File No. 7 Flirting When You’re Committed

7 Dec

You’re cozy in your relationship. You love him; he loves you. You probably share a house or a flat together, and you’ve gotten used to splitting food costs, gas bills and rent. You have a routine: he cooks; you put away dishes. He watches sports while you work on your jewelry making and you both take turns cleaning the bathroom. Everything seems to have fallen into place and before you fully realized, you’ve committed to living in an adult relationship. Suddenly, all those things you were afraid of taking on are a part of your normal life and you can’t imagine anything else.

So, why is it that when you see that tall coworker of yours poised near the copy machine, flashing his toothpaste ad smile you get weak at the knees? Why is it that when he comes over to ask you to help him with his latest project, your mind darts and you get a Sex and the City type scene of the two of your pressed up against the back wall in the break room? Why do you want to spend most of your work day talking with him?

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a different response. Some people say flirting while committed is wrong. Others say its natural. Some partners will take offense and even suggest that flirting with someone other than them is cheating. Others will say that they are glad that you are still attracted to other people and that other people still find you attractive. Of course, with all the important and confusing points in life, there is no right or wrong answer.

As you know, we flirt for a million different reasons. Because we enjoy the attention. Because it’s our nature. Because he just looks damn good in those jeans. Whatever. I tend to have a flirty personality. I’m always creating quick intimacies, touching arms, leaning in … doing all those things relationship coaches tell guys to look for to tell if a girl’s interested in them. Sure, sometimes it’s because I am interested in them, but mostly it’s because that’s my personality. If I’m talking to you, I want to give you my full attention. Touching you, leaning in lets you know that I’m listening to you and focused on you and no one else.

I have discovered, this type of attention to men other than my SO can cause tension. Why? Are they not confident that I’m with them? In the quickest answer, no, they weren’t. It’s a bit … sad, really. Still, the fact of the matter is, to someone cheating can be as innocent as exchanging Facebook details. To others, it’s not cheating until there’s been intercourse. I’m somewhere in between, I think. Luckily, my current partner is as well. Even more lucky, he doesn’t get jealous if I strike up a conversation with a guy and he’s around.

I guess, you just have to assess. You have to say to your partner, “What is cheating to you?” and you have to work from there. This was my biggest problem with my last serious relationship before my current one. I didn’t know his boundaries and he didn’t know mine beforehand. So when either of us crossed them, the other person defensively started a fight. Not out of spite, but out of defense.

As a result, we both strayed and we both pushed each other into the red zone and ended up cheating on one another, by anyone’s definition of the word: he slept with someone else (on my birthday, the douche) and I allowed myself to make out and engage in heavy petting with someone else. His cheating happened because his boundaries for himself were non-existent. My cheating happened because when I needed him during a particularly tough time, he put me on the back burner to attend to someone else. (This, sadly, was common in our relationship and at the time, I didn’t think I deserved more.)

Long story short, you have to know what the other person views as cheating. You have to know what type of friendship they consider inappropriate and you have to decide for yourself if flirting while you’re in a committed relationship is okay or a big no-no.


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