When it becomes apparent that your loved one isn’t about to give up flirting, even though you’re now a firm item, how do you deal with it?
Flirting is such a subjective thing. What one person considers a harmless bit of flattery or a playfully innocent social interaction, another may interpret as grounds for divorce. Our own upbringings—social class, parents’ attitudes, religion, regional culture—all have a significant say in how we view such things, and these may never entirely agree with the views of others. If, however, such clashes of outlook occur within a relationship, you could be in for a rather choppy ride.
Dating a flirt and the degrees of flirting
There are certain actions that can readily be identified, in almost any and all circumstances, as an overt flirtation. The question, then, becomes not whether it is indeed a flirt, but how potentially harmful to the relationship that flirting is. Even by considering this question, harm may have already been done and trust issues may be beginning to raise their ugly heads. The only way to bury them is to tackle the issue head on.
Never fear, readers, this is where we come in with a LovePanky top ten list on dealing with an inveterate flirt—complete with an effectiveness scale, out of ten, to allow you to make the best educated decision possible on your chosen course of action.
#1 Talking it over. Talking about a relationship issue is never a bad thing, and the whole concept of communication is one that consistently comes to the fore in any such discussions. So, if your other half is upsetting you with frequent flirty asides to the opposite sex, then just have a little chat with them about it. It may be the case that they don’t even realize they’re guilty of this particular proclivity and are horrified with themselves once it’s pointed out to them. [Read: How to build trust and communicate better in a relationship]
At the very worst, you will have the opportunity to air your concerns, even if your other half seems initially unwilling to cooperate. This way, you’ll have drawn a line in the sand and let them know that they can no longer get away with it.
#2 Returning the favor. Quite simply, this step requires you to fight fire with fire. If your partner is constantly flirting with everything that walks, then try beating them at their own game and showing them how unacceptable it is. Be warned, though: it might backfire, and you don’t want to be the one who ends up breaking up the relationship on the back of a poorly executed effort at tit-for-tat.
#3 You’ve been framed. Want to see if flirting would turn into real action, given the opportunity? Many have tried to set up their partners in situations where a plant has encouraged them to step beyond the usual barriers of flirting. But really, what stage is your relationship at if you have to resort to such desperate measures? Not the most effective option available, by a long shot.
#4 The klaxxon effect. Every time they flirt, no matter what the environment or scenario, you reward their actions with a blast of klaxxon, or some other similarly brutish noise or visual effect. What can I say on this front other than: please, grow up!
#5 Encourage them. The ultimate in reverse psychology, this is where you actually support their flirting, telling them to do it more than they are, encouraging them to continue in that behavior, etc. In an ideal world, this will make them think that you are emotionally detaching yourself from them in some way, and they will begin to lessen the flirting in order to focus on you. However, depending upon the individual’s sensitivity to the situation *or lack thereof* they could just interpret your actions as a massive thumbs up. Way to score a goal for the wrong team!
#6 The spy who loved me. If the issue is exactly how much sexual intent lies behind the flirting, you could choose to do a little spying on them when they think you’re not around to gauge how harmless—or otherwise—it truly is. Again, though, if you have to resort to spying, the relationship can’t be that healthy anyway. [Read: 18 really clever ways to catch a cheating partner in the act]
#7 The ego block. Send a friend! If the constant flirting is getting you down, then send your most loyal friend to go and do a bit of ego blocking; mentioning his partner in front of the object of the flirt is a useful tool in this particular arsenal, and guaranteed to make the offending person deflate like a football on a barbed-wire fence.
#8 Hound dog. While it is very much like the ego block, the hound dog instead involves carrying out the ego blocking yourself. Following your partner’s every footstep, you don’t let them leave your sight and intercept every oncoming flirt with the skill of a fighter pilot. Just one minor issue: this particular course of action is more often referred to as ‘stalking’ and is unlikely to earn anything but resentment *or a court order* from your loved one. [Read: Online flirting – Signs you’re cheating and don’t even know it]
#9 Never the twain shall meet. You could just decide that enough is enough and that you aren’t about to put up with even a moment’s more flirting, with separation the only option. An effective way of making sure that flirting with this person never becomes an issue again, it nonetheless ignores the fact that if you had just sat down and had a mature discussion about your concerns, you could have ended up living happily together for the rest of your lives. I believe they call that ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’!
#10 Let it be. Entirely at the opposite end of the scale, you could choose to turn a blind eye and pretend that nothing’s happening. This may work to an extent, but *more likely* will increase the possibility that you’ll end up building resentment and ruining the relationship, anyway, through a series of misdirected arguments and disagreements. Far better to get it all out in the open and let nature take its course.
Flirting doesn’t have to signal the end of a relationship, but it definitely is something that has to be addressed if you wish it to progress any further in both a satisfactory and fulfilling manner.