DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I moved into the same neighborhood as some friends. (Let’s call them the “first couple.”) We have gone to dinner regularly for years as two couples, until a year ago, when our friends started inviting a third couple to join us.
The wife of the third couple is very flirty only to my husband, while she acts “generic” towards me and anyone else in the room. My husband admits he is uncomfortable when she insists that he give her a ride on his motorcycle or shoot a game of pool with her. My husband has joined her in the basement to shoot pool, while her own husband just smiles, and the rest of us watch football upstairs.
I confidentially mentioned to her that my husband is uncomfortable with her constantly asking for a ride on his motorcycle, and suggested maybe she could stop for a while. Next time we saw her, she was more insistent and flirty.
I mentioned this to my husband, and to the first couple, who all think she is just having fun. My husband said he does not like her, and agrees that if I do not want to be around her, we will go to dinner only when she is not around. He now meets the men only, though on occasion he runs into her at the neighbor’s house.
I feel she ignored my request to stop asking my husband for a ride, and she has never been my friend. I feel like I made a request that was not honored, and now I look like the “psycho wife.” Please tell me how I should handle this situation.
GENTLE READER: While it is not fair of Couple 1 to assume that it is you, not your husband, who objects to the other wife’s behavior towards your husband, it is perhaps to be expected. After all, you are the one who voiced objections. Your husband played pool with her; he has not rebuffed her behavior. And the conflict has been resolved by removing both you and her from the socializing.
Miss Manners does not doubt what your husband told you in private. But she knows that the only workable solution will be for him to speak up, if not to the offender, then at least to Couple 1. And now that everyone thinks the problem is you, he will have to be that much more persuasive when he does.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wonderful husband turned 40 this year and couldn’t be more handsome. His hair, however, is thinning in the middle.
It’s never a “thing” until a couple he knows visits. They make a remark, and laugh at his expense in a kidding fashion, but I know it bothers my husband. It bothers me, too! How can I politely tell them their comments about my husband’s hair are not funny or welcome?
GENTLE READER: The proper way to respond to your visitors’ rudeness is with a humorless silence. But whether this is effective or not as a deterrent, sharing with your husband what you just told Miss Manners will mean more to him than their thoughtless behavior.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com.
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