When Someone’s “Hitting” on your spouse

I ran into “Jackass” Friday at  a buy fresh workshop.  Here’s his picture: 

He mentioned he and his wife hadn’t seen us for awhile  (it’s been two years).  I’m not sure what to do with him  them relationally.   He suggested we needed to get together again.

Every time we are with them- Virtually every time  “Jackass” will say some form of …”It’s too bad you are here (meaning me ) …MM  (my wife) is who I really enjoy seeing“.   😉   (or some variation of that statement)

We’ve known this couple for 8 years.  He’s a 60 year old hippie, been married a time or two….he’s a big flirt with every attractive woman he sees…not just my wife… to be perfectly honest, for the first 5 years we knew them, I thought to myself..he’s harmless enough..that’s just “Jackass.”

Scripture talks about how the words  we use are an index of our heart…both good and bad…we give others a glimpse into our hearts by what we  talk about.

Anyway, 3 years ago, in another friendship we had as a couple…I kept insisting  that the boyfriend of my wife’s good friend was an out and out pervert.  Guys can pick up on things in other men, I swear women are sometimes blind to.   My wife wasn’t so sure,  so I  had to bite my tongue, so not to rock the boat.  One day my wife comes home and says…”You were right about Wilbur.  He is a creep.   He tried to kiss two  women who stayed over night @ so and so’s house.” 

     I wept  from  the pent up turmoil I’d been carrying for over a year. 

My wife and I had a heart to heart talk, we  both agreed “Jackass” while not cut out of the same cloth as Wilbur,  was a flirt.  Why submit our marriage to that?   So we backed  off.  It was hard because we did enjoy his wife’s company.

Have you ever had to deal with this sort of thing?


I wrote that post in 2008 .  It touched a chord.  Had 22 people comment.


Yesterday, I ran into Steve as I was coming out of a local gas station.   I have been listening to his flirtatious comments toward my wife for 40 years, writing him  off as another harmless jackass.

(Every single time I run into Steve, he has something to say,  and it happens at least twice a year.  (At my wife’s last class reunion a year ago, he tried to  kiss her on the cheek).  Couple of years ago,our daughter K ran into Steve uptown. She called our place to tell us, Steve and she had talked, and he told her, he was her mom’s first kiss.  You get the idea.  Harmless, but, non stop.)

Steve  was just coming in the automatic door as I was leaving.

I knew it was coming..some, comment about my wife, I knew I needed to suck it up, write it off as harmless….

Sure enough…

“Tell your cute wife I said “hi”.”

I looked at him and before I could say, twinkle twinkle little star, a breaker must have tripped in my brain.   I could hear myself saying  “I don’t like it.  Every single time you have to make some comment.”

He looked at me, I could see his brain was trying to process what was going on.    I wasn’t smiling, I wasn’t joking, I was dead serious.  We  stepped back out of the entry so the door would shut, and continued the conversation for another 3 minutes.  (It ended on good note.)

Wife and I have been married now for 40 plus years.  We’ve talked about the Steve’s and the Jacks, and the Wilbur’s  and Tony’s, when they’ve crossed our paths for any length of time.

In a long term healthy relationship, there has to be room to have these sort of conversations.

Have you ever had to deal with this sort of thing?  Would love to hear your thoughts. DM


19 thoughts on “When Someone’s “Hitting” on your spouse

  1. Good for you for speaking up. Must feel good. Ben and I have not had to deal with that kind of thing, although we both realized a potential danger In one relationship. His best friend’s wife. While spending this last summer on their property my intuition was telling me that there was the potential of her falling in love with Ben (or already had) …long story why. I finally mentioned it to Ben thinking he would say, “well that’s silly.” But he didn’t. He said he thought the same thing. That actually shocked me but validated my feelings. Nothing was said to her of course, but I’m glad we don’t live around them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And good for you for speaking up 🙂 and good for Ben to validate your intuition. Nobody talked about this sort of thing when I was growing up, so it took me off guard after we were married when this sort of oddball stuff would happen.


  2. Not this sort of situation Doug, but I did deal with some jealousy very early in my past marriage–his, not mine. It was groundless and useless and felt very controlling at the time. I should have put those few incidents as #1 on my “let’s rethink this whole plan” radar. After the first time I made it clear that I would not tolerate his behavior, nor his need to “find” a reason to validate any form of jealousy. Later, the second time just may have been one of the crucial moments when I realized just how far apart we were in almost everything…

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I have not been on the receiving end like you’ve experienced Deb, we did have an older friend who described being in a heavy handed controlling, jealous crazed relationship with her husband. Brought her to tears years later when she talked about it. It would be maddening. Glad you are out from underneath that now! DM

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In a previous relationship, a work colleague made a play for my partner. This led to awkwardness in the office, though both denied it. It might have washed too if my boss hadn’t witnessed the two of them in a clinch at our New Year’s party. The colleague left for a two year stay in Australia with relatives (a bit drastic perhaps!) and I stayed with partner for a few more years. I had a feeling he was fooling around, but our relationship was on its way out anyway. He denied it of course, but then after I moved out, it was only a couple of months before a new girlfriend moved in….. and moved out again a fortnight later.
    Fast forward to 2003 -ish and I was asked if my husband loved me. Without hesitation I replied YES! They wanted to know how I could be so sure. How could I not when he shows and tells me every single day by his actions, warmth, affection and mannerisms towards me. Hubby and I have a brilliant and stable relationship. We have no secrets and can talk about anything even if it takes a little time to get our ducks in the pond to discuss it. We have friends and acquaintances of both genders and neither feel threatened or awkward with any of them. Mind you, if something was said that was considered to be out of line, we’d talk about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We used to have to deal with this sort of thing in the forces.
    Slightly different with men coveting other Bro’s wives while hubby was away on a duty shift. The unwritten rule was absolute, anyone who betrayed a bro was dealt with, pickaxe handle style. After that, they normally quit, quickly.

