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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5107
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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i cant differentiate if my husband is flirting or jus socialising

Resolved Question:

i cant differentiate if my husband is flirting or jus socialising in parties
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. On the one hand you feel uncomfortable with what he's doing. But on the other hand he justifies it.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. The premise the two of you are using to decide this problem is not the correct premise in a marriage. So I would like you to print out my answer and take your husband to a quiet coffee shop or pub or some other neutral site and read together my answer and discuss it.

A marriage is a union. That means that you are devoted to the relationship as the primary relationship in your life. Each of you. All other relationships are subordinate to this marriage relationships and come second to it. This is what it means "marriage". This is the agreement you each made. Discuss this.

Next, there is a behavior by one of you that makes the other uncomfortable. So far, the two of you have treated it as a question of definitions: is the husband "flirting" with other women which is out of bound by definition? Or, is the husband "socializing" with other women, which by definition is acceptable behavior?

But that is not the REAL problem here. The real problem is that whatever we call what the husband is doing in these social situations, they make the wife uncomfortable. She feels that it is a lessening of the specialness of the closeness between the two of you for the husband to do these things with women other than her. Everyone see this? It is not a question whether these things are technically flirting or not. It is a question of that one partner is feeling as though her specialness in the marriage is being lessened by certain behaviors. Discuss this.

Discuss what specific actions are uncomfortable to the wife? Discuss what actions the husband might want to replace them with so that he can affirm the specialness of the marriage relationship and feel natural in social situations.

The idea here is that there is a hierarchy of relationships. Discuss the need to continually reaffirm the special status of the marriage relationship as the highest point in the hierarchy for both. Are there ways the husband needs to have the wife act to make him feel special? In the bedroom, perhaps? When coming home from work, perhaps?

This is the orientation I would recommend you two take. I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
for dr. mark i saw my husband touch a womans back i think he was sayin excuse me to her which is fine but then i felt he cud hav jus said it he didnt hav to touch her this jus seemed unusall to me
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
Ah, I'm glad you wrote back. From this you just wrote, I interpret that you two had a spat about a particular instance rather than a pattern of behavior. If not, then my initial answer would be applicable. If so, let's talk about this incident.

In modern Western society (which refers to people mostly from Protestant or Catholic backgrounds who are not very devout), his behavior is not modest but not flirtatious if it is an isolated behavior. Meaning, that he doesn't touch any woman's back he is interacting with or passing in a party. Again, this would begin to get us back to my answer above where it is a pattern of behavior. But in our society, to do this when saying excuse me at a party or social gathering and then move on without lingering is not flirtatious.

So, my recommendation to you: keep my answer above as a reference and in reserve. Be on standby alert but do not bring it up again as you did. If he occasionally touches a woman's back (not the same woman) when saying excuse me and moves on and nothing more occurs, then after a few months, I want you to make the following declaration to G-d or to the universe or to yourself:

"Thank you Lord for giving me a man who is faithful and doesn't cross the boundary even of being overly flirtatious. I am SO grateful."

Then take him out to dinner and make him feel sexy!

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

for dr. mark he knows the woman(whose back he touched)i noticed him and her chat and laugh together sometimes which is ok but when we returned home i noticed he had taken quite a few photos of her with his camera and she had posed for him in these photos i know her aswell and noticed she didnt pose for any one else in the party

i felt once before in our marriage that he was attracted to a woman and he would laugh and joke wiv her and i remember him touch her aswell

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
No, this does not sound so innocent, does it. It sounds like he has done it before and that time it didn't go any farther. This is unpleasant and you may have to keep always being watchful. He may have what used to be called a "wandering eye". Wives used to know they had to keep a tight rein on a husband like that. In today's world, it usually leads to confrontation and then either couples therapy or break up.

And really those are the three choices in today's world: either you accept it like they did in the 1950s through the 1980s or you see if he'll go to couples therapy and work on this (doesn't sound like he'd be willing) or you keep getting more and more frustrated until you can't take it any more.

I know that sounds bleak. But maybe if presented to him that you asked a psychologist who says this was definitely out of bounds behavior on his part and that he needs to commit to stopping this and that I recommend couples therapy for the two of you, maybe he would consider it.

I'm going to mention here two types of therapy that I think are excellent. I know there are Gottman therapists in the UK but I don't know where. Seek a therapist who is certified by the Gottman Institute. Here's their web address for finding a therapist:
http://www.gottman.com/49824/Find-A-Therapist.html

Why? Because John Gottman is the foremost researcher in marriage today and his couples therapy model is the most straightforward model available.

The other therapy is Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. This one is the one I would use in your situation perhaps first because EFT focuses on how there have been created emotional barriers and how to get through those barriers. I think Gottman's practical style will help you with these issues but EFT may be right if you sense there are communication problems that are more deeply based on who each of you is as a human being.

Here is the web address for their therapist finder:

http://iceeft.com/findtherapist.php

On the website you'll also find excellent books by the founders, Sue Johnson and Leslie Greenberg. This is an excellent type of couples therapy.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
for dr. mark you are right he doesnt want to go to couples therapy and a friend has suggested to us that we should go and when i tried to talk to him what he did at the party he didnt really want to talk about it and just said we will end up fighting i feel really upset and alone
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
Yes, that's what my experience told me the situation probably is.

You may have to accept that 1950s attitude I spoke about where you just try to make sure he doesn't cross the line. If you two go to Church, you might see if you can get a clergyman involved in getting him to see how damaging his behavior is to the marriage. Or if he has siblings who are sensible and sensitive who might have a talk with him.

These are not probable, though, I know. The most help I can offer you is to tell you this:

You are not at fault in this. You are not alone. I support you and many other wives in your situation support you.

One thing you can try that may be counterintuitive for you but sometimes has good results: spice up your sex life. He is very sexually aroused by fantasy. So, indulge that.

And try to enlarge your circle of women friends and your own social activities.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

for dr mark i havnt full told him that i know the woman that i think he was paying attention to at the party was the same woman that he touched because we both know her and i feel bad like im accusing them and i thought i might hav got it wrong but i know that he likes her and wont admit it sometimes i think theres no point in confronting him about her

sometimes i feel i should pay attention to other man at a party and see how he reacts to it i also suggested to him that from now on we go to seperate parties(as we had a major fight after this 1)and i suggested he can do what he likes and i will do what i like and he went quiet i know he didnt like it

i feel like he has really stupid ideas and tells me them himself jokingly for eg he told me he wants me to hav kids so i am always busy and hav no time to see what he is doing like flirting altough he laughs and says hes joking i still tell him off for thinking like that and hav no idea where he gets these ridiculas ideas from

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
It sounds like he's hinting that he's sexually dissatisfied. Men sometimes have a funny way of trying to hint at it. You may want to buy some sexy lingerie every so often.

On a final note, I wouldn't adopt that strategy of flirting in revenge. It backfires way too often. You will wind up getting into a compromising situation yourself or you will only make him mad and it will escalate into even more serious tit for tat.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5107
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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