Question: "I know this sounds like a Jerry Springer episode, but ... My husband and I work in the same office. A new co-worker has been openly flirting with him. She hugs him, rubs his shoulders and is constantly touching him. And she frequently does this in my presence! I know it's silly, but her behavior really bothers me. What should I do?" -- Worried Wife
Marie's Answer: You're not being silly at all. Wanting this woman to keep her hands off your hubby is completely normal and appropriate. While adoring gazes might be harmless, affectionate fondling clearly crosses the line. Here are some suggestions to consider:
- Although the problem may be your flirtatious colleague, the solution lies with your husband. As the target of this improper attention, it’s his responsibility to stop it. If he returns her hugs or responds to a shoulder massage with a deep, happy sigh, then he's sending the wrong message.
- Without getting upset or becoming overly dramatic, tell him exactly how you feel and what you want him to do. For example: “You may think this is silly, but I really hate it when Mary hugs you or rubs your shoulders. The next time she does this, I would appreciate your telling her that it’s not appropriate."
- If your spouse doesn't seem to get it, ask how he would feel if the situation were reversed: "Suppose that Bob kept touching me and giving me back rubs. Would that be okay with you?"
If he still seems reluctant to rebuff this brazen hussy, just ask him to do so as a personal favor to you. Remind him that, as his wife, your feelings should be more important than hers.