Dear Catie, What’s happening to you?, Part One: Flirting. Why?

Why do people flirt? Perhaps, if we first looked at this, we could figure out the rest. So, step one: Why do people flirt? According to Psychology Today:

  • Despite the pitfalls associated with flirting, and early interactions, flirting is a key step toward initiating a date, and equally important in maintaining your romantic relationship.
  • Second, flirters are sometimes driven by the exploring motive. Here, a person flirts to gauge the interest of the person he/she is flirting with.
Okay. That’s kind of a given. We flirt because it’s how you get that step towards a date, and also how many people keep their relationships going. 
Oh wait. You’re single. You don’t want to keep a relationship (of that kind) going, and you also don’t want any dates any time soon. (At least anything serious.) …. Uh oh. Then why do you do it? — Well, exactly as it states. And because it’s a habit. You were in a relationship / and married for the last million years of your life. Flirting has been what you did to keep your relationship going. 
But wait, you also flirted because of another reason. Psychology Today has also listed it:
  • Third, our flirtatious messages are sometimes driven by fun motivations. This motive describes the fact that we may flirt simply because it is fun or the interaction is playful.
  • Fourth, at times we flirt for instrumental reasons. When flirtatious messages are driven by this motive, we are flirting to achieve a goal. Perhaps you want someone to do you a favor, buy you a drink, or complete a household chore?
Lol, or you are joking around and you want someone on skype to give you a link, or to cheer you on, or whatever the reason that is playful in nature. On the internet, flirting is a language and it speaks to the 3rd and 4th reasons PT gives us.
But, if I am being honest in my own speculations.. I think it’s still something else.
  • Fifth, flirting can be driven by the esteem motive. This motive encompasses those times when individuals flirt to increase or reinforce their self-esteem. Namely, being flirted with makes us feel good about ourselves (unless the person is a creeper).
  • Finally, flirting can be driven by sex. Flirtatious messages born out of this motive are based on a physical attraction to someone and/or the desire to engage in sexual activity with that person
Hammer, meet Nail. (Also, I did NOT add the creeper comment. That was from another article within Psychology Today. Honest-to-God.) I’m going to give everyone a bit of a TMI right now, but you and I have conversed recently about how being single has made you go through the roof as far as realizing you can wink at all the things, flirt with all the things, and though you wouldn’t dare (you said so yourself), it makes you extremely… um… There’s not a nice way to say ‘aroused’. (God, I am so sorry, lol.)  
Jokes aside, let’s push aside reason number six and focus on five, because I think this is the main point we need to focus on here. Shit is about to get real. Remember: Breathe. I am about to state all of these things based on what I feel solely on a mixture of what you’ve told me, what I’ve seen, what I’ve witnessed from others and their observations, and what I’ve deduced.
You are starved for affection. In your past marriage, you wanted it so badly and it was scarcely received. Now, I am not stating this for any blame to be pointed at anyone. That’s not the point. My point of this post is to point out reasons for things. You are hungry because you were starved. You flirted, and were still starved. You flirted outward with others because of it, and were still… starved.
Exit that relationship and immediately enter your brief whirl-wind romance with another. It’s very unfortunate that things went south with this one, because he’s not a bad person. You guys got along great – and a huge factor in that is because he didn’t starve you. If anything, you were almost overfed (at least, as much as you could be considering circumstances.) And when things got too cozy, you panicked. What the fuck are you supposed to do with all this new attention you’ve longed for and got overfed??
Exit that relationship because of a cold realization that left you in many tears. I remember them. I remember the desperation in your voice. Catie, if breathing is hard right now at this point in my post, please, this if your reminder to breathe. Breathe. Because you’re not a horrible person. You’re not.
You’re actually incredibly strong. Despite the unfortunate piece of your most-recent ex being a good guy, and things going so ‘perfect’, you stepped away. And in my opinion, you NEEDED to. And you REALIZED that when you found out these things, things like how you felt selfish because you craved the attention, and craved some fucking affection, and is that so bad? It’s not. So, you took a step back, and you evaluated. And now you’re taking a break. You need space. Best. Fucking. Idea. Ever.
(Lol, get it? You need space!)
But it’s going to be hard. You’ve already seen how it can even be a little challenging.
Okay, back to flirting.
I think most recently you’ve done it out of habit. You’re so used to flirting because for the past two or so years, that’s how you’ve survived while being starved.  No one, especially not me (the Pot) is blaming you (the Kettle). Honestly, I think you going through this is only helping myself more with this issue as well. Because I also flirt for attention – yet I am NOT starved of it. It’s, again, a habit. And it comes from starved attention.
What does that attention do? It makes us feel desired. It makes us feel like we’re doing something right. It makes us feel like we, ourselves, as we are.. Don’t need fixing, we’re fucking fantastic. (And you are, don’t get me wrong.) But we don’t believe it, thus we look for it.
But I am going to burst a bubble that was the hardest damn thing for me to realize, and it will be easier to explain if I give you a taste of my own experience. (But you’re used to me relating to it to explain things when I give you advice anyway, so this is nothing new!)
These questions we have, ‘Am I desirable? Am I worth it? Do you delight in me?” … They can never be answered in a way that we are 100% satisfied by any man or woman ever on the planet, nay, universe. It will never happen. Example:
“Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” He can answer in whatever way he’d like. Do we hear him?
“Honey, I feel like a monster. Do you think I’m worth loving?” He can answer in whatever way he’d like. Do we hear him?
“Honey, this is all I have to give. Do you delight in that?” He can answer in whatever way he’d like. Do we hear him?
