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What would you do? Where is the line here? Is there an acceptable level of flirting when married?

(72 Posts)
MotherTeresasCat Thu 08-Dec-16 08:16:34

Ok, will try to be brief.

There is a bloke on the periphery of my social circle who I sometimes see when out and about. He is married with children (has been for a long time). I am single.

I first noticed this man gazing at me while I was dancing once (he sings in my favourite local band and I often go with friends to watch them play). Since then he has made his attraction to me pretty obvious - I catch him looking at me all the time, he uses any excuse to touch or hug me, he has this flustered, nervous air around me - it's just kind of there for the world to see. And that's the problem. He either can't (or isn't trying hard enough to) hide his feelings and my concern is people will notice, jump to the wrong conclusion, and think badly. I don't think this concern is unreasonable as a friend of mine noticed immediately and commented, 'Oh gosh, he really likes you doesn't he?'. I snapped at her that he was married, to which she responded that his behaviour didn't mean anything and that he was just being nice.

So my friend thinks he's just being 'nice' and no big deal. But I am uncomfortable. I know where my line is. If he was single I might be interested in pursuing things (I think he's attractive too - I'm not going to feel guilty about that, I'm only human - I can control my actions and keep a lid on my feelings) but he isn't. So for me it's an absolute no-no. And I know that if I was married and my husband behaved with another woman the way he does with me I would be very hurt and upset. So for me it is a big deal. I don't want my reputation to be damaged by people getting the wrong idea and assuming something is going on.

How to handle? I could avoid him completely but that puts the kibosh on a big and enjoyable part of my social life which feels unfair (I'm a single parent and can't get out loads). I have briefly considered saying something to him (along the lines of stop it) but don't actually think that's a very good idea as it opens up a conversation about feelings which I feel crosses a line. There's a party coming up soon which I would like to attend. But I know he's going to be there so am feeling quite ambivalent.

It's hard to know what to do for the best. I feel conflicted. Perhaps my friend is right and it's no biggie? I can be quite serious and intense sometimes. But my gut says this isn't right.

MotherTeresasCat Thu 08-Dec-16 08:17:30

That wasn't brief at all, was it.

overthehillandroundthemountain Thu 08-Dec-16 08:19:49

Don't say anything, but heighten the boundaries - so if he goes to touch or hug you, step back. You might be attracted, but you can control it. You don't need to say anything, your non-verbals should give him the message. Concentrate on other aspects of any social events you attend together: talk to other people, take a friend so you can talk to them, concentrate on the food, anything. Just disassociate yourself!

Mondrian Thu 08-Dec-16 08:31:32

In all fairness you did say "I'll try" and did manage to squeeze in all the facts rather than drip feed.

It would be very convenient if a "single" suitor appeared on the scene!

RUM2 Thu 08-Dec-16 08:37:40

I think you are overthinking it. He may fancy you and he may be a flirt but so far he hasn't made a move and until he does I don't really think you need to stop doing anything.

As for you wouldn't like it if he was your husband doing that....this happens all the time in life. Everyone flirts given the chance. Some are better at it than others though!

bluebell34567 Thu 08-Dec-16 08:43:18

I think he is building the background and now he is waiting for you to do the first move, then he wont be the guilty one.

SheldonsSpot Thu 08-Dec-16 09:10:55

I think you might be overthinking.

I find a simple "please stop touching me" with a smile, and then quickly moving the conversation on, works a treat with touchy-feely types.

SheldonsSpot Thu 08-Dec-16 09:12:37

Btw if you catch him looking at you all the time then you're looking at him all the time notice it in the first place. grin

AnyFucker Thu 08-Dec-16 09:15:17

You could easily shut this down. If you wanted to.

WritersBlockk Thu 08-Dec-16 09:21:27

I agree you're over thinking this. Nothing has happened. It's almost as though you want there to be a bit of drama about this. Yes he may fancy you and be flirty with you but as long as you don't reciprocate people won't gossip to damage your reputation. It's very difficult to control what everyone else thinks and says, you can only control your own behaviour and go from there.

MotherTeresasCat Thu 08-Dec-16 09:23:19

Thanks for commenting everyone.

Bluebell that is never going to happen. And not because I'm a selfless saint either (I'm not). I wouldn't have an affair primarily because of the damage to myself that it would cause. Pain, embarrassment, loss of respect from community, possible loss of friends... it's not even nearly worth it.

Anyfucker what would you do in my situation? I would like to shut it down. Would you stop socialising in his sphere or just completely blank him?

MotherTeresasCat Thu 08-Dec-16 09:26:19

Just to add, he also likes literally everything I post on social media. He has liked stuff at gone midnight that I had posted days ago, which has a strong whiff to me of someone staying up late and looking specifically at my page.

This is not reciprocated by me.

SheldonsSpot Thu 08-Dec-16 09:29:20

Ok well for a start, why have you added him on social media when you don't call him a friend but say he's "a bloke on the periphery of my social circle"?

