Building Bridges

Issue # 15 of 43 

David LeClaire
By: David LeClaire


We all know it can be fun and interesting to meet someone with whom we share a mutual attraction.

Some people can find enough satisfaction in a little occasional flirting, and having an affair is never really considered an option. A little playful flirting here and there is usually quite harmless, and this exchange between two people can provide some reinforcement that others find them attractive. Most of this is simply an innocent part of being alive, and who can say that they don't like the feeling?

Yet flirting can be a problem when someone insults their partner by flirting in front of them. It can also be a problem when a person is in a committed relationship and becomes addicted to flirting, sacrificing an inordinate amount of time, energy, money, or all of the above on its pursuit.

Flirting can also be dangerous because sometimes the intensity of the attraction can impair the ability of those involved to keep their situattion in perspective. Sometimes a person can get so caught up in flirting that they bypass their reasoning and consciousness of their surroundings. Values may be put away in a box and sealed tight, only to be taken out afterwards. Even significant priorities such as marriages can be temporarily forgotten or ignored while in this state.

It is helpful for a person to learn how to be satisfied with a simple and occasional flirt. Keep it short and don't get carried away. After all, it is an interesting part of being alive. Chances are you're going to flirt at least a little, so give up the idea that you or anyone can just wish that impulse away. But most importantly, make the acknowledgement that someone else is interested in you be enough and satisfying in itself. You may get the affirmation that others see you as attractive through some occasional flirting, yet remain clear that the love between you and your partner is much more important and worth preserving.

Some are good at listening to the wisdom they have accumulated, while others are masters at shutting it off. We may all have many of the same primal tendencies - but some people allow themselves to lose control. We're not helpless in this situation. Others have demonstrated commitment and willpower to find the inner strength to pull out of a situation that starts deepening, that starts looking like there could be consequences that could seriously undermine their best interests in their careers, family, and marriage.

Where this inner strength comes from will vary for everyone. Some find the strength in their sense of integrity, as this is important enough to them to shape their decisions and thinking. Your values, morals, or your spirituality can help you avoid this trap. Even your friends can be there to encourage and support you in staying on track. Your love and respect for your partner can keep you focused on the relationship you are committed to.

David LeClaire has spent much of his time teaching at community college and private school, and lead communications training for Fortune 500 companies. Now a popular and active Seattle area sommelier, this graduate of Central Michigan University led seminars for a wide variety of organizations. LeClaire is the author of "Bridges To A Passionate Partnership." He can be reached at

Building Bridges Table of Contents

Text © 1998, David LeClaire. Part of the original Sideroad.
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