Q: My husband has a glad eye. While most of the social flirting is acceptable by me, I don't like it when he tends to linger a little too longer at a party with a young woman or lean over to talk to her. Am I being paranoid?
Compulsive flirting, if that’s what your husband is exhibiting signs of, is a signal that the person doesn’t feel ‘enough’ and has a deep seated need to be liked and loved by many people, especially the one desirable to him.
Flirting is essentially our species’ way of sizing each other up in order to possibly pursue an alliance of sexual or romantic nature. However, for a lot of people, the process in itself is quite gratifying. They may not want to pursue the trail any further than the reassurance they get from being flirted back with. When someone lets you flirt with them and/or flirts back, that person is indirectly and subconsciously choosing to spend an intimate psychological space with you. In that space both of them make each other feel important and desired at many levels. Romantic interest is the highest reward your brain experiences as nothing says “you are worthy of existence” as a flirtatious smile with a shy twinkle in two people’s eyes. A lot of it is unfortunately but quite evolutionarily speaking, dependent on the newness and unpredictability of a person and their responses. Husband and wife and long term couples, quite invariably and to their surprise find things and responses quite painfully predictable. To top it, lack of sex and relationship education means that we have no learnings on how to keep each other interested in Long Term Relationships (LTRs). Hence it is hard to flirt with someone you know for ages and who has shared most boring, intimate and exciting parts of their lives with you.
Having explained flirting, I do want to say that you should not take this personally, but also don’t shy away from raising this as a concern to your husband in the most non-accusatory manner that a couple can muster. Communicating how you feel, might help him look at his behaviour differently. We are not even sure if he is aware of his behaviour. Talk to him, or write to him if you think talking might be a problem. As far as being paranoid is concerned, you have to remind yourself that you are a complete human being and your entire happiness doesn’t depend on your husband and his roving eyes. Understanding on your part and non-blaming communication will help a lot.