My boyfriend's best friend has been dating the same woman for over 10 years. She claims she's "best friends" with my boyfriend, but every time she's around him she inappropriately flirts with him. It has gotten to a point where other people have noticed and addressed it to me unprompted.
I've expressed to my boyfriend that her behavior is really hurtful and that it's driving a wedge between our relationship. But my boyfriend is a people pleaser who hates confrontation, so he tends to just ignore conflict and hope it goes away. Sadly it has been quite the opposite; she has gotten worse. I feel as though if I say something to her, it will worsen the situation, and that in order to get her to stop, it has to come from my boyfriend. But he’s afraid to stir up drama.
How can he/we address this issue and her behavior without making a scene out of it?
– The Wedge
I understand why you want your boyfriend to set the boundaries here. I also understand why he doesn't want to start a conflict with his best friend's significant other. This could get so messy.
You didn't say how long you've been with your boyfriend. This woman might change her behavior the longer you stay in his life. Maybe she has problems accepting newcomers and this is her way of dealing (it's a bad way, for sure). Group dynamics change over time. It's possible they'll evolve on their own.
In the meantime, my advice is to keep yourself surrounded by people you like and trust whenever you have to see her. These other friends who notice her behavior? I imagine their presence could make these social situations a bit easier. It might feel like you have a team.
Also, talk to your boyfriend about what he is willing to do. If it means moving to a different chair when she gets close (this should be easy; it’s a pandemic!), that's something. Subtlety can work. Sometimes it's as easy as walking away.
Readers? Is it worth confrontation? How can the LW pay less attention to this woman?