In the Middle

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m trying to figure out how to deal with the very flirtatious husband of
a casual friend. When we first met I liked both of them. Over time I got to
know her as an occasional happy hour buddy and once helped her with
a resume rewrite and job search. I think their marriage is tumultuous
but they both seem to enjoy the drama and big mood swings. (Ugh
not me.) I see him because we exercise at the same spin class. He’s
always been flirtatious in a very funny verbal way. Complimenting me
and making sexy jokes but totally hands off. I have never felt there is
more in it than the kind of playful teasing the way it would be as if we
used to date and broke up amicably. She’s never seemed to mind, and
he has acted no differently in her company than when I see him in
class. Now I’m worried, because there are serious pressures and
issues in their lives and their relationship. He’s trying to look towards
me as an alternative source of comfort. I suspect he only wants to
talk, but there is a different feeling about it. I’ve been pretty clear it
won’t be sexual and also that I don’t want to have to choose between
them as friends. What should I do?

In the Middle

Dear Middle:

You need to be very clear with him. Clear. Clear. Clear. As in: I’ve
been fine with your playful banter, but it feels like you need someone
to talk to in a serious way. That’s not me. I like both you and your wife
as friends, but I am utterly unequipped to be a marriage counselor for
either you or the two of you. Do yourself and your relationship a favor
and find a professional in this time of need. If you don’t your life could
spiral down in a bad way. Then shut up.

With any luck he’ll understand what you are saying. If not, then
change your schedule and minimize your contact. Get the happy hour
girls together after telling the others what you have done. Then talk
about your great new exercise class and hope his wife talks about their
great new marriage counselor.