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Baggage Check: How to live with a flirt magnet

By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: Can you please tell women out there to stop flirting with my man? Thank you. Seriously. How am I supposed to respond when his co-workers, our neighbors and pretty much everyone under the sun acts like I am not there?

Angelina Jolie – glad to know you read the column!

My first question is: What’s his MO in these encounters? It’s hard to continue flirting if you get absolutely no response – although some women (and men) will still try. Still, my guess is he has more of a role than you want to see.

There’s a fine line between “Women are all acting completely inappropriate around my man” and “My man is bringing something inappropriate out in women.” And I’m guessing it’s less his biceps than a willingness to engage women in a certain way.

It’s also possible that you’re overreacting. Has jealousy or possessiveness been an issue in past relationships? Are you feeling particularly insecure about him in other ways? About yourself? Some soul-searching will help here. If you realize that he’s being disrespectful to you or egging them on, talking to him about it will be difficult but it’s your only hope of change.

Q: I’m pretty sure my sister-in-law took jewelry of mine when she and her husband stayed with us over the holidays. It wasn’t expensive, but it’s stuff I like to wear. I don’t have any other explanation for its disappearance – and she is someone you could imagine taking something she wanted. My husband wants me to drop it because we don’t see them much.

If she’s someone you could so easily imagine as a thief, chances are you’re facing a dishonesty double-whammy: If she did it, what are the odds of her owning up?

My gut sides with your husband, but with the caveat that you shouldn’t have to host them again if you’re not comfortable. If you feel like you must bring it up, and your husband agrees, frame it like you’re asking for her help: “Hey, I think I lost some jewelry at my office; do you happen to remember seeing such-and-such earrings over the holidays? I’m trying to figure out the last time I had them.” This gives her an opportunity to confess that she “accidentally” may have taken a pair. It also might let on that you suspect her, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Andrea Bonior is a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Friendship Fix.”
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