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Smiling at a Married Woman: Flirting or Friendly
by Matt Moody Ph.D.

Dear Dr Matt:
I live in a very small town and am married for several years. I am wondering if a single man smiling at a married woman is considered a pass? He is so bold to do it in right in front of me anytime he runs into my wife at the store or anywhere. He does this with other married women also. She stands and talks to him and he laughs hysterically over nothing, and by the way he is much younger than she is. My wife says if he or anyone else ever made a PASS at her she would put them in their place cause she loves me and will until she dies. Even though she asures me that nothing is going on, I am falling apart trying to handle the situation. I'm at my witts end. I have many sleepless nights because of it. When I try to talk to the wife about it, she gets mad and says I don't TRUST her. While I am at my job I am constantly thinking about what MIGHT BE happening. I am so upset by the behavor of this younger single man. This nags at me almost consistantly unless she is with me. I feel like decking him. I would appreciate any help you could give. Wayne from Wyoming

Hello Wayne:

Maybe the reason why he is so bold to do "this" in front of you is because . . . he's just "being friendly." If HE and your WIFE were doing inappropriate things . . . they would BOTH be hiding it. The fact that he's NOT hiding it most likely points to his "friendly" intentions. LET ME REPEAT: If this young single man and your wife were doing something they felt was wrong they would NOT be doing it right in front of you.

You are ASSUMING that this young man has certain MOTIVES as he smiles and talks with your wife. Your wife has already told you that there is nothing going on. But you don't TRUST your wife's word.

The famous holy man of the Oglala Souix, Black Elk said this: "It is in the darkness of our eyes that men get lost." It is YOU who is bringing mistrust and suspicion to this situation. It is you who is interpreting his "friendliness" as "flirting"—an inappropriate "pass." So, here's the ironic twist: The fundamental problem is . . . YOU!

If the only time you feel safe and secure is when your wife is in your physical presence, that's not expressing much trust in this woman you love, and who professes to love you.

In fact, as you fuss and fret over this situation, you are really saying: I DON'T TRUST MY WIFE. Remember, she's NOT HIDING her interactions with this young man—because there is nothing innappropriate to HIDE.

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES! If your wife wanted to cheat on you, she would already be doing it . . . and you wouldn't even know it, because she'd be doing it behind your back . . . and NOT in front of your face.

The fact that this issue is mostly and mainly about YOU is evident by what is coming out of YOU. Listen to your own words:

"This nags at me almost consistantly"
"I'm still at my witts end."
"I feel like decking him"
"I am so upset by the behavor of the other man"
"Have many sleepless nights because of it "

Wayne, it may be hard to swallow, but if you can swallow it . . . you will take the first step in becoming a better man! The truth is . . . you are "upset" not simply because of the "bold" behavior of this young man, BUT PRIMARILY because YOU are . . . "UpSet-Able."

You NEED to focus upon the behaviors coming out of you, because YOU can only change YOU. You cannot control the behavior of the friendly guy, nor can you control the behavior of your wife.

I encourage you to learn more about the "Division of Response-Ability." While the young man may be "bold" and "friendly" (and in the worst case scenario . . . "flirting") consider how YOU are responding to a guy who is most likely just being gregarious; this is what is coming out of you:

can't-sleep-at-night-able, and

When YOU are able to change YOU: This problem will disappear! And when you DO change, your wife will be that much MORE in love with the "new" unflap-able you!

The title of my book is "Changing Your Stripes." Do the math: this book is for you!

Free Email Advice from Dr Matt

Bad Body Odor and the Skunk can't Smell It!
by Matt Moody Ph.D.

Dear Dr. Matt: I have a very emotional co-worker with bad body odor and no one wants to tell her, not even the boss. Many have personally complained to me and I have no answer for them. One time I took it upon myself and bought her a little shower gel, lotion, body spray gift set. She smiled and said her daughter loves this type of stuff. Please, how can I address this? Thank you, Angela from Akron, Ohio.

Hello Angela: This situation confirms the following fact:

"You don't know who you are
until somebody tells you."

(Changing Your Stripes, page 91)

The highest expression of "love" is NOT a feeling, but an intentional decision: LOVE is to impact others to their long-term benefit. You will "love" your co-worker by telling her what she needs to know—for this feedback will benefit her future.

Hopefully, this stinky situation can be cleared up by encouraging better body hygiene— and possibly knowing how to launder clothing. Someone needs to "love" this woman enough, to help her learn . . . what she has not yet learned.

IF nobody has the courage (or the inspiration) to confront her directly, then send her an anonymous letter; or better yet, find out who her best friend is . . . and then send her best friend an anonymous letter, and ask her to share the message with your co-worker.

The anonymous letter will be effective and mostly painless! And sending it to her best friend . . . is best! "Follow up" and "support" will be needed to break old hygiene habits, and the best friend can directly lend support for making the change.

Since you gave her the "shower gel" gift (as a hint to better hygiene), you may think she will put 2 & 2 together and figure out that it was YOU who has instigated the anonymous letter. Whether she does or whether she doesn't FIGURE this out, you have to remember that "telling her what she needs to know" represents an act of "love." Thus, there is really nothing to hide or be embarrassed about . . . even if she does figure it out.

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