My girlfriend flirts too much

I have been dating a woman for 14 months, who on a daily basis tells me she loves me. She says that “I complete her” and we talk a lot about our future together.

We have had a problem because she is extremely attractive and "approachable." I refer to it as compulsive flirting. She claims as long as she doesn’t sleep with anyone but me, it’s "OK."

During the summer she was buying a car for her son and allowed the car salesman to ask her out 5 times. She said she wasn’t going to blow the deal by saying she wasn’t interested, but she hid this from me.

Recently I found several suggestive text message between her and an ex boyfriend and she claims it is the way they "bust" each other.

So we are broken up because she claims I am a "Jealous Pyscho" and I misread everything.

Every person I spoke to, man and woman has told me that sexual banter from an ex boyfriend when you are in a 14 month exclusive relationship is inappropriate.

My last email from her is she is sorry, but knows that she will hear about this for the rest of her life and doesn’t think we can get past this.

She wants me to trust her unconditionally. So I am looking for an expert opinion on whether to just walk away or continue to explain to her my feelings and the hurt that this and her other flirting has caused, even though she refuses to modify her behavior.


Some people are more extroverted by nature. They have more outgoing and flirtatious personalities. Being flirtatious is part of who they are and how they communicate with others. But, just because she is flirtatious, does not necessarily mean that she is interested in other people nor does it mean that she would cheat on you (see flirting).

As you know, however, it can be difficult to date someone who has a very flirtatious personality, especially for people who might be prone to jealousy (see anxious attachment).

In such situations, it is not unusual for the person, who is flirtatious, to try and hide or conceal their actions from a disapproving partner (see expectations and disapproval).

As with respect to her ex-boyfriend, some people remain close to their ex’s after they break-up. There is often a shared history and fond memories that make keeping in touch very rewarding (see spouse constantly talks to ex).

With regard to the sexual nature of their exchanges, her explanation is completely legitimate. When people spend a lot of time together they develop a pattern of communication which is unique to their relationship. This happens in all close relationships: within families, among friends and between lovers.

For instance, some siblings find unusual ways to bicker, some couples develop playful ways to tease each other, and close friends can tell elaborate jokes using a just a few key words.

And once a pattern of communication gets established within a relationship, people tend to use that style or pattern as long as they know each other. For example, siblings, who talk only a few times a year, quickly fall into their childhood style of communicating when they get together as adults.

So, it’s possible that your girlfriend’s playful and sexually charged style of talking to her ex is just that—it doesn’t signal her intentions, it just reflects how she’s learned to communicate with him.

But, the real problem is not your girlfriend’s behavior. That doesn’t seem to be in dispute. She knows how she communicates with others and it doesn’t sound like she plans on changing that. And in all likelihood, her style of communicating is probably a big part of her identity. If that is the case, then it would be very difficult for her (or anyone) to change.

Most likely, the real problem is how your girlfriend’s flirtatious behavior makes you feel: Threatened, jealous and insecure? Such feelings often consume people, making life miserable for everyone involved (see dealing with jealousy).

You have a couple of options in a situation like this, but none of them are all that easy.

First, you can try to change how you think about your girlfriend’s flirtatious behavior. Interpretations of situations influence our reactions. Your current interpretation probably goes something like this: “My girlfriend is more attracted to other people than me and she is eventually going to leave.” However, it is possible to view the same situation in a different light. “My girlfriend loves me to death, but she is so flirtatious she would probably even try to flirt with a lamp shade.”

Learning to think about situations differently is not easy, because our emotions often get the best of us. But, with a lot of effort and practice, people can change the way they interpret what’s going on around them.

Another strategy is to constantly share how you feel with your girlfriend. It sounds like you’ve been doing that, but there is an important distinction to make. The goal of sharing your feelings is NOT to get her to change her behavior, but to increase your understanding of each other’s point of view (see talk about problems).

By sharing your feelings and gaining a better understanding of the situation, ultimately your feelings should have less of an impact on your behavior. And sharing your feelings while also trying to understand your girlfriend’s point of view, has the added benefit of making couples feel closer.

Hope this helps somehow.

 anxious attachment | end of relationship | girlfriend flirts | her ex-boyfriend | my jealousy | text messages

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