Is Another Man Complimenting Your Looks in Front of Your Husband Inappropriate?

Updated on June 20, 2016
O.V. asks from New York, NY
22 answers

My husband and I recently attended a wedding. A friend of mine introduced me to her friend, Julie, and told Julie she knew me because our husbands were co workers, we lived in the same neighborhood, and that I have two beautiful children and Julie replied "of course, look at her, she is so beautiful!" (Of course, I said "thank you" and thought the girl was sweet). Then I was with my husband when the new girl, Julie, came over and introduced us to her fiancé (both of them attractive people). After a little chit chat, I overheard Julie's fiancé Mike tell my husband "you have a very beautiful wife." My husband didn't really know what to say so he just said "thanks." Do you think it is strange to give such a compliment in front of both significant others? I mean I think I am good looking, but no VS Angel after having two kids for sure for man to feel an urge to compliment me in front of my husband jk... I never had that situation before.

We are going out this weekend with other friends and that new couple and I hope there are no awkward moments.

What can I do next?

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answers from Springfield on

You're overthinking this. Take it as a nice compliment and move on. Some people aren't as good with "getting to know you" chit chat and say awkward things. Relax and get to know them. There will probably be awkward moments because that's part of the deal when you are getting to know new people. Deal with it by not dwelling on it. Just move on.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Take the compliment, for heaven's sake. They're both trying to think of something to say while they get to know you both.

I've been married for years and years and have had compliments by both men and women in front of my husband. Why you would think it inappropriate, I can't fathom.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

was he oogling over you and drooling or asking for a 3 some?? If not?! Take it as a compliment and say THANK YOU!!!

Why over-think this? Why would this be inappropriate? Have we gotten to a point in our lives when telling someone they are beautiful is offensive or inappropriate? COME ON!!! Take it at face value. He complimented you to your husband. Stand up straight, smile and say THANK YOU!!!

13 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

If his fiancee was hideous it would be rude to say it in front of her but otherwise pretty normal. It is rather odd that you consider this awkward. It is almost as if you actually thought he was hitting on you or something. I will trust your opinion that you are good looking but I am pretty sure you aren't hit on her in front of your fiancee good looking.

If you go around reacting like oh my, he is hitting on me again, that will be awkward.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Analyze much? He paid you a compliment, he wasn't trying to hit on you and take you bed and make mad love all night.

Perfectly normal except for over analyzing it.

Say thank you and go on your way.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

You are way overthinking this.

Does your husband not tell you you are beautiful? Does your husband have a problem with this? He should have said thank you. I don't understand why he didn't know what to say. Did he say it in a sexual tone? Did he say "hey! Your wife is totally sexy. Can I take her out for dinner?" that would be a tad weird.

Say thank you.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

It's only awkward if you make it so.
Enjoy the compliment. It takes solid people to be able to enjoy the beauty of others.

Unless, of course, you want to make it awkward. I mean "feel the urge to compliment me in front of my husband"...? That's the appropriate thing to do. What would have been inappropriate was if he'd complimented you in private or come on to you.

Who knows, maybe they are swingers looking for some fun. Or maybe, just maybe, they are nice people who are free with their compliments because they have confidence in themselves and it isn't a big deal, right? ;)

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

A sincere respectful compliment given to you directly in front of your husband is not inappropriate.

What Mike did is talk about you to your husband. Basically, he complemented your husband's good fortune. That is a trait most often seen a couple/few generations ago when women went from their parent's home to their husband's home. (Change in ownership, so to speak.) It is a little odd for someone your own age to do.

When you add in that Julie is also vocally enthusiastic...well, if you don't swing that way then just don't, if it comes up.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

There is nothing wrong in giving a complement to anyone.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

It doesn't sound strange at all.

ETA: Telling your husband he has a beautiful wife is a compliment to both you and your husband. A man is lucky to have a beautiful wife.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

A friend of our's boyfriend called me a "cougar" the other day (far from it, but it was funny). He meant it as a compliment. You just say thank you and don't assume the man is hitting on you or insulting their partner.

They just sound like secure people.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I make an effort to look good. I take all the compliments I can get and I enjoy them.😉

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I don't think it's inappropriate to compliment YOU on your looks, but I do think it's sexist to somehow compliment your husband, since he has no role in making you beautiful (assuming he didn't do your hair, makeup or outfit). It's as if your husband was to be complimented on acquiring you!

And I understand that your husband felt awkward and was taken aback, but his response should not have been "Thanks" (because he has nothing to do with you being beautiful) but rather it should have been "I think so too" or "I agree."

Different people have different traditions and customs, some are free with their compliments, and I don't think there's anything particularly forward about it. Julie was told that you had 2 beautiful children, so she certainly couldn't reply, "Really?" or "How interesting", so she had to say that you were beautiful too. And perhaps she truly thought so. Accept the compliment rather than put yourself down and imagine that women who've had 2 kids can't be lovely.

