A friend of mine divorced in July. We are part of a group that vacations together regularly. Her boorish husband is no longer welcome. At the first gathering since their divorce, my friend was distant from me but flirted like crazy with my husband. I am certain that nothing is going on; I know he loves me. I said nothing about her behavior except when he brought it up privately. He also gently, firmly and repeatedly kept appropriate boundaries with her. I am certain that others noticed her behavior. Should I say something to her? She is highly sensitive, and I fear that she will take it the wrong way. I know that her husband was having an affair.
Yes, speak up. She may be acting like an attention-starved teenager, but that does not mean her behavior is just a phase. She obviously needs to prove to herself that she is still desirable. The problem is that she is using your husband to feel better about herself. Although it is true that a divorce can shake a person’s self-esteem, it shouldn’t demolish their morals. Nor should it elicit a compulsion to mimic the harm done. Your friend is probably unaware that she is acting out(rageously). Waking up from her unconscious behavior likely will be painful for her.
Tell her that you are uncomfortable with her behavior toward your husband because you think it is too flirtatious. If she becomes angry, she is trying to deflect her fear of being seen as imperfect. If she feels guilty, her conscience is alerting her that she has engaged in inappropriate behavior. If she feels shame, encourage her to seek counseling. Shame signals that she thinks she is a bad person. It is a primal emotion that stunts our spiritual and emotional growth if left unexplored. Have your husband present when you initiate this conversation with your friend. A united front should allay her expectations. With care on your part, this conversation will invite her to wholeness as well as deepen the bond of friendship between you.
I connected with a man on an Internet dating site. We’ve had great e-mail conversations and have a lot in common. The problem is that he is gorgeous, and I’m not. He has never seen a picture of me and, luckily, didn’t ask for one. He did ask me to describe myself, but I was vague and managed to flirt my way out of the whole thing. I have a great personality, and guys generally like me once they get to know me. But I’m afraid that he will see me and run in the opposite direction. Should I tell him before we meet that I’m not all that?
Not all that pleased about being you? Is that what you mean? Instead of e-mailing him, try this: Write your guy an e-mail with all of your concerns in detail. Be devastatingly honest. But don’t send him the missive. Instead, e-mail it to yourself. Wait a day or so to open it and then scrutinize every word, searching for signs of self-pity, fear, lack of self-worth, fear of rejection, etc. Talk to a trusted friend about what you discover and, with his or her support, process the associated thoughts and emotions. Then, edit out the drama. E-mail the message to yourself again; don’t send it to him. Repeat this process until the e-mail is simple and free of anything freaky.
When you are certain that your communication is as pure, direct and simple in emotion as possible for you, e-mail it to him. It still may contain traces of your insecurity, but that should reveal your vulnerability, not your neuroses. At that point, you’re ready to meet.