• Resolving Problems

How Do I Respond To A Friend Who Always Compliments My Husband?

Published: June 13, 2016 | Last Updated: February 12, 2022 By | 9 Replies Continue Reading
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A woman is uncomfortable that her friend is heaping too many compliments on her husband.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

A volunteer job recently exposed my husband to a number of single women seeking the friendship of a man, including one woman whom I’ve know for several years who constantly compliments him.

I was foolishly envious of their time with him because It felt like a threat to the sanctity of our relationship. On the positive side, it was a new revelation of his appeal, his charm and intelligence as others experienced it.

Two of the women were engaged in personal conversations. The friend repeatedly told me about what she was learning about my husband’s interests. Never did I doubt my husband’s fidelity, but I was concerned about the free time he had to chat with these women during his volunteer shift.

So it seems that romance in middle and old age has the same intrigue and rivalries—not much different from the vagaries of adolescence. Women in their need for companionship aggressively seek it, and may look for the company of married men. Even friends, single now as widows and divorcees, crave a man’s attention, sometimes having no compunction about coming on to a friend’s spouse.

My question is how do I respond to the friend who always compliments my husband when she sees me?

Signed, Mindy

ANSWER

Hi Mindy,

It sounds like you don’t trust one or more of these “friends” or else you would feel flattered when they compliment your husband.

If that’s the case, next time this happens, you might say something like:

“I know. I’m so blessed to have met him and to have such a strong marriage.”

Repeating this same mantra may make your friend more likely to curtail her effusive comments and compliments.

But I’m concerned about why you would feel threatened by these women. It sounds like the volunteer job may have been given your husband a real ego boast and opportunity to shine with his co-workers. Volunteer positions are generally more relaxed—with far less pressure and demands than paid employment—so it’s not surprising that there would be more time for co-workers to form social bonds and have personal conversations.

If you have specific concerns about your husband’s fidelity (which you say you don’t) or your “friend’s” motives, you may want to discuss them with your husband and see what he says. Hopefully, that will reassure you.

You haven’t spoken about your own interests (e.g., are you working or do you have hobbies?) and ways in which you can rekindle your own sense of self-confidence that can often slip with age.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene


Also on The Friendship Blog:

Worried About My Husband’s Friendship With A Coworker

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Category: RESOLVING PROBLEMS

Comments (9)

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  1. Christie says:

    I say trust your gut. ALWAYS trust your gut.

    I have friends and acquaintances who have complimented and outright gushed over my husband, and although after a while it gets irritating to be told how perfect your husband is, I didn’t worry about anything more than friendly banter between my husband and these women.

    But there was one woman, a good friend, who did this and I felt very uncomfortable. The more she did it, the more uncomfortable I got until I reached a point where I told her she needs to keep her distance. She laughed at me. Sure enough, she wormed her way in and when my husband said something negative about me in the course of a conversation, she pounced on it and she began to tell him what a bad person I was. Yeah, they eventually had an affair. My husband and I are now picking up the pieces from that; the woman has been totally banished from our circle of friends, many of whom told me similar stories of this woman — how she couldn’t compliment a husband enough both to the wife and to the husband and took advantage to be negative about the wife when it fell to her advantage. Apparently, she had a hand in destroying at least three marriages and last I heard was actively involved with two other married men.

    When I first had this reaction about this woman, people told me I was nuts because the things she said were no different from any other person saying it. But there was. My gut kept telling me not to trust her. Your gut is never wrong.

  2. Lily says:

    From my experience, women who praises other women’s husband is not likely to snatch him.. If she truly likes him, she will be more quiet about it and will try to hide it from the wife , not the other way round.. But of course I might be wrong.. But anyhow, what Irene has suggested is great.. Next time she praises him again in front of you..try to subtly tell her how happy you guys together..

  3. Latasha says:

    Do a little sleuthing on your own. Ask you husband casually how its going with his volunteer work. After a few back & forth dialogues tell him the comments of the women regarding him. That way he is in the know and when they gush he can round file it appropriately. You and your husband are a Team.

  4. Mary says:

    I’m not sure why people seem to be approaching this from the angle of ‘you jealous wife, you need to get over yourself.’ I don’t see anything wrong with the letter writer’s question. She simply requested a good response when a single female gushes over her husband. Irene provided a fine response. I’m not sure why she’s being called jealous and treated rather coldly. It seems like a fair and legit question from a sincere heart. She’s not questioning her husband’s fidelity. She didn’t ask to have her feelings validated or invalidated.

  5. lottie says:

    How lovely I would be pleased if someone complimented my husband. Young or old they all still like to think they are peacocks and liked to be stroked.It saves me having to do it ha ha.

    One bonus is it helps to loosen their wallets along with other luxuries. My husbands shoulders seem to lift if he thinks he still ok.

    Think how you feel if you were complimented,I certainly get a glow. Enjoy it whilst you can.

    My old father even in his 90s still thinks he is a bit of ok. Lottie

  6. Old and In the Way says:

    Oh boy…this is a tough one. That you know this woman makes it different from what my situation was, but believe me — unless you have even lower self-esteem than I did, you know the difference between “opposite-sex friend” and “predator.” Your gut will tell you.

    My husband always seemed to have boundary problems with women. He also had low self-esteem, despite being very good-looking, and he was never able to tell when women were pursuing him. He had two women friends at work. One of them would always acknowledge me when she would call, and when he had to meet her for something about work, he would always invite me along. The other one would just call and ask for him, not acknowledging him at all. She would leave voice mail “I really need to see you.” He would go to see her without telling me. The first one was a friendship, and I felt comfortable enough BECAUSE HE WAS INCLUDING ME that he could go meet her and I felt no threat. The second one was CLEARLY after him, and given that I was at the time finishing grad school and had little time for him, it became an emotional affair.

    These emotional affairs are tough nuts to crack once they happen. Men think that as long as they are not having sex, it’s not an affair and they never, ever, ever see anything wrong with it. I ended up writing a 3-page letter to him about why this was inappropriate and then left the house so he could read it without me there. It made him angry, but he stopped this “friendship.”

    Try to sort out your feelings. Are there issues in your marriage that might make him susceptible? Does he have good boundaries? Does he talk to you about this volunteer work, thereby “including you”? If you know you are not trying to lock him into a gilded cage, trust your gut.

    You cannot wall him off from contact with other women. What you can do is to make sure your marriage is solid and he is getting his needs met at home, whether that be sex, companionship, or whatever. In my case, I was preoccupied with school and my husband was a needy guy. That made him susceptible.

  7. Amy F says:

    You sound emotionally jealous, even though you intellectually no you have no reason to be. I know you already know this. There’s nothing wrong with a married man having a platonic relationship with an unmarried woman, if he’s the kind of guy who would never cheat. Your husband can control himself and set boundaries, unless he’s not the guy you think he is. I’ve never had an issue being friends with a married guy, because if anything sexual would arise, we wouldn’t be friends because that’s not the friendship deal. Even if I were the type of person to throw myself at a married friend, I’ve never closed a friend who would cross those boundaries. You’ve got this, since you seem to already understand everything I’ve said in your letter.

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