I had a little chat with my guy this weekend about my flirting habit and need for validation. I don’t think I am crossing any boundaries or acting inappropriately based on current stage of our relationship, but something I said clearly made my guy think twice.
I’m flirtatious and playful, and I’m that way with both girlfriends and guy friends… That’s not likely to change, and it’s not something I’d want to change about myself. Still, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that amusing email exchange with Chi-guy — particularly not at the moment I brought it up. But it was funny! And I’m transparent like that. I don’t think anything of it — i.e. this sort of back-and-forth communication is not leading to any sort of activity. (As my readers know, Chi-guy didn’t make any moves when given the chance.) So it was no big deal to me.
My guy is more Southern, more traditional, more proper. His boundaries are clearly in a different place than mine and, frankly, that gives me great comfort. Still, I am capable of exclusivity — and I don’t think a harmless flirtation, via email no less, should bring my character into question.
But then, while at work today, I noticed my need for validation… In fact, I thought about shooting a note to the guy (formerly in the next cubicle) who used to give me attention. I realized, “Wow, I do have a heightened need for validation and attention right now.” So I got another cup of tea and went back to work.
Perhaps this need for validation is a result of where I am in my life – divorced, dating again, working hard to restore my feelings of attractiveness and self-confidence. Perhaps it’s a recent habit. Or perhaps I’ve been like this for years.
So I’m glad we had that chat. Because, while I have much firmer boundaries than I’ve had in the past and my sense of what’s appropriate is more in line with the cultural norms of surrounding adults, it’s good for me to be reminded to mind my behaviors. Not everyone is so generous in their perceptions of flirty women.
Still, this discussion about flirting with other men and my need for validation brings up a question: Am I really ready for exclusivity? Can I allow this to progress naturally and, should things become more serious, reign in a flirtatiousness that seems so natural to me?
Here’s what I’ve come up with: I like to flirt because it makes others feel as good as it makes me feel. When I’m at my best, I charm and put anyone at ease — a good skill to have. So I’ll be a flirt, more consciously, in its higher form…and I’ll learn to validate myself when I need that.