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Can you handle his flirting?

Dear Annie: I have been married for six years to “Tom,” a great guy in all respects except one. He is the biggest flirt I have ever seen.

Recently someone at our church said she felt it was her duty to tell me my husband has a reputation as a Casanova, and that when I am not around, he is worse. She said people assume he cheats since he flirts so much. This is not the first time someone has mentioned it.

I was very hurt by this and confronted Tom. At first he denied it, but then he apologized and promised to behave better. However, we were at a restaurant this past weekend and there were two attractive women at a table near us. I had to struggle to keep Tom’s attention and almost began crying at the table. When we got up to leave, he stood to let me walk in front of him as if being courteous, but when I glanced back, he was smiling at these women. One of them was smiling back.

When we got in the car I told him what I saw, and he insisted it was my imagination. I told him it makes me feel as if he’s looking around for someone better. I’ve always tried to pass off his behavior as friendliness. He says he would never cheat on me. I thought about turning the tables and flirting with another man, but I don’t want to be disrespectful and would appreciate the same from him. Do you think a man can really be this big of a flirt and not cheat? – Tired of His Roving Eye

Dear Tired: Absolutely. Many men enjoy the sexual charge of flirting, but have no interest in taking it further. Some women can put up with this adolescent behavior, but others find it demeaning. If you cannot convince Tom of the harm this is doing to your relationship, the next step is counseling.

Dear Annie: Thank you for printing the letter from “Michelle in S.C.,” whose friend died from suicide. I lost my daughter to suicide Oct. 6, 2005. Since then, I have formed the North Dakota Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and have been blessed to be able to work with many different people who are committed to the mission of education, prevention and help for survivors. – Mary Weiler, North Dakota Chapter Chair

Dear Mary Weiler: Once again, anyone in crisis can call 1 (800) 273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Survivors can call 1 (888) 333-AFSP (1-888-333-2377) or access the Web site at afsp.org.

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar write for Creators Syndicate.
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