Following are leftover questions from my online chat on “Online Flirting (October 28):
My parents moved a lot so I went to half a dozen schools. I later travelled and worked in several different cities.
The result is I have many friends on social media, and lots of them are old boyfriends or close guy friends.
My husband gets uncomfortable with that and often says my posts online are too close or even flirtatious.
I love my husband but I resent his monitoring my personal friendships.
Blocking him or keeping a private account is not the answer, he’d be furious.
Unless he’s unreasonably jealous regarding all your friendships with males, look closer at your posts with these guys who are close.
You may think that they see you now only as a longtime “buddy” or platonic ex, but over the years people and their circumstances change.
A friend who’s single and/or lonely may read you as reaching out. A guy who enjoys flirting, may get a kick out of ramping it up, creating opportunities for more play, perhaps meeting up.
Check whether any of your male contacts are pushing the flirty tone, and if so, ease back on your side. You may be giving the wrong impression.
Recognize that your partner not only has opinions (some of which seem wrong to you) BUT he also has feelings. These are what deserve a closer scrutiny of your online flirting, and toning it down for his comfort.
Just as you’d want him to do for you.
My ex-wife and I have joint custody of our child, who’s seven-years-old. He’s a terrific kid, and my time with him is very important to me, so I have to maintain good relations with his mom.
We get along pretty well now that we’re apart and we always discuss things about our son.
But recently, my girlfriend (eight months dating) started to comment on my email exchanges with my son’s mother.
Sometimes she’ll tease me about my love of soccer, or refer to my “early-onset-beer-belly” or even call me “hon.”
It’s natural to us, part of our past. We’re in no way getting back together.
But my girlfriend insists that my ex is playing with me and that I have to tell her I don’t appreciate her flirting.
What do you think?
Reassure her that there’s nothing going on beyond a good parenting relationship, which is important for the emotional security of your son who’s still adjusting to the divorce.
Be clear that you and your ex are over, and that the dating relationship you and your girlfriend have together is ongoing in the normal ways.
But explain that you must maintain easy and good relations with your son’s mom.
Being comfortable and amicable with her not only keeps things smooth and avoids conflicts, it’s a benefit to everyone.
Stress that it also affects your life with your girlfriend in terms of easy scheduling regarding your son, no animosity or meanness, and therefore no unreasonable changes in plans, etc.
As for the light references to the past, these shouldn’t alarm her as it’s all out in the open.
The fact that she’s read them shows that there are no private flirty conversations, and no trust issues.
Meanwhile, as in the letter above, respect her feelings. Your own tone with your ex can be friendly without your having to overdo the “remember-when” or call her “hon” in return.
I think flirting is natural online for setting up to date or trying to re-connect.
But I found it offensive when the guy I hadn’t seen since high school 10 years ago called me “sweetie” in his first message!
I’d had a crush on him way back, but now he seems over-the-top, since he found me on Facebook and insisted he liked every photo of me (there are tons!) when even I know some were awful.
He was trying too hard, and I felt he’d be pushy in person too.
When he suggested in just his second message that he travel across the country to see me, I thought, this guy is way needy! Do you agree?
Class of ’92
Yes, either needy or rushing for adventure, rather than real emotion about you.
If you maintain some contact, don’t get swept up into his fantasy. Ask a lot of questions about his life and why he’s hurrying things.
Tip of the day:
Online flirting can be misleading, so respect a partner’s feelings if you’re carrying it too far.