I have to agree with a PP, it's starting to sound like you want there to be some drama around this.

MotherTeresasCat Thu 08-Dec-16 09:31:28

He added me, I accepted. This was over a year ago before all this began.

I can accept I may be overthinking and being over dramatic.

sortthetacheoutbernard Thu 08-Dec-16 09:34:04

Yes anyfucker how can she shut this down?
Something similar happening to me and I'd like to learn how to do this without drama. Or ruining my social life too.

Lovelyskin Thu 08-Dec-16 09:34:51

I think you are completely over-reacting. He hasn't done anything except fancy you from afar and like a few posts of yours. If you are a reasonably attractive woman out in the big wide world, the odd man will get a crush on you or even have a laugh and a joke, there's nothing abnormal about this. Blanking him or 'dealing with it' is making it into a big deal.

If I get someone having a crush/looking interested in me (which still happens even though I'm older and not quite what I was) then I just take it as the compliment it is, even have a joke and fun if out in company with others, but what I don't do is then get into situations in which I am then misunderstood, so I wouldn't then go for a one on one coffee/lunch with a man who clearly fancied me, or seek out situations to have little intimate chats or whatever.

This is really a normal situation and you are making into a big deal by reacting when your friends said he liked you (just smile and say, maybe he does) and reacting to what are really nothing in the scheme of things. If you tell him to 'stop it' then you are going to make a fool of yourself as he hasn't done anything except fancy you and look a bit flustered. If you don't want him on FB, then block him. I think the over-reaction is coming from you liking him a lot and not necessarily the other way around.

SheldonsSpot Thu 08-Dec-16 09:37:18

Delete him off social media, or customise your social media so it appears to him that you're still friends but he can't actually see any of your posts.

When you see him, be polite, friendly, but block any physical contact by telling him to stop touching you, or removing his hand, or stepping back. It will soon become clear to him that physical attention is unwelcome.

Don't be alone with him or engage in any conversation beyond the superficial.

Stop checking him out to see if he's checking you out.

gamerchick Thu 08-Dec-16 09:37:45

Why have you added him to social media? confused delete him and it'll send him a clear message.

Unless of course you do like it a tad and nobody would blame you, it's nice to get some attention and it's fine to be attracted to people, it happens. But you must have solid boundaries and it seems yours are a bit blurry going just on what you've said.

MotherTeresasCat Thu 08-Dec-16 09:42:12

That could be true too, Lovelyskin although I don't like the disloyal (to my mind) way he's acting.

Just trying to do my best and act like a decent human being...

But I like the fact that you get challenged on Mumsnet when you ask for advice. It's different from speaking with friends who often want to sugar coat things. Honest opinions are valuable.

MotherTeresasCat Thu 08-Dec-16 09:46:54

Yes gamerchick having better boundaries is something I'm working on in general. I'm definitely far better than I used to be (can now stand my ground with difficult ex-partner when before I used to crumble a bit for example) but there's always room for improvement.

Lovelyskin Thu 08-Dec-16 09:47:09

I just re-read your OP and see he touches and hugs you, do you mean when meeting up and you are all hugging each other or is he singling you out when others aren't around and then hugging you when inappropriate? If it is the second, that's not good.

I'd just stay part of the big group and keep it light and cheery, I wouldn't ruin my social life for him.

Mogtheanxiouscat Thu 08-Dec-16 09:51:38

Where is his wife at these social occasions? Does he behave differently when she is there?

MotherTeresasCat Thu 08-Dec-16 10:02:17

Lovelyskin no, it's more like he'll kind of squeeze my shoulders perhaps as he's squeezing past in a crowd and I'm talking to someone else with my back to him. Or I have a coat that's made out of quite tactile material so he'll compliment me on it and then stroke my arm ostensibly to feel the material? Or he'll approach me and we'll have a short conversation and then he'll hold his arms out inviting a hug. I'm not initiating any of this physical contact - to be honest I find it a touch invasive of my personal space. If it was someone I didn't like, I'd hate it. As it is I find it mildly uncomfortable.

Mog I can only assume that she is at home caring for their children. Although she also plays in a band so I think they just do their gigs separately? I haven't ever seen them together.

Lovelyskin Thu 08-Dec-16 10:08:37

The thing is, he's a singer in a popular local band and probably thinks everyone loves him. It sounds like he's an outgoing tactile person, and if you want to avoid this, given that it's all public and probably quite harmless flirting, I think it will be a bit difficult. Block on FB and if he comes over to you and you are on your own, say 'I just need the loo/drink' and look unenthusiastic. My guess is he know you fancy him and is flirting a little, but out in public as part of his outgoing persona and you just need to give him a really clear signal that it's not welcome. Or enjoy it for what it is (some people may like that level of flirting). It doesn't sound like he's done anything massively inappropriate, but just kerb it where you can and don't stare at him/look out for him/gaze into his eyes etc.

BlueFolly Thu 08-Dec-16 10:11:48

I would just take this as a compliment and enjoy the attention. However I am pretty confident in my boundaries.

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