Dear Prudence

My Wife Won’t Stop Flirting on Facebook

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

Mallory Ortberg.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Sam Breach.

Q. Online Jealousy: My wife is an avid Facebooker. Not compulsive, but she’s online often. She friended a man, “James,” who she’s never met, a friend of a friend. He’s often overseas, and she’s well traveled. She often comments on his posts and vice versa. They’ve private-messaged several times, talking about Europe and travel. He invited her (and her family) to visit him when he moves to Europe. James likes every photo I post of her, commenting on how pretty she is. One day she told me that James had private-messaged her and said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but your husband is a lucky man.” I posted one of my favorite photos of my wife, and James commented, publicly, that I should be careful or that he might “swing through and take her to Europe with me.” Her best friend replied, “YOUR woman!” I told her that he’s flirting with her. She disagreed and added that she needed people like James in her life, travelers and (I assume) worldly types. I’m a jealous sort. Is this flirting or not? And if so, is it worth being upset about?

A: Yes on both counts. All you asked for is a ruling, not direction on how to act, but I’m pretty sure “being Facebook friends with some guy who plans on moving to Europe someday” is not high on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. She’s not just flirting, she’s actively trying to engender jealousy on your part (“Oh, James just happened to mention today that you’re lucky to be with me”), then denying it after the fact to make you seem paranoid and conniving. She’s being unkind and disingenuous, and you have every right to tell her to knock it off.