Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Do you flirt?

I think you should.

In fact, I think flirting can be good for your marriage (or other long-term relationship). No, seriously.

My favorite person to flirt with is my husband, of course. And I most definitely advocate flirting with your spouse every chance you get!

But, I also see the fun and benefits of a bit of innocent flirting with other people, as well.

Now, let me say, right up front, that there IS a line where "innocent" flirting becomes something else. And that's bad. I can't tell you where that line is - it's going to be a little different for every couple. But, I think, deep down, you know where it is, anyway.

But, for me, personally, giving myself permission to flirt again has improved my marriage and our love life.

The fabulous ZenHusband tells me and shows me all the time that I am beautiful and sexy and desired - and that is a WONDERFUL thing. But, at the same time, I know that he is my husband and, really, it's kind of his job to say and do that - to love me even when I'm not at my most attractive.

But, when someone else flirts with you, well that can be just that little bit of external validation you need to boost your confidence - and your libido.

After my sons were born, I was feeling just about as un-sexy as you can feel. I don't care how "easy" a pregnancy was, getting used to your post-partum body is not easy for anybody. Throw in a breastfeeding baby, a growing toddler, perpetual lack of sleep, and re-balancing hormones and you've got an anti-libido cocktail with a fatigue chaser that can pretty much kill even the best sex life.

But, then a funny thing happened when I went back to work after Minion 2 was born: My work brought me into occasional contact with a very handsome man who consistently flirted with me. Nothing overt or inappropriate: Just a little extended eye contact here, an extra smile there, a casual touch, a compliment, some light banter ... and that little bit of attention and attraction - from someone who was not my husband - was just the ego boost I needed to start feeling like an attractive woman again - and not just somebody's mom.

I used to flirt when I was single. But, after I got married ... if a man started flirting with me, I would feel a uncomfortable or guilty - like I must be doing something wrong to acknowledge or encourage it because OMG-I'm-married!

But, somewhere along the way, I've realized married does not equal dead ... and that flirting does not equal infidelity.

Now, when a man flirts with me, I take it as a compliment. It makes me feel attractive and appreciated. And when I flirt back, I feel confident and invigorated.

Ladies: Do you ever put on that perfect pair of jeans or wear those sexy shoes or have that great hair day, and you just walk around feeling like a million bucks all day? I think flirting is like that. It makes you feel good about yourself.

And when that bit of innocent flirting is over - I take those feelings of confidence and attractiveness home with me. To my husband. Who is also very appreciative of the resultant energy and enthusiasm.

The very important caveat is, of course, that you have to be sensitive to your partner's feelings. You have to make sure your level of flirting is within your partner's comfort zone - if your flirting is pushing buttons of jealousy or insecurity - time to stop or dial back!

And, you have to be comfortable with the quid pro quo - don't think that you get a free pass to flash some cleavage to the UPS guy and then turn around and scold your partner for winking at your local barista.

But ... if you are both secure and comfortable - go ahead and flirt a little! You might find that it's good for both of you!

But, hey, that's just my opinion. What do you think?


Missy said...

I don't like it when women flirt with Sexy Papa. But that's because I don't think he needs an ego boost. He is freakin hot!
Being on the receiving end of flirtation is always good for a woman's self esteem. I like it. But I don't pay that much attention to it.

Jared said...

I agree. There is nothing wrong with flirting as long as you keep it under control.

I don't care if my wife flirts a little bit, and she doesn't care if I do either.

The key to "safe flirting" is realizing that it is just fun. As long as you have no doubt that you will ever act upon these flirtations...I say go for it. :D

SciFi Dad said...

It would be easy to be glib here and say something like, "It doesn't matter where you get your appetite so long as you eat at home." Then again, I've never been one to take the easy route.

Flirting can lead to - and is in my opinion a mild form of - emotional infidelity. Just because technically nothing goes wrong 99% of the time doesn't make something safe.

For example, you could put a heat-retardant blanket down on the table and make a small fire in a coffee can to roast marshmallows in your kitchen. If the house doesn't burn down it must be safe, right? But is it a good idea? Maybe, maybe not.

For me, it's a gateway to more serious complications in a relationship, and something I'm not willing to risk.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Okay as much as I agree with SciFi Dad in that it can lead to other things and why mess with fire when you know you might get burned... whole thing...

I also have to say that flirting is ingrained in me.

I don't DO it on purpose it is just WHO I am.

I like to think of it as being a NICE person. I am... I have no intentions of laughing at what a guy says, I just can't help myself if he's being witty.

If a guy remotely has something interesting about him, helk he doesn't even have to be cute (it helps but is not necessary) I can talk to him and feel a keen bond with him within minutes!

It's just who I am.

I'm not trying to sound ALL THAT or whatever... but I have been accused of flirting and it always befuddles me... so it must just come natural?

All of what Zen Mom said is true, you walk a bit taller and smile a tad more when you notice that you've turned a guys head... you feel, sexy, and smart and unique... some kind of endorphins are released I'm sure...

But naturally I'm just a happy person. If you know me in Real Life I would bet you would agree with me? Well hopefully you would :)

I feel so much better after a good laugh then I do after a good cry.

So being happy and being a people person=flirting I guess in peoples eyes.

So when I "FLIRT" I have no intention of romping in bed with someone... I have every intention of getting to know them, of laughing with them, of creating a bond or an inside joke... but for me, that is as far as it usually gets... I'm completely and irrevocably in love with ONE man... he's enough to deal with ;)

So what I'm saying, but not saying well is, I'm a flirt and i can't help myself nor do I WANT to help myself.


dadshouse said...

