|If you're a gifted flirt, talking about the price of eggs will do as well as any other subject. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960|
Flirting is a fun, interactive socially acceptable human behaviour. We are all privy to it at some point or other in our lives, some... more so than others. It's all perfectly natural.
It is a means of introducing ourselves to the society in general; create an awareness of our existence, whilst using our self confidence to its maximum potential. It is pretty much harmless in nature, yet it can be the cause of major problems in a relationship. Often, gregariousness and friendliness is perceived as flirting - done without intent, of course, yet it may convey the 'wrong message' to a lot of people who don't understand us, or those who find it difficult to look beyond what they see.
A lot of people find it offensive and disrespectful, especially so if you are not one who enjoys a little bit of attention every now and then.
Perhaps some would prefer that their partner not flirt at all. This is maybe the ideal of most people, but it's not necessarily what you may have to deal with. Perception is a very funny thing. what may seem like normal banter to you, will send your partner into livid palpitations.
The way I see it, however... is that being in a relationship, whether you're married or otherwise, never means that you belong to, or own, your partner. Look beyond the surface and try to understand him/her. One should never require or demand that their partner change for them... accepting them means taking them as they are.
People change naturally with the ebb and flow of the relationship in the process of adapting to it. How does one conjure a change in personality under duress anyhow? It may make them fearful so much so that they put up a front for you... but will it make you feel better having speculations in your inner heart?
Think about it - and look into your partner's personality instead. People who have a very high self esteem often express themselves through friendly ways like many people do. Chances are, there is nothing behind the occassional smile and innuendo... it is highly probable that the attention simply gives them a flutter of flattery. some people get off on it. That's the way it goes... and there's absolutely nothing that we can do about it.
Assuming that you go ballistic, and demand that he stops all his 'nonsense' or better yet - show him how upset you are, give him the silent treatment and answer with a curt 'nothing!' when he asks what is it that has gotten you in a tizzy. So the both of you trash it out, with him promising not to be overly friendly ever again.
Then you start to wonder... does he do it when he's out with his buddies? And then you convince yourself that he does. Then you start dropping subtle remarks, although it is a huge possibility that you will never get the answer that would put your mind at ease. Perhaps there isn't even an answer to the questions that beleaguer you.
I do know, and am too familiar with the fact that when you love someone, there has to be a measure of possessiveness involved. But jealousy and possessiveness, are two entirely different things. Jealousy is often blind to reason - possessiveness just indicates that you treasure and cherish your partner, and don't ever want to risk not having them in your life.
Maybe the best way is to have an open and honest discussion with your partner... explain how his / her behaviour makes you feel, and try to reach an understanding. I understand that to those who are by nature jealous or insecure, having a flirtatious partner can be extremely damaging to your own self esteem. If you do not want to lose your partner but do not like the flirting, then you need to make a choice to either learn to accept this side of his or her personality, or exit the relationship and find someone who will not arouse any suspicions in you.
Either ways, it's your call.
What's your view?