Meet Carol, whose husband Patrick flirts with waitresses, cashiers and receptionists, but never flirts with his wife. She's feeling bad about herself lately, and has started to lose interest in sex with her husband: From Sex Confession: Husband's Flirting Makes Wife Feel Inadequate.
"I've let plenty of light flirting go—ignored it and pretended it didn't bother me. But then I felt it was getting worse. It's turning me off to him, making me feel like I'm not cute, or sexy, or perky enough for him. I just want some compliments from him. But he tells me he is just being nice to these women. I'm not sure how to get through to him and make him stop. But it's really starting to affect things and I don't want it to get out of control."
First of all, it's perfectly natural for you to feel jealous of your husband's flirtations with other women. You're biologically wired to protect your most valuable resources and your mate is definitely one of them. He's your husband. He is part of your biological survival strategy. You simply need to know he's going to be there for you.
When he looks toward other women, being flirtatious, playful and charming, it threatens your pair bond—it threatens your safety and security. He's basically showing signs that he might cheat on you, which would equal abandonment. This leads to feelings of worry, hurt and fear. (If you were a less evolved primate, you'd probably be throwing his crap out of the nest right now. I'm just saying).
That said, from your description, I think you're simply dealing with a "big" ego. This is the kind of guy who thrives on special treatment, lives for the occaisonal compliment and is desperate for any kind of positive regard. Without praise, he feels like a nobody, a failure, a nothing. He has to look outside of himself for praise, warmth, and feelings of pride or success.
But he's smart. He's learned that if he dishes out the praise and compliments, he'll get it right back. (He's also probably in Sales, tell me where I'm wrong.) In other words, his need to flirt with other women is probably just a tool he uses to shore up his self-esteem.
Most likely, we're dealing with someone who relies on what I call the "social self" rather than the "essential self." He relies on "other-esteem" instead of "self-esteem." He doesn't feel good about himself unless someone's telling him he's doing a great job, he has gorgeous eyes, or he's especially talented. Keep Reading...
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