- Is flirting a sin leading to that which will tempt? Or is it all just fun, especially when in a relationship or married?
- According to Psychology Today, flirting is a fundamental fixture in the human sexual repertoire, a time-honoured way of signalling interest and attraction.
- Therapist Lehlohonolo Mazindo says what could constitute flirting is if a partner's behaviour suggests sexual attraction or romantic interest.
Is flirting ever harmless, especially when you are in a relationship or married?
To some, it may sound like something innocent, but as marriage therapist Bakhe Dlamini once said, it's where all the troubles of cheating and unfaithfulness actually begin.
So, is flirting a sin leading to that which will tempt? Or is it all just fun?
According to Psychology Today, flirting is a fundamental fixture in the human sexual repertoire, a time-honoured way of signalling "interest and attraction, to say nothing of mutual awareness. It is a kind of silent language spoken by men and women around the world."
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This sounds damning, but marriage therapist Lehlohonolo Mazindo says while some people know what they are doing when they flirt, others do it unintentionally.
"Sometimes we think we just admire people, only to learn through confrontation that we are crossing the line. Those replies on social media with a heart to the text from a person of the opposite sex, that over-sharing of compliments, those random 'I miss you' texts or calls, and those religious likes, comments and shares on social media may cut much deeper than one could anticipate."
Please limit your 'niceness', as it may give off other signals, Mazindo advises.
"It can be very difficult to differentiate between admiring the person of the opposite sex and having a crush on them, but the difference shows in how we behave around those people.
"If your behaviour when you play along with the person of the opposite sex suggests that you are sexually attracted to them, you are flirting. When you play along with them when they playfully express their sexual interest in you, you are also flirting.
"Flirting is simply a playful way to express sexual attraction or romantic interest in the other person. This understanding can help distinguish between flirting and mere admiration. This does not eliminate the possibility that admiration could also be an observable indication of implicit sexual attraction or romantic interest."
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It may be concerning when you see your partner like or share and overly engage with someone on social media.
However, Lehlohonolo says this cannot be ruled out as flirting. He says, "What could constitute flirting is if the partner's comments and captions on the shared content suggest some sexual attraction or romantic interest."
Sounds tricky, right?
According to Lehlohonolo, if you suspect your partner is flirting online, here are three red-flag questions to consider about the behaviour:
1. Is your partner communicating sexual attraction or romantic interest in the woman on social media?
2. Is the other person (suspected to be flirting with) on social media playing along in ways that suggest mutual sexual attraction or romantic interest in your partner?
3. If it is flirting, is your partner doing it intentionally? If so, why would they do it on a public platform? If not, do they know that what they are doing is flirting? Remember that flirting and admiring are not always the same thing; you can admire a person without flirting with them.
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"The first and only person you should confront is your partner. Figuratively speaking, you cannot confront every person your dog is biting, but you can put your dog on a leash, so it doesn't attack people. This does not in any way suggest that the man is a dog. It only advises that instead of confronting other people, confront your partner and tell them your aversion to their flirtatious behaviour. In short, you should not ignore the suspected flirting when it happens, but the right person to confront about it is your partner".