JRB, a monogamous pal of mine, was musing over the nature of flirting in her monogamous relationship. She’s completed devoted to his partner of four years, but she does enjoy a good flirt now and then. So she asks the poly audience–does that make her a little bit poly?

JRB writes:

When we started our romantic relationship, I no longer desired romantic attachments with other people. It’s been like that for about four years now. However, that doesn’t mean I’m dead. I do enjoy flirting with attractive, interesting people. I am always clear that I am fully committed to my partner but I think that flirting with adorable people is just a bucket of fun. (By flirting I mean the verbal dance that signifies attraction) I would be very hurt if my partner became romantically attached to another person, but I certantly don’t mind if he flirts with someone else. I trust in our relationship and our communication that we both understand where the barriers are.

Here’s my question: do polyamorous people consider flirting in this manner to be poly?

What do you think? Personally, I flirted like a maniac when I was monogamous. It wasn’t because I wanted to be with anyone else; it was simply something I did that made me feel sexy and desirable. It still is, in fact. When I come back from a heavy day of wenchy, baudy flirting at a Renaissance faire, I’m always just a bit more randy for my sweetie.

I suppose I could make an argument for that being an early hint of my poly proclivities, but I tend to think of it more as an aspect of my sexual expression that happens to (harmlessly) involve other people. What do you think?


Commenting area

  1. I don’t think flirting with others while in a committed relationship is necessarily poly. Flirting by itself doesn’t indicate intentions of dating, forming a relationship or even being sexual with another. For it to be poly (not that anyone is issuing poly membership cards, mind you), I would think that having an openess to have intentions beyond flirting would be present.

    However, I do think that flirting that is non-threatening to the exclusive core relationship can be a sign of a very healthy ‘open marriage’ (as used in the book by the O’Niels from the 1970s- not necessarily sexually open, poly or the way the term tends to be used today) type of relationship. In other words, one with a lot of trust and room for individual pursuits. I say bravo!

  2. I would make this a longer reply but I don’t see this as complicated at all.

    I think flirting is similar to masturbation, It’s a biological response not an emotional one.

    For it to be Polyamory there has to be the amory. Your not flirting because you LOVE the person you are flirting with. You are flirting because it is fun for YOU.

    I do not think flirting makes you “a little poly”, It makes you a little flirty. Being Poly requires a lot more than a wink and a smile.

  3. SailorFrank November 28, 2007 at 3:39 am · ·

    To keep it simple, I’m going to simply reiterate the previous comments.

    Polyamory is having or being open to multiple loving relationships.

    Thus flirting by it’self is in no way a marker for being Polyamory.

    Of course if the personal intent is to explore a possible romantic connection with someone while in an existing relationship, then it is.

    For instance when I flirt, I’m not closed off to the idea that it could go further. While I’m not positioning for a new relationship by flirting, I am testing whatever connection might exist to gauge the potential of a new relationship.

  4. Hey, I was wondering if we can get added to your poly blog links? Have added you to ours.

  5. Cunning Minx November 28, 2007 at 5:21 pm · ·

    Interesting. So… for monogamous couples, is flirting “cheating”? For some, it is. For others, it’s harmless.

  6. Jason in VA December 3, 2007 at 11:39 am · ·

    I think flirting is harmless fun. If you have a problem with your partner flirting, you should of course say so and explain your feelings.

    Mind, I’m not the best one to comment on this, since I apparently never notice when I’m being flirted with…

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