I found this out while attending a self-discovery study with some other fine females such as myself. We were reading this book about the exact same topic. We wanted to know the answers to all of these answers, dammit, and why doesn’t it feel good when the men answer the way we want them to?!
Because two things have to happen for this to ever sink in, for this feeling to ever go away, and our desire to flirt because we crave the acceptance to ever not be a necessity for surviving in this harsh world.
  • You have to believe it yourself.
LOL. Can you say, “Harder to do than say?” I fucking can. Introduce me to a woman who truly, 100% of the time, all day err day believe she’s got it going and I will give her a lap dance. Or something else ridiculous that will never happen, because she doesn’t exist. 
But we can get close. It can happen. We may not feel it forever, at all times, but we can get pretty fucking close. For example, aren’t you the bitch who’s just met her goal weight? Get the fuck out of here with your insecurities. (I’m kidding.)
  • You have to ask the right questions to the right people.
The questions you have, the reasons you flirt (or at least, I think so) … They need to be asked to God. Excuse me, bitch. Are you getting all biblical on me? What the hell does God have to do with me feeling good about myself, or feeling like I’m good enough for this world. Shut the fuck up and listen to me a moment.
If we are to believe that God made us, would he have made a fucking mistake?
If we are to believe that God has the plan and makes all of us the way we are for a reason, would he have us where and what we aren’t meant to be?
If we are to believe that God loves all of his children, would he have made us in a way in which he wouldn’t delight in us?
I don’t think so, Missy. You see, we can ask our significant others, our boyfriends, our girlfriends, our besties, our sisters, … We can ask anyone on this planet, and it’s not fucking fair to ask them that. We will never believe them. They are human. They are imperfect. They could be lying, and we’d rather believe they are lying to us than be saying we are better than we tell ourselves we are.
But how the fuck do you tell God that he made a mistake? How do you tell him, “You’re just saying that. You have to. You made me, and if you said otherwise, it would look bad on you.” God ain’t lying. Don’t believe me? Here. Picture God as Tom Hiddleston (Loki):
Would this face fucking lie to you?
I know that you are a logical person. I know that even believing in God was a challenge for you because you need proof. There are many people like that, and you’re not alone in that. Don’t feel bad for it. He already knows. He’s already prepared to show you what you need to fucking listen to him. He’s like that loyal dog that no matter how many times you tell him to get lost, you want to be alone (because you feel like such a monster) … He just fucking sits there, wagging his tail, waiting for you to give him something, anything
What does this have to do with flirting? Well, if we truly believe in ourselves, we wouldn’t need to flirt with others to test if they believe the same things about us. We’d already know we’re tough shit and they need to recognize.
Now, I want to point out that this only addressed the core reason I  believe you are flirting at this moment in time. There isn’t a problem with flirting, just flirting for the wrong reasons. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone, and you don’t have to ask them these questions. Sure, it’s fun to hear someone tell you you look like a fucking BAMF in your new outfit that you got because of your goal weight. You deserve that. You worked hard for it. But at the end of the day, you need to make sure you’re cool with God, and that you believe, that he believes.. You’re absolute where you need to be, where you are right then and there, as imperfect as you are, because He put you there. For a reason.
I can’t tell you in a million ways how perfectly imperfect you are to me, Catie, and have it any where near what finally, truthfully, and whole-heartedly believing that He has done all of these things and believes all of these things of you. He doesn’t care what the fuck you’ve done with your life. He saw it coming. He carried you through it. He didn’t create perfect people. Jesus isn’t here for the healthy. He died for the sick.
Okay. I’m done being preachy. At least this time.
So, maybe you made a mistake. Maybe you flirted. Maybe it went too far in one way or another. Is it the end of the world? No. It’s just like when you fail at your diet. Mayyyyybe you bit off more than you could chew, and now you want to throw up with how the food is settling. Oops. So, don’t eat that shit again! Try something else.
My advice to you, now that you’ve read this:
  • Set boundaries. 
Remember when you flirt that it’s for the fun, not because you need the attention. It’s enjoyable to play around. But, people need to recognize this as well. So keep doing what you are doing, and make damn sure to tell them if they get too fresh that you’re not interested / waiting until much later / not available. Do that, and it’s their fault from there out if they get feelsy.
  • Feelings. They suck.
You just made friends. You’re making all of these new friends because of a new life and a new scene. Flirting is also a way to test the waters on how crazy people can be (in a good way, and in a bad way). You know better than anyone that no one can predict when love happens. It’s going to happen. You’re going to flirt or not with the wrong person, and they are going to acknowledge you close up or from afar and fall for the beautiful person you are, despite the flaws. Whenever this happens, and it will happen, you have to make a choice. Do you want to see where it goes, even if it’s not your 9 month deadline (or even if it’s past) ? Or do you want to say ‘no’, because you feel you still need air? Do you even like them? Welcome to the world of dating, where you’re eligible and people don’t play by your heart’s rules.
There is no real way to avoid people falling in love with you. I’m sorry. If you’d just fuck up a little bit more, maybe you could become a monster people would hate instead. 
I’m going to close this post for now because it’s lengthy as it is. Next time on Miranda’s Advice Column, I will give you advice on how to go on from here, with your OWN feels, and how not to fall too quickly, or keep away too far, but find a perfect balance. All the while working, being a mother, and getting out in the world.
To be continued…

Miranda