Flirtaloholic: Just One Bite!

I’m pretty good about handling flirts and compliments. I get the occasional email, Facebook message or picture attachment that are, um… enjoyable, but non-serious. Pivot and parry. No harm, no foul.
But I had a recent one that hit not just one, but two, of my personal kryptonite zones. (And NO I’m not saying what they are! I wasn’t even aware of the second one until she tapped it and I turned to mental jello.)
In all honesty, I got near instantly hooked. I’m no different than the rest, attraction is not a choice. Dopamine will tear me up just like everyone else. I’m not excusing my behavior here, just explaining it. I spent about three days getting drawn in and about three days getting myself pulled out. (And no we didn’t have sex or anything like that.)
Awkward, painful and embarrassing. In my version of the story I had to basically tell her as politely as possible to f off as I’m married. In her version of the story, I basically took it all too seriously and freaked out. Both of which are possibly true. I do tend to lock-on target looking for a firing solution once engaged.
Bleh. I guess I gotta take the pledge.
I am a nice man, not a mindless flirting machine.
If I am to change this image, I must first change myself.
Females are friends, not poon.
See what I mean about attraction not being a choice? Once engaged…. just one bite!
On the bright side, I extracted myself from this episode quickly. Much faster than I have ever managed to untangle myself previously. I was also acutely aware of how quickly my enjoyment of it faded and just siphoned away all my happiness leaving a brooding darkness. I’m Batshit Crazy.
I also couldn’t write. I couldn’t even answer email. I’d just sit at the computer and look at everything pile up in my inbox and walk away. Three days of this crap. Once I pulled the plug on it, everything came back online again. I could write, I cleared the email, I was happy again.
I’ve always been the high stimulation, high libido, one of Jennifer and myself. I’ve always felt like I’ve been holding back and moving at the speed of the slowest. I’ve long had a fantasy that I could easily add a second wife/mistress/girlfriend/f-buddy and that I’ve made a conscious and difficult sacrifice of that sort of thing because Jennifer could never agree to it or handle it. But when the reality seems to be on offer… I become miserable and non-functional, so apparently I don’t really want that. Fantasy destroyed. Who knew?
And I have been holding back. I have been seriously worried that if I was apart from Jennifer for extended periods of time, that I might just fold and do something stupid and wreck what we have. I haven’t trusted me, but maybe I can a little more now. It’s one thing to try and resist what you want, and another to resist what you know you don’t really want. So I guess I’m glad this all happened.
I just have to watch the kryptonite security protocols. Attraction is not a choice. Jennifer has adjusted slightly and made sure to tap one of the areas more frequently and I appreciate that. The second one… well she really has no hope of doing it and that’s okay too. It is after all my problem to solve.
And yes I have been extremely apologetic to Jennifer for the entire mess. I’ll also just be deleting comments devoted to telling me off for my behavior. I’ve already admitted guilt and we’re moving on. The point of the post is “Athol bad but learning”, I just don’t want to pretend to be something I’m not. I struggle with monogamy at times too.
Next post I’ll write about how to perform a Vulcan meditation ritual that will purge romantic feelings from your system and break the hold of dopamine on you. You’ll need a lawnmower for it.
 

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Comments

  1. Tarlach says:

    For a second I was going to mention Reuniting.com, but then I realized the meditation ritual was a joke. It's still a great website, imo.

    Much love to Marnia.

  2. haleyshalo says:

    Sometimes I can't tell if someone is flirting, which makes things awkward. In between obvious hitting-on-someone and unmistakable platonic-ness, there's a gray area where you feel like the interaction isn't within normal parameters, but nothing is so clear as to be out-and-out flirting. It puts you at a very awkward disadvantage because the other person has plausible deniability if you confront them. Email is the worst because it can be so hard to determine tone correctly.

  3. hans says:

    And that Lords and Ladies is the reason why I don´t use Fuck-(pardon-me-french) Facebook.

    And would be VERY weary if my partner did.

    What Athol experienced by just being famous is a given on there with all the X-s and future X-s friending you.

    Sooner or later you´re gona get "hooked", when you have a weak moment and all your buttons are pushed.

  4. LJ says:

    I'm sure most of us appreciate the honesty and this does give some food for thought. I've made the mistake of entering into (what I thought was) harmless flirting with (what I thought were only) male friends. I then had to deal with uncomfortable 'confessions of feelings' on their part. Cue end of friendship.

    Now I have a line I never cross. Over the top innuendo? fine. Generalised flirty comments? ok. Anything that specifically mentions them and me? No way, no how. And if we're on our own in person I just stay well clear – platonic ALL the way. Especially if I actually find them attractive.

  5. Athol Kay says:

    Tarlach – Oh no, the meditation ritual isn't a joke. I really have one and will write it up in the next post.

    Haley – Exactly. At some point you have to ignore the words they say and just look at the total number of interaction attempts.

    Hans – it's a double edged sword for sure. I've got no way of hiding though. Wasn't a random fan either.

  6. Anonymous says:

    An alternative title for this post could be "Men, You Have Hamsters Too."

    Another implication is that we men all have our "buttons" that women can push, and it's not realistic to expect that your wife can or will push all of them. And it does not make her a "bad" wife or entitle you to cheat. (I suspect the Roissy-sphere would disagree on this.)

    Athol, one thing I don't get, though, is that if you did not have sex with your button-pusher, why does Jennifer know about it at all? And why apologize? And doesn't letting your buttons get pushed a little by another woman help avoid "oneitis" that would be a turnoff for the wife? How else can one avoid oneitis without a little flirting?

  7. mrlovingkindness says:

    "attraction is not a choice"

    Yes and No.

