My newly single friend is hitting on my husband
21:51 GMT, 13 May 2012
My best friend in our village was distraught when her husband left her six months ago for a younger woman. She’s spent half her time since with my family.
The only problem is that she’s become increasingly flirty with my husband, laughing at his awful jokes, touching his leg and even sitting on his knee at one party. He laps up the attention, but it makes me uneasy.
The other week she mentioned something about our sex life that clearly came from him. How can I deal with their intimacy without looking paranoid
One reader is concerned her single friend is getting too close to her husband
Let’s get one thing clear: you’re not being paranoid. This woman has sashayed right over acceptable boundaries and is putting up a gazebo on your turf. It’s never acceptable to plonk yourself on the knee of someone else’s husband unless he’s dressed as Father Christmas at the office party, and even then I’d watch my step. It’s even worse to discuss a pal’s sex life with her spouse — not only have you forgotten whose team you’re on, it’s creepy.
I would advise you to steer clear of this woman if it weren’t for one factor: she has suffered the worst kind of marital bust-up. This means she truly isn’t in her ‘right mind’ at the minute, which is why she is behaving like a lunatic. Grief, jealousy and shock possess people in very different ways and can sometimes make them impossible.
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Even the most reasonable person can go
doolally after being dumped and may need to be cut some slack. But
there’s a point when they have to pull themselves together and I’d say
six months is about the limit of indulgence. You need to tell her that,
while you still support her, you haven’t had enough one-on-one time with
your husband of late and you’d appreciate some space.
Many newly single women complain that friends dump them because they are seen as a threat. They protest that this is ludicrous because the last person they’d try and seduce is a close pal’s spouse. Which may be true for the most part, but a person in a volatile emotional state can act more provocatively than they would if happily coupled-up. Alcohol and unhappiness can be a destabilising combination.
It’s also true that fragile, wounded women may find the only men they feel confident with after a break-up are ‘safe’ ones, such as friends’ partners.
To bolster their self-esteem they may chance a little flirtation, confident their pal will know it doesn’t mean anything. The vital thing is to know when to draw back.
A cautionary note: it would be simplistic not to admit that sometimes people who have been hurt inflict that very pain and chaos on others, making a beeline for a friend’s attractive spouse. I have known crusaders for moral virtue change overnight when dropped for somebody else. Their justification seems to be: ‘If nobody else plays by the rules, why should I’ But it’s more likely your friend is just attention-seeking.
You’re clearly a tolerant person or you wouldn’t have opened your door so wide and put up with her flirtation so long. She may not know that you’re upset. The easiest way to resolve things without jeopardising the friendship is to have a good, stern talk with your husband.
You have focused your ire on your friend, but your spouse is equally insensitive and has encouraged her. He’s also the one who leaked information about your sex life — an unforgivable breach of the marital code.
But remember, men can be quite baffled by female friendships, so it’s possible he thought he was supporting you by bolstering her. You simply need to make it clear that while you’re glad he rallied round, enough is enough. It’s time to drop the overt intimacy. Two’s company, three’s an imposition.