Group Therapy is a relationship advice column to which readers contribute their wisdom.
A reader writes: The manager of my son’s sports team is a woman, and she seems to pay way too much attention to my husband, the coach. He says I’m overreacting, but I’m not usually jealous, and other moms I trust agree with me. The manager’s own husband seems indifferent. I’ve become uncomfortable going to games. Advice?
Get your hubby on board
In order for the manager to be paying too much attention to your husband, he must not be discouraging her enough. Explain to him that the situation is making you uncomfortable and that you need his support in order for you to continue to attend games. If you trust him, you have nothing to worry about, but he has a spouse’s duty to repel inappropriate advances.
Linda King, Ladysmith, B.C.
Make her uncomfortable
By all means, don't stop going to games! You'd only be leaving the path open for her advances. Be overwhelmingly present, and let her know, either directly or by innuendo, that you're onto her. Men are not usually put off by flirty women. On the contrary, they feel flattered. Since your husband is probably blameless, he most likely feels no guilt and sees no wrong in what she's doing. It's up to you to make her uncomfortable. But to achieve that, you have to be constantly in her face.
Maria Corro, Montreal
Time for damage control
So you've discussed this with other moms in the misguided guise of garnering support in your corner? You have publicly put yourself out there for gossip and ridicule. You are now in the realm of drama queen. Talking to your husband was the right move; he's not concerned so you shouldn't be either. Now for damage control. Stop obsessing about her behaviour, stop discussing it with your posse, hold your head up at games and let this blow over.
Darby Brown, Kitchener, Ont.
The final word
I’m glad I worked away from home and prying eyes. But there was that time when my son, who was 8, saw a picture of me on the cover of an industry magazine surrounded by male writers. He looked at his father and then at me. “He has nice blue eyes,” my son said, pointing at one of the men and then carefully watching me for a reaction. I quickly threw that magazine away. But the message was sent. Daddy may think you’re innocent but I’m watching you.
For the record, I was faithful all the times I was away from home. Plus Muslim guilt over divine wrath takes all the joy out of adultery. But I agree with Maria about how flattering attention from the opposite or the same sex, depending on how you roll, can be. It lets us know we still have beating hearts in our breasts, regardless how much gravity and babies have taken their toll. You feel less like a troll on those days.
But we can’t discount our partner’s feelings regardless of how innocent our flirting may be. That’s why I disagree with Darby. When it comes to jealousy, a little bit of drama helps our partners twig to when they’re crossing a line. I’m on Linda’s side. You should continuously let your husband know how uncomfortable the manager’s behaviour makes you feel.
If she’s behaving this way in public, in front of her own husband, in front of you and in front of all the other parents, it’s possible she doesn’t get it. So let’s make sure she does.
You will keep going to those games, arm in arm with your husband, smiling the entire time and occasionally waving at her. Send her the signal that you’re aware of her misguided attention. And if my son were there, he’d give her the evil eye for good measure.
Regina-based Zarqa Nawaz is the creator of the CBC-TV sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Next week’s question
A friend told me he has been cheating on his wife. I am close to his wife and kids and I know he and his wife have had problems, but I don't see him making any efforts to improve relations. I told him he should either end the affair or get a separation. Right now I am disgusted by his selfishness and don't want to see him, but I want to see the family. Advice?
Let’s hear from you
If you would like to participate, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All questions are published anonymously, but we will include your name and hometown if we use your response (it will be edited).