Married and Flirting: What’s Healthy vs. What Crosses the Line

A woman married and flirting with a man as they have a conversation over drinks at sunset.

Throughout your married life, you’ll crave companionship and form different types of relationships with people who aren’t your partner. It’s natural and healthy to forge friendships and bonds with lots of people. And, hey, getting close to people and learning from them is part of what makes life worth living. Just because you love one person doesn’t mean you can’t get close to, and even love, others. But how close is too close, and how do you know when a relationship with someone crosses the line?  

We’re humans, and everyone likes a confidence boost, even if it’s coming from someone other than a spouse. But the line between healthy and unhealthy flirting isn’t always easy to identify, and sometimes you can stumble into a conversation or situation that takes things too far without even realizing it.

If you’re flirting with someone other than your spouse, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it helps to know the difference between healthy vs. harmless flirting. That way you don’t find yourself accidentally crossing a line.

What is harmless flirting?
Harmless flirting includes things like exchanging compliments, eye contact, or teasing someone without actually pursuing the other person. This is the safest form of flirting, because even though it feels good to be noticed by other people, you still know who your heart belongs to and you aren’t leading someone else on.

A tip to help you play it safe—the best way to think about harmless flirting is to think about how you’d act if your wife or husband were standing there listening to your conversation and interaction. Would you feel weird? Would you tone things down if they were there? Or would you be natural and playful?

What is risky flirting?
Risky flirty is exchanging words or body language that may invite the other person to pursue you. It’s putting yourself out there as available in some way, even if you really aren’t. This is the kind of flirting you want to stay away from.

Here are some examples of risking flirting:

– Creating excuses for private conversations.
Initiating a conversation that could lead to hanging out privately. In this situation, a few words may turn into a long in-person or text conversation that you would want to hide. This gives the person you’re flirting with a reason to believe you have intimate intentions.

– Engaging in physical touching.
A hug hello is fine. But if you’re touching someone’s knee, hitting their shoulder, or tucking a lock of hair behind their ear, you’re sending real, physical signals that you’re interested. This is a sign that the flirting has gone too far.

– Consistently talking about sexy or dirty things.
Are you always bringing up sex? Either their sex life or yours? It may sound weird, but even if you’re talking about having with your husband or wife, by bringing it up at all you’re inviting the other person to think of you in a sexual way. Subconsciously, you may want them to view you as a sexual person, even though you can’t pursue that kind of relationship with them.  

– Blurring boundaries with the person you find attractive.
If you don’t make it clear that you’re married, then your harmless flirting could get you in trouble. Whether your marriage is new or not, happy or stale, you must be consistent in your words and actions when being playful with someone who is not your spouse. Being inconsistent can lead to increasing flirting and opening up the possibility of being intimate in a way that can lead down a slippery slope.

Flirting may be a fun and a subtle reminder of who you were before you got married, but remember this, you married the person you want to be with. You have the power to control your flirting, and it’s unfair to both your spouse and the person you’re flirting with to take things too far.

Tori Glaude

Tori is a D.C. lifestyle blogger and author on a lifelong mission to empower women so they can achieve their goals. Her debut book is entitled “Sour Grapes into Wine: How to Leave a Toxic Relationship to Create a Productive Lifestyle.”

When she’s not writing or working in television production, Tori enjoys kickboxing and trying out new restaurants.

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