DEAR AMY My husband and I own a lake cottage. I keep in touch with our neighbor over the winter, and our friendship, to this point, has been just between us two women. Last summer my friend's husband built a dock for us at the cottage. It was a business transaction. Somehow, my friend got it in her head that my husband is now her friend, and whenever she comes over, she gives him a hug and a kiss. The first time she did it, he was sleeping in the hammock, and she planted one on him, jarring him out of his sleep. Now, when my husband sees her coming, he moves out of her way or ignores her, but she still pursues him until he surrenders. I know he is very uncomfortable when she comes around. I am confused about her actions, too, as this isn't something I would ever do to a casual acquaintance, let alone my friend's husband. How can I tell her to stop doing this without making an enemy of her? My first husband was a philanderer, and my current husband sometimes suffers because of my insecurities. But in this situation, he is just an innocent victim of her unwanted attentions. What should I do?
-- Unhug my Hubby
DEAR UNHUG Unless your husband is somehow impaired, there is no need for you to protect him from these embraces. If he doesn't like it, he should say something and speak for himself.
On the other hand, you should never make your husband "suffer" because of insecurities about your ex. This is your opportunity to work harder on that.
You also can speak for yourself. When someone does something you don't like, you get to say so.
When speaking for yourself, you need to use "I" statements. Keep it simple and clear. Do not jump in to fill any awkward voids, and finish your thought with a question.
Here's an example: "You know, Hilary, it really bothers me when you hug and kiss my husband. Can you stop doing that?"