migraines.

According to him, the RAADS-R was "good enough to solve the mystery" and provided some closure for him. I didn't press the issue, as the idea of getting on his case about a diagnosis he didn't feel he needed seemed unnecessarily harsh to me.

On top of that, Jay loves fishing. When you put these two facts together, hopefully a picture gets painted for you, but I'll clarify anyway. He knows all about the different types of aquatic environments in our area where you can legally fish, when all the different spawning seasons are, what every species eats, how they hunt, and he can even tell what sort of fish is on his hook based on how it feels when he's pulling them in.

He can look at a body of water and instantly tell you if fishing will be good that day, and he has never been wrong; it's like living with a fish-based psychic! Since I am an avid lover of seafood, his fishing and pursuit of fish-centric knowledge has only been a boon to me.

I can express interest in wanting a fish dinner on Monday morning, and that night, he will bring home and cook up enough fish for us to eat like royalty. He's even excited to catch fish to make into fertilizer for my new rose bushes, since he feels confident he will be able to pull up the perfect "food" for my new roses.

The "suspicious" activity, according to Tricia, is that he often goes on spur-of-the-moment fishing trips by himself and can sometimes be gone for hours. He will randomly stand up, say something like "Alright. Fishin' time." and give me a kiss before he hits the road.

While I would ordinarily agree that something like that could be suspicious, I know factually that Jay isn't cheating, as he always sends me countless pictures and videos while he's on these trips, as well as calling me on the phone when he's particularly excited about a good catch, how he's trying to get uniquely sneaky fish, a cool bird he saw, and things like that.

Even if he's gone for 10 hours, my phone will be blowing up for all 10 of those hours with pictures of his sunshine smile next to a fish or videos of him cheering as he shows me what he's got on the stringer (a long, thin rope used to keep fish alive, but attached to your boat, in the water).

I adore these pictures, videos, and phone calls, since they make my heart so full with how much joy he feels and how at peace he is on the water. I would join him more often, but I usually stay home since it wouldn't be fair to our dogs if both of us left for undefined amounts of time on a whim.

Instead, I find my peace in watching through his eyes, and when he comes home, I'm always happy to get the play-by-play of how the trip went while Jay prepares the fish for us to eat. We even have a game now where he quizzes me on what types of fish he caught, and if I win, I get a big hug!

None of this is good enough for Tricia. For years now, she has had her suspicions about Jay, but I've always brushed them off as I'm secure in my relationship and trust Jay implicitly. When Tricia first brought her "theory" to me, I brought it up to Jay, who was genuinely hurt and asked if I shared in her suspicions and wanted him to go fishing less.

I told him no, but that I felt he deserved to know what Tricia was telling people about him. He understood and was willing to let sleeping dogs lie. Over the years, as Jay and I kept on keepin' on, unmarried and in fishy bliss.

Tricia became more and more adamant that not only was Jay cheating, but that the reason we weren't married is that he convinced me to wait for an expensive wedding and he would rather continue on cheating during fake fishing trips.

Her "proof" was his random trips, the fact that he doesn't physically touch me "a lot" when we are in public, and how "he never lets me go with him". Countless times, I have shown her the giant folder of fishing pictures and videos on my phone, call logs showing how often we're in communication, and told her that I didn't need to have him grabbing on me or dangling off of me in public to feel secure with him.

I've brought up our responsibilities as dog owners to not leave them alone for hours on a whim without the ability to relieve themselves outside. I've even told her multiple times over the years that she's more than welcome to ask Jay if she could tag along on a trip and see for herself how committed he is to fishing, but she always refuses.

Again, since Jay has been fine with ignoring the drama, I let it slide, up until about a week ago. Jay was talking about going on a day-long fishing trip with two of our friends, Vince and Maria (who are married) as they had expressed interest in going and saw the trip as a sort of blend between a staycation and a chartered boat trip.

Tricia spoke privately with me, saying that I must be happy that Maria is going, since she will be able to ensure that not only Jay can't cheat on me, but that Vince can't cover for him if he tries to. I'd finally had enough, as now she was dragging poor Vince into this and slandering his character, when all Vince had done is agree to a day trip with an old friend.

