I love my boyfriend but I can’t help flirting with a guy at work. Am I a bad person?
You’re not a bad person for wanting to explore, says our elder. But proceed with caution.
Dear Elder Wisdom Circle, first off, I just want to say I love my boyfriend very much and he and I have been dating for seven months. We’re 17 and recently I got a part time job at a ranch at the stables because I love horses and I get to help younger kids learn to ride them and care for them. It’s been really great but there’s this guy there who’s only a year older than me who’s like my coworker and I hate to admit it but he is gorgeous! He’s handsome and has muscles. Sometimes I catch myself staring at him and I feel bad because I really do love my boyfriend and he’s the best boyfriend I can ask for and I don’t want to break up but this guy is just, well, hot. I can tell this other guy really likes me because he’s always trying to flirt with me and he keeps his hand on the small of my back. I don’t know what to do. I would never cheat on my boyfriend but at the same time it’s nice to have other guys flirt with me and think I’m attractive. Does that make me a bad person? I sound stupid or pathetic, don’t I? I don’t want to be rude but the flirting has got to stop, how do I tell him to back off? How do I stop being attracted to this guy? My boyfriend has gotten really insecure about this, how do I help boost his self-esteem?
It doesn’t make you a bad person when you enjoy someone flirting with you. I suspect that most of us are, at one time or another, titillated by the idea of someone admiring us.
If you truly want it to stop, you tell the young man that you are taken and to please keep his hands off you. Then you reinforce your decision by admonishing him against ever doing it again. You also quit throwing him admiring glances, which you know, he realizes. Now that’s if you really want him to stop.
It sounds as if you aren’t quite as in love with your boyfriend as you would like to have others believe. Anyone can look, but you may be a little too absorbed with this second guy than you would care to admit. You cannot have both, you know.
Now, dating is only a way to get to know someone and decide whether you wish to proceed. At 17 and dating for seven months, you probably will find and interact with more young men in your life. Some of us date two to six or more people prior to deciding that this is the lifelong one. And many of them cause us to wonder what it would be like to share a life together. It’s the nature of life and nothing to be worried about. Just because you have expressed your love to one guy doesn’t mean that you later won’t do it with another guy, or two or 10. Believe it or not, many young loves are fleeting, and breakups occur regularly. Don’t be ashamed to admit that you want the room to explore. You need to be honest with yourself and proceed with due caution.
Article #: 474145