Flirty Girlfriend Causes Him Grief
Q: My girlfriend flirts too much and it's driving me crazy. When I talk to her about it, she says I'm a prude or that jealousy isn't attractive. She says it's just harmless fun. But the guys she flirts with think she wants something and they want to give it to her. I can tell! Even my best friend can't help but act different when she comes on to him. He agreed with me that she gets too friendly with guys. But she's got an unbelievable body and smile, so when she laughs and touches him on the arm, he leans in and looks like he wants to make out with her. I feel like I have to watch her all the time and step in when guys get the wrong idea. I know she's going to get herself in trouble one of these days. What can I do to make her understand that it's not cool? — Josh, 21
Dr. Susan: The risk of "getting into trouble" one of these days is part of why she flirts. She likes the extra excitement of playing with fire. Which, in my professional opinion, means she's lacking in maturity. The fact that she ignores your discomfort isn't a good sign for your relationship either.
Studies have shown that what you know in your gut is true: guys typically think a girl who is smiling at them in a friendly way is actually making a sexual overture. She's probably a little too young and naive to realize that flirting is more than a harmless game in many instances. I don't believe the answer is you stepping in to save her from other guys. That certainly will do nothing for your building a sense of trust in her. She needs to start respecting your feelings. That's what's really not cool.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.