I wish we didn't have to talk about this, but one of my YouTube viewers wanted me to address this question. How to confront your husband about flirting. Big reveal, I have a bias. I believe in complete faithfulness and fidelity inside of a marriage. I don't think there is any room for other people in a marriage. So, if you believe something other than that, this may not be the article for you. That's my disclosure right up front. Faithfulness is an important part of forming a healthy stable lasting relationship. Now, in the context of that, sometimes people make mistakes. Sometimes people make very grievous errors or lapses of judgment as well. So, there can be a whole spectrum of what's going on here.

I want to make a distinction between at least two different levels of flirting that sometimes happen within a relationship. One kind is more general, meaning it happens a lot. It's typical of that person's personality. Usually it has been going on for a long time and those patterns are kind of hard to change. That's one level.

Another level is when it's happening in a pretty limited context with one other person. And that's actually a lot more risky because it shows a potential attachment. The first kind is usually based in some kind of insecurity and sometimes just a personality style where people tend to be a little more outgoing or flirtatious in their manner. So, take a few minutes to determine which kind we're dealing with. That's going to make a little bit of a difference in how we approach it. Either way, regardless of what kind of flirting we're dealing with, it's important for you to stay positive. This is because if you jump too quickly, if you assume too much or if you approach this with anger or negativity, you're going to get a defensive response. That doesn't even surprise you. You've probably already even seen it. A defensive response just means that someone is feeling attacked. So, we definitely don't want to attack. Stay positive. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself so that we can have this conversation. We just don't want to approach it in a way that makes things worse.

When you take on a positive attitude, it doesn't mean that you are condoning or approving of any kind of misbehavior. That's not what it means. It simply means that you are putting yourself in a good place so that we can deal with this thing appropriately. From that positive attitude, I want to borrow a little strategy that I learned from Dr. John Gottman. Use a softened start up. Now, the start up is when you are going to confront or bring up the issue. Softening it means that we are not going to come at it with a chainsaw when what we really need is a little scalpel. Tone it down. Make sure that you personally have a calm voice, calm face, calm body. Come at it from a little softer standpoint. I guarantee that will get a better result. Starting from a soft place also means that you personally are willing to be vulnerable. Now, if your husband is flirting, it's probably causing you to feel threatened. This triggers a very natural response that we call fight-or-flight. It is your brains’ way of trying to take care of you if you are in danger. There is a perception of danger if your husband is flirting. It doesn't feel like your relationship is as stable as it could be. Be willing to be vulnerable, because the next strategy I'm going to share with you requires vulnerability for it to really be effective.

Identify, verify and accept. I've talked about this in some other videos. We want to keep the lines of communication open. Identify is where in a softened startup sort of way you are calm in your voice, face, and body. You approach your husband and in a softened vulnerable way you say, “Sweetie, when I see you interacting in a flirty way with other women, I feel vulnerable. I feel threatened. I feel insecure about our relationship.” Okay, you pick how it is that you feel but it's in that format. “When this happens, I feel this.” That's identify. You don't blame, you don't accuse. Do it in kind of the way that I just shared with you and I think it's going to go pretty well.

The next step: Verify. For this step, you simply ask, “Is that what you were intending? Is that what you were going for? Was that your objective?” Some sort of a question like that… I got this  from Pamela Jett, a communications specialist and a dear friend of mine. She nailed it with this step. You're simply putting it back to them. Not in an accusing way. Just asking, “Is that what you were going for?” Now, 95% of the time people are going to backpedal right about now. He's going to be “Oh, no. I didn't… that's not what I was doing. It's not what I intended.” Sometimes, they will turn it back on you. “Oh, you're being so sensitive.” Now, no matter what, no matter, what you simply move to the next step.

Accept. All it takes is a simple “Okay”. So, whatever the response is from your husband, you just listen to it. You are going to keep a calm voice, calm face, calm body as you say “okay” to whatever his response was. If it was defensive, if he tried to explain it away, if he turned it back on you, it doesn't matter. “Okay” is your response. This is so powerful because what you just did is you put him on notice that his behavior is having an impact on you, he loves you. He doesn't want you to feel insecure and vulnerable and threatened or jealous. If he does, we have some other issues to work on. He may not even be aware that he's having that kind of an impact on you. This strategy puts him on notice. And I think it is going to change this dynamic in some positive ways.

One more quick tip before we wrap up, after you've done the identify, verify and accept, thank him. Show some appreciation. You want to reinforce this communication pattern that you're initiating. That's really more important than whatever it is that you're addressing. The flirting is something that needs to be addressed. The communication in your relationship will help you to deal with this and other things that are likely to come up in the future. So, show the appreciation. Thank him for being open with you. Thank him for listening to your feedback. That's going to be powerful.