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I love my boyfriend so why do I constantly flirt and chase after other men?


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I don't want to be judged for my actions, because I don't quite understand them myself, I just want some advice and insight from you guys into the way I feel.

 

I have been with my boyfriend for about 4 and a half years. I love him so much, I think he's amazing, I can't imagine life without him and I'm pretty sure I don't want to imagine life without him. The problem is that whenever I go out (e.g. a night out with my friends or something) I am constantly flirting and seeking attention from other men.

 

For example, last night I went out to a jazz club with my two best friends and there was this guy there (a friend of a friend) that I just couldn't stop flirting with, he was really attractive and seemed into me and I've met him a few times before and he's really cool. I didn't do anything, all we did was exchange looks and small talk in conversation. Now I can't stop thinking about this guy and I want to seek him out further like add him on Facebook or go back to the jazz club so that I might see him again. What is wrong with me?! I have a boyfriend so why do I do this!!

 

It drives me insane, I don't know what is wrong with me Does it mean that deep down I'm not happy with my relationship? Does it mean I'm bored? A horrible person? Why can't I just be happy with my boyfriend and stop thinking about other guys and then having crushes on them... Please help me understand why I am so stupid.

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Okay, you are right to want to discuss this without judgments but you have to start first with yourself. Do not call yourself stupid or a horrible person. Okay? Now, lets get down to brass tacks....

 

Think about what you get from these flirting situations. Only you can answer that. I firmly believe that people do not engage in behavior against their better judgement UNLESS there is some kind of reward involved. It could be the buzz of attention from a desirable man. The excitement of drawing the eye of someone and creating that slow tension over the course of the evening. There is something that you LIKE and ENJOY about this. So try and figure that out without words like stupid or horrible. This is YOU, you are needful of something that these crushes and flirts provide you.

 

Also, take an honest and deep look at your relationship. You are coming up on 5 years together. Saying things like "love him so much, amazing, can't imagine life without him" are wonderful but superficial. Dig deeper and see if this relationship is still meeting your needs. Maybe both of you have fallen into some bad habits and are taking each other for granted. You can have a wonderful situation and still crave for something different and dangerous.

 

What do you think? Any thoughts?

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You do this, because deep down, you are very insecure. You crave attention, and when you are not getting it in your relationship, you obviously seek it from other guys, because you enjoy having your ego stroked. You have to feel good about yourself, instead of seeking validation from others.

 

Might want to think about not remaining in your relationship if you aren't truly happy, because obviously something is missing that does not satisfy you.

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You do this, because deep down, you are very insecure. You crave attention, and when you are not getting it in your relationship, you obviously seek it from other guys, because you enjoy having your ego stroked. You have to feel good about yourself, instead of seeking validation from others.

 

Might want to think about not remaining in your relationship if you aren't truly happy, because obviously something is missing that does not satisfy you.

 

There might be some truth in all this but I find words like "insecure" to be a shut down to actually digging into the motivations. It quickly becomes a game of "no, I am not..."...."yes, you are"... and all energy is used it defense rather than examination.

 

Who among us does not like attention from the opposite sex? Can you really get through the day without at least one kind of validation from someone? It is easy to tee off on OP but she has been in a 5 year relationship since 17??? I think you are right when you urge her to examine whether she is restless. Perhaps it is not being an attention junkie but rather a suppressed feeling that it is time to move on.

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Thanks for the responses so far. Both of you have hit the nail on the head, and this is why I do it - because I know I get some kind of a reward out of it. I need the attention, and like PaintWithLight said I especially love "the buzz of attention from a desirable man and the excitement of drawing the eye of someone and creating that slow tension over the course of the evening." But I don't understand why I need this kind of attention. My boyfriend is incredibly affectionate and provides me with loads of attention. He's always being flirtatious, giving me compliments, acting physically affectionate - so why do I take this behaviour from him for granted but instead crave the attention of someone else?

 

How can I stop this behaviour and just be content with the LOADS of positive attention that my boyfriend gives me?

 

EDIT: I also don't want to move on. I don't want to break up with my boyfriend. I can't think of one reason why I shouldn't be happy with him. I don't understand these feelings I have at all.

