"Harmless flirting"


#1

I came across some messages between my husband and a coworker. I have come across messages similar to these in the past with other women. My husband says it’s harmless flirting. I say it’s not because (1) it hurts me, (2) it has a sexual tone to it (3) he’s being paid to work not exchange flirty messages with coworkers. And, according to some of the messages, they know it’s something they’re not supposed to be doing so they’re going through personal emails (online accts). I told him if it wasn’t something he would do in front of me then he probably shouldn’t be doing it. He said he wouldn’t do it in front of me or tell me about it because he knows how I’d feel. Isn’t that a clue as to whether he should be doing it or not??

He says I should just not read the messages and that there’s nothing wrong with what he’s doing and that any psychologist or counselor would say just as much. I told him we could go talk to the priest at our church and see if he agrees with that. Personally, I don’t care what any counselor would say because if it’s hurtful to me then it isn’t harmless. My husband also says that if I knew the whole story that I wouldn’t be upset. IMHO, it doesn’t really matter what the whole story is if I’m reading messages that talk about how her own personal “nekkid pictures” are better than fakes and my husband asking her if her nickname is “Cinnamon or SINamon” and she responds “Oooh! I like that. It’s SINsual”…and pretty much every email ending with a wink.

Does it matter if he has no intentions of taking it any further? When I tell him it is hurtful to me and makes me feel like I’m not enough for him he basically says that’s my problem, not his. Then when I kept pressing he started in on how if he doesn’t get what he needs at home then he has to get it from somewhere. I told him that’s an excuse and he wasn’t going to blame me for what he was doing…and that I don’t feel a lot of my needs (emotional mainly) are being met by him but I do NOT go out and try to find them elsewhere.
He didn’t really respond when I presented the scenario turned around…what if it was me talking to other men like that. He didn’'t say it wouldn’t bother him…he didn’t say anything except to continue to excuse himself.

I hope I’ve given enough information to receive a response…am I overreacting? Am I nuts for expecting him not to do something like this because it’s hurtful to me, even though he sees nothing wrong with it and thinks I’m oversensitive? I feel he’s trying to say it’s my problem because I don’t agree with him.

Thanks…


#2

Both my husband and I have friendships with men/women married/single. Niether of us would EVER send an email or have a conversation with those friends that we’d not share with each other.

Ask your husband to have this woman (and her husband if she is married) over to your home for dinner. If they really are friends and friends only, he should be thrilled to introduce his friend to his wife - and the friend should be equally thrilled to meet his wife. If he balks, that is a sign that this is not innocent - and that you should get in to speak to your priest.

Prayers for you!


#3

There is no such thing as ‘harmless’ flirting.


#4

yes, this is not a good thing for him to be doing. Number 1 alone should tell him that.

My husband also says that if I knew the whole story that I wouldn’t be upset.

This doesn’t make a lot of sense… ask him to tell you the whole story then. But I can’t think of any extenuating circumstances where this would be considered OK based upon the content you discussed. Even if he feels strongly committed to the marriage, he may very likely be leading this woman on which is not beneficial for her.

Does it matter if he has no intentions of taking it any further? When I tell him it is hurtful to me and makes me feel like I’m not enough for him he basically says that’s my problem, not his.

It is his problem because when one spouse hurts, the other should not feel good or even neutral about it, but instead look to ways to resolve that hurt.

Then when I kept pressing he started in on how if he doesn’t get what he needs at home then he has to get it from somewhere.

this is a big, big, big red flag. This sounds like a stepping stone excuse to begin a physical affair (an emotional one has already been started, it sounds like)

I told him… that I don’t feel a lot of my needs (emotional mainly) are being met by him

This, also, is a red flag that counseling is needed.

Am I nuts for expecting him not to do something like this because it’s hurtful to me, even though he sees nothing wrong with it and thinks I’m oversensitive?

at absolute minimum a compromise/some understanding should try to be worked towards. It is not a good sign where he just dismisses your feelings like that, its disrespectful to you. Please get some counseling, it sounds like you both have red flags about issues that need to be worked on. And, please do it soon before this evolves into something even worse.


