Advice from three of our guy friends. This week a woman asks, “Is there such a thing as harmless flirtation? When does it cross the line? Is the line different for men and women?”
Straight Married Guy (Ben): Sure – there are plenty of harmless flirtations. Most flirtations, I think, are harmless. The question of line-crossing is really an individual one, determined by your partner (and yes, I think, generally, women do have lower tolerance for this than guys). Some people you date may think a simple flirt is a great betrayal. Others are really into open relationships. It’s a good thing to talk about with your partner cuz it’s important information on deciding whether or not this person is for you. My experience tells me that actions are more important than words and, to me, cheating is a physical act. But, you know, it doesn’t really matter what I think because, in my marriage, I’m not being faithful to myself – I’m being faithful to my wife. And to her ideas of fidelity.
Gay Married Guy (Jon Ross): Harmless flirtation is something that makes long term committed relationships work. I mean, c’mon, we’re human. In life, we do see other interesting, attractive people other than our boyfriend or spouse and we may feel like paying them a compliment. Of course, the point at which harmless flirtation crosses the line to harmful flirtation is different with each relationship. Some people are far more jealous and possessive than others and if there is a history of unfaithfulness, I would give my spouse little leeway. Also, there is a huge difference if the flirtation is going on while the other person is present. I couldn’t care less what happens when I’m not with my husband, but if we’re at a party and he’s ignoring me to chat it up and laugh with some hot daddy all night, there will be repercussions. I don’t think there is a different line for men and women — each person handles it differently.
Straight Single Guy (Max): Flirtation is and should always be fun. When it becomes harmful, then I don’t think you can call it flirtation any more. The line, as far as I’m concerned, is pretty much anything physical. Words, no matter what they contain, are harmless until acted upon. Admittedly, I wouldn’t want to find text messages declaring a lover’s desire to do much of anything with anyone else, but then the question becomes whether or not you believe if they would follow through with any of the said declarations. Then things might get a little harmful. Until then, I encourage eye contact with beautiful strangers, sexy conversations with ladies at parties and as much co-worker flirtation as possible. Just keep your hands to yourself.
Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is Ben, a writer and artist living in Los Angeles who runs AdultParlorGames.com; our Gay Married Guy is Jon Ross, who works for a network news program and lives in Brooklyn with his husband and two dogs; and our Single Straight Guy, Max, is a recent college grad in New York City. To ask the guys your own question, click here.