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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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Flirtation

Uploaded: Oct 24, 2014
To avoid mistakes and regrets, always consult your wife before engaging in a flirtation.- E.W. Howe

As Mira Kirshenbaum writes in her book, "When Good People Have Affairs: Inside the Hearts & Minds of People in Two Relationships," we need to keep the windows and doors of our relationship shut in order to avoid affairs. These can be physical affairs, or as devastating to women in particular, emotional affairs.

How many of the emotional and physical affairs begin with flirtation? Likely, most.

An emotional affair is when you spend time talking about personal and intimate things with someone other than your spouse (even about your marriage), and you don't tell your spouse that you are talking to this other person about these topics. Eventually you stop talking to your spouse about the topics and just talk to your "friend" about the topics. Next you are hiding quite a lot, and your primary emotional connection is not to your spouse any longer, but to the third party. An emotional affair does not necessarily include a physical or sexual relationship.

Men have told me they like to "window shop" and that they are "not dead" even if they are married. Women have told me they don't want their mate flirting or looking at other women when they are present. Is this flirtation?

Certain people are naturally flirty. What does he get out of it? How does it affect her spouse? Is being naturally flirty a problem? The answers to these questions are very personal, and related specifically to the person, her childhood, his marriage.

If you or your beloved have concerns about flirtation, make time to talk about it. Before making accusations and "you" statements, be curious. Try asking the questions I have posed above, and more of your own.

Ultimately, if flirtation bothers your lover, why continue to flirt?



Comments

 +   2 people like this
Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm

My friends mom once said "Just because I'm on a diet, doesn't mean I can't look at the menu." I think this is a good rule of thumb for me in my marriage. Anything that happens in my, or my husbands, mind is acceptable. Fantasy is just that...fantasy, pretend. For me, this includes looking at members of the opposite sex. It's fine for my husband to look at other women and I think it's nice when I notice women checking him out-validates his handsomeness.

For me, flirting would take it too far. But, each couple needs to decide for themselves what constitues flirting, right? Some people like the attention that flirting brings, but if that attention bothers your partner, it's not acceptable in a relationship.

What I've really noticed about myself since getting married a few years ago is that I'm much more comfortable with the opposite sex now. It's much easier for me to talk (but not flirt) to men I've juset met knowing that there's no possibility for a romantic relationship. I can more easily be myself and not have to try to impress anyone.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Robert, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables,
on Oct 30, 2014 at 10:30 am

Robert is a registered user.

Chandrama. I am curious on your statement: "Men have told me they like to "window shop" and that they are "not dead" even if they are married. Women have told me they don't want their mate flirting or looking at other women when they are present. Is this flirtation?"
So the implication is that women do not window shop? Women do not make the statement they are 'not dead'? And of course Women have "told you they don't want their mate flirting..." Men have not said this?
Maybe I am missing something but it appears this is a very one-sided article with women the victim and men to blame. I would argue that it goes both ways. Women, married, in relationships, etc., do stare and window shop. Women do flirt.
Point being, I do believe men and women are equal - for the good and bad. Maybe that is because I was brought up by women only and taught treat men and women equal.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by the judge, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Oct 30, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Well, according to various studies, 22-75% of married men admit to having an affair at least once while married, and 14-50% of married women admit the same. Not sure what is real, but I can tell you if you are seriously thinking about it, consider your marriage over. If you are doing it, know what kind of harm you're doing to your spouse and children. You made vows, the relationship or the sex changed, and now you want a little something on the side... Grow up! Childish behavior is for children.

Ok, done being judgemental. But it's true.

No one wins in divorce, certainly not your children.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Oct 30, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi Robert,
I am simply sharing what I have been told. Women, speak up, do you window shop? Men, do you not want your partner flirting?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Robert, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables,
on Oct 31, 2014 at 11:11 am

Robert is a registered user.

Wow - Surprised Cahndrama. I do not, I would not. I am in love with my wife and in-turn she loves me the same. We communicate daily. My whole point was and is that women are no different than men. If your experience is women speak up and men do not, then I would suggest you read the surveys. Even surveys focused on segments, even the most conservative, show that women do flirt, women who are married do have affairs. My point was never to point a finger at women; rather it was to say men and women do things that are regrettably wrong.
I think by your comment you made makes your point - you feel it is one-sided. So said differently, discrimination does exist and your comment certainly validates that point.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Oct 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

I am sorry, Robert, that I am not making myself clear. I am asking both men and women to speak up on this topic.


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