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Ian Kerner is a d couples therapist, writer and contributor on the topic of sex for CNN. CNN It's called "micro-cheating": the small, seemingly innocuous acts of flirtation that don't necessary qualify as cheating but might be considered a little sketchy by your partner. Sometimes, flirtatious friendships are just fun and entertaining, and each person has a keen awareness that the relationship would never go further. Story highlights You can take steps to maintain a flirty friendship without crossing the line But if your partner still feels threatened, it's your job to remove the threat.
Many of us have experienced flirtatious relationships with friends and never acted on them sexually. Are these friendships s of infidelity?
Should you be worried if your ificant other is attracted to someone else? Or could a little harmless flirtation actually be good for your relationship? Acknowledge the benefits. What counts as 'cheating' in the digital age? Flirtation is normal, sex therapist Tammy Nelson said. A flirty friendship could help feed the flames of your relationship, but it depends on the couple. The key is to know your partner and to communicate about the friendship before it becomes a problem in your relationship. Understand your motivations. Sometimes, flirtatious friendships are just fun and entertaining, and each person has a keen awareness that the relationship would never go further, sex therapist Holly Richmond said.
Set boundaries. Having sexual fantasies about someone doesn't mean you can't be "just friends," Nelson said. In fact, most of us have sexual fantasies about people other than our partners. You can take steps to maintain a flirty friendship without crossing the line. Don't comment Friendship and flirtation appearance or give excessive compliments. And keep an extra step of physical distance in face-to-face conversations," sex therapist Peter Kanaris advised. Your relationship has hit a 'rough patch.
If your partner still feels threatened by your interactions with another person, it's your job to remove the threat. Keep in mind that the Internet is no less a threat to your relationship than in-person flirting.
Talk about it. It's completely fair to ask your partner to limit contact or change the nature of a flirty friendship, but you want to be careful about how you raise the topic. d mental health counselor Kristie Overstreet suggests making sure "that you aren't being impulsive or irrational in your request. If the relationship bothers you and is affecting your connection with your partner, ask for it to change. If your partner minimizes what you are feeling or requesting, then you need to have a conversation with them about your needs in the relationship.
One way to spark a discussion is by staying curious rather than accusatory. It feels flirtatious to me, like you are or want to be more than just friends. Does it feel different than your other friendships to you? What's worrisome to some couples can seem inconsequential or even fun to others.
Only you and your partner can determine -- together -- what's acceptable to you in terms of flirting. So keep the lines of communication open.Friendship and flirtation
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What to do when your partner has a flirty friendship