Is Flirting With Another Harmless When You’re Already In A Relationship?

Do you think flirting with someone who’s not your significant other is harmless? I’ve often told myself it’s totally ok, so long as I don’t cross a physical line whenever I do it. Yet, the more I’ve worked on my character defects in life, the more I’ve begun to feel otherwise.

First and foremost, the main reason why I’ve ever flirted with another, while in a relationship, has been due to a deep-seated inadequacy that began long ago in my early childhood, one that led to me seeking validation outside of myself to deal with it. The more I’ve grown older, the more that’s become even more apparent, especially as all signs of youth continue to fade. In any of the monogamous relationships I’ve ever been in, including my current one, the validation I’ve received from each of them eventually always becomes not enough for my ego because of those deep-seated inadequacies. This in turn then beckons me to look elsewhere for them to go away, hence the flirtatious nature that begins to arise within me. And as I start sending out flirtatious missiles to those I find attractive, if their well received and returned just the same or better, my ego gets temporary highs or “hits” from it. Unfortunately, they never last though, leading me to feel the need to flirt even more. It’s definitely not a healthy place to be in, because flirting has never and will never permanently remove any of my deep-seated inadequacies. Rather, the more I’ve ever engaged in heavy flirtation on a repetitive basis, the more I’ve usually fallen straight back into addictive behaviors that ultimately led to me cheating on my partner and leaving them altogether.

In addition to this, I’ve also found that flirting can be very hurtful to the person I’m dating, especially when I’m not offering any of it towards them. Not only has it regularly led some of them to feeling jealous, it’s also led to greater mistrust as well. I’ve often placed myself in my current partner’s shoes and thought about my flirtatious behaviors whenever I’ve done them, wondering how I’d feel if he was engaging in the very same ones with someone else. Would I be ok if he said some of the flirty things to someone else he found attractive that I’ve personally said to others? If I’m being truly honest with myself, the answer is no, I definitely wouldn’t. Yet, my ego has the tendency to frequently forget about that, as it seeks to do whatever it can to quickly cover up all of my deep-seated inadequacies of life.

Ultimately, I believe that being monogamous with someone means doing so on every level, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. And I’m clearly seeing these days that flirtation with another only leads directly away from that. The bottom line is that I love my partner and don’t want to lose this relationship, as it’s the healthiest one I’ve ever been in, so I know that I must do my best to refrain from flirtation and instead, go within whenever I feel the urge to resort to this behavior.

It’s a tough place to be in, especially for this recovering addict, because I’ve felt a tremendous amount of inadequacies in recent years that go well beyond my getting older. With the health issues I still am facing on a day-to-day basis and the fact that I haven’t had a paying job for a very long time, I’ve had a consistent urging in my mind to resort to flirting, solely to fill that void, even if it is only temporary.

While I’ve been much better about restraining from flirtation since getting sober from a former sex and love addiction six and a half years ago, I continue to give in to the behavior from time to time, which always seems to correlate to those days when I’ve gotten into arguments with my partner or have just felt very down about my life in general.

For me, the only solution to prevent this behavior has been to try to draw closer to my Higher Power and to continue working on more self-love. Most of my deep-seated inadequacies stem from not receiving enough unconditional love when growing up, yet looking for that in another in my adulthood through flirting won’t fix that broken record either. Instead, I know I must embrace myself exactly as I am, loving myself through all my character defects. As the more I have, and the more I’ve drawn closer to my Higher Power, the more I find I don’t want to flirt, the more I find myself drawing closer to my partner, and the more I seem to feel anything but inadequate…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson