‘You’re great, but your spouse creeps me out’

Tough one from a reader: “I have known ‘Bob’ for about 10 years. Bob has always given me the creeps. Not the ‘He might be a serial killer’ creeps, more like the ‘He’s a leering perv’ creeps. Bob is what I would classify as a distant acquaintance and I only run into him on very rare occasions, so his creepiness was easily avoided.

“To my overwhelming surprise, a few years ago, Bob married a perfectly lovely woman. A woman who seems in desperate need of friends. ‘Helen’ and I have quite a few hobbies/interests in common, we both have children around the same age, and she seems very much like someone I would befriend under normal circumstances.

“Helen has reached out to me several times, asking me to do friend-y type things I would love to do, but they’ve meant being around Bob. I was genuinely unavailable for the dates she’s asked me in the past, but isn’t always going to be the case. I am not sure what to do. I want to be her friend, but Bob reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaally creeps me out. I am afraid asking her to do something will force me to include Bob too. Any suggestions?”

Essentially: Does avoiding Bob necessarily mean avoiding Helen, or do you have better ideas?

- Carolyn Hax

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