How to Deal With Your Guy's Flirting Habits

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr
Some flirting behaviors are innocent and some indicate a deeper relationship problem.

Some flirting behaviors are innocent and some indicate a deeper relationship problem.

Your guy could be flirting with other women for many different reasons, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it or keep quiet about it. The reason why he flirts should make a difference in what you decide to do about his flirting habits, so you will need to discover his motivation before deciding your response.

Harmless Fun

Ask him why he feels the need to flirt with other women. If he says he does it to discover how the woman will respond, he could be flirting with no sexual attraction, suggests Sean M. Horan, Ph.D., professor in the communication department at DePaul University. If he flirts with every woman regardless of age, appearance and situation, his flirting may be fairly harmless. Consider chilling out and allow the flirting without becoming jealous.

Tell him that his flirting makes you feel uncomfortable or like he is ignoring you if you are with him. If he knows how you feel about it, he might stop, or at least not flirt when you are around. He could also tell you that his flirting doesn’t mean anything and feel resentful because you’re making a big deal over nothing, in his opinion.

Decide if you can live with his dismissing your feelings, if you are over-reacting and need to ratchet down your response or leave the relationship.

Goal or Ego-Driven Flirting

Pay attention to the payoff he gets from cheating. He could flirt to gain something, such as a better situation at work, a free drink at a bar or to get out of a ticket, notes Horan. He might also flirt because it boosts his ego when a woman responds to his attention.

Respond by flirting with him and complimenting him so he doesn’t try so much to get his ego boost from someone else, or help him find a different way to gain his goal.

Point out the reasons why he’s your guy and let him know that he’s tops in your mind. Show him that he can get his needs met by flirting with you instead. Tell him how it makes you feel, if the flirting doesn’t ramp down. If his need for attention is more than you can meet, reevaluate the relationship.

Flirting and Cheating

Observe his flirting to determine if his goal is an attempt to get another gal to date or have sex with him. Flirting activities that typically mean infidelity include sexting, physical contact with her or spending lots of time on the phone or online with her. Watch for other red flags that indicate cheating, such as secrecy, sexual motivation, rationalization of his behavior, deep emotional bonding and using the flirting to meet needs you think you should meet, suggests Therese J. Borchard, PsychCentral associate editor.

Ask him to stop the flirting and consider couples counseling. Let him know that if he doesn't you will end the relationship with him because you feel he is violating the commitment he made to you. Clarify whatever commitment you feel you have with him. He might not feel there is a commitment, which could leave you feeling betrayed or foolish for assuming the relationship was more than he feels it is.

Talk about why his flirting makes you jealous, and ask for reassurance of his love if he does feel there is a commitment to you. However, leave the relationship if it isn’t healthy.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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