I'm a single dad, so I flirt constantly! I had fun this summer on a trip with my daughter, and I flirted with women right in front of my girl. She's 17 - I think it's actually healthy for her to see me in action. She seemed to learn a thing or too from it, or at least become more comfortable with it all, because she ended up flirting with boys in front of me. :-) Here's that story: http://dadshouseblog.com/2009/07/16/just-flirt-baby/

Great post

Brutalism said...

Love it when Mr. Brutalism flirts (or gets flirted with). It makes me feel good to know that others find my husband attractive. (And makes me feel equally good to know that he never takes it any further than would make me comfortable, as you mention.)

ZenMom said...

Wow, so many great comments!

Missy: I don't always pay attention to it either, actually. In fact, more than once, I've had a girlfriend have to tell me that a guy was flirting with me! Then I look back and think, "oh, yeah, i guess he was." I just never expect that. So, it's kind of a pleasant surprise when it happens.

Jared: Absolutley. You have to *know* that it's just all friendly and fun with no "intent" on either side.

SFD: I get your point. And that's what I mean about always keeping your partner's comfort level in mind. I know what my husband would find "inappropriate" and that's where the line is for us. For you, that line is in a different place. And that's fine, too.

ZenMom said...

Shelle: I think we would get along so well, IRL. ;)

Because this: "when I "FLIRT" I have no intention of romping in bed with someone... I have every intention of getting to know them, of laughing with them, of creating a bond or an inside joke... I'm completely and irrevocably in love with ONE man... he's enough to deal with ;)

describes my thoughts EXACTLY. ;)

I actually flirt with WOMEN almost as often as I flirt with MEN. Again, I have NO intention toward infidelity - but I have a naturally playful personality that manifests as "flirting".

So far, I don't *think* anyone has ever mistaken my playful flirting with any sort of actual sexual or romantic intent.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

Excellent topic today ZenMom! I think flirting, if kept simple and innocent is fine. And a lot depends upon what you call flirting. Your spouse should agree on the definition too to avoid problems.

I've had the occasional time where someone has flirted with me and it has made me feel good. I know my husband thinks I'm attractive (why else would he have married me ;) So when someone else thinks so too it does give me a boost.

ZenMom said...

DH: I remember that post! I liked it. I think set a good model of flirting. You are respectful about it and you understand that it doesn't necessarily have to lead to 'adult situations'. ;)

Brutalism: So, that's a green light for me to flirt with Canedo, right? ;) Just kidding. Actually, yeah, I think it's kind of flattering when other women flirt just a little bit with my husband. He has a very outgoing personality. (Whereas I tend to be way more shy around *new* people.) So he draws eye contact and smiles and genuine laughter from all kinds of people - from grocery clerks to doctors to fellow diners. It doesn't bother me at all. Because I know that's who he is and I have absolutely no doubt where his fidelity lies.

Missty said...

Great topic... and almost similar to mine tomorrow. And YES I am a flirt. I personally think of it as "outgoing" lol Or silly, and smily.

Of course the best flirting is with my husband.

So keep these great thoughts coming for tomorrows post, similar, but a tad different.

pan x 8 said...

Hi! I'm new to the scene around here.. pretty interesting stuff...

Flirting?? The only one person I flirt with is my husband. Even after 12 years of being together and 11 years of marriage... it still gives me the giggly chills and makes me feel even more beautiful!! The best is when our children see it and of course, the boys think we are so weird but the girls love it!

ZenMom said...

Andrea: "Your spouse should agree on the definition too to avoid problems." YEP. I think that's the key, right there!

Missty: Looking forward to your post tomorrow!

Pan: Welcome! Sounds like you should definitely come back tomorrow for Missty's post, too!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Pan x 8--WELCOME... I miss those giggly chills... I admit I don't get them as often as I use to, but I still get something out of it... and that SAYS something! lol!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

I think there's a danger in continued flirting with the same person. Cause as it was said above, lines can be blurred.

However, harmless flirting here and there is just that...harmless. Plus, one needs to sharpen their flirting skills for their significant others.

Anonymous said...

I never flirt.

I don't even know how.

ZenMom said...

DGB: That is an excellent point! I have a couple guy friends who are "safe" to flirt with because we all know it's just in play. But it could be dangerous to risk "blurring the lines" as you say.

Sage: That might be the funniest thing I've read all week.

Anjeny said...

Zenmom...love this post. Sorry I'm a day late again. I totally agree with this post. There is nothing wrong with a little flirting here and there as long as that's all that is, just flirting.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people flirt...innocently. But then again, a lot of people cheat - some who flirt and some who don't. Isn't about 50% of all married couples?

You can flirt innocently 100 times, when that one person laughs at your joke the way your spouse never did, or gets an obscure literary/political/Thomas the Train reference that is just so....bonding.

It's fun to feel wanted by our spouses and by others. And, for some of us, flirting is an essential part of who we are. But, just because it's been harmless in the past, or is usually harmless, doesn't mean there isn't something a little dangerous about it...something that takes us a little closer to the edge..whether we realize it or not.

Anonymous said...

It's probably easier to dismiss my comment as a disgruntled commentator given that I had a grammatical error in my first paragraph - don't about 50% of all married couples have a cheating spouse?

That's what I meant to say.

ZenMom said...

I think that's a terribly sad statistic, if it's accurate, MrDC.

But I appreciate you sharing your opinion.