I had dinner with my friend Sara recently and as we reminisced about years of working together, the conversation turned to relationships. She and her husband had recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. It was her husbandâ€™s second marriage, but Saraâ€™s first. I asked her the secret of their success.
She had a twinkle her in eye as she told me about Tom.
â€œHe made me feel comfortable right from the start,â€ she said. â€œI knew I could be myself and he would accept me for who I am â€“ both the good and the not-so-good. It seems to work for us. Heâ€™s easy-going and Iâ€™m a little intense, but he just lets that roll.â€
Iâ€™ve watched them together. They kid each other often. They laugh and show respect for each other. Sara is somewhat of a caretaker and Tom likes this. Yet he knows how to make her feel loved and cared for, too.
And heâ€™s a big flirt! Though I donâ€™t see them often, a few other mutual friends and I have observed that Tom is generally focused on women and freely expresses his appreciation of their beauty, bodies, sex appeal, etc. Sometimes we think itâ€™s icky. But Sara has never once complained or expressed discomfort with it.
So why do some people become jealous of every tiny bit of attention a partner pays to someone else, while others donâ€™t mind this a bit?
I think it depends on the strength of the intimate relationship — a strong loving relationship, shared mutually, leaves no room for jealousy. If each partner is truly being kind to the other (as the Regular Guy purports) and if they often are doing little things to enrich the relationship, then a little flirting shouldnâ€™t rock their world. It might even enhance it! Itâ€™s nice to see that other people appreciate your date/mate.
Self-confidence helps, too. Insecurity breeds disinterest. And trouble can follow.
What happens outside the relationship can only become significant if nothing is happening inside the relationship. (A topic for another post.) It takes a committed pair to turn a budding romance into a 25-year marriage. Cheers to all those who take it seriously and succeed, and especially to Sara and Tom!