Once you're married, you should have eyes for only your partner, engage in witty bantering and playful exchange with only them, and never, ever admire the looks, energy, or attention of another. This conventional "wisdom" has the habit of leading to jealous tantrums, supressed emotions, and kinked feeling systems, cutting us off from enjoying life to the full.
Do you recognize yourself in that? Ever feel ashamed at the attraction you might feel towards another person? Disloyal because you enjoyed a fun and fascinating conversation with someone you find attractive and interesting? Constrained by all the unwritten rules that say you can't banter and tease—the ones that say married and flirting do not mix?
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One of the gifts of marriage is being able to relax into being in a committed relationship. Not to be able to take it for granted but to know that you are each there for each other. What if that commitment recognized the benefit to the relationship of both people experiencing all of their emotional flow and aliveness all of the time? What if that emotional flow and aliveness included freely feeling and enjoying our sexual feelings whenever and wherever they arose? And what if our relationship commitment included acting on those feelings only with our intimate partner?
Our feelings arise spontaneously. We can encourage them or suppress them, welcome them or shun them - we only think we can control them. Burying sadness (or joy) eventually leads to depression, burying anger eventually leads to explosions, burying fear eventually leads to crippling anxiety and burying our sexual feelings eventually leads to numbness. And burying all of these (which so many of us do) kinks our ability to be creative, excited and willing to fully engage in life.
So how do you encourage your sexual feelings to flow freely and deliciously? There are many different ways that we introduce this in our Vibrant Couple coaching programs—and one of them is flirting! And when you're married and flirting you get to play within the container created by your relationship commitments.
So what does "flirting" actually mean? The dictionary says: "to deal playfully, triflingly or superficially with..." and "to behave amorously without serious intent". We most often associated flirting with some kind of sexual overtone but stopping short of an overt sexual overture—fondling, kissing or groping is certainly beyond our definition of flirting. But teasing, innuendo, vamping and laughter are well within it.
Flirting is playing. Being married and flirting is still playing. How can you each relax into the container of your marriage and welcome your own and your partner’s flirtations? Would you be willing to let flirting increase the vibrancy of your relationship by allowing those flirtations to enhance the free flow of sexual feelings in each of you?
For us, learning to flirt has been an interesting addition to our relationship. Getting past jealousy, awkwardness, overstepping boundaries and finding the space where each of us can play and enjoy – it continues to be an evolving experiment!
Willing to play? Here's what we suggest.
Make Agreements. Talk to your partner. See what they think and feel about flirting. Where are your edges? Are you both willing to play? How can you start small and take baby steps? What will you do if either of you gets uncomfortable? How open and honest are you willing to be with how you’re feeling? How open are you to non-defensively hearing how your partner is feeling? Make specific agreements with each other and make sure those agreements clearly include "no acting on sexual feelings with anyone else".
Experiment. Go out and play. What comes up? How do you feel? What do you like? What don't you like? What feels good for you?
Debrief. Share your full experience with your partner. Be curious about your own and your partners feelings and reactions. What can you each discover as you experiment with flirting and experiment with watching your partner flirt. Remember, you're married and flirting not married and cheating. Flirting is superficial play—it's supposed to be fun! Change your agreements if you need to.
Flirt with Each Other. Bring flirtatious play into your own relationship—feel free to take it way further than where you'd go with those public flirtations!
Flirt Everywhere. We're talking about playful, teasing, fun—sexual overtone possible but not mandatory nor always appropriate. Learn to have fun with all your interactions. Flirting increases your energy, makes you laugh and keeps your emotional pipes flowing.
Being married and flirting is not taboo unless you make it so! Are you willing to stretch and see what you can discover?
Flirting is just one way to add spice and delight to your relationship. At Vibrant Couples we can share many more! Interested in creating a lifetime of passion and play? Book a free Get To Know You session and let’s talk about you, your relationship and what we can offer to increase the vibrancy of both!
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