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There might be some truth in all this but I find words like "insecure" to be a shut down to actually digging into the motivations. It quickly becomes a game of "no, I am not..."...."yes, you are"... and all energy is used it defense rather than examination.

 

Who among us does not like attention from the opposite sex? Can you really get through the day without at least one kind of validation from someone? It is easy to tee off on OP but she has been in a 5 year relationship since 17??? I think you are right when you urge her to examine whether she is restless. Perhaps it is not being an attention junkie but rather a suppressed feeling that it is time to move on.

 

I can see what you mean. I would say it depends on her previous interactions with boyfriends as well. If this is a case where it has only happened with her current boyfriend, I think you're right, and she is just not getting what she wants out of the relationship. If it is a pattern, it definitely has something to do with her constant need for attention and the pleasure she gets from feeling desired, by others.

 

Unfortunately, you can't just stop this all. If it has been going on for so long, I do not know if there's anything you can do. You have to look and see where this need for attention started, and if it has happened in all your previous relationships as well. It will only stop once you are happy with yourself, without needing constant validation.

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Okay this is a good first step, you are thinking about your actions and the reasons behind them. I agree, lets leave the break up solution alone for the time being as well as the "I should be happy with him" statements. You are comparing apples and oranges. The loads of positive attention you get from your boyfriend is NOT the same as the feeling when you lock eyes with a stranger and he gives you a small smile.

 

I knew a girl in Dunners who was the same way. She had a great boyfriend but at times, she really wanted to be random and act out with a different guy! Do you think you can enjoy a mild flirtation at a club and then just leave it as a bit of fun for that night? The concern is when you want to continue to purse and it starts moving more into meeting and acting out.

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I can see what you mean. I would say it depends on her previous interactions with boyfriends as well. If this is a case where it has only happened with her current boyfriend, I think you're right, and she is just not getting what she wants out of the relationship. If it is a pattern, it definitely has something to do with her constant need for attention and the pleasure she gets from feeling desired, by others.

 

Unfortunately, you can't just stop this all. If it has been going on for so long, I do not know if there's anything you can do. You have to look and see where this need for attention started, and if it has happened in all your previous relationships as well. It will only stop once you are happy with yourself, without needing constant validation.

 

It's happened in previous relationships as well. Before starting a relationship with my current boyfriend when I was 18 I was in other relationship that ended due to the fact that I developed a crush on some guy that I knew and took the whole thing too far. I know I was only young but it is definitely a pattern and not something that would just occur with this boyfriend. I guess I just have to figure out why I need the attention so bad in order to stop it but I have no idea... I think I just like the thrill of a new relationship and falling in love with somebody for the first time.

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Thanks again for the response Yeah I think the main problem lies with the fact that it's not just harmless flirting at a club that ends when I leave, but I develop feelings and crushes on these people and want to pursue it further. If it's a stranger, well then yeah the attraction and flirting will end when I leave the venue or activity, but often when it is a friend of a friend or somebody who I know through different avenues I want to pursue it Of course I don't, because I'm in a relationship, but it drives me crazy.

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Imagine the same feeling and scenario with you being single and free to mingle? Would things still be crazy?

 

There is such a pressure to be coupled up at such a young age that often times, people never get a chance to date around see what is out there. And this curiosity re-surfaces later on in their life.

 

Do you think you might actually like the mixture of attraction, guilt, potential drama, etc. that can only be generated by crushing while in a relationship? I really think you are getting something positive from this equal to or greater than the craziness and guilt.

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I read the posts, and thought of something. Is it maybe that your boyfriend gives you SO MUCH attention, like you said LOADS, that it loses value? Kinda like gold, and other precious metals, the more rare it is, the more expensive and desirable. I think that you might have gotten used to getting whatever you want from your boyfriend, that it ain't a challenge anymore, and it lost its fun. It became instead of a precious metal, just a common rock. Does this make sense? Or you still think that it might be actually be because of something else?

