Thursday, April 26, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Is hubby's behavior flirty or friendly

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Deciding if hubby's behaviors are more flirty than friendly

Q: This question concerns my husband, who is either oblivious or willfully hurting/irritating me. Or, I am a controlling, overly sensitive witch, I guess.

When we are out in public, my husband will just start random conversations with strange women. I am not talking about folks at a party. I mean just standing in line and striking up a chat or sitting at a bar and leaning over to discuss the game/her bag/etc. with someone he has never met before.

When a guy does that, I usually figure he's hitting on me or trying to open the door to a larger conversation that may go that way. Certainly I don't strike up chats with unknown, random guys in bars or other public places because I don't want to open those doors.

In the end, I've gently suggested that people may misunderstand his intentions and that those chats leave me feeling like I am watching my husband hit on someone. He nods and then keeps on doing it. Should I just let this go?

D.C. Flirt

A: Depends. Does he talk to men also? Women of all shapes, sizes, ages and points on the heat index? Are they long conversations or brief exchanges? Are you just sitting alone on what was supposed to be your evening out with him — or does he do it when you're otherwise occupied, like menu-reading or running to the ladies' room? Or does he (try to) include you in the banter?

Is there any other behavior that confirms your fear that he's "hitting on (them) or trying to open the door to a larger conversation that may go that way"?

He could very easily be a friendly guy whom you're unfairly judging on your own friendliness scale (say, judging an extrovert by introvert standards). He could also be flirting with other women as a prelude to cheating, or in open defiance of you, or doing something else at some other point along the indecency scale. I don't think it's fair for me to choose either side without context.

I can wonder, though, how you dealt with this before you were married. Did you just assume he'd stop because married men aren't supposed to be chatty anymore with any women who aren't their wives?

With your "certainly" statement — "Certainly I don't strike up chats with unknown, random guys in bars or other public places" — you imply there's some kind of code of behavior for paired-off people, one that all right-thinking people observe. If that's the case, then you're under the influence of a strong, unchallenged bias.

Please ask yourself: Is there room for reasonable disagreement with this code, by people who aren't "oblivious," "willfully" hurtful or "controlling"? Is everyone who likes to "strike up chats with unknown, random (people) in bars or other public places" automatically suspect?

A husband who nods and ignores you is saying that, on this issue, you've said your truth but he's swallowing his. Instead of "gently" scolding or judging him, invite him to share who he is. And make it clear you'll stay cool if you don't like the truth. Otherwise? Another empty "Yes, dear" response.

Comments
5 things to do under $5: 10,000 Maniacs, Dragon Boat Races, Pepper Fest

5 things to do under $5: 10,000 Maniacs, Dragon Boat Races, Pepper Fest

Here's your free and cheap ideas for the weekend.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Royal Guardsmen return, Snoopy in tow, 50 years after Florida’s first pop hit

Royal Guardsmen return, Snoopy in tow, 50 years after Florida’s first pop hit

OCALAIt’s midmorning at the pub, not far from the backyard patio where it all began, and the old guys from the old band are reminiscing on the old days over cream of mushroom soup."When we were kids," Billy Taylor said, "all you wanted was a hot show...
Published: 04/26/18
Plan your weekend April 27-29: Jeff Dunham, Flo Rida at Busch Gardens, Sunscreen Film Fest, dragon boat races, Green Thumb Fest

Plan your weekend April 27-29: Jeff Dunham, Flo Rida at Busch Gardens, Sunscreen Film Fest, dragon boat races, Green Thumb Fest

Plan your weekendAthletes St. Anthony’s Triathlon: Elite professional athletes and Olympians from around the world will be at this St. Petersburg race this weekend, one of the premier triathlon events in the country. There’s a big incentive, with ca...
Published: 04/25/18
Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay: Jeff Dunham, Victor Wooten and Sinbad perform jazz

Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay: Jeff Dunham, Victor Wooten and Sinbad perform jazz

PUPPET MASTER: Jeff DunhamCelebrated ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is no dummy. The record-breaking comedy superstar sells out arenas around the world, bringing along his ill-behaved puppets including grouchy Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, redneck Bu...
Published: 04/25/18
This week’s best concerts: Flo Rida, Queens of the Stone Age, Bay 2 Beach Festival and more

This week’s best concerts: Flo Rida, Queens of the Stone Age, Bay 2 Beach Festival and more

ROCK ROYALTY: Queens of the Stone AgeWhen Queens of the Stone Age singer Josh Homme got in trouble recently for kicking a photographer at a show, local fans might have seen it coming. During a gig here in 2014, a fan got up on stage and tried to gree...
Published: 04/25/18

Tell Me About It: Father-in-law loses it over baby’s name

Q: My husband and I are late-20s and expecting a baby girl. My husband and I both kept our own last names. My father-in-law, ["Phil"], has absolutely lost it upon learning that we plan to hyphenate the baby’s last name, reportedly crying and fuming e...
Published: 04/25/18

Tell Me About It: Addressing the party no-show epidemic

Q: My family recently celebrated our son’s birthday. We had a number of guests RSVP "yes" to our invitation who not only didn’t show, but also didn’t even have the decency to contact us to let us know. It’s been a week since the party.This left us wi...
Published: 04/24/18

Tell Me About It: Sister’s remark is a teaching opportunity

My husband’s sister, "Kate," is expecting her second child. They have a 3-year-old girl. My husband and I have two girls, 8 and 6. At our house this week, Kate talked extensively about her hopes that this next baby is a boy. Some of her reasons are c...
Published: 04/23/18

Tell Me About It: Mom fears she has discussed sex too soon

Q: This week I was in a discussion with a bunch of other third-grade parents about what our kids know about sex. The vast majority of these parents said their children were "clueless" and they wanted to maintain their kids’ innocence. I was one of th...
Published: 04/22/18
Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — HGTV fanatic that he is, Spencer Chamberlain sees a metaphor for his band in the ever-evolving St. Petersburg skyline."When you go downtown and you look at the ONE, that used to be a dirt parking lot," said the singer, referring to a...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18