Watching your husband flirt could make you angry or unhappy, especially if you feel the behavior violates your marital vows. Unfortunately, you and your spouse might not agree on whether the behavior is harmless, according to psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz, M.D., in a “Today” article. His motivation can indicate whether the behavior is something you should be concerned about, or whether to accept it as innocent fun.
Express Your Feelings
Let your husband know that his flirtatious behavior upsets you, suggests Saltz. He might not realize that it upsets you or why. Ask why he feels the need to flirt and notice if he tends to flirt with any female with a pulse. Flirting might not indicate that your husband is sexually interested in other women, according to the article, “Why We Flirt: NIU Professor David Henningsen Uncovers More Reasons Just Love, Romance” on the Northern Illinois University website. If you think the flirting violates the boundaries of your marriage, discuss acceptable behaviors and negotiate healthy boundaries.
Some people flirt to get closer to a love interest and others use flirting to discover if the person they are flirting with is interested, according to Henningsen. Additional reasons include being fun and playful, boosting self-esteem, motivating someone to do something for you and initiating sexual contact. If he’s being playful, boosting his self-esteem or trying to get a favor, such as a free doughnut or assistance on a project at work, chill out. If he’s aiming for sex or trying to find out if another woman is open to his advances, confront the behavior and ask him to stop.
Move Closer to Him
If you have been neglecting your husband, criticizing, nagging him or driving him away, stop your negative behaviors and work on actions that move you closer together, suggests Shauna Springer, Ph.D., a psychologist specializing in marital and relationship issues, writing for the Clinical Psychology Associates of North Central Florida. Flirt with him and act like you would if you were having an affair with him. Get away together without your kids and stir up passion and fun, suggests relationship therapist Diana Kirschner, Ph.D., writing for the American Psychological Association website. Give him a reason to flirt with you, such as taking extra care with your appearance or letting him know that you are passionately in love with him.
If your husband’s flirting sends up some red flags, such as having a sexual agenda, investing significant time with a specific woman, rationalizing his behavior and being secretive about his flirting, you might have a problem, according to Therese J. Borchard, author of “The Pocket Therapist and associate editor PsychCentral. Alternatively, if you are overly possessive and jealous or suffer from low self-esteem, the problem could be with you, suggests Saltz. Consider a few sessions with a marital therapist to see if you can iron out the problems in the relationship and tone down his flirting to a comfortable level.