Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant from the trailer for the film Monkey Business (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When your partner is a flirt!
Some people have outgoing personalities. They are extroverts and sometimes this can show itself as flirtatiousness. Being flirtatious is just part of who they are. It is the way they communicate with others.
But, for many that is all it is – it doesn’t mean they are seriously interested in the person they flirt with.
However, it can be difficult to be in a relationship with someone who has a very flirtatious personality, especially if you lack confidence or you are one of those unfortunate people who are prone to jealousy.
If you do show signs of jealousy or disapproval, then a flirtatious partner will probably try to hide or conceal their actions. Which makes them uncomfortable and probably you less trusting.
Sometimes in a group of friends, a flirtatious way of communicating with each other develops. A group develops a pattern of communication which is unique to them – this happens in families, among friends and between lovers.
For instance, some siblings find unusual ways to bicker, some couples develop playful ways to tease each other, and close friends can tell elaborate jokes using a just a few key words.
Once a pattern of communication gets established within a relationship, people tend to use that style or pattern as long as they know each other. Between male and female friend it doesn’t signal intentions, it just reflects how they have learned to communicate.
For most of us, our natural style of communicating is a large part of our identity and it is difficult for us to change.
But flirtatious behaviour can make a partner feel threatened, jealous and insecure. At the extreme such feelings can consume people, making life miserable for all involved.
If you feel uncomfortable, you have a couple of options but both have their challenges
First, you can work on how you think about your partner's flirtatious behaviour. How we think about situations influences how we react. Instead of thinking “my partner is attracted to other people more than me and they are going to leave me” you can view it differently “my partner is crazy about me, but they are so flirtatious they would probably even try to flirt with a cabbage.”
Learning to think about it differently isn't easy, because our emotions often get the best of us. But, with practice and commitment you can change the way you interpret things.
Another option is to share how you feel with your partner. This is not to change their behaviour but to increase your understanding of each other’s point of view. By sharing your feelings you gain a better understanding and your feelings should have less of an impact on how you behave. Sharing your feelings will help you to understand your partner’s point of view, and that will hep you both feel closer.
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Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with managers and professionals who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR. She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at WWendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com