Social Question

max53's avatar

You know that your SO loves you, but they love to flirt and have a wandering eye. How do you deal with it?

Asked by max53 (305points) March 30th, 2010

You know that they are not the type to cheat, but they absolutely love to flirt and get attention from others. If someone hits on them they they flirt back, even if you are there. They frequently make comments about attractive people that they notice.

How do you handle the situation if it makes you jealous? Say that you don’t necessarily want them to stop, you just want it to stop bothering you.

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34 Answers

MrGV's avatar

Do the same thing back to them.

Blackberry's avatar

You end it, or get over it. That’s how it is. These two people are either not compatible because the jealously ruins the relationship, or one person makes a change, but ends up not happy the whole time.

TheOnlyException's avatar

This has to be every man I have ever met that wasn’t related to me.
Men like this are very simple to dissect.
Man see pretty girl.
Man like pretty girl.
Man must make pretty girl laugh.
Pretty girl laugh back. Man happy.

It means nothing. We all do it in some way or another, I’m sure a guy or four has caught your eye and you’ve flirted, just to pass the time, make the day go better.

If it is making you uncomfortable/jealous because he is insensitive enough to do it in front of you, then TELL HIM. He may not realise that it bothers you or even that he’s doing it, he is not intending to make you feel like this.
Just remind yourself that he has you, and he wants you, you ever see someone in a t.v. programme or movie that you like, doesn’t mean you wanna leave your b/f and jump whatever other guys bones, you are attracted doesn’t mean you act on it. it is natural.

but as i said. talk to him. nothing will get sorted otherwise.

wonderingwhy's avatar

My wife handles it by understanding me and trusting me… and teasing the hell out of me about it.

If you have a problem with it, speak up! Don’t assume they know or fully understand your concerns. Let them know it makes you uncomfortable. I’m sure between you, with clear communication, you’ll find a solution that works for both of you.

marinelife's avatar

You end the relationship, because you two have a fundamental difference in this area, and otherwise, you are looking ahead to a lifetime of pain.

mrentropy's avatar

If you aren’t willing to do the talking bit with your partner, try suggesting a threesome every time it happens.

Cruiser's avatar

My S/O works hard at looking good and deserves all the attention she gets and would never cross the line to hurt my feelings over flirting. ;)

max53's avatar

@marinelife @Blackberry I think ending it would be taking things a bit too far. We have a fantastic relationship. What I was hoping for was some advice that might help me get over feeling jealous about it, as I just don’t like having those feelings.

CMaz's avatar

“but they absolutely love to flirt and get attention from others.”

They have an insecurity problem. It should not be yours.

Trillian's avatar

Really? Someone hits on him and he flirts back? Who does that? What type of woman hits on a man who is “with” someone? He makes lots of comments about how attractive he finds other women?
I would have a problem with this. Flirting is saying that you are available. It is especially disrespectful to you when he does it right there in your face. He’s essentially telling you: “Go sit in the back seat for a minute while I see if I’d rather be with this woman.”
A continual stream of comments about how attractive other women are to him is also going to get old. It says that physical attraction is high on his list of priorities, and may even be a passive/aggressive way of messing with your head. So how can you ever know if this is going to be the one?
I’d dump him and find someone who knows how to be respectful and mindful of the feelings of others.
It does bother you for a valid reason, and you can’t change that feeling. You are who you are. He is who he is.
The thing is, people with insecurity problems need something. At some point, he probably will cheat, because you cannot give him all the attention and strokes that he needs. It won’t be anything personal, it will be him trying to get something that he isn’t getting from you. But he’ll do it anyway. he won’t be able to help it, because he is insecure. He needs more than one woman can give him.

kevbo's avatar

Understand why it makes you jealous. Why do you get jealous? What does your jealousy mean or accomplish?

Can you develop an appreciation for flirting as well? Can you appreciate your SOs “hobby” with genuine interest?

Can you develop an understanding that your SO has a great need for that kind of attention to feel validated? Can you understand that this has less to do with you or any other single partner than it does with this person’s fundamental approach to social interaction?

Is your partner’s behavior unhealthy because, for example, your partner is using flirting to cope with or compensate for some kind of trauma? If it is, can you help them see how it is unhealthy?

