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When Does Flirting Cross the Line From Innocent to Addictive?
Flirting is a natural human behavior. We use it as a tool to connect with others, especially romantically. It can, however, be an innocent way to socialize. Not all flirting leads to a romantic or sexual encounter, and to occasionally get carried away with flirting, even when you have a committed partner, is not problematic. When flirting becomes a problem is when it interferes with that relationship or becomes a compulsive behavior. You can get addicted to flirting and the pleasant feelings you get from those interpersonal interactions.
Flirting: Harmless to Harmful
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are wondering if you have crossed the line. If you can answer yes to any of these, it may be time to cut back on that habit. And if you can answer yes to many of these questions, you could be addicted to flirting.
- Do you feel the need to flirt in most social situations, even if it isn’t necessarily appropriate?
- Do you sense that people around you are sometimes uncomfortable with your flirting?
- Has anyone mentioned to you that your behaviors are inappropriate?
- Did that make you feel defensive and angry instead of taking it to heart?
- Does your partner often feel hurt by your flirting with other people?
- Do you try to hide your flirting from your partner?
- Do you go online specifically to flirt with people on social media or dating sites, even if you have no intention of meeting these people in person?
What Is Flirting Addiction?
If, after answering yes to many of those questions, you now feel like you may have a problem, you probably also have questions. Being addicted to flirting is like being addicted to any behavior, like eating or gambling. You engage in the behavior compulsively. You feel like you can’t control yourself. You do it emotionally. In other words, when you’re feeling bad, flirting lifts you up a little.
Flirting addiction is a little bit like a romantic addiction or a love addiction: you get hooked on the rush of feeling liked and appreciated. When you flirt with someone at a party, it feels romantic and special, even if you are committed to your partner and don’t intend to cheat. You can get hooked on that romantic feeling and lose control.
The good news is that you can alter your behavior. Flirting addiction treatment can help you if you seek out an experienced and caring counselor or therapist. Working with a professional who understands behavioral and love addictions can help you learn to control your impulses. This professional can also help you repair your relationship if you have damaged it with your flirting behaviors. It just takes the experience of a therapist and hard work on your part. You don’t have to lose your relationship to flirting addiction.