Ask Evie: Is It Wrong To Flirt A Little With Other Men When I’m Married?

Welcome to Ask Evie, our advice column. Readers can submit their questions, and our editors will dish out their best advice!

By Evie3 min read
Pexels/Mike Jones

READER’S QUESTION: "Dear Evie, I miss flirting. I have been married for five years and dating my husband another five years before that. Basically, we've been together since my junior year of high school. I love my husband so much, and we are in a healthy, monogamous marriage, but I still miss the thrill of flirting with men. Maybe I didn't really get it out of my system before we started dating? I've never physically cheated, of course. But over the last few years, I've definitely had crushes and flirted with co-workers, ex-boyfriends, and even random men at coffee shops. 

Nothing has gone beyond some flirtatious looks, smiles, and a few DMs, and I feel like it's a harmless way to keep myself entertained and feeling desired/sexy, but I know I'd be hurt if I found out my husband did the same. My flirtations have not hurt my marriage in any way, and there's no part of me that wants to be with anyone except him. If anything, they've made our sex life even better because I'm turned on by the thought of my little crushes and my secret. Am I totally wrong for this, or is it essentially harmless? Do other married women do this? How do I stop?"

EVIE’S ADVICE: First and foremost, it’s essential you recognize how damaging this behavior is to your relationship and get to the root cause of it rather than search for acceptance that this is okay and normal. Whether other women do this or not doesn’t justify your behavior – plenty of women cheat on their husbands, does that mean you should stoop to their level and also make an unconscionable choice like that? If everyone is tearing their marriage apart, should you do so too? The bottom line is that this behavior is not harmless when you are married and committed to someone, and it’s incredibly disrespectful to your husband, whether he’s aware of it or not. To make matters worse, you know this already because you have acknowledged that you’d be hurt if you found out your husband did the same.

You may not be physically cheating, but you’re actively seeking out other men to get an emotional need met instead of turning to your husband and addressing how the two of you can work together to resolve this issue. You’re also essentially using these other men to get aroused for sex with your husband, which feels parallel to men using porn to get aroused to have sex with their wives. Wouldn’t you be hurt if you found out your husband had to watch porn or think of other women to get aroused in order to have sex with you?

You may not be physically cheating, but you’re actively seeking out other men to get an emotional need met instead of turning to your husband.

Oftentimes, when women search for validation from men, it’s because of a deep insecurity they have. Women often crave praise and attention from others in order to feel good about themselves. It could be due to daddy issues in your childhood if your father was not present or loving, or it could be because you’re feeling insecure about your appearance or because your husband has stopped giving you attention. 

You need to look inward and ask yourself why you want this validation from other men so much. Do you feel neglected or unappreciated by your husband? Are you feeling like your marriage is too predictable and routine? Are you bored with your life? It clearly has nothing to do with the men themselves, as it seems you’re willing to flirt with just about any male you encounter. Was this the case when your husband was actively flirting with you during the early stages of dating too, or did you only have eyes for him? When did this change and why? If you do find that it’s caused by feeling neglected by your husband, that’s not a green light to continue this behavior because you now feel justified that it’s his fault. 

Whatever the cause of your desire for external validation, the first step is being honest with your husband about how you’re feeling. You should tell him directly that you miss how flirty he used to be with you and that you’re craving those feelings of desire and validation that you got from him when you were first dating. Tell him why you believe you’re lacking in validation and what you plan to do to move forward, whether that’s therapy, journaling, exercising, or working on your relationship together. Communication is key here. 

Your husband can’t read your mind, but you said you are in a healthy, monogamous relationship and that you love him, so we feel confident in saying that he wants to make you happy and would probably be more than willing to try new things to make you feel loved and wanted. If you’re feeling this way, chances are he is too, so it’s worth looking into your relationship as a whole and seeing how you can both benefit from more flirtation and validation from each other. Maybe that means more romantic date nights, flirty texts throughout the work day, spontaneous makeout sessions, or trying something new in the bedroom. Channel the energy you’ve been exerting to flirt with other men into bettering your relationship with your husband, and we promise you will see results. 

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