A reader asks, “In all other ways, he is a great husband. He is a good man and doesn’t cheat on me. Also, he is a good father to our children. But when we are at Starbucks or a restaurant, he always flirts with the girls who take our order.”
“I pretend it doesn’t bother me, but it makes me feel like I’m on a date with someone who is always looking for a better catch. It’s humiliating, as I stand there trying to smile. Why does my husband flirt?”
“I have read about standing up to my husband and telling him how I feel, but I know him. I don’t think it would work. He would get angry and call me insecure. Then he would tell me something like, ‘I married you, didn’t I?'”
Being humiliated, embarrassed, and frustrated; those are normal.
But, if you want to improve the situation with your husband, which is why you wrote to us, those ‘feelings’ have to be handled by your own efforts.
Bringing your emotional reactions into the mix will absolutely make it nearly impossible to find good solutions. So it’s wise that you have not shared your feelings with your husband.
Emotional reactions will inhibit your ability to solve this problem
Knowing what won’t work is as useful as knowing what will
Confrontation. Nobody does well when they are confronted, especially when confronted by the person they married; who they want to be sweet. What you should expect from your husband if you confront him are the following
- Being called overly sensitive and unreasonable
- Blaming you for his misbehavior
- Being called a b*** or controlling or etc.
Standing up to your husband. That will get the same results as disciplining a cat. They will just get mad at YOU, no matter how wrong it is.
Doing “nothing” is wrong, too. You are not obligated to remain in a space that is offensive. Some women just smile. It’s better to walk away; just don’t make a scene.
We get occasional comments from incensed individuals who think I put it all on the wives which is not true. If you have this problem you are looking for a solution, not analasys! You should want to recapture and re-build the happiness in your marriage, not commiserate. Our specialty is guidance, (you cannot do this yourself) to have a GREAT, not just good, marriage. You got married to be happy. That is the only goal I have for you.
In this case, what he is doing is neither nice or respectful. But in and of itself, in the range of marriage problems, it is “smallish” , not a def-con 10 warning.
You may see this as a small thing, too. Just something you would like to know how to get him to stop, or, how you can “accept” it.
Or, maybe you are using this as an example. Maybe the happiness in your marriage is less than ideal, but this is a tangible example.
We are marriage experts. So, we want to help you get to the cause. We want this to go away and never come back.
However you see it, you should consider it motivation to get your marriage really on track. Why settle for an average marriage? Marriages should be nothing short of spectacular. Really, don’t you agree?
If you had an ideal marriage your husband would never look at another woman; much less, flirt!
What does his flirting “mean”?
Sure, you can analyze your husband’s motives. You can, if you want to, blame him, put it on your husband to change his ways, or force the issue in one of a million ways. But those approaches, where you “analyze” NEVER work; ever!
Obviously, your husband is doing something that works against your mutual and individual happiness. But there should is a clear message you should be getting; that your marriage is not the ideal marriage you should have.
Putting aside the “issue” for a moment, here are the signs of a great marriage
- You feel love all the time
- You love being with each other
- Your home is filled with smiles and laughter
- Your kids are secure and happy, doing well in everything
- You want to be with each other
- Your communication is near perfect
- Your intimacy is soulful
- You are both happy, glowing, and a joy to be with
Men flirt when they are not well connected to their wives. So they either see no problem with it, or want to rub their marital dissatisfaction in their wife’s nose. A happily married man would NEVER humiliate his wife.
Let’s turn this around, so you see what he is dealing with. Then I’ll share things YOU can do, without even telling him, that he will notice!
Your husband’s point of view
Remember, your husband wants a great marriage as much as you.
Both men and women think they are the only one who has a complaint. But think about it. If you’re unhappy enough to point out your spouse’s flaws, and criticize him, I guarantee he is doing the same thing; but maybe not necessarily out loud. He may keep his mouth shut, but still have complaints. Don’t you think?
How do you react if he says something that seems critical? Do you sit down and ask him to go on, as a good listener should?
