Flirting and Cheating…Does being flirtatious lead to cheating?

flirting and cheatingby Sarah P.

I firmly believe that if a couple is to recover from an affair, there are certain behaviors that must be changed. There are other behaviors that must be dropped altogether if recovery is to be possible. The behavior that needs to go is flirting.

I believe that extreme flirtation opens the door to an affair. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend flirtation at all after one is married, except for with one’s partner.

Now, I imagine that this is easier said than done for some. I have noticed many men flirt in order to get continual validation from the opposite sex. Women also flirt for the same reasons.

And the flirting itself isn’t as big a problem as the underlying reasons. Anytime someone needs constant external validation from the opposite sex, they’re probably not going to be the best partner. It’s hard to have a healthy relationship if one partner is extremely insecure and cannot get his or her emotional needs met by himself or herself. People who feel complete within themselves and who feel validated generally do not need to flirt or seek external validation.

In the case of heavy flirting, this is a behavior that must stop altogether. And if you suspect your spouse is having an affair (or if he or she has not had an affair yet), I would examine your partner’s level of flirtation with others and I would nip it in the bud.

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My friend’s predicament…

One of my best friends owns a business that often takes her into the homes of married couples. Her primary reason to be there is to educate the children and not to interact with the parents. But, recently, she has experienced a lot more dads flirting with her and going out of their way to do so.

I have known my friend for many years and I know that when she’s out in public she dresses very conservatively and has integrity. Still, even if she dresses conservatively, there’s no getting around the fact that she’s extremely (naturally) attractive.

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She tells me the dads who are the worst flirts often have the most attractive and gracious wives.

It makes my friend absolutely sick to her stomach when it happens. She empathizes with the wives of these cases and knows how horrified she would be if her boyfriend ever cheated on her.

My friend is not the pursuer at all and when she interacts with families, she always addresses the wife and the child. She is very mindful of not speaking with the husband because she does not want to give the wrong impression. Still, she has received some of the most obnoxious proposals from married fathers. In fact, one man was so bold as to flirt with her in front of his wife and make various inappropriate comments about my friend’s appearance. My friend was very upset by this and did not respond. Now she tries to make sure that fathers are not around when she is doing her job.

Now, if I did not know my friend so well I would wonder exactly what she did to encourage such behavior. I have known her for many years and she dresses very conservatively anytime she’s out. She does not encourage men who are taken and basically sees them as off-limits. She’s a nice person, but she’s not gregarious or opening herself up in anyway.

A personal example…

I too have experienced similar things although they are not as often since I primarily work alone these days. Several years ago, I was going in for an orthodontic consultation to readjust my bite. My orthodontists were a husband and wife who practiced together. I met with the husband first and he made a comment about how attractive I looked (to him) and he often touched my shoulder while speaking. I ignored him and in fact I remember freezing in my tracks because his behavior was so out of the ordinary and a turn off.

Then, I met with his wife about options that were available to me to adjust my bite. I was completely shocked. His wife was absolutely gorgeous and so nice. She was a beautiful Italian woman who naturally looked like a model and who was smart, as evidenced by the fact that she was an oral surgeon. On top of that, she was warm and humble and had a smile that would light up the room.

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It made an impression on me…

That was probably 10 years ago, but I still think about it because it made such an impression. This male dentist was married to the perfect woman on all counts. His wife was 100 times more naturally attractive than I could ever be. Yet, she was so kind and genuine that any woman would want her as a best friend.

Her husband was attractive enough.  And I’m sure that he used the idea of him being a doctor and played it to the hilt to flirt with other women. Luckily, she did not see how her husband had behaved toward me. I absolutely cringed on the inside and asked myself over and over again, “Why?”

Even if his wife had not been all those wonderful things, it would not have made a difference. He was responsible for his flirtatious behavior.

And that brings us to our next point…

Really, men have no reason to flirt with women when they’re married (nor do married women have reason to flirt with men). By the way, I define flirting as making comments about a person’s appearance that would lead them to believe he/she was physically interested.

Flirting can also occur when someone violates your personal space and starts hanging on your arm and touching your shoulders. It can occur via text message or email. Flirting can also be the five-minute stare where for example, a man looks you up and down repeatedly and always settles on your breasts. It can be sexually inappropriate comments.

