How Do I Get My Older Man to Stop Flirting with Other Women?

QUESTION: My boyfriend and I have been together exclu­sively for about a year and a half now. He treats me really well—he makes me feel spe­cial, always spoils me with gifts, and the sex is unbe­liev­able. My prob­lem is that when we go out together in pub­lic, he’s the biggest flirt. He’s always buy­ing other women drinks and chat­ting them up, but when I ask him about it, he says he’s just being a gen­tle­man and that I’m over­re­act­ing. What do I do?

CHELSEA SAYS: I think that some men, espe­cially older men, are just nat­ural flirts; they don’t even real­ize they’re flirt­ing because they’re so smooth that it just comes so nat­u­rally to them. How­ever, it sounds like your man knows that he’s a flirt and is doing it even though he knows that it’s hurt­ing your rela­tion­ship, and you. Have you made it absolutely clear how you feel about the flirt­ing? If you have and he is still mak­ing you feel like crap for it, then that’s def­i­nitely a red flag. In a healthy rela­tion­ship, you should never be made to feel like your feel­ings are stu­pid or don’t mat­ter, espe­cially when they’re per­fectly log­i­cal. It’s impor­tant to note though, that you talk to him about it when you’re calm and ratio­nal, not rag­ing mad.

I say give him a taste of his own med­i­cine. By no means am I telling you to go out and cheat on him, but why not turn on some charm your­self the next time you’re out with your boyfriend—exchange a lit­tle flirty ban­ter with the sexy bar­tender, or let another good look­ing gen­tle­man buy you a drink. Show your man that being with you is a priv­i­lege, not a right. Let him think that if he’s not inter­ested, there are plenty of other suc­cess­ful men out there who would be more than happy to take his place. If he still doesn’t make the effort to change his behav­ior, then I think it might be time to reeval­u­ate your rela­tion­ship, because how he treats you in pub­lic is just as impor­tant as how he treats you behind closed doors.

TRENT SAYS: It sounds like your boyfriend is a flirt! Has he always been a flirt? Did he use the same skills of per­sua­sion to meet you? If so, he’s either a nat­ural born flirt or, dare I say, a lit­tle inse­cure and likes the extra atten­tion from women.

Does his obvi­ous flirt­ing in your pres­ence make you ques­tion your rela­tion­ship? After all, if he’s doing this in front of you, what does he act like when you’re not around? Or are you entirely happy with your rela­tion­ship otherwise?

The best thing you can do is address the issue with him. Tell him it makes you feel uncom­fort­able. No man worth his salt would want to make his part­ner feel uncom­fort­able or inse­cure about her­self or their relationship.

Even if he responds by say­ing some­thing like, “I don’t mean to hurt your feel­ings; I’m just hav­ing some fun,” ask him how it would look if he was try­ing to hurt your feel­ings, because, either way, he is. And the end result is the same whether he’s doing it inten­tion­ally or not.

If that still doesn’t sink in, then next time you go out together, work your magic and get another man to buy you a drink. Bat your eyes coyly at him when you sit down with your boyfriend and thank your mys­tery man in a man­ner as obvi­ous as possible.

If he needs his ego stroked by other women occa­sion­ally, chances are his ego won’t like another man buy­ing his girl­friend a drink. Tell him there’s a trade-off, and he has to decide which one works best when the two of you are out together.