My Lover is a Flirt

What is flirting? Flirting is playfully communicating attraction to someone.

On the surface it looks like flirting is simply a playful interaction with someone you’re attracted to without the intention of taking it any further. The ‘further’ would be dating, intimacy, love, relationship, etc.

Why do people flirt? Flirting communicates interest or desire. It communicates to someone that you find him or her to be attractive. The reason(s) you are not taking it further are usually related to prior commitments, or the absence of availability, or the simple weakness of the desire itself.

Now a deeper psychological reason for flirting involves the more hidden motivation of finding out whether or not you are personally desirable. If the flirtatious behavior is reciprocated, this communicates the interest back to you. Some people need to feel desired or attractive in order to feel good about themselves.

I’m not saying we are not all subject to this kind self-centered motivation. Being human beings it is very common. When the need is strong, however, and flirting is the chosen method of feeding one’s self-esteem, then flirting becomes a frequent and preferred approach to dealing with people.

This is usually when the label ‘flirt’ gets placed on a person. A flirt is someone who is using flirtatiousness as a way to bolster his or her self-esteem. People with this kind of approach to others are usually struggling with some measure of self-doubt under the psychological surface.

Now if you’re in love with a ‘flirt’ you’ll have a few things to deal with. First and foremost, if you are ‘insecure’ about your relationship, you’ll probably be jealous a lot when your lover flirts in your presence.

You’ll have to understand you’re in love with a person who feels the need for an ‘acknowledgment’ of some kind from the people he or she meets. For example, the acknowledgment could come from positive reactions to the presentation of one’s ability, aptitude, or knowledge. Or in the case of flirting, the simple communication of interest or approval that comes back when flirting is reciprocated.

When this ‘need’ is being met through flirting, your lover needs people to acknowledge his or her attractiveness and fend off his or her doubts about it. This helps him or her feel valued. If you understand this about your lover, feel secure with the commitment you both have to each other, and you’re not the jealous type, no problem.

If not, you’ll be threatened repeatedly by a behavior that is probably a bit ingrained in your lover’s character or personality. What I’m telling you is, you’re not going to like it, and you won’t be able to change him or her. What I mean is, make him or her less flirtatious.

What you can do is change yourself. That is, if you want to. One option is to adapt, lose the jealousy, tell yourself that you’re taking a risk on love, come what may. If it turns out to be just the way he or she is at parties and around people, no problem.

If his or her flirting leads to cheating or a breakup, you took the risk and found out, now you have to learn, heal, and move on. The other option of course is to find a lover that is not flirtatious and save yourself from going crazy.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan

Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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