Dear Rocky Love

By on October 1, 2014
Rocky Love

Where is sisterhood when you need it? 

Rocky Love

Dear Rocky Love,

I’d like your advice about an awkward situation: A beautiful woman has a crush on my husband. Ordinarily I wouldn’t care. In fact, I think it’s sexy when other women notice my spouse. He IS nice to look at. The problem is that the woman, who is also an acquaintance of mine – she’s a dynamo professional woman in our community – has become so blatant about her crush that she’s lost her manners. Every time she sees me, the first thing she says is: “How’s your husband?” Or, “Where’s your husband?” I’m not exaggerating – those are literally the first things she says to me. She doesn’t ask me how I am, or ever speak about the many points of common interest and professional contacts she and I share. At first, I thought even this was kind of cute. But as the months go on, it has become rude. I do have an identity outside my husband! I keep thinking I should say something to her. But what?

— Signed, Not Husband’s Shadow

Dear Not Husband’s Shadow,

Thanks for writing this letter. I bet you are not the only woman out there to experience this phenomenon, disappointing as it is. By way of context, I think your situation is about more than just bad manners. Anytime a woman is seen only as a representative or extension of her husband, we take a step backwards. From my vantage point, our so-called post-feminist America needs a new wave of consciousness-raising groups. The fact that women ought to value one another, independent of our connections to men, should be a no-brainer.

But, alas, sexual attraction does funny things to people’s minds and they find themselves acting in all manner of adolescent ways, no matter how professional or even feminist they might be otherwise.

Here’s my advice: Stop waiting for her to ask you about yourself. Next time you see her, before she can get any (predictable) words out of her mouth, you jump in with an update about what’s happening in your world. Be ready with an anecdote that would be topical and appropriate. You mentioned having common interests. The moment you see her, try going up and saying something like, “I’m so glad I ran into you, I wanted to tell you about this new book I’ve been reading…”

If she still responds with a question about your husband, we will know how deeply blind she is to her own behavior. You need to have a response at the ready. I suggest that response not answer her question directly. Instead, counter with something like, “We hiked Jackson Peak last weekend, and I loved the fall colors.” Or “We saw the new Tom Hanks film, and I thought it was great.” Or any little bit of small talk that includes you in the picture, and swings the conversation back to you.

Then make your exit. “Well, gotta run! Great to see you!” Miss Professional Lady is free to flirt with your husband on her own time, but she no longer gets to waste your time with her teenage fawning.

— XO, Rocky Love

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