HI Alison and Tony, I’m worried about my single friend Maggie. She and I used to be close but now I’m about to cut her out of my life. We were at a party and in front of everyone, Maggie starting touching my husband, pretending to give him a neck massage. Then she sat next to him and put her hand on his lap and cuddled up. My husband is a non-confrontational type and didn’t say anything. He kind of ignored her, but he didn’t move away, either. I was annoyed enough to loudly say: “Hey Maggie, what’s with the hands?” She backed off. But a few weeks later when we were with another group of friends she was all touchy-feely with my husband again. This time I walked over and said “Hands off, he’s mine Maggie, this isn’t appropriate” but she just kind of laughed. I’m afraid to be anywhere near Maggie now. How can I get Maggie to stop touching my man? Signed, Mary
Some people are just naturally touchy-feely. However, I doubt this is the case with your friend Maggie since apparently, the touching is a new behavior.
So let’s consider what might be going on in Maggie’s life behind the scenes to cause her to do something she knows isn’t appropriate.
Is Maggie dating? Is she lonely? Has something happened in her life (e.g. losing a job or a boyfriend) that has made her feel extra insecure?
I am sure that Maggie values your friendship, but overtly touching someone in public leads me to believe that she is filling a void and craving some sort of attention she isn’t getting eleswhere.
It’s possible that she feels that you and your husband are such good friends that it’s ok to be overly friendly. But you have clearly told her more than once that it isn’t ok with you.
Your husband is part of the problem. Instead of ignoring the overtures, he should gently but firmly remove her hands from his body and tell her that this is disrespectful to him and to you, his wife and her friend.
Secondly, you need to talk to Maggie in private and ask her what’s going on in her life. If you are good friends you should be able to talk about this in a caring and non-threatening way.
It is also important to reinforce the fact that it is disrespectful for her to cuddle up with a married man...your married man. If Maggie doesn’t stop the touching, perhaps the friendship is over.
People respond to something where they consciously or unconsciously see a need. Although your friend is lonely and feels the need for human connection and touch she has (perhaps mistakenly) decided that your husband has a similar need.
You must ask yourself: “What is my emotional and physical relationship with my husband? Does he know I care for him on a physically touchy level and not just words? ”
In my opinion, if your husband felt full and complete in your relationship he would not respond at all to another woman.
Your biggest problem is that Maggie isn’t trying to expand her pool of friends and thus potential partners. Instead she’s fantasizing about a limited number of people she knows including your husband.
The rest of what Alison advises is what I’d say as well. Find out what is going on with your friend and try to help, but she’s got to keep her hands off your man!