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Stand by your man but then say nothing
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dear Carolyn • So, I know what NOT to do when another woman openly hits on my husband: call her names, start a public fight, generally look like a jealous fool. But ... what exactly is the appropriate response when this happens? A woman in my social circle has major boundary issues and is very flirty and physical. Recently she has targeted my husband and done one or two really unbelievable things that other people noticed and pointed out to me. My husband does his part — he is good at pulling himself out of awkward situations — and I trust him, so I don't feel a real need to confront this woman, but I wonder whether I should, on principle.

San Francisco

Dear San Francisco • Way-out-there flirting with people who have already been spoken for is sad, attention-seeking behavior; when it works, it brings positive attention from the target and negative attention from the target's partner. Score. So on principle, you do nothing. Your husband's role is to have no interest in her as a guilty pleasure. Yours is to have no interest in her as a threat. Voila, a beast left unfed.

Dear Carolyn • Close guy friend was just dumped, five months before the wedding. She says it was because she wanted to travel and work, while he wants to settle down and have kids. All of us friends are calling it a line of crapola. What should my husband and I say or do? My heart hurts for him. I don't think I'm the only one who knew they weren't a good match, although I'd NEVER say that (well, not anytime soon, anyway).

Dumped

Dear Dumped • For starters, you can stop referring to a legitimate, breakup-worthy difference as "crapola." Even if it is, and she really just fell out of love or found someone else, saying it's about kids allows your friend both to save face and repel the pitying hordes. Her explanation also neatly avoids vilifying anyone. Why mess with that? Getting dumped is awful, yes, but he isn't helpless and she isn't evil, right? They just didn't work, for reasons only they truly know, and are better for calling off now what lawyers would eventually put asunder.

Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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