Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Thursday, February 5, 2009

When Flirtation Goes Too Far: Watching Your Partner Flirt With Someone Else

When you’re in a relationship, a little flirting is arguably healthy and normal. Those who say one should never flirt with someone else most likely unconsciously flirt (at least a little) when their partner is not present. We’re only human and our sexuality lives on, regardless of whether you are in a relationship or not.

What do you do, however, when you witness your partner flirting with someone else and you feel like it goes a step too far? What if it lasts a little too long or gets a little touchy for your liking?

What you do is address it. You check the behavior in the moment so that you clearly communicate that you don’t want the behavior to happen again. Rather than grab your partner’s arm and jerk him or her out of the conversation with the other guilty party, take a break and sit the conversation out for a few minutes. When you can be sure that you’ve regained composure and won’t cause more drama, ask your partner to talk with you alone for a minute.

When you address it, don’t make huge generalizations or call your partner names. Simply express what you observed and tell your partner how it made you feel. It always helps to add something like “maybe I’m just being extra-sensitive, but…” This technique is helpful because it makes your partner feel less attacked.

Finally, simply ask your partner that he or she not do it again. Don’t hold a grudge or let resentment settle in unless this behavior has become a pattern. Accept that we’re all human, that we all make mistakes, and that intimacy often increases in relationships when you work your way through problems together.

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