The point is – and the bad news is – there are men and women out there who have no regard for their wives’ or husbands’ feelings. They carry-on flirting with other women and men while keeping the door open. After all, out of all those women (and men), one might just take the bait. If a person notices this sort of behavior in their spouse, I would advise her/him to nip it in the bud ASAP.

I was in a situation long ago where had I paid attention to my fiancé’s behavior, I would have realized that he was not an innocent flirt. I assumed it was just his personality. Little did I know that anytime he flirted, he was more than happy if a woman were to reciprocate in a physical fashion. I didn’t even see his infidelity coming and was completely blindsided.

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Ben and Jennifer…Flirting and Cheating

Another example of a man with a beautiful wife who cheated on his wife is Ben Affleck. He got to marry Hollywood’s sweetheart, Jennifer Garner. She was at the peak in her career when she got married to him. She gave up her prime years to raise their children while he went out and worked.

In my opinion Jennifer Garner is also the whole package. Talented, beautiful, sweet to a fault, and willing to put her own children above all else, she is an amazing person. And yet it has come out recently that Ben has basically been cheating on her from the time they tied the knot. Ouch. I wonder if there were signs. Prior to that, I always questioned his character in that he went from Jennifer Lopez to Jennifer Garner.

So my point is…

If you see flirtatious behavior in your spouse, it’s time to have a talk. When you address it, site very specific instances and be very detailed in how you describe the behavior. Let him/her know that if your marriage is to work, such behaviors will not help build a marriage.

Never attack your spouse as a person or attack their character. Always stick to the behavior that you don’t like because behaviors can be changed.  And behaviors are separate from the core of the person. If he/she doesn’t want to own up to it, ask how he/she would feel if you did the same thing with other men/women. They would be lying if the said it would not bother them.

So, don’t let it slide, don’t close your eyes to it, and do something positive about it. If your marriage is worth it, then it’s worth talking about the hard things and working things out.

We’d  like to thank Sarah for once again contributing to our blog. Sarah is a busy writer and mom and has two Master’s degrees – one in English and another in clinical psychology. 


    29 replies to "Nip Flirting In the Bud Before It Happens (Again)"

    • Shifting Impressions

      Interesting….perhaps we should define “Flirting”. I never thought of my partner as particularly flirtatious in an overt sort of way……but as I read this article it made me realize that he teases and jokes with people and really is rather charming.

      I believe the teasing even without any sexual or obvious innuendo can lead to trouble. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that is how his EA started. After all that is how he flirts with me……even way at the very beginning of our relationship.

      I was secure and never realized this charming type behavior was a threat to me. Now I see it a behavior that can lead to heartbreak.

      So sad that even friendly banter and teasing by the opposite sex can lead to such pain.

      • Muddling through

        I totally agree with what Shifting Impressions has said. I would not have described my husband as a flirt, but there was definitely a lot of friendly banter and teasing going on within our group of friends, between him and two of the women in particular. I think because it was more jokey and bantery and not so overtly flirtatious (there no fluttering of eyelashes or gentle arm brushes for example) I really didn’t think anything of it and didn’t see it as any kind of threat or warning sign. I have had my eyes opened to the dangers of that now and won’t be so naive again.

    • TheFirstWife

      I would watch my H be a little flirty with other women. Joking, laughing, charming, but it never bothered me. I was not insecure and he basically was just being himself.

      Now? Life has changed. I hate it and have been forced to put a stop to it. I told him just recently that I used to think he was a straight up guy and would socialize (business situations) and would not act that way. I never thought he was one of those guys.

      Truth be told he was and probably still is flirty when I am not around. That is how his affair started. He met a cute girl at a bar one night, hired her to work for him and flirted with her and then the EA/PA developed.

      Sometimes I just want to bail so I don’t have to deal with this. He still travels for business but I cannot get 100% trust back. Never ever will. I hate that!

      His mid life crisis, one girlfriend before me in high school and work issues all led to the affair.

