The Washington Post

Dealing with an openly flirty divorcée

- Carolyn Hax Nick GALIFIANAK­IS for THE WASHINGTON Post

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!)

Write to carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com. Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at wapo.st/gethax.

Join the discussion live at noon fridays at washington­post.com/live-chats.

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