Image via iStock.
I became friends with Rosie at high school. We’d both been bridesmaids for one another. She’s been by my side during times of anxiety or grief, and she’s the first to cheer me on when I’ve got great news. Basically, I know her inside out.
While I love her like a sister, there’s one thing about Rosie I don’t like. In fact, I hate it. It makes my blood boil.
It’s the way she acts around my husband, Mick. At first I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now I feel it’s inexcusable.
It all started when we were celebrating a good friend’s birthday, her husband couldn’t make it, he was away on business, as he always is, so she tagged along with Mick and I. (Post continues after gallery.)
The party was fun, everyone was drinking and Rosie was getting drunk. Noticeably drunk. I returned from the bathroom and came across her cuddled up closely to Mick. Her arm around his waist.
She’d just changed her brown hair to blonde and was asking his opinion of it.
Of course, Mick was being polite, he didn’t try to distance himself (even though I so wanted him to) and he, of course, told her what she wanted to hear (and the truth) – that she looked great.
While it wasn’t as though I’d walked in on anything I shouldn’t have, I couldn’t get the thought of my best friend all over my partner out of my head, as we changed the conversation and I noticed her slowly let go of Mick's waist.
‘Why doesn’t she fawn all over our other friends’ partners?’ I thought as my mind spun trying to think back to other occasions of flirting I might have missed.
'Why is Mick going along with this?'
Although I desperately wanted to ask Mick whether he thought she was flirting with him and what he thought about it, I held off in the car on the way home.
‘Rosie’s your best friend,’ I thought. ‘She was just being friendly. They were both just being friendly.’
I pushed the thought out of my mind and life returned to normal.
Until the next gathering popped up.
We were celebrating a friend's child’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, a bit of a barbeque for the adults, really. Mick knows my friends well, so I don’t feel the need to stay by his side at these sort of events.
I’d been chatting to some other mates for a while before getting up to grab another drink. Rosie and Mick were standing in a bigger group, but talking intently with each other only. (Post continues after gallery.)
Again, the same unsettled feeling crept up on me.
I couldn’t help but hold my gaze on the way she was looking at him, staring deeply into his eyes, coquettish looks down and then up with big eyes boring into him, standing just that little bit too close. He looked a bit awkward, like he didn't know quite how to take it.
On the way home in the car, I couldn’t hold in my anger - even though I still wasn’t sure if I was overreacting or not.
“Rosie was flirting with you. I’ve seen her do it a few times now. It’s embarrassing me and I feel like you're flirting too, you just stand there!”
“Lou, are you kidding me? You know I wouldn't have a bar of it if she was,” He replied.
It was like someone had turned up the air-con up by 10 degrees Celsius. I could feel a tide of heat creep up my cheeks.
“She was all over you, Mick. Anyone could’ve seen it,” I said. Clipped.
“Look, she asked me not to tell you, but she’s having problems with Brian,” Mick sighed.
“He’s been away a lot, hasn’t really been showing that much interest. They’re fighting. You know, it’s not good. I had to tell you, though.”
This is where I really started to feel really sick in the stomach.
It’s not that Rosie had discussed a topic of this nature with my partner, it’s not even that it’s a supremely personal thing to tell someone you don’t know intimately.
It’s that she chose to confide that information to him. To Mick. Not her best friend of over a decade - me. (Post continues after video.)
I felt betrayed. I felt awkward about it. I felt bad for her, yet angry that I wasn't privy to the information.
But mostly, I felt so injured that she’d asked my partner, who she knows I tell everything, to keep something a secret from me.
This was the sign for me, that Rosie was flirting with Mick. That something was going on, whether he was complicit or not.
She was trying to create their own shared agenda, something she could talk only to him about. Something that he would have to keep from me.
Of course, I want Rosie to be able to express her feelings about her marriage, and for her to feel she can talk to someone about her problems. But to ask my partner to basically lie to me?
I was shocked. Disappointed. And sad. So sad.
Do I confront Rosie? Do I call her out on her flirting? Do I tell her I know about her problems? Am I overreacting? Should I be more angry at Mick?
They’re the five questions that are stuck on rotation in my mind.
What would you do?