Those are just questions to ponder. If you really want to change, you should start thinking along these lines. You can also start treating your jealousy as something more benign—maybe make it kind of a response that plays into the flirting interactions. For example, enthusiastically agreeing with your SOs flirts that your SO is indeed all that and a bag of chips or relishing your SO getting revved up and then going home with you.

I guess it’s kind of an “A, B, C” thing. Action. Belief. Consequence. Right now “flirting—> perceived threat—> jealous response.” How can you change the belief to change the consequence?

trailsillustrated's avatar

I don’t care I like it that the old guy gets compliments and he likes it too

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Generally, people are either okay with this kind of behavior, or they aren’t. Often, the feelings one has about this kind of situation boil down to fundamental beliefs about how a relationship should or shouldn’t be, so you may not be able to get over it. My personal opinion is that mild flirting is okay. But if it’s blatant, taken too far and done right in front of me – that is absolutely not something that I tolerate in a relationship because it’s too disrespectful. I don’t think I’d want to be with something that insecure, anyway.

I think @Trillian and @kevbo both make excellent points, however. This is probably something that you’ll have to think deeply about before you make a decision – because it requires you to understand some of your most important beliefs.

softtop67's avatar

I just ask her to make sure he knows what half the mortgage payment is…why should he get the milk for free, when I am paying for it…she hates when I tease her with this comment too. I realy dont care nothing harmful in a little flirting

mrentropy's avatar

Changing someone, even if that someone is yourself, isn’t an easy thing. If you’re trying to figure out how to stop being jealous you won’t find it here (not to be disrespectful of the folks here). This is something that’s inside your personality and, usually, either you’re okay with it or your not.

The real question is, how miserable do you want to become over it until you feel like you’re over it?

If your SO is definitely not someone to be the cheating type it would be a good idea to keep that in mind every time it happens.

gorillapaws's avatar

Just splash acid in her face and she won’t be so flirty…

RandomMrdan's avatar

Just ask your self, “who us my SO with, who has s/he decided to be with?”. And your answer is “me”. Don’t let it bother you too much… Now if they’re making plans to go out drinking and partying, and you’re not invites… I’d worry a bit, but it depends in the SO.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

If you don’t like how he acts,then you’ll have to change your reaction to it or dump him.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Ask her what she gets out flirting that she’s not getting from you.
I see no reason to coddle bad habits.

CMaz's avatar

“no reason to coddle bad habits.”

Well said.

ThrallKiller's avatar

You have to tell him it bothers you. Has he watched you flirt with others? Maybe you should casually do so and watch his reaction to it. My wife and I are both incorrigible flirts but neither of us mean anything by it. My wife cracks me up because she flirts with women as much as I do. But we’re both comfortable with it and we have a good time, all the while knowing we are secure enough with each other to do so.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Can you fully accept your SO as s/he is without judgement, if you know him/her to have this personality trait? No? Then let her/him go before you vex yourselves.

If you want to be able to accept it or if you realize you’re overreacting or making out friendliness for your partner trying to disrespect you and looking to seduce someone right in front of you (which is not usually what’s going on, OK?), then you have to drill down into the core belief that makes his/her behavior bother you.

Is it that you don’t feel worthy of a partner? Is it that you feel ugly? Is it that you feel your SO flirting is a reflection of your worth? Well, it isn’t. So every time you see that your SO’s flirting triggers the thoughts, “I am not worthy. If I were, s/he wouldn’t be flirting,” STOP IT! Intercept it. You must pay attention to what you’re thinking and block the feedback loop.

This is not easy. But you must do it. Changing a core negative belief is like quitting smoking. Every minute you must focus (in the beginning) to not slip and run out for a cig when the stress button is pushed. After a while it gets easier.

Your bad habit was reinforced over time. That’s why you still have it. Reinforce a new, more positive belief. “I am worthy of a decent partner’s time.” “My partner cares for me.” “My partner is being friendly.” And openly communicate. Let them know it bothers you and that you’re working on it. Trust yourself. If your partner really is one of those people who needs to be constantly swarmed with sexual attention from a lot of people, then you know to go. If not, then help yourself to stop hurting yourself with awful beliefs.

CMaz's avatar

I think in the bible somewhere it says…

Thou’st wondering eye. Have poked out with a prod. As so not to inflict unneeded discernment on thee.

