3 Things You CAN Do When Your Partner Won't Admit to or Talk
By Susie and Otto Collins
John is a big flirt. This is painfully obvious to his wife,
but not to him.
Over the years, Cheryl has tried a variety of tactics when
to John's flirting and none have been effective.
her feelings. She's confronted him about the flirting. She's
reasoned with him about it.
Now that they are trying to rebuild trust after John's
Cheryl is more aware than ever of his habit of flirting with
women. She knows that flirting is how that affair began.
Because John has been so willing to rebuild trust with her
ways, Cheryl is shocked that he is continuing to flirt.
matter worse, he absolutely refuses to talk with her about
flirting. He won't admit that it's an issue and leaves the
she tries to bring up the subject.
If trust is weak in your love relationship or marriage
infidelity or lying, you might be putting a lot of effort
rebuilding trust and strengthening your relationship.
mate might be learning and practicing new ways of
being intimate with one another.
You might be doing all of this work to restore your
relationship...and then along comes the flirting.
Your partner's flirting may seem innocent and like "nothing"
or her. But, to you and especially now, it can feel like a
We've said it before and we'll say it again...
Flirting is wonderful when it happens between two people in
a relationship or occurs between available people in a
However, when flirting occurs between people who are already
other committed relationships, it is damaging and dangerous.
Flirting can cause confusion, trigger jealousy and erode
None of these will help you rebuild trust after infidelity.
What do you do when your partner won't admit to or talk
very real problem?
If your partner has a habit of flirting, you may have
these assertions to him or her. You two might not agree
types of behavior are considered flirting and what are not.
This is where it can get tricky.
It could be that your partner sees his or her actions as
because this is not what your partner considers flirting to
on the other hand, see it quite differently.
It's not going to help you resolve the conflict to argue
definition of flirting is correct and whose is incorrect.
actually be part of the reason why your partner now refuses
with you about this.
In general, "flirting" is defined as playful behavior that
intended to spark sexual interest in another.
It's difficult to really know what another person's
It can become even more unclear when you are watching your
interact with another person and you worry that he or she is
intending to arouse sexual interest in another person.
Things can become confusing and upsetting very fast and you
may not be accurate in what you think you are seeing.
If your partner denies that he or she flirts and refuses to
with you about it, forcing the issue is not going to help--
going to drive your partner further away from you.
Here are 3 things that you CAN do...
#1: Get clear about what you are seeing and what you are
If there's been infidelity in the past in your relationship
your previous relationships), your mind might fill with
scenarios about what could be happening when you see your
flirt with another person.
Without dismissing your very real feelings, bring yourself
what you do know. It is so important that you are basing
and actions on reliable information.
Pay attention if you have a tendency to use the term
In other words, if you call most of your partner's
conversations with other individuals "flirting," you may
assess your definition of what flirting is.
Joking is not necessarily flirting. Talking one-on-one is
necessarily flirting. Eye contact or touching is not
If, however, these behaviors are combined with an
to sexually arouse and if the touching or talking become
intense, then it could be flirting.
#2: Look for an alternate approach when communicating.
If it's become obvious to you that your partner will not
conversation with you that involves the word "flirting," you
try an alternate approach.
The goal here is NOT to avoid
about his or her flirting or to let your partner "off the
This is about finding a way to keep communication going and
encourage you both to stay open to one another so that you
to some resolution about this.
If, for example, your partner tends to flirt with others
two are at a party, you might focus your communication on
of re-connecting when out together socially.
You could make
request that the two of you physically or verbally
in with one another and spend more time together at parties.
#3: Create agreements that you both can be okay with.
Whatever request or agreement you propose to your partner,
that you are putting before him or her an agreement and not
ultimatum (unless you are truly willing to follow through
As you create agreements, stay open and really listen to
partner has to say. Promote an environment in which you both
like you can be honest about this and that you are agreeing
Too often, a couple makes an agreement that is not
understood in the
same way by both people. The agreement is inadvertently
because of the confusion.
In other cases, one person will
the request merely to get the other "off his or her back."
agreements are rarely kept or, if they are kept, resentment
An agreement made with openness, honesty and clarity can be
positive step that you and your partner take to end the
others as you two rebuild trust.