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.