Everybody flirts. It is a part of the mating ritual that never gets old. Flirting can make you feel special and excited about you or a new person; it can make you feel dangerous and alive. It is a harmless way to build your self-esteem and have a really fun night with little cost to other people’s feelings.
Flirting gives you that feeling that everyone loves at the beginning of a relationship: the excitement of meeting someone new who is interesting and interested, the implication of something more, the feeling that someone new finds you desirable and worth spending their attention on.
For many people in couples, flirting with others is a way to get back some of those feelings that you feel like you may never have again within a long-term relationship. When your significant other flirts with you, it feels nice. But in the back of your mind, it’s not the same: you already have her. In the context of dating, flirting is how you reel in the fish, and flirting with your mate is great, but it’s kind of like hunting in captivity: you’d have to be a pretty bad shot to miss and not bring home the prize.
It is for this reason that most of the married male friends I have are the biggest flirts in the world: they really have nothing to lose. It’s fun to flirt, but if it no one bites, and even if you get flat-out rejected, all the more reason to feel good that you have your mate safely tucked away at home, to go home to at the end of the night. It makes married men reckless sometimes when they are out with their friends, especially the single dudes, who are taking their games of cat and mouse very seriously. If the girls you are flirting with don’t know you are married, then your careless attitude might even come off as more attractive than your obviously goal-oriented friends. When you feel as though you have nothing to lose, you will have that detached aura about you that so many of us women can’t resist.
If flirting is really a most innocent form of social interaction, then why can it be such a bone of contention between you and your mate? Who deserves to be angry here: your mate, who feels it’s disrespectful of you to act as if your relationship doesn’t exist, even for just a few hours of innocent fun, or you, who must come to the conclusion that her jealousy indicates a complete lack of trust in your character? In truth, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
At the base of both of your actions, your flirting and her jealousy and distrust all stem from similar sources: insecurity and doubt, and perhaps fear of boredom. Everyone feels insecure at some point and we often turn to other people to make us feel better about ourselves. Women are taught that they need one faithful man to make them believe that they are special and worth forsaking all others for, while men are encouraged to sow the seed long and far, valuing their appeal to a wide range of women, if possible, all at once. This is especially true when paired with a night out with the boys, which, in some way or another, always comes down to competing in some challenge of one-upmanship involving either sports or women. So, in the usual cosmic joke, fulfilling your ego needs is often counterproductive to fulfilling hers.
At the bottom of this problem are two issues: your intentions (as perceived by your significant other) and your seemingly mutually exclusive needs—your variety vs. her security. Let’s deal first with her need for security and feelings of insecurity. For many women, the intentions they are questioning are probably not even yours. Women are raised to harbour a deep-seated suspicion of each other. All women fear that vixen lurking in the shadows just waiting to steal you away with their perfect ass and air of mystery. In some ways, you should be flattered that she would think someone else would want you that badly. Many women are very much aware that men rarely have intentions of anything other than as much instant gratification as they can grab without really risking any substantial loss. Unfortunately, we know our sisters, and we know that very few women act without having a very clear idea of her intentions, and how to fulfill them.
The second threat is your boys. Having been regaled with the tales of boys’ weekends and having witnessed first-hand just how far you’ll go to outdo each other, we know full well that you are going to be much more apt to go much further than you would normally intend to go, simply because, in the presence of one another, you are morons. If she suspects that any of your friends harbour any tiny resentment toward her, then she will be doubly on guard, just waiting for them to bait your alcohol-enfeebled mind into something you don’t have the presence of mind to back out of until you have done something irreversible.
Finally, if you think that she is being foolish believing that you could actually even score if you wanted to, remember that she knows someone very well, someone she respects, who did fall for your lines at one time: her. When she imagines you going out there and working your magic, she remembers how special she felt when it was her you were flirting with, and not only does she resent that you are making someone else feel that way, she probably misses feeling that special too.
This leads back to your intentions. Why are you in a relationship if you feel the need to go elsewhere on a regular basis to feel special? Why are you in a relationship with this woman if you don’t derive pleasure from making her feel special as often as you can? Isn’t that what a relationship is all about? Why does that have to fade with time? These are all questions you should ask yourself, and in asking those questions, maybe you will find some answers as to how to cultivate the same excitement you feel making strangers feel good in your relationship. Find way to keep variety in your relationship, and find ways that your girlfriend can stroke your ego (we all need it) so that you don’t feel the need to be going elsewhere to feel impressive.