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Couple having fun at concert.

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The other day, my husband came home with this story that resulted in an interesting discussion about flirting within the context of a marriage and how much is too much and how do you know when you’ve crossed a line.

I know there are people who like to tout fantastical notions that once you get married, you only have eyes for your husband or wife. And I’ve always believed that such notions are crap, quite frankly. To me, marriage is the choice to be with one person, in spite of the other options available.

But once you’ve made that choice, commit to it or at least communicate when your choice has changed.

Which brought us to a story about flirting.

One of his married coworkers—who we’ll call Karl—moonlights in a band. And after their latest gig, he came back and told my husband about a woman who attended his last show.

He was explained that he and this woman locked eyes while he was still singing on stage. They stared at each other, him drinking in her beauty, for a few seconds before he realized that he had a responsibility to perform for the rest of the room as well.

When the show finished, and he was making his way through the crowd, greeting people and receiving praise for the show, the woman came up to him. More than just a brief conversation the two sat down as the room emptied and talked about their lives. She shared that she was a public housing advocate, which led to them talking about racism and social justice work. More than just beauty, this was a woman of substance and Karl found his physical attraction deepening into an attraction for this woman’s mind, her personality. All of it.

Karl, as you might have assumed from this point, doesn’t wear a ring. So the woman had no idea that he wasn’t—or shouldn’t be available to her in that way. And as their conversation dwindled down, she suggested that they leave the concert venue and continue their conversation in a different, more private location. It wasn’t exactly her room. But at that point, Karl realized that she was extending a romantic invitation.

Instead of outright declining, he kind of froze. After the paralysis, he shifted his eyes and body. But still didn’t speak.

Eventually, the woman figured that he wasn’t interested. She complimented him again on his performance, told him it was nice meeting and talking to him and left.

Karl thought he showed great restraint by resisting her invitation.

I thought he pushed it right to edge, trespassing on dangerous territory. I understand any of us could be physically attracted to anyone, at any time. But personally, for me. Once I realize I have a deep physical attraction to someone, I’m not going to continue to entertain that person.

My husband asked, “So Karl should have ignored her when she came up to him after his show.”

I responded, “No, he didn’t have to ignore her. But he didn’t have to sit and talk to her for ten minutes either. You know how to end a conversation. There were plenty of people in the room he could have talked to, including his bandmates. He had an out. But instead of keeping the conversation short because of his attraction, he talked to her, got to know a little bit more about her and now his physical attraction turned into something deeper. And that’s the dangerous part.”

Y’all know how it is. When you first find yourself enamored with someone, you’re not considering the annoying parts of their personality. In your mind, they’re perfect, a fantasy. And you’re comparing this fantasy person to the fully fleshed out one you have at home. Your wife at home has baggage. You know it. She’s not always drop dead gorgeous. You’ve likely seen her at her worst. But this fantasy woman is new and shiny because you haven’t encountered the realities of her being. So naturally, she looks better than what you have at home.

And that’s dangerous. But that’s just me. I’m sure there are men and women alike who toe this line of flirtation every day and still return home to their spouses.

What do you make of this discussion? How do you know when you’ve taken your flirting too far?

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.
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