Flirting is a natural human behavior. When we’re babies, we flirt with our caregivers and other friendly faces. But when we’re in a committed relationship, some people believe that all flirting, except with our spouse, must end. But some natural, healthy flirtation outside of your special twosome—even while you’re out on a date!—can actually be a very good thing for both of you. Here’s why!
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A related excerpt from “The Soulmate Experience” chapter “Transforming the Energy of Jealousy”:
The majority of us, often subconsciously, enter a relationship with a mental list of what our partner is committing to at the moment we agree to be exclusive. One common expectation is that our partner should only be attracted to us. Though the agreements related to this belief vary (and are often unspoken), they generally look something like this: We won’t take too much notice of other people when we’re out together, we won’t hug or make eye contact for too long, we won’t have close friends of a particular gender, and we won’t text, email, or call people who might be seen as a threat.
When we’re really in love with someone, our attraction to others does tend to lessen significantly. And some people really do only have eyes for each other. But the majority of us don’t suddenly cease being attracted to other people the moment we commit to a monogamous relationship.
If we find that our partner isn’t living up to our ideas about how they should behave, we may attempt to curb their natural attraction to other people. We might indirectly let them know that we don’t appreciate their behavior: “You sure like the waitresses here, don’t you?” Or we might outright accuse them of not being committed. We might show them how hurt or disappointed we feel if they buy a racy magazine or look at erotica online. Or we might make comments like the one Virginia heard from her husband one afternoon: “Did you put that lipstick on before or after you met with the real estate agent?”
Thinking that the only way to alleviate our jealousy is to get control of the situation, we may try to establish rules about what our partner should or shouldn’t do: “I’d prefer it if you didn’t kiss your women friends hello.” “I think you should dress more conservatively when you’re out with your girlfriends.” “You shouldn’t let your guy friends give you a ride home.” If our partner complies with requests like these, it may give us a temporary sense of relief from our jealous feelings. But their compliance won’t address the real cause of our jealousy. As we try to rein in our partner by controlling their behavior and making them feel guilty for their natural attractions, they may feel like a noose is slowly being tightened around them. It’s easy to understand why resentment can soon build up.
Many people respond to the restrictions placed on them by pulling away from their partner, which is the opposite of what we really want. As Justin says, “You don’t look at other women while your wife is looking at you, so you really can’t be yourself when you’re with her.”
Christopher agrees. “A guy’s typical response to his girlfriend’s jealousy is to go underground. We’re still looking, but we’re always worried we’re going to get busted. So we try to make sure we’re not noticed doing something we’re not ‘supposed’ to be doing.”
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Our award-winning books “The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships” and “The Soulmate Lover: A Guide to Passionate and Lasting Love, Sex, and Intimacy” are filled with relevant, practical—as well as unusual and fun!—relationship advice for both singles and couples.
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