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What Do You Do When a Married Man Hits on You?

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr, studioD

Unwanted attention from a married man sometimes occurs, but that doesn’t mean you must grin and bear it. You are within your rights to ask him to stop hitting on you. If you aren’t sure if you’re doing something he interprets as asking for his attention, ask a coworker or your partner to observe your actions and let you know if you need to behave differently.

Assert and Distance Yourself

Assert yourself and tell the married man to back off, suggests business adviser Lily Garcia. Tell him you aren’t interested in his attentions and ask that he turn them elsewhere with comments such as, "No thanks, but I'm sure someone else might find your attentions welcome" or "You're not what I'm looking for, but someone else might appreciate your attention." If you work with him, shift your conversation to something work related and avoid spending time alone in his company. If your contact with him occurs at church, in your neighborhood or other social connection, surround yourself with friends and family to limit his access to you.

Talk About Your Significant Other

If you’re married, talk about your wonderful husband and display some affection toward your husband when the married man is around, suggest pastors Gary and Carrie Oliver. If you're single, build a fantasy relationship and lie to him, suggests Pretty Young Professional, a career resource for young professional women, in a "Forbes" article. Start wearing a fake engagement ring and put a picture of your fantasy fiancee on your desk or key chain. Let it slip that you have met a marvelous man and you are talking about marriage to discourage his advances. Be careful what you share with mutual friends or around the water cooler so you don’t blow your cover.

Upping the Resistance

If the married man continues to hit on you, let him know in clear terms how his attention makes you feel. You might say, “When you approach me, I feel uncomfortable and pressured. I don’t like it and will never be willing to see you in any kind of relationship. Stop flirting and touching me immediately!” Ask your husband, manager or close friend to discretely approach the man and insist that he stop the unwanted attention if your efforts don’t seem to affect him. Unwanted attention from others could convince him to back off.

A Little Leverage

When all else fails, you might have to use leverage to dissuade the married man from hitting on you. Let him know you are willing to let his wife know about his behavior. Promise to give her any notes, emails or texts you have received or other corroborating evidence. If he stops the behavior at work when you ask the first time, it isn’t sexual harassment, but if it continues, you have a good case, according to Marty Klein, a sex therapist and psychotherapist. Approach your manager or human resources department and file a sexual harassment complaint, letting them know what he is doing and provide any proof that they can use to corroborate your claims.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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