    While my immediate response to stimuli is not always under my direct control. It is straightforward (though tedious) to train the mind to be less/nonreactive to future stimuli. It is also possible to reinterpret stimuli (e.g. painful to be neutral) in the present moment or to redirect the mind to another stimulus (with practice).

    For an extreme example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Qu%E1%BA%A3ng_%C4%90%E1%BB%A9c

    If a monk can keep his composure during self-immolation, he can, no doubt, subdue his attractions.

    The problem with attractions or preferences is not that they cannot be changed, it is that our preferences tend to be so tightly wrapped into our sense of self.

    http://mrlovingkindness.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/a-sense-of-self/

    So it feels like death to change our (especially deep rooted) preferences, because we tend to think we are our preferences.

    On another level, it is not entirely clear how much choice we have or what does the choosing.

    MrLovingKindness

    PS – Great blog you have going here.

  8. Athol Kay says:

    "Athol, one thing I don't get, though, is that if you did not have sex with your button-pusher, why does Jennifer know about it at all? And why apologize? And doesn't letting your buttons get pushed a little by another woman help avoid "oneitis" that would be a turnoff for the wife? How else can one avoid oneitis without a little flirting?"

    Jennifer knows because (1)I didn't have anything to hide at first, (2) I was clearly struggling and she pays attention to my moods, (3) it's extremely helpful to get me out of this by her knowing about it. I truly detest hurting her feelings, (4) I did some things wrong and purposely broke some of my own internal rules. Apologizing is appropriate.

    There's nothing wrong with feeling Oneitis for Jennifer… as long as she has it for me back. And she does.

  9. Tigger4Christ says:

    If you are a devoted, loving follower of the Bible, you can have your full meal polygamy deal, without the dose of shame on the side. That is why we meek will inherit the earth. You know, the meekest man on earth, strangled a man with his bare hands, and buried his body in the sand. Something to think about.

  10. Athol Kay says:

    There is a link between polygamous cultures and violence to men.

  11. Bb says:

    "Females are friends, not poon."

    I don't believe men and women can or should be friends. Men don't want women for friendship.

    Now that I am married, I am friendly, but polite and distant to other men. I always keep them at a professional distance.

  12. The MacNut says:

    "Now that I am married, I am friendly, but polite and distant to other men. I always keep them at a professional distance."

    I am the same with other women. I do believe that men and women can be friends, under certain narrow circumstances, but that opposite sex friendships are dicey and should be handled with great care, especially if the friends are married to other people.

    It's probably easier for married people to do like you and keep the opposite sex at a professional distance. Of course that can make you more attractive to some people…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Do you think that admitting this flirting with another female increases your attractiveness to Jennifer in the same way that being seen with other women in public is a demonstration of high value? In other words, maybe some occasional flirting, edging up to the line but not crossing it, has a way of making you more attractive to your spouse? I say this as I am in a similar situation- serious flirting but I have already made it clear I am devoted to my wife and will not cheat on her. However it does tend to make me more aggressive towards demanding affection from my wife.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This all depends.

    If I saw another woman flirting with my husband with no provocation from him, and he being cool and contained about it, it would serve as a natural DHV.

    However, if he's flirting with someone else to make me jealous, seriously DLV. If he's resorting to flaunting his perceived value in the SMP to aggressively demand affection from me, he's lost the fight.

    Much better strategy for him to flirt outrageously and seduce ME. He'll get everything he wants and more, that way.

  15. Athol Kay says:

    This sort of thing is a +Alpha but -Beta to Jennifer, but overall I believe it's a net loss in my value while it's happening.

    I'm also unhappy, and that's a minus as well.

  16. Anonymous says:

    First I really admire your honesty Athol, you are telling yourself what I tried to tell to many of my friends before they started cheating, ignoring the attraction doesn't work.

    Second, I know I'm weird my husband is not a flirter so that is good, but once a woman on a plane was totally trying to make eye contact after applying make up. I wanted to punch her, like literally just waiting for her to do anything overtly obvious so I could slap the slut. Preselection doesn't work with me in the normal way once I see competition I see red…I probably would had contained myself though but I would had at least looked at her with murder in my eyes.
    S.R.

  17. Anonymous says:

    @S.R., yes but at the very next opportunity you farked the ever-loving hell out of your husband, didn't you? Doesn't work, eh?

    @Athol, good for you to learn that lesson so easily. I went much, much further than you, until the marriage was beyond saving, before I learned it. p.s., that threesome you've always wanted can end in uncontrollable female-female attraction, too.

  18. Monica Moncrief Rogers says:

    @Athol: I can understand if your wife isn't happy about this scenario but I hope she understands that you are fighting your nature in order to maintain the relationship you have with her. The fact that you find her worthy enough to fight your instincts speaks volumes about how you feel about her.

  19. Athol Kay says:

    Monica – she gets it. The last time I had this situation it lasted much longer than this episode. This was faster in and out. It's exhausting to be honest.

    And thank you.

  20. Athol Kay says:

    Anon – I made it clear I would delete comments second guessing my behavior. I've already admitted guilt. Thanks.

  21. Anonymous says:

    When women flirt, they don't always realize what it does to a man. Sometimes a girl can really just be joking around, without realizing that it got the man on the testosterone train to lustville. Especially when the flirting is with somebody considered "safe" because they're off limits.

    But, regardless, you did the right thing by telling her to back off and apologising to Jennifer about it.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I don't know you, Athol, but I am PROUD! Masterfully done.

    "But when the reality seems to be on offer… I become miserable and non-functional, so apparently I don't really want that."

    You know, this works for women too. More should try it with the asshole types: "Do I REALLY want a guy who treats me like Roissy?"..Wham bam, done. Hell, I never needed to turn off attraction to that type, as I never felt it. But some women aren't as evolved as me and Susan Walsh..(sighs)

    Jennifer6

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