#5

I agree with the other posters. This is not harmless flirting. Your husband needs to be accountable for the pain he is causing you but it sounds like he doesn’t want to stop his behaviour so he will justify it. This may evolve into something worse if he is not made to realise what he is doing. Is he a catholic? If so, ask your priest to talk to the both of you.
Nothing makes me madder than hearing men/and or women say, 'If you feel that way, that’s your problem’
There is absolutely NO understanding of marriage at all. It is HIS problem too. He is intentionally hurting you now, I say intentionally because you have made known your feelings and he dismisses them and seems to have no intention of stopping the behaviour.
This needs to be dealt with very quickly or it will escalate. It seems to me, from what I know, this kind of thing never usually just stays with the ‘flirting’, eventually it turns into something else.


#6

At the company I work for, if corporate “found” those emails, the people involved would be instantly terminated.

Maybe you can broach the subject with that point of view? He is risking his job. This is emailing on company time and property with coworkers. There is no way for him to get out of that in court.

Furthermore, even if he is using personal email accounts, most companies have spyware and keytrackers on their computers, along with cameras and hardrives that are constantly audited.

That he is so eager to dismiss your pain, dismiss possible scandal and the risk of losing his job…perhaps it is obvious that he is in over his head and not in control…


#7

I disagree, but when two people are married, flirting with outsiders is completely wrong. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. It should not happen.


#8

No, you are not irrational. It’s not only your problem, either. It’s mostly his problem in the sense that it’s probably making him more miserable than it is making you, except he won’t admit it. I agree with your first check, i.e. “would you do that in front of me?” Then, the second check, “how would you feel if I did the same?” In my view, piling up excuses is the best sign that deep inside he knows he has a problem with it. This probably means that he’s unable to let go once it’s started. I wonder if some support would be able to help him or if he would still be unable to try, but maybe that would work…
I once knew people who would say the flirting was harmless, they didn’t want anything in real life, they weren’t betraying anyone. In the end, they ended up trying to get together and being quite desperate in it. The magnetism was so sexual and so self-destructive that I was sorry for them. It brought them humiliation as well. The guy blamed someone else for telling his fiancee (who probably found out on her own anyway), but would still refuse to see his fault in anything - and he had started as a guy worrying because of coworkers hitting on him. I don’t know what happened of them but it was nothing good. If you want the whole story to tell your husband, I can tell you all of it, including the miserable details, but otherwise I’d prefer not to disclose it.

I don’t think “nekkid pictures” fall within the limits of acceptable social conversation between a married man and a lady, although I don’t know people’s personalities or all the situations. I can sort of imagine a situation where it would be of no practical weight, but I can’t imagine any of the saints saying that. I suppose some people see it as roleplaying rather than merely playing, but are they actors in their real lives? I can surely imagine some Catholics making fun of the way most people are obsessed with sex these days, or perhaps two people trying each to make the other look kinky, but somehow the quotes you give don’t sound like jokes. Don’t get me wrong, from those quotes it certainly looks possible that it was just a part of a larger conversation taken out of context. However, the mention of “needs” doesn’t really make it look like a joke, either.

Call me prudish and prejudiced, but I generally believe jokes about own nudity to be in bad taste almost all of the time, or maybe even always. Some people don’t get the whole nudity thing and maybe they don’t get a bad feeling from such jokes, but “nekkid pictures” is not skinnydipping - which I don’t like people talking about in the first person in public, either. Oh me wet blanket. In short, I would have a problem with that situation too. You’re in my prayers. Let’s hope your hubby gets out of it pretty soon. Perhaps he’s new to the Internet and hasn’t yet grasped the concept that on the Internet it’s also wrong. Suffice to say it can be quite a painful process. Be it real flirting or joking, I just don’t like that conversation and you have every right not to like it and demand cessation, in my opinion. If not even actually sexual, I would find it disrespectful if it happened to me on the part of a hypothetical wife or girlfriend. Psychologists can say what they want.

Thanks for that. I have some personal reasons to thank you for that sentence, but let’s just leave them alone and please accept my thanks.


#9

I agree with the others who said there is no such thing as “harmless” flirting. If it bothers you, it isn’t harmless. He’s just trying to justify something he ought not be doing.

