You see your husband or other men giving her attention and you wonder if she is flirting, despite being married. Knowing whether she’s flirting can let you know if you’re jealous for valid reasons or reading something into her behavior that she doesn’t mean. Men are more apt to believe that she’s flirting for sexual purposes, according to research led by communications professor David Dryden Henningsen published in the Journal of Business Communications.
Why People Flirt
People flirt for six different motivations, according to Henningsen -- sexual, relational, fun, exploring, raising self-esteem and seeking a favor. A sexual motivation entices the flirting pair to engage in intimate behavior, but relational motivation attempts to deepen a relationship. Some people flirt just because it’s fun and others flirt to see what kind of response they get. Flirting can raise the self-esteem of both the flirter and the recipient. Favor-seeking flirtation could occur if she wants a guy to carry a heavy package or even wants to receive a free drink.
Flirting Body Language
If the woman is flirting, she will gaze at a man with raised eyebrows and lowered lids or look up and to the side at him in a “come hither” fashion, according to behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards in “Female Body Language” for the Huffington Post. She could gaze at a man over her raised shoulder or repeatedly glance at him until she gets his attention before looking away. She might smile, toss her hair or touch her neck to draw his attention. When walking, she swings her hips and stands erect with her chest extended to accentuate her figure.
Friendly Body Language
Some body language communicates a friendly attitude, according to Edwards. Smiling, being expressive, standing with open body positions with hands in view, nodding in agreement, leaning towards the person talking and mirroring his body language can just be friendly gestures that indicate she’s interested in what he’s saying. He could mistake her body language for flirtation when she is merely encouraging him to continue talking.
Stake Your Claim
Analyzing her actions might not fully put your mind at ease, so join your husband and see if she pays attention to you as a couple or continues to focus on him alone. Mention your child in her hearing, so she knows he’s a family man. Catch her alone and let her know that your husband is taken, but congratulate her on her taste in men to maintain a light and friendly tone. One-on-one or with your husband, you might find her very personable and no threat to your family at all.
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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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