What’s a little innocent flirting? Many married people think that a little harmless flirting with people outside of the marriage can actually be good for the marriage.

Do you think it’s ok?

Flirting: Good, Bad… or just Plain Ugly?

Flirting, on its surface, seems harmless enough, right?

There’s no harm because there’s no intention behind it, you or your spouse may reason. It’s just meant to be playful, taken lightly, nothing serious.

It also puts a toe up there on the slippery slope.

Here’s why:

1: Innocent Flirting Can Quickly Change

What starts out in “innocent good fun” can lead to situations that are much more serious—and damaging—to a marriage. After all, isn’t flirting used as a ‘come on’ between two people at the very start of a relationship?

So, if you’re flirting, the recipient is potentially being given a signal that says “I’m available” or “I am looking to play.” Is this the message you want to send?

2: It Can Become Ego-Addictive

For some people, they require the positive feelings received through flirting to feel better about themselves. This behavior can become addictive: you wink at the wait staff, they laugh, pat your arm and flatter you, and you feel great about yourself.

But at what point does it really fill you up? If self-esteem is an issue, is there a way to feel good about yourself without resorting to sending this type of signal out, as we just went over under #1?

3:  Flirting is a Form of Infidelity

It may surprise you to think of flirting as being a form of cheating, but it is: emotionally.

When you flirt outside of the marriage, you’ve given away your emotional energy to someone other than your spouse. And, you and your spouse deserve that energy, as well as the opportunity to be each other’s champion.

That energy you expend in a quest to feel good would be better spent in your marriage. Emotional infidelity can be just as damaging as sex outside of marriage

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Here’s how to take flirting energy and infuse it into your own relationship:

Tip #1: Get Real with Yourself

If you flirt, ask yourself why. And don’t just give a surface answer. If you think “because it feels good,” dig deeper: why does it feel good? What about flirting makes you feel good, fulfilled, validated?

Then, go another level. Why do you need to feel validated, or good through flirting with strangers, etc.?

Tip #2: Low Self-Esteem? Fix It.

Everyone wants to feel attractive, admired, appealing. But spending your energy seeking constant reassurance outside of your marriage is wasting your marriage’s precious energy. If you are suffering from low self-esteem, what can you do—besides flirting—to boost it?

Better yet, what can you do—with your spouse—to feel better about yourself?

Tip #3: Save that Energy, Spend It Spicing Things Up

If you’re the consummate flirt, refrain from flirting and looking for that outside validation for a week. Then, take that energy you would have used outside of the marriage, and charm your spouse with it.

Spice up your relationship by flirting with your spouse. Think of it as excellent foreplay.

Maybe it has been a while since you flirted with your spouse, and their reaction may be a little off, because they’re not sure what you’re trying to do. Tell your spouse: “I’m trying to flirt with the most gorgeous creature I’ve ever beheld…” – or whatever it is a flirt might say!

My best to you as you infuse a little passionate energy into your marriage.

What’s your take on flirting—both within a marriage, and going outside of the marriage?

Are you – or is your spouse – a flirt?

Can you remember the last time you flirted with your spouse? 


Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.


Author & Relationship Expert. Amy Waterman is co-founder of Save My Marriage, and provides a FREE Mini-Course to help marriages stay together through good and tougher times.


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