Exhausted's avatar

My husband looks at other women all the time and gives me his impressions of them but it doesn’t make me jealous. I know he loves ME and I know he sees other women and has opinions of them, so it doesn’t bother me if he looks at them and talks to me about what he sees. I know I’m not the most attractive women in the world but HE was attracted to ME and that’s all that matters to me. Now, as far as flirting goes, some people need to be constantly reassured they are attractive, so they seek it out, or maybe he’s just very friendly, either way, he is with you, not them.

Scooby's avatar

I didn’t have to she left before I could do anything! :-/

kevbo's avatar

I should add, too, that they’ve actually found that men’s brains are wired to notice boobies and other attractive things, but that we move on after five seconds to the next thing. (I am told this is akin to women noticing pretty flowers or butterflies or whatever and then moving on to the next thing.) Generally speaking, women who lack this understanding and get upset with men for the noticing part fail to realize the it doesn’t mean anything part. I realize this is different from flirting, but I thought I’d throw that out there.

max53's avatar

@kevbo I am a man and she is my wife. I wonder if that makes any difference.

I think what it comes down to is that she seems to need a lot of reassurance that she is beautiful. I am always giving her complements, which she loves, but she just lights up when someone gives her attention. We don’t have any real issues other than that and we have been married for four years. I think I need to remind myself that it is not a reflection on me and is just who she is. I don’t feel threatened that she would cheat or that she needs something that I can’t give her. Sometimes, it’s just a kick in the ego when you’re out with the love of your life and she wants to hang around some random guy that is trying to pick her up.

marinelife's avatar

@max53 when you’re out with the love of your life and she wants to hang around some random guy that is trying to pick her up

It sounds absolutely awful. The only other thing you could do is see if your wife will go for treatment. Especially if it is a self esteem issue, then therapy could help.

Trillian's avatar

@kevbo I’ve never had explained the way you did, and it makes sense. Thank you for that.
This doesn’t seem to be the case here though.
To stand there and flirt back with someone who is hitting on me? I would have far too much respect for my partner to be so disrespectful to him. I’d send the nipple head away with a flea in his ear.
And this guy makes only positive comments, which she implies are sexual in nature. Does he say things like: “I’d love to tap that.”? “Oh god, look at that ass! I could just….”
One never knows the specifics, but this was the impression I got.
I personally have a thing for noses. It’s the first thing I notice along with hair. So I’ll say “What a great nose!” Or “Mmm, that nose has got to go.”
I just don’t think it’s appropriate or respectful of the other person or the relationship to make sexually charged comments. My feelings of intimacy are for one man. Some things I just don’t share with the world at large. I only can have one partner, so why should he not be entitled to all of my best? And why should I not expect the same in return?
Why would I waste those feelings on someone who is not there for me when I wake up, when I pay the bills, when I’m at my worst? You see?

kevbo's avatar

@max53, well, there is a difference between flirting generally and flirting while you are out on a date. My girlfriend feels similarly… she frequently feels deficient and measures her worth in part on how much attention she gets from random men (or kind of treats it as a barometer for her sex appeal). If you are looking to compromise, perhaps you can ask her to reign it in a little bit (like when it’s a night out for the two of you). You’re not asking her to give it up entirely, just to put it on the back burner when you’re on a date or whatever.

What you can give help her is an awareness of her behavior, which she is likely not fully self aware of. Much like you pondering your jealous reaction, what if she were to ponder her need for attention and the underlying reasons?

My girlfriend and I flirt with other people all the time, but not really when we’re with each other unless we’re making it a team effort (e.g. both of us checking out some other girl or guy). If you’re looking for validation of behavior that is “this side” of normal, then maybe that’s something to aspire to (assuming you agree our behavior is normal).

YARNLADY's avatar

I used to be proud when my former (deceased) husband looked at other women, because he chose me. In fact, when I saw him looking, I looked too and complimented him on his good taste. Sometimes I even started a discussion about how I would look in those clothes or with that hair do.

Sophief's avatar

Yes, this makes me stupidly jealous. I self harm until I feel better.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My partner is very charming but not flirtatious in front of me so I’m not jealous. I do see him look and expect since he still breathes then he will always look and I look at what draws his eye, sometimes in appreciation and sometimes in surprise but I trust him to not have wandering hands. Me on the other hand, I’m naturally flirtatious and I know I look at others but my hands don’t have the desire to wander. I have enough single years where flirting has been okay that now I try to be conscious of what I’m doing in order to be respectful to my partner. I’d like to believe he’s comfortable and trusting of me.

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