Kathy


#10

infidelity begins in the heart and mind, not with physical contact. I ditto that there is nothing harmless about this. Your feelings should be the foremost concern to your spouse. That in and of itself should cause him to desire to stop this. It seems he needs to doing a little examination of his heart if he feels the need to debate this with you.


#11

There is nothing wrong with harmless flirting for those who are single and have the best of intentions. But your talking about private emails, I’m sorry but thats not right with someone married.

Peapie, if this is hurting you then it’s wrong period! Your dh his being insensitive. If my dh ever told me to stop a certain behavoir because it was hurting him I would do it in a second and I know he would as well.

If you don’t mind me asking, what kinds are being said in these emails that really is the most distrubing?

As some said on here, flirting can seriously lead to affairs, that is a very serious reality.

I have some personal insight on this subject.:frowning: You can PM me if you want. :slight_smile:


#12

There is such a thing as harmless flirting, IF you are very very clearly just kidding around and it isn’t sexual in nature and you just do it on rare occasion and you would do the same if your spouse was right there watching.

This thing your husband is doing is not flirting, it is a relationship of SOME kind, and platonic it ain’t.

This “I don’t get what I need at home” is a load of garbage that gets dragged out to defend the indefensible. He is trying to blame YOU for his shameless behavior. Ha!

This is typical of what the guilty always say, like…“you can’t prove it,” “you are injuring my reputation, how dare you,” and “you made me do it.” How juvenile.

He is not fooling me for a minute.


#13

You said it better than I did Shirley :wink: perfect!


#14

I don’t think there is such a thing as “harmless” flirting, whether married or single. Flirting is hinting at some kind of attraction and I’ve seen too many people become devastated when the person “harmlessly” flirting with them turned their attention to someone else.

Anytime you’re playing with someone’s heart and feelings, there isn’t anything harmelss about it. And I doubt the OP’s spouse would be so understanding as he expects her to be if SHE were the one flirting with another man!


#15

Yep, yep. That’s why I generally dislike flirting with strangers or with more than one person at a time. I find it absolutely repellant when women flirt to get their way into a club or out of a traffic ticket or into a discount or whatever, or when men do the same, of course, it’s the same - I just don’t react to it so much for natural reasons. :stuck_out_tongue: It’s one of the things I can do well but choose not to if I can help it. I associate playing with people’s feelings with the V.


#16

Shirley: You are right on target.

To the OP, I’m sorry you find yourself in this position. Along with prayer/counseling and whatever else you may want to try to repair this situation, I would make sure you are protected financially and physically from whatever extra-curricular activities your husband is engaging in because he’s clearly willing to lie to himself and to you about what he is doing.


#17

IMHO, it doesn’t really matter what the whole story is if I’m reading messages that talk about how her own personal “nekkid pictures” are better than fakes and my husband asking her if her nickname is “Cinnamon or SINamon” and she responds “Oooh! I like that. It’s SINsual”…and pretty much every email ending with a wink.

My very first thought…Oh HELL no! Ok, calmed down…no no no no and no again!! This is not flirting! This is out and out sin and disrespect against you as his wife! I would so be raising the biggest stink about this…I would so not take this! Maybe I am not calm?


#18

When I find myself flirting, or tempted to flirt…I take a look at my life, what’s going on that I need those extra “strokes” to my ego.

Flirting is often a symptom, for me, of other issues…rarely about “sex”, almost always about being lonely, feeling insecure, and/or invisible. It’s nice to be noticed. Nice to know someone thinks I’m “all that”.

I’m definitely not saying it’s OK to flirt at this level when married. But you might want to take a look at your relationship, and the way you and hubby interact. Maybe you both could use a jolt of appreciation to keep the home fires burning bright.

cheddar


#19

Harmless flirting wouldn’t cause them to be concerned with typing things to one another at work. Flirting with coworkers is not only hurtful to you, but can land people in lots of legal trouble…even cost one his/her job these days. Better to leave the flirting between you and him.:smiley:


#20

I am a bit confused here, how DID you find the emails? Did he print them out? Or accidentally forward them to you?


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