    • LivingOnAPrayer

      I used to think flirting was just a part of my husband, his personality, that’s how he socialized. WRONG! I though it showed how secure and confident he was. WRONG AGAIN! We did “nip it in the bud” but not until the affair was revealed. It’s been 7 months since D-day and all flirting (with other women) has stopped. I’m still trying to keep the mind-set as the affair being a lesson learned. Be the change that you want to see in others. My prayers are with you all.

    • exercisegrace

      Well, I can add this to the list of things I “almost’ wish we had experienced. Because then it would be something to change, and if there are things to change it would feel as if there were more protective barriers we could put up. Does that make sense to anyone other than me? My husband was never a flirt. I cannot think of a single time I saw him act even mildly flirtatious. His whore outright admitted that she was the pursuer. She buried him under an avalanche of praise and adoration. It goes without saying that he could have ignored her, or told her to stop or any number of other ways to handle the situation other than going dumpster diving with her.

      I will say that I notice flirting much more now. I used to just ignore men that flirted with me, and actually considered them pathetic if they were married. I was insulted that a married man would think for one second that i was willing to be his whore. Now it makes me very sad. To see people risking their marriages, families and in many cases even their careers. For what? A little strange love on the side? Seriously? I want to shake people and scream at them. It is so not worth the pain and agony.

    • gizfield

      Same here, Exercise Grace. I have never, even once, seen my husband act in an inappropriate way toward any woman, of any age. Never made comments, never stared, nothing. I even wondered a couple of times if he was gay, lol. Not really , but you know what I mean.

      • exercisegrace

        Giz, that’s too funny! My husband never paid any attention to when women flirted with him. I was usually the one who pointed it out. He was always clueless about a woman’s tone of voice, body language, etc. His whore admitted she pursued him and I believe it. They worked together for two or three years before she decided to give chase. I think he really didn’t notice at first, then tried to ignore it, and finally got caught up in the ego-jacking bullcrap of it all.

        At any rate, I think flirting is a topic ALL couples should discuss. What constitutes flirting, is it ever acceptable, how to handle it when you are on the receiving end, etc.

    • Rachel

      My ex had the flirt disease.
      My knew guy, wouldn’t know how and if someone was flirting with him, he wouldn’t even know it! 🙂

    • Tabs

      My CH was, and probably still is, very flirtatious. I believe he now flirts behind my back. He’s always been very “friendly” with women. I even remember one time he made a innuendo to this one young girl, right in front of my face. No shame. Then, after I found out about his affairs, I really noticed his behavior. Told him if he didn’t stop, then he should just leave. Hindsight, all the flags should have been raised. But I overlooked it because it happened often with no consequence. What an incredibly painful lesson.

    • TheFirstWife

      Tabs. I hear ya! My H was kinda shy with girls when we met. Good looking but not confident with women.

      I always thought his sense of humor and great personality were what attracted people to him. Now I know he was being flirty. I don’t think he propositioned anyone but I do think he would welcome their flirtiness and he enjoyed their attention.

      Difference between us? At a party recently and some guy started coming on to me. I immediately grabbed my H and put a stop to it. I agree that these married guys are pathetic b/c they believe a married woman would be interested in them. No morals, no sense, just plain idiots.

      I have zero tolerance for this crap. It is so childish and if you need an ego boost in your life, find it in some other way.

    • Rachel

      Doug, what did you think of cape cod? What town did you stay in? Where did you eat?

      • Doug

        Rachel, Cape Cod was pretty cool, though we were only there a day. We stayed at a campground a little outside of Provincetown and we just ate at one of those diner type places where they cook up all sorts of stuff. I think we really needed to stay longer than we did in order to check out places like Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. We did a whale watching trip while we were there which was pretty cool.

    • TryingHard

      My husband was/is not a flirt. He’s clueless about others flirting with him. That’s why I know the OW had to work very hard to get his attention. Just like the old college girlfriend sending him a FB friend request, he was clueless about her intentions but I wasn’t and yes I nipped it in the bud. Still haven’t heard from the chicken after sending her a PM to piss off!!

      I’d love to hear some male opinions with regards to their cluelessness on women flirting with them. I believe most men are flattered and think it’s harmless. I used to think so too. Yeah learned a life lesson the hard way. I will never let that happen again

      • Strengthrequired

        My h was clueless too TH, years and years of cluelessness, and me trying to explain to him, because I could see. He was the nice guy, women thought they could try and get, even though he was married. Yet it took twenty years for him to finally weaken, and fall prey to one in particular. All because his stupid midlife. Hopefully he keeps his eyes open and his mind attached from now on.

