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          ‘Charming’ or Flirting?

          September 30, 2002

          “My boyfriend is a big flirt,” says Katherine, 28, who’s been dating Jason for two years. “It’s hard to see the man you love flirting with someone else.”

          Jason sees it differently. “I’m just being friendly and charming,” he says. “It’s just my personality, opening up to someone and trying to make them more comfortable.”

          Katherine asks Dr. Phil: “How can I get my boyfriend to understand that his flirting is hurting me?”

          Dr. Phil gets real:

        • Fifty percent of the solution to any problem lies in defining it. Is this about your insecurity or is it about his disrespect for the relationship and who you are? Are you just scared or is he really crossing the line?

        • There’s a big difference between being nice, engaging and charming … and coming on to someone. Which is he doing?

        • There is a clear formula for success in a relationship: It’s a function of the extent to which it meets the needs of the two people involved. Katherine has a need to be made to feel special, appreciated and exclusive with Jason. He has a need to be who he is, which includes being friendly. Try to negotiate some middle ground.

        • The time to talk about it is not when you’re upset. Talk about it in a rational way when you’re not in conflict. For example, before going out to dinner, you could say: “Do me a favor, make me number one tonight.”

        • Is what attracted you to your partner to begin with the very trait that you’re asking him to stop exhibiting? Is that fair?

        • You’ll push him away if you keep complaining and don’t lighten up.

        • He’s got a choice between chatting up a stranger and paying attention to you. Which does he want?

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