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^ I think this again, is one of the many reasons why I behave this way, as are all the other suggestions that others have made to. It most certainly is the case. I just don't know how to stop myself behaving in this way and having feelings for other men when I have a long term boyfriend. There is one guy in particular who I am really into right now and I just don't know what to do, being so torn is killing me and I hate myself for feeling this way. I don't know what to do

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People in general move towards pleasure and away from pain. You can choose to control your actions even if you can't control your feelings - for example I am sure even if you feel like hitting someone who has greatly annoyed you when you're already in a bad mood you stop yourself, right? It gives you more pleasure to get attention from other men than it does to feel the pleasure of being loyal - because the pleasure from being loyal is far quieter - often you just feel content not pleasure and most often you don't get the thrill of someone else noticing you. It could be that you haven't yet gotten it out of your system to enjoy the thrill of the chase, the thrill of being noticed by a handsome stranger.

 

I can relate to those feelings because I remember craving that attention, I am very good at flirting and I loved the ego boost. When I was in a serious relationship I almost always made the decision to behave appropriately but sure there were times when I was a teenager and into my 20s when I flirted and at least got close to the line-and when I had crushes. It was a combination of not needing that attention, finding a great guy and valuing our commitment and love (both, not just love) far above the negligible at best thrill from male attention that changed my perspective.

 

I remember when I was pregnant and waiting on line to buy popcorn at a theater- the guy behind me started chatting me up. I answered politely and then turned subtly so that my belly and engagement ring showed. He had to have seen at least one but it actually seemed to encourage him. It ended when I paid for my popcorn and left- I continued to be polite and formal. Was I flattered? Mostly I was surprised and curious as to why he would be interested. Then it happened again at a party although not as intense (meaning the guy wasn't too flirtatious, but he tracked down my name from the host and friended me on facebook the next day). That didn't flatter me either in any real way. Years ago though it probably would have. I am just giving you those examples so you can think more about your stage in life, whether your relationship and commitment bores you (don't focus as much on the "but I love him" -that gives you an excuse to be abstract -be specific about whether your relationship - and his attention to you - is exciting to you whether quietly or loudly or in between- and whether it really is enough for you.

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You may not want to break up with your boyfriend because things are great between you two, but sometimes people walk away from the ones they love simply in order to grow. Im not going to tell you to break up with him or stay with him...thats your choice. I just read your post and you sound a lot like how I used to be. Although flirtation is natural (and it doesnt make you a horrible person) it can sometimes represent something that you're searching for in your life. Theres nothing wrong with being attracted to other people but the fact that you want to add him to Facebook and go back to see him means a little more than just being impressed with a handsome face. Like myself, you have been with your boyfriend since you were very young and this sort of behavior is normal for these types of situations. Your boyfriend could be a sweetheart but this guy is new to you...and new is always intriguing. Doesnt necessarily mean new is better though so be careful!! You may want to take some short time (a week or two) away from your boyfriend just to look within yourself and honestly determine whether or not you are ready for a serious relationship! This could be showing you that you would still like to keep your options open and its better to acknowledge that now than wait until you are more serious with your boyfriend. Dont be afraid to grow and learn about yourself...even if it means leaving the familiar for a while.

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I still don't know what to do, I'm still torn. On one hand, I feel I need to grow as a person and find myself. I am still young and I have been with my boyfriend since I was 18 - I don't really know anything else. But on the other hand, I love him so much and I don't want to jeopardise what could be an amazing future with him, I don't think I'm ready to lose him. It's the worst feeling of being torn I have experienced. Sigh.

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I still don't know what to do, I'm still torn. On one hand, I feel I need to grow as a person and find myself. I am still young and I have been with my boyfriend since I was 18 - I don't really know anything else. But on the other hand, I love him so much and I don't want to jeopardise what could be an amazing future with him, I don't think I'm ready to lose him. It's the worst feeling of being torn I have experienced. Sigh.

 

 

I think you need to force yourself not to use those abstract "grow as a person" and "find myself" because that so often gives a person an excuse not to get to the source. If that guy you flirted with called you and asked you for a date would your first thought be "I feel like I don't want to go on a date with him because I have to grow as a person and find myself". make a very specific list of what you want to do that will help you grow and find yourself and then figure out why you can't do those things while in a relationship. I'm married and in my 40s and I know I've done so much growing and learning about myself especially in the past 2 years and being married has helped that process, not hindered it. My guess is that, very specifically, you want to be able to go out with your friends and flirt your pretty little head off and see what happens - nothing wrong with that but using your bf as a security blanket so that if you have an off night or no one flirts back he is there to cuddle you -that's not fair to anyone.

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