Q. My husband has a habit of inviting his male friends and office colleagues home often. While I enjoy the company over the weekends, I can’t get over the constant flirting and innuendos. I have spoken about this to my husband but he just brushes it away. How do I make him understand that this makes me feel uncomfortable in my own house.
Ans: Your husband doesn’t take you seriously and that’s probably why his friends also don’t. Do you take yourself seriously? What do you expect your husband to do? Protect you from the flirts or not invite his friends anymore? Why do you need your partner to protect you? You rightly point out that this is your house. This is also your feelings and your self-respect. It is your responsibility to protect them.
You have allowed the flirts until now but please understand it is your right and duty to stop them, no matter who is involved. Setting boundaries with your husband’s friends is necessary to develop and maintain better relationships with them and your husband.
Asserting your value with them is the kindest thing you can do to yourself and them. You can set your boundaries by telling your husband’s friends: why you want to set boundaries (I want to communicate this to you because I enjoy it when you visit us on weekends); its importance for you (I hope you can understand this is something important to me); what you think they are doing (I imagine that when you are flirting with me you are just kidding); how you feel (when you do it I feel hurt, objectified and disrespected); without blaming (I also understand that this might be something you are not aware of); what you want from them (I would like you to stop the flirting); the consequences of repeated behaviour (If it happens again I will not make myself available at home during your visits); what your needs are (because I don’t want to feel disrespected by you).
You might want to have the same discussion with your husband, considering that he is also crossing your boundaries.
(The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach and an Independent People and Culture Specialist focusing on relationships, sexuality, youth and social media in South Asia. Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)Candid Corner: Torn between two women