Ask Kari: What should I do when my married colleague flirts with other women?

Dear Kari,

My colleague at work is also a family friend of my wife and I. He flirts with wait staff when we go out to eat at lunchtime or to business dinners. I like both him and his wife, but it is becoming increasing uncomfortable when he tries to pick up women to date on the side.  I have tried to not show interest in this activity, hoping he will stop doing it, but he hasn’t.  What do you recommend I do in this situation?

Not A Wing Man

Dear Not A Wing Man,

Knowing that you have already been giving your friend subtle clues, it is time to be more straightforward with your feelings. Ask to speak with your colleague/friend prior to going out to eat and very clearly state your feelings about your discomfort with his flirting. Tell him that it makes you feel like you are part of the cheating process along with him and that the situation is not okay with you. Doing so puts the responsibility for change with him vs. you. If he continues the behavior, I would limit your interaction with him as much as possible and walk away from him if he continues to flirt, as this will send a clear signal that you disapprove of his behavior.


As published in the December 2014 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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