So you sidle up to the bar to grab a drink when you peer down the line and notice your significant other is making eyes and laughing at another woman's joke. You get a tinge of jealousy rush through your body, but swallow your pride knowing that he's just making conversation. Or is he flirting? Is flirting wrong? It's basically cheating isn't it? All the questions that flood your brain send you into a sweat, and cause you to wonder if you've gone crazy. You're not the only one who feels this way, but, it's time to decipher between what's worth worrying about and what ought to just slide off your back. Here are the experts thoughts.
“Flirting can feel like cheating because they both evoke similar emotions,” says Julie de Azevedo Hanks, Ph.D., licensed clinical social worker and owner of Wasatch Family Therapy. “It’s common for spouses to feel worried or jealous when their spouse’s attention is focused on another person, especially when it hints at sexual attraction. Whenever our primary love relationships are threatened it usually triggers anxiety and fear of loss.”
But all the experts agreed that innocent flirting isn't necessarily cheating. “In fact, if done properly, flirting can be a healthy ingredient to fan the flames of sexual desire within your relationship,” says Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? How to Stop Selfishness From Ruining your Relationship.
So does flirting ever cross the line? “If the flirtation targets one specific person only, it may be seen as real romantic interest, and that could be understood to be a threat to the primary relationship,” says Ursula Ofman, New York City-based sex therapist. Adds Hanks, “If the flirting can be defined as a ‘romantic relationship’ or a ‘sexual relationship’ it could be considered infidelity. Or, if the flirting consists of sexual conversations or sexual touch it is infidelity.”
Think your spouse's flirting has gone too far? It's OK to bring it up. Communication is key. “Bring it up when you are not acutely upset, and when the two of you have privacy and time to talk,” Ofman suggests. “Don’t assume your partner means to hurt you and address the topic from that perspective. Know what specific behaviour change you want to ask for, and be realistic in that.”
You could also suggest that you and your partner flirt more. “The best thing to do is, rather than trying to get them to stop flirting with others, ask him or her to flirt with you at least as much—if not more—than other people,” says Greer. “Make sure you’re getting enough of the action with them.”
What do you think of these experts' advice?
Do you follow us on Instagram?
[caption id="attachment_112883" align="alignnone" width="100"]