Wife's Flirting Bothers Husband Is it okay to flirt with the opposite sex when youíre married? Dr. Greco answers one readerís dilemma that gets at the root of the issue. BY DR. CARLA MARIE GRECO
Many people have very different feelings about flirting. It's important to understand those feelings.
“ If your wife recently lost her job or is 'feeling old,' she might be seeking attention from others as a way to restore her self-confidence.”
"My wife is a flirt. She flirts at every party we attend, while we're out in publicóliterally everywhere. I know she loves me and I don't suspect her of any outside love affairs, but why does she have to behave like this? I feel like I should step in and express my feelings, but I donít want her to feel like Iím uptight or smothering her. Should I put a stop to it? And if so, how?"
This is the type of question that is deserving of a two angle approach.
First, if your wifeís flirtatious behavior is a new pattern, I would suggest having a very frank and non-judgmental discussion with her about your concerns. Let her know what you are noticing, and also be clear about why it worries you. You will need to do some soul-searching to find out why her flirting causes you concern.
For example, does it embarrass you? Are you jealous? Are you concerned that someone might mistake her behaviors as a sexual advance and then pursue her? It may be that your wife is not fully conscious of her newly flirtatious ways. She may be calling out for attention from others for a variety of reasons.
If your wife recently lost her job or is "feeling old," she might be seeking attention from others as a way to restore her self-confidence. Talk with her about your concerns in an open and honest way, and this may help her reflect on what is causing her behavior. By having a thoughtful, caring discussion, you and your wife can explore alternative means of gaining positive attention.
Letís say her morale is low due to loss of employment, her sense of self-worth could be infused tremendously by a temporary volunteer position!
Now, if your wifeís flirtatious behavior is a consistent pattern dating back to the time you first met her, it might help to figure out why it is now beginning to bother you! A flirtatious woman (or man) can be very charismatic and engagingódrawing people in like a moth to a flame!
This can be appealing and exciting during the initial stages of the relationshipóin fact, it could be part of what drew you to your wifeóbut, such behaviors can become irritating or frustrating over the long haul.
So, if the flirting is a longstanding pattern some heartfelt soul-searching on your part is also required. After you get a handle on why her behavior is worrying you, you can then have a candid discussion with your wife about why your feelings of concern have arisen.
She might be completely unaware that her habit of flirting is troubling you. Alternatively, it is possible that she feels unnoticed by you and is unconsciously striving to gain attention by making you jealous. With some constructive feedback and open communication, your wife might be very responsive to toning down her flirting ways.
Dr. Carla Marie Greco has her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a private practice in Santa Rosa, California. Dr. Greco specializes in the treatment of anxiety, trauma, depression, grief, and life transition issues. Her greatest goal is to offer services to those in need, offering select appointments on a "sliding scale" for those who have serious financial constraints. Pro bono services, including EMDR, are available for our veterans suffering from issues such as combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex PTSD. Dr. Greco is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Redwood Psychological Association. For more, visit www.drcarlagreco.com.