        • exercisegrace

          TH and SR, you guys will appreciate this story! Once in the early years of our marriage, we attended a company picnic. My husband’s boss was there with his wife. She was flirting with my husband. We were in our twenties at the time and they were probably in their late forties. I fumed on the way home, and my husband was in total disbelief that she had been flirting. He was shocked I would even say that….they had been married for twenty years!!!! (don’t ya know). Fast forward six months or so. He comes home from work, looking totally blown away. His boss told him he was getting a divorce. Came home early and found out his wife was cheating with a neighbor. He learned to trust my judgement more after that. Too bad I didn’t meet his whore sooner, all these years later. Too bad when I DID meet her, he didn’t listen to and had his head too far up his (her?) rear-end to listen.

          • Strengthrequired

            Eg, what is it with men, they think that once they are married that some women don’t still try? They just think all these women are just being nice. Now there is nice, yet there is being overly nice..
            You know, I used to not get to bothered by some women my husband knew giving him a kiss on the cheek, yet since his affair, I hate it.
            We went out last year for a Christmas dinner with one of our suppliers, and I swear every woman came up and gave my husband a kiss, wanting photos with him, and honestly he enjoyed every minute, me in the other hand cringed. I guess another after effect of his affair.

    • Tryinghard

      SR and EG
      I don’t know about you guys but I used to think what’s a little harmless flirting, maybe it’s even kind of good. I’d actually felt good for him as I knew it must have been an ego boost. Now anything crazy or overt would piss me off but anything short of that I would point out and laugh with him about it. I was that sure of our relationship and his respect for me. Also I can’t say that 40 years together that I haven’t flirted with other men. It happens but don’t we all kind of know the boundaries in flirting? I still think most of it is harmless UNTIL they cross that line right?

      Now forward to where our lives are at now and the example I use is a waitress at a restaurant was so overtly flirting with him and actually turned her back to me and the old girlfriend sends a FB request with obvious intentions and he’s still clueless. When I point it out, he laughs and says I’m so cute when I get jealous. WTF??? Told yeah I think you e given me good reason to be. I think he still sees it as harmless. Well it’s not anymore. And more to the point my pouting it out gives us a good opportunity to discuss some women’s intentions and HIS vulnerability. What I’d like is his acknowledgement that there’s a point to my ire and frustration about the “flirting”. And really in both cases I don’t think it was flirting but overtly putting it out there.

      The other point is if my husband pointed out to me someone’s nefarious intentions and tried to make a point about it to me I would take his opinion seriously. I’d fall all over myself to reassure him and do anything he asked me to reassure him and validate his opinion. I would NOT patronize him and tell him “it’s cute when you’re jealous”. LOL I’m a woman of a certain age. I’m way past being “cute” in anything I do.

      Flirting is most definitely a slippery slope. But I think I’ve made it pretty clear to him that I will most definitely NOT be suffering anyone’s flirtations. What’s really amusing is those women in our social circle who flirted mildly with my husband and I with theirs cut a wide berth with him since the news of his cheating. None of them even remotely flirt with him anymore. No pecks on the cheek, no hugs, no double entendre banter, nothing. It’s weird but I get it. The really funny thing is their husbands still offer me cheek pecks and hugs and lots of compliments. It’s weird.

    • Strengthrequired

      Th, eg, I think I felt pretty secure with my husband especially when we were not with his family, or their friends. The amount of times they would push other women onto my husband, and he have no idea. These women that used to put themselves out there, in front of me with the help of the family, really became tiresome. Especially one time my bil was getting engaged, the brides best friend wouldn’t leave my husband alone, even though I had two kids. Honestly time and time again I used to have to put up with that family thinking I was not good enough for my husband, that all these women that tried had the idea that it was ok and they had support because naturally they were better than me, yet my husband had no idea, of course I am sure he got a kick out of women flirting with him, making him feel good and all, and he never did anything to have them believe he would hurt me, he just never thought that the agenda was to get him away from me.
      He always stood by me, yet when does one say to themselves, all of those times people were trying to break us up, why didn’t I see it? why didn’t I listen to my wife? Why did I let these people treat my wife and family like this, as if they were nothing? Why did I eventually 20 years later fall to yet what was another attempt at breaking my family,? Why did I for the first time break my vows and let temptation take over?
      Honestly, with all I have put up with, I’m amazed I’m still here. I’m amazed I didn’t leave. How much can one take of not feeling good enough for the family of the man I married. Why did they do all the things they did, and not feel ashamed, yet they must have seen me as a pushover.