Just by asking what to do if your husband flirts you describe poor communication between you
A man who appreciates his wife wants her to know how much he loves her. He won’t flirt or even look at other women
Modern, or I should say “civilized” men, override their drive to procreate (sex drive) once they find their soulmate. They don’t “hunt” or need the imaginative recognition of other women; because their wife is a living reminder of how fortunate they are to have an amazing wife.
Are you an amazing wife?
Some ‘wiser’ men who don’t get what they need from their wife made it a habit to divert that constant energy to other, more beneficial, creative endeavors. It is, after all, essentially energy. So men can learn how to divert it. But that’s not what marriage is meant to be.
In your case, his openness about flirting sends a hidden message of trust, in a weird sort of way. I think he trusts you enough to get your attention in this way. So, instead of condemning him for flirting, you might want to be looking at your marriage; it is not performing as it should.
Get away from criticizing and blaming him. Instead of pouring those negatives into your marriage, see what you can do to create the most amazing marital connection ever. You DO have the power!
Don’t think “oh, we just need to get through this one little thing”‘. Nonsense!!! You absolutely can and should have a super happy marriage. Don’t settle!
Three things will work
- You can meet with me, or one of my TMF trained counselors. But that way is very slow, tedious, and we won’t do it.
Therapists create long term relationships with clients for more money; that is not us. We are here to help you fast, and then get out of your life. That’s why we do everything online. You take a course, and access our counselors “as needed”. They are always here for you.
- Read one of my books. These are not enough for marriages in serious trouble. But hopefully you didn’t forget to mention a serious problem, like cheating. If you are not drowning in problems one of my books will work just fine.
My books get all positive reviews, because they represent a fulfilling and doable way of looking at marriage. Everything is common sense and practical. You can easily implement what you learn.
Because Breaking The Cycle is in book stores all over the country, and is promoted by couples counselors (even though I recommend against couples counseling), it sells better. But either one will work.
3. If your marriage is in more trouble than you let on, you need to go all the way to our online courses. The courses are step-by-step ladders to happiness.
Only the one who is complaining should start the course for themselves (there are two different courses; one is for women, and one is for men).
Half our sales are to couples, who both take their course. So, either way is okay. You can use this link to look at what all comes with the courses.
Here are suggestions you can use right now
Is it okay that he flirts? No, of course not. But that isn’t the problem
There is no perfection in the world. But when you know what you are doing, maritally speaking, marriage comes as close to perfection as anything I have ever heard of.
Is your marriage off the charts? No, obviously not! So, why just work on this one teeny weeny part of your marriage, when you can make your whole marriage amazing? Trust me. The effort you will put in is nothing compared to the results you will realize.
I have to add this. She describes some qualities he has in very positive ways. “He is a great dad and a great husband”. Also, he clearly is not hiding something. I wouldn’t say a word to him, nor express the desire for him to change. This is far from a marriage buster.
Get yourself up to speed! Make your marriage great! …How?
Go back to the above advice.
Remember, if you are not telling me something, and your marriage really is all over the place, or absolutely collapsing, then you need to go all the way. Use this link to look at what all comes with the courses.
Some things that will help put you at ease for now
- Re-frame his behavior in your own mind. Instead of judging him—which is uncalled for—consider this “silly” behavior. Refuse to let your mind convince you you’re threatened. Try to smile at him when he is flirting, like he is being “silly”. Walk away if he persisits.
- Engage right along with him. If you jump into the conversation with your own compliments for the servers, it will change the dynamic from flirtatious to friendly. The addition of “loving energy towards him” will lighten things up.
- Disallow negative thoughts about your husband. It’s your mind, and you can make it think and feel how you want.Your habits are also under your control. You can create all kinds of positive thinking in your mind. That will bring you happiness. That happiness you feel will be a wonderful part of your marriage.
Your husband is a great treasure in life. Love him, show him you love him, and everything will be OK…but don’t ignore this. Working on the underlying dynamics will really make all the difference in the world.
If you’re not sure, I know things can be confusing, by all means feel free to reach out to our counselors. They are super caring people who know our systems inside and out. They will help you.