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Unless you’re a born-again Mother Theresa, you’ll probably recognise the less-than-spiritual emotions that surge through your body when you witness another woman licking her lips in the direction of your boyfriend or partner – regardless of whether you’ve been with your fella for 10 days or 10 years.
Nine women out of 10 are decent enough to back off once they know a man is taken, but there’s always that one woman truly lacking in respect.
Some don’t even fancy the man they’re flirting with – they’re just doing it out of insecurity, or to prove they could have him if they wanted.
Rest assured – you are not in the wrong for experiencing shock and anger when the unthinkable happens. No matter how much your trust your partner, or how secure a person you are, it still rankles that another woman would treat you like that.
What happened to the sisterhood eh?
But how do you deal with a woman like this in a way that stops them in their tracks, without you losing your cool?
If you’re bothered enough by her to want to read this article, but not bothered enough to have done anything about it yet, you’re in a strong position.
Fight the urge to pull her by the hair into the street and deal with the matter Game Of Thrones style because there are more graceful solutions.
Here are the rules:
1. Give her the benefit of the doubt
The first, second and even third time it happens, shake it off.
But if a pattern of behaviour emerges, then you’re going to have to deal with this person or it will start eating away at you – and you do not want to waste emotional energy on her.
2. Never retaliate in kind
As Michelle Obama memorably said, when they go low, you go high.
If she pursues your boyfriend, do not hit on her man (or another man). This is just stooping to her level and not showing your partner any respect. The situation isn’t his fault, so don’t punish him for it.
It also makes you look insecure – you really need to show this woman that you trust your boyfriend and that her kind of behaviour isn’t normal or acceptable.
Women like this love to stir up drama and feel like they’re capable of shaking another person’s loving relationship. Don’t give her that power, you will not be her victim.
3. Put yourself in her shoes (try really hard)
Why is she behaving as she is? Is she in an unhappy relationship? Has she recently gone through a break up? Did she have a difficult childhood? Is she lonely? Does she feel threatened by other women?
When you feel sorry for somebody, it’s much harder to feel angry at them.
And you never know – if you can put aside your current feelings about her and reach out to her to discuss her problems, she might appreciate your kindness enough to back off.
If not, no worries – your mature and compassionate understanding of her actions will never-the-less have the opposite effect to that which she intended (most people loathe being pitied) and make her feel pretty small and silly.
The only thing more uncomfortable than being pitied is being laughed at.
Her behaviour is laughable, so treat it as such.
When she starts acting up, roll your eyes at your boyfriend and smile as if to say ‘here we go again’.
5. Out her
She’s relying on you not saying or doing anything, so don’t stay quiet.
Let your boyfriend know how you feel. Confide in your friends about what’s going on. And most importantly, let her know that you’re not going to stand by and let it continue.
You’re no pushover – stand up for yourself and your relationship.
6. Speak up – calmly
Rationally point out how strange her behaviour is.
Keeping the emotion out of it is crucial – if she thinks you’re seriously threatened by her pathetic antics then she’s basically achieved her aim.
This woman is desperate to feel validated, so don’t give her the impression that you’re scared she might get it from your boyfriend.
Look puzzled and say, ‘Hitting on someone’s boyfriend right in front of them is weird. Did you mean to come across like that?’
Even a joke can do the trick, such as: ‘I know, he’s hot isn’t he?’
Channel your inner Lucy Watson – keep it cool and devastatingly withering. And always smile, to show her that while her behaviour is mystifying it is certainly not upsetting you.
7. If all else fails, tactfully drop her
If she’s in an overlapping friendship group, this will be tricky; but if you can manage it then it will be worth it for your peace of mind.
You have your friends, you don’t need people like her in your life who are going to treat you with disrespect. This woman is not a friend and you don’t owe her anything.
You don’t need to make a dramatic exit from her life (which she would also love), and you can still be polite when you do see her. Just coolly drop her from your social activities and your thoughts. Good riddance.