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Re: Do you say, "she behaves inappropriately towards my husband?" UPDATE pg6

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EPIC BG:  A few years ago, I met an older woman we'll call Bessie through a community service project. It involved us spending a total of two hours together one afternoon.  She was perfectly pleasant, but I didn't walk away thinking, "That is a person I would like to become my new BFF." She friended me on Facebook later. I accepted.  She seemed to respond to a lot of my posts.  Something about her persistence made me feel guarded so I didn't respond to her very often. 

Later, DH joined a local gym with a specific set of workout equipment he needs.  Because of our work schedules, he can only go to use this equipment at certain days at certain times.  After his first few visits, another gym member he didn't know approached him and started asking about "Weeblewobble" and mentioned a few things that had been going on in our lives lately that I'd posted on facebook. He asked who she was and she said, "Oh, I'm Bessie, I'm a close friend of Weeblewobble's!  I recognize you from your pictures."  DH remembered the conversation in which I described Bessie as a casual acquaintance. He said hi and moved on with his workout.

DH started seeing Bessie every time he went to the gym. She says hi every time she sees him.  He is civil, but doesn't say anything beyond hi back.

A few months later, DH and I joined a large  organization that meets monthly.  Wouldn't you know our luck, Bessie has been a member of that organization for years.  (Small town) She comes rushing across the meeting room to greet us and is sure to introduce us to other members as her "close friends."  And then she tells me that she and the other ladies at the gym just LOOOOOVE seeing DH there, that it's a big treat for them, and thanks me for "sharing" with them.  I didn't respond to this, other than to say he enjoys the gym facilities, then found a reason to be elsewhere.

I went on Facebook, defriended her and changed our privacy settings so she can't see my profile or DH's (at his request).

Now, every month, when we go to the meetings, Bessie is sure to tell me how much she LOOOOOOOVES seeing DH work out at the gym. I am not amused by this. I usually respond with, "Yes, so you have said, several times."

I asked DH how he feels about it and he says it makes him uncomfortable to be spoken to that way, especially when Bessie is his Mom's age.  But he doesn't want the monthly meetings to be uncomfortable.  Plus, as I mentioned before, he can't change his gym schedule, and he doesn't want to make his gym time any more awkward. I pointed out that if a guy my dad's age approached DH every month to tell him how much he enjoyed seeing me bend and flex at the gym, that DH would be steaming mad.  DH conceded, but doesn't think it's a big enough deal to make a scene over it.

So for the time being, we've limited any social media access Bessie has to us and we're coolly polite whenever she approaches in person.  She has never mentioned being defriended. This approach works for us.  Bessie isn't escalating, though she hasn't dialed back, exactly. We're more comfortable with the situation and we don't feel quite as "invaded" as we did before.

END OF EPIC BACKGROUND.  (If you finished this, I will give you a cookie)

So at the last meeting, we were talking with a new member - Erin- when Bessie approached.  We went from being warm and friendly to Erin, to being very cool towards Bessie.  Erin noticed the change in demeanor, and the fact that we returned our "normal" mode of friendliness when Bessie departed, after telling Erin what close friends we were and how she has a big crush on DH.  Erin asked, "What was that all about?"  I played it off and said that we weren't that close to Bessie. Erin didn't mention it again.

But at this month's meeting, it happened again. Another member, Penny, Erin, DH and I were talking when Bessie approached and did her routine. We were civil.  Bessie left.  Penny and Erin both asked, "What the heck is going on with you and Bessie?"  I bean-dipped and said we'd discuss it another time.

Now, my question, when people ask why we're not friendly towards Bessie, should we explain why? I don't want to be a gossip, but I also don't want people to think we're being needlessly rude to her.  Also, part of me wants to warn other members, "Hide your husbands!! They could be the next to be ogled!!"  (But that would be wrong, right?)

Or should I just continue to bean-dip?

If it were me, I would not be cool toward Bessie but rather laugh it off.  That solves everything I think. 

Bessie: "I love to see DH work out at the gym!"
OP: "Hah! I bet you do! Beandip?"

From what you posted, Bessie isn't groping your husband or really saying anything inappropriate (unless you left this out).  She is an older woman who is not a threat to you.  Unless I missed it, neither you nor your DH have expressed that you don't appreciate her comments to her.  She probably thinks she is being flattering and funny.  Either agree that she means well, or tell her to please stop, but don't just be cool to her and expect her to read your mind.

You make a good point.  She's never touched DH, particularly after the first meeting in which she went for a hug and he deflected it into a handshake. She seems to understand the physical boundaries we've established.  And I guess I'm seeing this from my POV, which would be, "Hey, I've made the same joke every time I see them and they've NEVER laughed.  Maybe I should stop making that joke." 

I don't think I want to laugh about it, though, because I'm afraid it would just encourage her.

Well, she isn't getting it with the cool treatment, and it seems to be making waves and problems for you - not her behavior, but yours.  I would be direct with her and politely ask her to stop rather than expecting her to figure it out on her own.  She obviously isn't.

To be clear, I am not saying you should have to put up with this - I totally get that it's irritating.  I am just saying that if you want it to change, you will have to change your behavior before expecting her to change hers.

It sounds to me like Bessie is just over friendly.  I don't blame you or your DH for feeling uncomfortable, and you would know better than I, but it just doesn't seem like she has the intention of being anything other than friendly....and her methods are awkward and innapropriate.

While you have a right to defriend her from FB (and I think that was a good move), I'm not sure that her behavior warrants the "cool" behavior that others are noticing.  Obviously, this method doesn't deter Bessie's behavior, but it is something that makes others take notice enough to ask you what's going.  So, it's really only creating a weird dynamic between you and other members of this group, vs. what you want, which is for Bessie to back off.

I say that you don't change your demeanor so much when she approaches you and shrug off her behavior (since it's not escalating).  It doesn't solve your Bessie problem, but it does solve the problem of others wondering why you're so unfriendly to her.


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