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Is Flirting, Cheating?

 

Hey  Woody!

I’m in this great relationship with a super-hot guy. Problem is, as soon as he leaves, my eyes start to wander from hot guy to hot guy. I’ve never cheated on him but I do flirt, just to get their attention. I feel like I’m cheating on him in some way every time I do this. How can I stop?

– Guilty flirt

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Hey  Woody!

I’m in this great relationship with a super-hot guy. Problem is, as soon as he leaves, my eyes start to wander from hot guy to hot guy. I’ve never cheated on him but I do flirt, just to get their attention. I feel like I’m cheating on him in some way every time I do this. How can I stop?

– Guilty flirt

Oh, please. Write me when you’ve done something worth writing about. Every guy looks at other guys – I don’t care how in love they are. You achieve monogamy through discipline, not mind-control; through resisting actions, not thoughts. My God, if I were judged by my thoughts I’d have been shot at more times than a cop.

Feeling that you cheated on your boyfriend because you flirted with guys is like saying you cheated on your diet because you smelled some sausages. Just like smelling something delicious won’t ruin your diet, flirting with guys won’t ruin your relationship. Though I have to say, it depends on what you mean by flirting.

I think the first thing you need to do is get a sense of proportion about what constitutes cheating. Here’s an index I built for a seminar I led about monogamy:

* You notice a hot guy and think, “I’d do him.”

Cheat O’Meter: Oh, puh-leeze.

* You notice a hot guy and think, “I’d do him in front of my grandmother.”

Cheat O’Meter: Really?

* Hot guys are hitting on you, clearly flirting, and you rationalize your participation with the knowledge that they initiated it and you’re simply responding.

Cheat O’Meter: Welcome to the Isle of Denial.

* You flirt with hot guys, initiating the conversation, chatting them up but you don’t do anything even though you’re chewing through the leather straps your brain has put on your crotch.

Cheat O’Meter: The line hasn’t been crossed but you’re wiggling it.

* You get handsy with them, talking trash, but it stops there.

Cheat O’Meter: You’re stepping on the line.

* You kiss them, tell them how you’re going to make them hear colors, but it doesn’t go any further.

Cheat O’Meter: The line is suffocating under your weight.

* You do them.

Cheat O’Meter: You crossed the line and it’s having a cigarette.

* You do them in front of your grandmother.

Cheat O’Meter: The neighbors have a cigarette.

* He’s so hot your grandmother joins you.

Cheat O’Meter: Your boyfriend files for divorce.

My point, and I do have one, is that you and your boyfriend need to agree on what constitutes cheating. Everyone’s definition is different. Ask the Clintons. You’re driving yourself crazy thinking your cheating when your boyfriend might think it’s perfectly normal to look and flirt.

How do you find out? Do the unthinkable and ASK – directly if you feel comfortable enough in the relationship, or indirectly if you aren’t. How? Ask him playful questions and gauge his reaction, like, “If you weren’t dating me, would you go out with that guy?” or, “Do you think that guy over there is hot?”

If he answers positively and playfully, then you’ve discovered a new sport you can enjoy together: Leering. If he doesn’t, then you know he’s probably going to consider flirting just this side of cheating.

Directly or indirectly, the conversation will lead to the real issue beneath your question about flirting: Do you want the door to your relationship wide open, nailed shut or somewhere in-between?

 

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