Playful, flirtatious behaviour may occur as an innocent and harmless activity between two or more people, but it can turn into something less innocent if allowed to progress too far. Married people need to exercise care when flirting because it may damage more than their marriage if the flirting is misunderstood or leads to infidelity. This includes online flirting, which may harm a marriage as deeply as a physical affair.
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Living in Fantasy
Flirting can create an unrealistic world where you don't have to work on the relationship like you do with your spouse. You don't see your flirt partner in the morning before a shower, brushed teeth and make-up. You don't know whether her checkbook balances or if her living quarters are a mess. You may not spend enough intimate time with her to discover what sets her off and how she settles arguments. This fantasy may be more pronounced if your relationship is all virtual. In short, your view is idealised, and you can paint her as the greener pasture that leads you not to work on problems in your marriage.
Loss of Job
You may spend more time with your co-workers than you do with your spouse, and so it can be easy to engage in a little flirting. Some workplaces frown on office flirting. They know that office interaction must occur for work to get done, but they want it to remain professional. Flirting with the wrong person may convince that person that you are looking for more than a casual friendship, which could lead to unwanted advances. It could even result in a charge of sexual harassment and a lost job, even if you have no intent to engage in sex.
Secrets and Distance
You have crossed the line from innocent flirting into dangerous territory if you are flirting and keeping it a secret, according to Shavaun Scott, a marriage and family therapist. Secretive behaviour to flirt and connect with someone other than your partner demonstrates the distance you create when flirting become serious. Even if you never engage in physical contact with the other person, they meet your emotional and social needs on some level. If you cannot share your conversations, activities and interest in this person, you have crossed the line into emotional cheating.
Each partner in a marriage has basic needs that must be met for the person to remain in a relationship, according to Willard Harley, author of "His Needs, Her Needs." Those needs include affection, admiration, conversation, honesty and openness, financial support, domestic support, family commitment, recreational companionship, sexual fulfilment and an attractive spouse. If the top needs are not met, the partner may seek to meet those needs outside the marriage through an affair. The affair may begin with simple flirting and lead to emotional and physical attachment. Affairs damage trust between partners, create hurt and may lead to divorce if the offended partner cannot forgive the wandering spouse.
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