    It might have been wrong but even if the instigator was the wife, the guy who obliged was always in the wrong.

    Honour and trust, right?

    As for a wayward wife, she ended up leaving, never to return to forces accommodation in any camp.
    Either by orders ‘from’ her hubby, or from the other wives.
    Some might consider the hubby was a safer bet than those wives.
    Bottom line their stay was a matter of days at the most.

    Honour, trust, and Exodus 20:17 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house, you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.

    Meanwhile, in civvie street UK (which I still hate 35 years on), life is ‘complicated’ in some locations, it seems couple swapping, straying and catting is SOP. In some ethnically diverse or run down communities, no resident father is common. In short, some of the UK has the morals of rabid alley cats on heat.

    So what happens?
    Either not a lot, but sometimes it’s street justice time.
    Often it’s richly deserved but 9 out of 10 times up pops the fashionably late police to arrest the agreeved husband, partner, or wife.

    After all, they always protect the guilty above the innocent.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Then there is civlian ‘law enforcement’. (Shudder).

        Is it any wonder why ex-forces have problems when they finally leave an ordered life into the utter chaos of civvie street.

        To some vets everything was (and still is) black and white, in civvie street it’s 256 shades of ‘maybe’ and then some. Sometimes for vets it’s difficult to work out what is the more wrong in the chaos of wrongs. With predictable results from those trained to survive.


  5. Good for you for speaking up! I don’t think his comments were ever harmless .. they may have been small but small waves break the dam just the same. Haven’t really dealt with it too much in our marriage but have definitely had to deal with co-workers (men) who always had to make a little comment … they found themselves told that their comments are inappropriate and unwanted, and would they like it if their families/wives/daughters heard what they said? W\with a smile of course. Thankfully that’s not happened for a few years, yay!

    I hate it when other people put YOU in an uncomfortable position and then, if you SPEAK up, you’re the bad guy … ugh …and I often end such situations by saying just that – it shuts ’em up!

    ~ good post – MJ

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the qualities I appreciate about you MJ is your “street smarts” when dealing with this sort of thing in corporate america. I can visualize that smile when you’re putting some fool in his place.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I endured a lot of unwanted sexual attention in the work place in my youth. It tapered in my thirties, and I attributed it to aging/diminished attraction. In retrospect, I was wrong. The real issue was that I had matured and knew much better how to deal with it. A withering look. Scoffing. And occasionally, direct and pointed calling it for what it was–in the moment–and preferably with witnesses.

    Also, in later years, I connected with my current husband, a man with an eagle-eye on human behavior. In our discussions, he pointed out the power plays in which many men engage. Apparently, either because they lack normal social skills, or because they are themselves trapped in the ugly two-dimensionalality of sex/power relations, some men never grow out of this faux system of inappropriate attention. It is designed to have exactly the impact it does–the women are unsettled and the men are uncomfortably diminished, unsure how to react at the attentions played to their partners. Everyone is uncomfortable–except the perpetrator, who, by his conduct, has established dominance over all. You did exactly the right thing–you acted as the adult in the room. It will be very interesting to see how he reacts in the future. My guess? He’ll disappear from your social circle.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate everything you’ve said…since I’ve been self employed most of my adult life, I have not had to deal with a lot of that power play stuff. That would drive me nuts. one of our daughters experienced a lot of over the top sexual harassment in her late teens while working @ a golf club. I didn’t hear about it until after the fact. To this day, I would love to go all “Billy Jack”on some of our upstanding city fathers… anyway, my heart goes out to that young lady (you) that had to deal with all of that unwanted stuff. It is not right.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I wish I could say that things are getting better…but perhaps the best we can do is to raise up everyone with firm boundaries and a sense of right and wrong. Give them the strength to know that the treatment is wrong–and that it’s not about them. (Maybe even give them strategies for dealing with it, but first and foremost, let them know that it’s not about them–it’s about the perpetrator.) Call it out when you see it–in a level, sincere and straightforward kind of way. Protect others if they need it. Good people can raise up their voices and expose bad behavior–and we can all learn from it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think you handled that really well. “Harmless” flirting isn’t harmless. But I also think a lot of people, both men and women, don’t necessarily know they’re causing hurt, it may just be how they grew up in the world. But people aren’t mind readers either. I have learned to speak up when someone is making me uncomfortable. The truly honorable people immediately apologize and change their behavior. The ones who don’t are the ones to stay away from. I’ve met both kinds. I used to avoid people who made me uncomfortable, still do to an extent because of past traumas, but I’m really trying to speak up and give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s not easy though because my reflex is to avoid them. Great post! Long time! Say hello to MM for me. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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