If excessive compliments continue, you can say, "Oh dear, I'm getting all red. Can we talk about something else?" and then have another subject ready! Unless this couple should persist and talk about wife swapping (in which case you shut it down and say "I'm not comfortable with this line of questioning at all"), I think you're in the clear. My guess is, they are complimentary people who find the good in others. You may find it's, in fact, very pleasant to be around positive people.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It was respectful - there's nothing wrong with that.
Now if it was a wolf whistle and a lot of "Hubba hubba, Mama!" - um no, that would not have been appropriate.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My first thought was, if you think something feels weird, it probably was. Sometimes what we feel causes us to try to figure out why. No need.

No harm was done. But I bet in future circumstances you will find out what about this fellow felt odd. If not, no harm done by having a question.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Would you rather they give compliments behind your husband's back?

You have a beautiful wife does not imply your that beauty is your husband's achievement. It's a compliment for both of you. He may be speaking to your husband but he says it in front of you knowing you will hear it so it is also a compliment to you. If he said you have a handsome husband does that imply that it's your achievment? Perhaps it is about achievement but not in the way you're apparently thinking. Your husband chose you. You chose him. To be married to each other is a good thing.

Yes, you are way over thinking this. Geez, so you felt uncomfortable. Doesn't mean that they did anything wrong. Why is it important to get confirmation that they were out of line. This incident was a brief social interaction with people that you don't have a close relationship. I suggest he may also have felt awkward and used words he might have not said if he were more comfortable. I don't understand why this is an issue unless you felt one of them was making a pass at you or your husband. It's natural to feel embarrassed with a compliment. Perhaps that is why you wanted to think he did a faux pa.

Sometimes strangers are too friendly. I used to briefly wonder why. Do I know them and don't remember them? Do they want something from me? I no longer give it a thought. At my age, 73, I don't care. I've learned that I feel comfortable in my own skin. Took me years to realize that. What other people do or don't do is not important. I don't have to always be on guard to protect myself.

Your question brought to mind that there are reasons to be sensitive. I suggest that once you know what button they pushed to get this reaction, you can be aware and let go of whatever caused you to over react. Life is about learning and growing. I suggest this is an opportunity for growth.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Providence on

I am with the other ladies, as long as he wasn't inappropriate he is just stating a fact. That should make you and your husband feel good. People forget after being together for a long time that their spouse is attractive and it doesn't get said. I sometimes have people tell me at work that I am attractive and I tell you it makes my day. When I tell my husband that people said that, he doesn't get offended because its just a lovely compliment. It shouldn't come a shock to your husband either and he should grin and be proud of his beautiful wife. I once had a woman at work that I thought was absolutely stunning and I told her along with I am sure you hear this all the time but you are gorgeous. I had never met her before and she responded oh my god thank you so much, and no I never hear that. So I made her day because I wanted her to know how I felt. I don't' know if she had a spouse but if she did I hope she went home and told him because it makes you feel good.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

No I think it was a way of making nice conversation. Now if he did it with a sexual overtone then I'd be making new plans and not hanging out with these new people.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I don't think it was inappropriate. I can understand your reservation that he said it to your husband instead of just making a general comment but....and I say this being married to a wonderful one and the mother of another wonderful one....boys can be stupid sometimes...especially in more nuanced social situations. It sounds like your husband handled it like a gentleman. If her fiancé had continued to press his point and/or touched you in some inappropriate way, it would be a whole other situation. Given what you described, I can see your point and understand why you would ask but I don't think any serious boundaries were breached here. In terms of the future, see how things go. I wouldn't necessarily be guarded but I would put my husband between myself and him in future social situations. :-) S.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

My husband loves it when other people tell me I look good, or tell him that I look good.
He says it just makes him that much more proud to know that he's the one who will be taking me home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

No, it would be inappropriate if he told you that you're a beautiful woman privately, away from his fiancee and your husband. The fact he said it to your husband while you were within earshot was a respectful way of saying what he thought, without coming across as creepy. I don't find it offensive, inappropriate or wrong in any way. I would happily take the compliment, because people usually ask me why I date such ugly men, so it'd be nice to have someone tell me for once that the man I chose is attractive.

It could just be their way of being friendly too. My daughter's teacher would tell me on an almost daily basis that she thought I looked so beautiful, whether it was my outfit, the way I wore my hair, etc. No, she was not trying to bed me or hit on me, she just liked making people smile and was a very positive person. She saw that my daughter and I were kind of quiet and so she would go out of her way to get us to open up and smile by saying nice things to us. It's a way to lighten the mood and get everyone to feel relaxed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think the awkward would have been for the fiancee' of the man. I would not be happy to be with a man who so overtly compliments another woman.

ETA: A compliment regarding looks is not a fact-it is an opinion.

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