I told Tricia that she needs to either bring her suspicions directly to Jay and hash it out with him, or let it go, because as far as I'm concerned, she's projecting her issues onto Jay since Tricia can't keep a guy longer than three months. While that assessment isn't entirely true, I wanted to hurt her feelings and cut her down to size, since that's my sweet Jay she's dragging through the mud.

Tricia not only took it personally, but said that I was just naive and was afraid to be single. I told Tricia that she was projecting again, since she's a serial dater who scares men off with her wannabe Sherlock Holmes nonsense, and she just can't fathom a man with a real hobby because she only goes after half-baked fake gymbros more interested in their own tits than hers and wannabe finance bros who blow their entire paychecks on crypto.

She stopped talking to me after that, and hasn't reached out to me since. Granted, I haven't reached out to her either, but I'm mad at her, because she was rude. Our friend group doesn't really give this entire situation much weight, saying stuff like "that's just how she is" or "what did you expect" or "we know Jay isn't cheating, but he's an exception to the rule, and maybe Tricia just doesn't see that."

While I was willing to stand my ground at first and not budge on the issue, now I'm wondering if maybe I was too harsh and should apologize for being petty just because I wanted to knock her down a peg and get her to give up on her "theories."

Here are some comments that caused OP to provide an update:

PolarGCNclips said:

First of all, Jay sounds wonderful. Congrats on snagging him, I smiled reading when you were talking about him, very wholesome. Tricia sucks man. Tricia isn't helping anyone, she's actively hurting people's marriages, relationships and friendships, I'd bail on her ASAP.

I don't know what you see in a person who has put THAT much time into belittling your wonderful husband. I was also a little irked by people in your group chat saying Jay is the exception... how? You said Tricia is always doing this and she's wrong as f*%k.

Why are you friends with Tricia is fabricating rumors about your friends being gay and your husband cheating on you... like to the point that you told Jay "this is what she's saying about you to people" you know she didn't just say it to you, but everyone, and you're still letting this b^%ch hang around? Gross.

OP responded:

Hearing it framed this way is a shock I think I needed. I wanted to get defensive at first, but you have a really solid point. Someone else here asked if maybe Tricia is interested in Jay, and I'm going to dig into that, but now I want to dig into this as well. Thank you for your input, it's put a lot into perspective.

MamaPagan said:

First off: Thank you for being the type of woman to stand up for her husband knowing he's not a POS cheater, instead of just accepting her view and ruining your relationship over it.

I'm curious if she's into him and trying to destroy your relationship to wiggle in? Either way, NTA. If she can't take it, she shouldn't dish it out. You've shown proof of him not cheating, her continuing to push the issue definitely feels like projection / she wants him and wants you to leave him.

OP responded:

I'm not going to lie, this is kind of making me rethink some other things that have happened over the years. I'm going to have to go digging and ask some questions; thank you for your input.

forcryingoutmeow said:

NTA. She is toxic as heck and wants to drag everyone down to her paranoid level. I would cut her off completely.

OP responded:

Thank you for your words; reading the other comments here is really throwing me for a loop and making me reevaluate some stuff. I appreciate you taking the time to contribute here.

OP provided an update:

We both agree that we had been holding onto these friendships more out of a sense of nostalgia and a desire to be kind, rather than actually examining what these friends brought to the table and whether or not they enriched our lives.

We had been distracted by a desire for community and old bonds, sacrificing our comfort and respect not only for ourselves but also for our choice to be together and have a dynamic that some may not view as normal or valid in some capacities.

While Jay and I have different views on what certain friends mean to us, we agree that enough is enough, and it's time to not only establish boundaries but also to not give an inch to those who have caused us to come to this, especially Tricia. That said, Jay is a good man. A strong, whip-smart, generous man, and reading the feedback you all provided made me realize something: I am f^#&ing angry.

I allowed a venomous waste of air around my sweet Jay. My Jay. She slandered him, belittled me, devalued what we have, and I allowed it, like some sort of coward. It's going to end now, and I'm ending it my way. I will not be allowing Tricia to slink away from this or have room to twist words to make me look like anything other than a woman with righteous fury regarding the man she vowed to honor and protect.

What do you think?

Sources: Reddit
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