Women need to know their place.
When our young son showed an interest in baseball, my husband was ecstatic. His dreams of playing catch in the backyard and following in his own father’s footsteps to coach his son's team were finally coming true. He gave the boy pointers as he laced up his cleats, and we began spending all of our free time at our local ballpark.
I quickly became friends with the other mothers, as we set up our folding chairs next to one another and rooted for our little boys. Our other children hung out on the playground and we began spending time together away from the ball field. Cookouts, swimming parties and couples nights strengthened our new friendships.
One mother and I really hit it off. We went to lunch, shopped together and confided secrets in one another. Her friendship came at a time when I really needed someone to talk to, and I considered our newfound bond a blessing.
Even though I really liked her, it really worked my nerves the way she so passionately (and loudly) yelled at the ball games, screaming at the kids, the coaches and the umpires but I overlooked it because I valued our friendship. I knew she was passionate about the game because she had played ball throughout highschool and college, and I believed that her vocalization from the bleachers was a direct result. So I thought nothing of it when she began texting my husband with valid suggestions concerning the game. My husband even implemented a few of her ideas, and she somehow self-appointed herself as assistant coach.
I didn't mind that she helped the boys in the dugout or started walking onto the field. If anything, it meant that she wasn't yelling directly into my ear for the duration of each game. I genuinely thought she wanted to contribute something positive to our boys' team, so I sat with the other moms and didn't bat an eye.
Until I checked my husband's phone.
I've never doubted my husband or had any reason to check his phone, but as I was looking through it for a phone number one evening, I came across many messages from her. They all concerned the team, somehow, but I didn't like the way she built up my husband. I was a little disturbed that she felt the need to tell him, repeatedly, what a good coach and good man he was. She wasn't just encouraging him, she was flirting with him.
"I don't like her texting you so much," I said.
My husband promised me it was harmless, but I told him to let me know anytime that she texted him, so I could read it. He happily agreed and reinforced how innocent their conversations were.
When we went out for a couple’s night a few weeks later, I noticed that she talked more to my spouse than her own. She threw red wine down her throat and laughed at my husband's corny jokes, and then she brazenly asked him to dance. He looked to me for approval and I nodded. Her husband and I sat at the table and awkwardly discussed literature and politics while our spouses held one another on the dance floor. Her husband didn't seem to mind, but I was growing livid at how close she pressed her body against the man who I've called "dear" for the past 13 years.
When they came back to our table, I finished my drink and privately told her I didn't like what I'd just seen. I also expressed my concern over the text messages. She heartily laughed at me, as if I were ignorant, and lightly touched my arm.
"You have nothing to worry about! I only text him about baseball, that's all. It's completely innocent."
Maybe I was ignorant, but not in the way that she thought. I was ignorant to believe that she was not after my husband.
My husband continued to inform me each time she reached out to him. The baseball texts continued, but each time I read a new message, I could see they were turning in a dangerously different direction. She started asking him for advice in her own marriage and confiding personal things to him, while continually building him up for being such a good husband to me, a good father to our children and a good man, overall. She even compared our husbands and made it evident that she wished she was married to one like mine.
My husband wholeheartedly agreed that her messages had taken an inappropriate turn and that she was supposed to be my friend instead of his encourager.
And that's when I replied to her messages, from his phone, and made it very clear that she was forbidden to speak to him or me again. Judging by the fact that she didn't reply and hasn't spoken to him since, I think she got the message. Literally and figuratively.
We spent the remainder of the ball season sitting on opposite ends of the bleachers, and she kept her coaching suggestions to herself. She stayed out of the dugout and pretended not to see us when she passed my husband or me at school functions.
And my husband knows to keep his fingers still and report it to me if she ever texts him again.
We continue to ignore one another, but I don't think her husband has a clue as to why. I think he is oblivious to the fact that his wife confided in my husband concerning their marital problems. I think he's unaware of the fact that I may have stopped his wife from committing adultery. I don't know if it's my place to tell him or not.
But now that our older children play ball together and her husband is the coach, I do know that I have absolutely nothing to text him about, concerning the game or otherwise.
Because I know my place.
More women should.