The Washington Post

Dealing with an openly flirty divorcée


Dear Carolyn: What do I do if the recently divorced female rector of my church is openly flirting with my husband at a church retreat? I have described to several close friends her comments to my husband, and they agree that the comments appear to be flirtatiou­s and are inappropri­ate.

My husband is a handsome, kind man who really likes to be liked, but he’s also incredibly loyal and loving and is a wonderful husband. He doesn’t “see” anything inappropri­ate, as a general matter, when I’ve lightly brought it up. I’m thinking I need to get confirmati­on from a third party who attended the retreat and approach them lightly to see whether they noticed anything.

Another church is always an option, but he is a member of the vestry, so it’s a little complicate­d. Or I could ignore it and continue to be happily married, but it is annoying. Any advice would be much appreciate­d.

— Annoyed

Annoyed: This is me lightly suggesting you worry less about lightness and more about saying what you mean, and less to friends and more to your husband:

“I think it’s fair to say I am not one to get jealous or accuse people of flirting with you.” This is true, right? (Because if it isn’t, then I need to build a different flow chart.)

Then: “Would you agree with that?” He would say yes, right?

If so: “Thank you, I appreciate that. Now please show me the courtesy of taking me at my word when I say the rector was crossing a line with you. If nothing else, recognize that I felt uncomforta­ble — and I hope that is reason enough on its own to be mindful of boundaries with her.”

It is okay to play the trust-meon-this card where it’s warranted — and, in fact, that is why you want to keep this card playable in the first place. That means choosing a trustworth­y partner, being a trustworth­y partner and letting those two realities handle the vast majority of your concerns without reacting or saying a word.

It’s also okay not to play the trust-me-on-this card here — not yet. This seems to have happened only once, so maybe a lonely person let her guard down and a kind but oblivious person failed to pick up on that? So you can choose not to speak up, or even give it another thought, unless it happens again.

Hi Carolyn: I know you always say it’s a good idea to wait two years before fully committing to a person. I’m 37 and have been with my boyfriend for a little less than a year. Five years ago, I would have waited longer to move in together or get married, but we both really want kids (biological, if possible), and the clock is ticking. I have dated a lot, including serious relationsh­ips, and I can’t imagine finding someone more wellsuited, but I realize you can’t possibly know someone fully after such a short period of time. Do you think it’s always a bad idea to move in together, get married or get pregnant earlier than two years in?

— Anonymous

Anonymous: It’s a reality check, not a rule. It says, “These feelings are influenced in some part by novelty, which will go away.” That informatio­n can be used responsibl­y in many ways.

As can the knowledge that you’ll still have the husband even if the kids don’t happen.

So if you trust your judgment, then trust your judgment. (Congrats!)

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