Relationship Tips for Talking with Your
Partner About Flirting
By Susie and Otto Collins
Are you in a relationship or marriage with someone who
flirts and it drives you crazy?
You might struggle with jealousy, fears, worries, irritation
and annoyance over your partner's flirting habits.
It could seem to you that your mate rejects you when he or
she flirts. Or it may appear to
you that your partner is flaunting his or her attractiveness
in your face by flirting.
It could also be that you see your partner as naive
as he or she plays this dangerous game by "provocatively
All of these thoughts, and others, might fill your mind as
you watch or hear about your partner's flirting. And the
jealousy and intense emotions that accompany your thoughts
can begin to dominate your relationship-- and your life.
There are many ways you could choose to deal with your
*You could flirt with others in an attempt to "turn the
tables" on your mate.
*You could let out all of your anger in a tirade on your
*You could ignore the flirting and just hope it goes away.
*You could present your partner with an ultimatum that he or
she stop flirting or you will leave the relationship.
These are all possible responses you might decide to take to
deal with your mate's flirting.
All of these options have potential drawbacks
that could erode trust even more in your relationship and
make you feel more upset than you already do.
Whatever you decide to do, consider the possible
consequences-- both desired and undesired-- for the action
For example, if you are to the point where you want to issue
an ultimatum about your partner's flirting, be sure you are
ready and willing to follow through on your threat to leave
You might be at that point where you could walk away if the
flirting does not stop immediately-- or you might not want
to end your relationship right now or in this way.
Communication is key
There is certainly internal work that needs to happen when
you are feeling disconnected and upset with your partner
about something like
Take the time to check in with yourself and become clear
about what you truly want in this situation.
Ask yourself if there are other ways of viewing this
situation and take notice if you have unresolved past
experiences that might be affecting your perspective of the
But it is essential that you and your mate talk about what's
If you are upset by his or her flirting, chances are pretty
high that the two of you are disconnected. There might be
needs that are not being met for both of you in your
relationship. The flirting may
possibly be a by-product of this.
When you communicate with your partner about his or her
flirting, approach the conversation from a place where you
are very clear about how you are feeling and what your
ultimate goal is for the talk.
For example, become aware if it is more important to you to
resolve the conflict between the two of you and move closer
together or if your priority is on being "proven right" that
your mate's flirting is
the root of your relationship problems.
The topic of the communication will still be flirting and
how you feel about it in both cases.
But the difference is, if your priority is to be "right" and
to place "blame" solely at the feet of your partner, your
talk will undoubtedly not be one in which the two of you can
Instead, one or both of you will probably become defensive
and close down.
If, however, you focus in on owning how you are feeling and
you speak honestly about what you want for your relationship
and yourself, you
can have a more open and potentially connecting
The two of you are more likely to come up with some
agreements and a plan for the future when you both stay open
and you each feel listened
Try these two simple words-- "I feel..." as a way to
encourage openness when you communicate about flirting and
The magic of the "I feel..." phrase is that it allows you to
share exactly how you are feeling. You can let your partner
know how hurt, neglected, rejected, irritated, fearful or
whatever it is you usually feel when he or she flirts.
For instance, you might say, "I feel rejected and fearful
when I see you flirting with other women."
Resist the urge to say "You make me feel..." or "You caused
my feelings..." even though your emotions are linked to his
or her flirting.
Avoid saying, "I feel like you are ruining our
relationship" or a similar statement.
Simply own how you are feeling and express it. Stick with
actual emotions that your experiencing
rather than making your partner "wrong" or "to blame."
You might follow up your "I feel..." statement with a
You could ask your partner to help create some agreements
with you about the types of interactions with others you
both deem to be appropriate.
You two might come up with a signal that you can give your
partner in a social setting that indicates to him or her
that you need to re-connect and check in.
If you are willing to stay in this relationship, why not do
whatever you can to encourage a sense of openness?
Take steps to rebuild trust by being aware of how you are
communicating with your partner about flirting or other
issues that are coming up in your