'Tis the season for all of those fabulous holiday parties, to reconnect with old friends and to let our hair down and celebrate. Now for some, letting loose means getting in touch with their inner flirt. While we all seem to agree that a little harmless flirting can be fun, there are those who cross the line and make the rest of us cringe. Yes, there is a point when harmless flirting can become uncomfortable and even dangerous.
Maybe it's the friend's husband who gets just a little too touchy feely; or maybe it's the neighbor who loves to bump and grind with all of your girlfriends' husbands. Whatever you're faced with, momlogic's marriage and family therapist Shannon Fox fills us in on what to do when you or someone you know is flirting with danger:
• At what point does harmless fun become flirting?
"The best rule of thumb is to act as if your spouse was standing right next to you," says Fox. "If he would be uncomfortable or disapprove of your behavior, that probably means you are flirting. If it feels inappropriate or makes your cheeks flush, it's definitely flirting."
• At what point does flirting become dangerous?
"When you are married, flirting with someone is flirting with danger," she warns. "Flirting is the on-ramp to the cheating highway. Infidelity is the number-one cause of divorce and most of the clients I've worked with who have cheated never planned to take it that far."
• Are you a prude if you don't like to flirt or be flirted with?
"No," says Fox, "you are just protective of your relationship."
• What should you say or do if someone does something to you that makes you uncomfortable?
"It sounds simple because it is," Fox explains. "Just say 'that makes me feel uncomfortable' and walk away. The only person whose feelings you should be concerned about protecting are your husband's. If you put up with inappropriate behavior, you are communicating that you are open to such come-ons. Shut it down before it goes too far."