    • Strengthrequired

      Th, btw, at times I don’t think our husbands will ever get it. They need to open their eyes and start looking after their marriages, and turn away from those that are openly putting it out there. I am sure they wouldn’t like it if that undue attention was being placed on to us.
      I had a couple of months ago, a young man started to talking to me, then asked if he could kiss me goodbye. Now I kept trying to cut the conversation short, as I was not interested in chatting, yet he still asked for a kiss. I told him, No, that i didn’t need him to do that. He said ok and goodbye then that was it. Now deep down I was hoping my husband was next to me when that happened, so maybe he would see what my reaction was to this man, and maybe I could have seen his reaction. i told him what happened and of course it didn’t seem to bother him, because well he didn’t witness it.

    • Tryinghard

      Your husbands family is pure evil. I don’t get why they are so disrespectful of you. It’s really terrible. I am so sorry you have had to endure their meanness and disrespect. But yes you h should put a stop to it. I would put up with nothing less.

    • Strengthrequired

      Th, I don’t think evil, I think they just thought they could find better for my husband than what he did, because I was not the same nationality as them. I do believe though that they think they are better, and of course their dislike of me came out into their conversations with all those they knew. Which is why there were so many attempts at trying to break my marriage, especially in the early years of my marriage. We had many many years of no interference, up until cousin it, when she decided to give it a try.
      Lucky me….

      • Strengthrequired

        I wanted to say also th, is I will never understand why they are so disrespectful of me either. Maybe I should have ran as fast as I could when the first time I met my husbands father he pretended I wasn’t there and just spoke to all of my husbands other friends. I was raised to be nice to everyone, so it was a shock to my system that my husbands family treated me like this the first time I met them. Yet over the years it wore me down. Cousin it, I thought was going to be the last nail in my coffin. That they had finally succeeded to get rid if me.
        I guess that’s what happens when you marry into a family that think if your not one of them, then your not one of them. I’m just relieved that they were overseas most of the time, as I’m not sure we would have lasted otherwise.
        I has been out with men the same nationality before, and one day before I married my husband, I met a father of one if them, and I told him how I was getting married. He turned to me so disappointed, and said. I wish you were marrying my son. that family was so nice, such a beautiful family, yet the son was a huge flirt. I couldn’t be with someone that was wanting to play the field.
        Then I find my husband, so sweet and charming and protective of me and our relationship. Yet the family weren’t so nice.
        I guess I wasn’t meant to have it both ways.
        Thanks too th…

        • Strengthrequired

          I should say, the same nationality as my husband before.

    • TheFirstWife

      My mother in law HATED me. Did everything she could to break us. Luckily my H stood up to her and by my side. She died having never met her only grandchildren. So sad.

      My parents did not like my H either at first. But after 5 years they eventually came around. Life is too short to waste on such nonsense.

      We both stood up to our families. Had to do what was right for us. I was very lucky b/c my MIL never spoke to me. The other daughter in law in family suffered verbal abuse that left scars to this day. How sad.

      • Strengthrequired

        TFW, my husband would stand up for me too, so they knew never to speak. Bad of me when he was around. That is one thing I can say about my husband, he never ever spoke bad of me, and would stand up for me if anyone spoke a bad word about me in front of him. He did however not speak nice of me in the throws of his affair, and didn’t stand up for me to the ow, until a few months into the affair, where he would get upset with the ow when she put me down. That was the first time he ever said anything bad about me in twenty years, and ever let anyone say anything to him about me.
        I do know, I won’t ever trust his family, I will always believe there is an agenda behind what they do and say. Thankfully they are overseas again, if only cousin it would follow.

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