What do you do when your partner is a flirt? Even if s/he claims that it’s all harmless (or that it’s all in your imagination) this issue needs to be addressed.
That’s because flirting goes far deeper than either of you think. Though traditional relationship advice tackles ‘signs of flirting‘ or ‘flirting etiquette’ the real issue is actually about boundaries and trust. Whether or not it’s flirting, the point is that it’s hurting you. How to make it stop? Read on for relationship advice.
Relationship advice # 1: You care because you love him/her.
The fact that you’re affected by your partner’s flirting is a sign that you want the relationship to work, and you want him or her to share that commitment.
That’s the way to start the conversation. Don’t accuse her or use angry words. Take the cue from one of our other relationship advice articles (how to talk so your partner will listen): use the ‘I’ language. Basically, phrase your concerns in terms of feelings.
Ex: ‘I don’t like it when you talk to other guys that way. I become jealous and afraid that you’re interested in them. ‘
By phrasing your concerns this way, your partner doesn’t feel personally attacked, and may learn to see things from your perspective. That’s the beginning of reaching a compromise.
Relationship advice # 2: If you can’t talk about flirting, you can’t talk about other important issues.
Flirting is an emotionally charged issue, and it’s just one of many! If you’re serious about this relationship, then grab this chance to talk and ‘practice’ dealing with conflicts and resolving them. Running away from it, dismissing it, or saying, ‘It’s just all in your mind!’ may stop tonight’s fight, but it won’t bring you closer or help prevent future fights.
Relationship advice # 3: Jealousy is a potentially destructive force.
Ask yourself, honestly: are you generally jealous or jealous about just one particular situation or person? If you tend to get territorial (or she always seems to bat her eyelashes at every cute guy she sees) then you have to talk about why you feel that way, and whether you can live with that kind of behavior. Otherwise, you will always be jealous—whether it’s deserved it or not—and that will make you clingy, and her defensive, and both of you just plain miserable.
But it’s a completely different scenario if this is an isolated incident: you are threatened by one particular person or situation (for example, he used to be her college ex). Again, talk about it, but this time maybe all you have to do is set boundaries and expectations. ‘I understand that you want to keep in touch with him, but I prefer if you don’t meet up with him.’ In turn, she may ask you to be less rude to him, or to trust her. You could reach a compromise: trust her, but give her clear expectations/concerns: ‘Please don’t meet up with him alone, it has to be a group thing.’ Keeping the discussion very specific (what you don’t like / what you expect / what can work for both of you) diffuses the ugly emotions and wild imaginings that jealousy triggers.
Relationship advice # 4: Talking about jealousy may be the first step to erasing it.
In the end jealousy isn’t about that guy or that behavior, but how you feel about each other, and how much you trust and respect each other. Just talking about emotions and trying to find a compromise strengthens your relationship and reaffirms your commitment: both of you are willing to listen to each other and make things work.
Sometimes, just knowing that you both care can make you realize there is nothing to be jealous about. You love each other, and this flirting issue – like all others – will be resolved.
5. Relationship advice # 5: You have a right to feel that your needs are respected.
If your partner continues to flirt even after you constantly talk about how you feel, then reconsider the relationship. It is no longer just about “that boy” or “wearing that dress.” It’s being sensitive to needs, listening and respecting fears and concerns, and prioritizing the commitment over any pleasure that may be derived from flirting.
Obviously, your partner won’t stop. So you take it…or you leave it. It’s your choice.
Photo from askmen.com