Just because you’re married or in a long-term relationship doesn’t mean you should stop flirting. In fact, you probably have more reasons than most to get your flirt on. Once you’ve been together for a while, the feel-good hormones of a new romance are no longer there to maintain the ‘spark’ between you.
By spark, I’m not referring to sex necessarily but rather the closeness and level of interest between you and your partner. Although flirting often leads to physical intimacy, its real magic lies in the ability to create and maintain a strong emotional connection by generating feelings of interest, attention and desirability. These emotions are necessary to foster a strong, fulfilling bond between the two of you.
Flirting communicates to your partner “I like you”, “I find you attractive” and “you’re fun to be around”.
In contrast, a relationship that lacks flirtatious banter, makes you feel unloved, unattractive and unappreciated to name just a few un- feelings we all try to avoid. In other words, flirting makes you both feel happy, which leads to more love, greater cooperation and increased generosity. When I work with couples in counselling, I’m always surprised by how many people are confused about what flirting is and its purpose.
Well, it’s more of an attitude than anything else. It’s not so much what you wear (although that can definitely help). It’s about communication, playfulness and confidence, which is always hot. Much of the confusion about what flirting is comes from the idea that it’s a means to an end; a strategy used when you want to get it on. However, flirting done simply to make your partner feel good and to make the connection you share one that feels close, intimate and warm is reason enough.
Flirting works best when it is done on a regular basis, as part of your everyday conversation.
Waking up and giving your partner a sassy smile before jumping in the shower or adding spice to your texts can do wonders. As far as texting goes, instead of sending a text that reads “Can you pick up the kids?” or “Would you mind starting dinner?” take a moment to make your messages count.
So, “Can you pick up the kids?” becomes… “Hey, honey… I’ve been thinking of you ;)… wondering if you’d mind picking up the kids” and “Would you mind starting dinner?” looks more like “Hey gorgeous… wondering if you’d mind starting dinner – it’ll give us more time to ourselves later…” or forget about household tasks entirely for a moment and just send an “I love you…” or “Can’t wait to see you…“
Being a flirt with your partner isn’t something that you should turn on and off. Instead, you can choose to communicate this way at all times and consistently nurture your connection. You’ll also reap other benefits such as having your partner become more open to change. This might be the case, particularly if you’ve been unhappy about not being a priority to your partner or resentful about feeling alone and unsupported in your relationship.
I’m sure you lead a busy life, so being ‘on’ all the time is impossible, but flirting at the start, during, and at the end of your day will minimize a lot of your stress and help you to handle the pressures of life more easily.
Okay, but how do you actually flirt?
If you’re going to flirt effectively with your partner, start by making yourself a priority. After all, you can’t make your partner feel good if you don’t feel so great yourself.
This means having fun with friends, working out, meditating, being creative, hiking, dancing, doing yoga, going for a run, eating right, getting enough sleep and relaxing so that your energy levels are high.
If you’re trying to ‘get something’ from your partner, whether it’s more time or increased attention, flirting won’t work so well. It needs to be genuine.
So, take care of yourself first and then try the following:
10 Ways to Flirt to Build a Stronger Relationship
In addition to a stronger emotional connection and more intimacy, research shows that flirting can improve your health, reduce stress levels and increase self-esteem.
Give it a try – you have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
Susan Blackburn is a Registered Psychologist providing Individual and Couples Counselling. She is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario, a member of the Ontario Psychological Association and has a M.A. degree in Counselling Psychology from the Adler School in Chicago, a B.A. (Honours) from York University and a B.Sc. in Business from the University of Phoenix.
Credentials include being a published author and several guest appearances on television and radio as an expert therapist including That Channel’s ‘Extraordinary Women TV’, the W Network’s ‘Style by Jury’ and Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s (of ‘Til Debt Do Us Part) show, ‘Princess’. Susan Blackburn Psychology