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Old 05-25-07, 11:50 PM   #1
Allez Oops
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"Everyone is single on the internet."

I'm interested to hear what others think about internet flirting.

I'm noticing that it seems to be par for the course for some married folks to take on e-flings. You know: PM flirtations; message board innuendo; that sort of thing. I've heard it described as harmless.

Your thoughts?

I have several married male friends, who I came to know through internet forums (not BikeFo!). When I correspond with them, I try very hard to write in such a way that, if their partner were reading over their shoulder, there would be no chance of her being hurt. So, no verbal hanky-panky.

I think that it is unreasonable to expect any one person to fulfill all one's emotional/intellectual needs. I get the sense, sometimes (and let me reiterate, SOMETIMES) people go into marriage with that expectation, and when they find it lacking, seek to fill those unmet needs elsewhere.

As in: internet forums.

Is that a good thing? A bad thing? A neutral thing? Dunno.

Also: just to be clear, I am NOT saying this is guy-only thing. I've read here, and elsewhere, of married women doing the same thing. I'm just commenting on my own limited experience, as an unattached gal, which is all I have to go with, here.

Very curious to hear what folks here think. Thanks.

Last edited by Allez Oops; 05-29-07 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 05-26-07, 12:09 AM   #2
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Ooh, this has the potential to be a good one...
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Old 05-26-07, 12:18 AM   #3
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Statistically over 30% of dating site members are married. That DOESN'T include legally separated either. Flirting is and of itself important to one's ego. To you it may seem more obvious in men. It would be more so, as it is for me to find females as such. The difference though, is a woman, dresses, grooms,etc.to attract, it's automatic. A male seemingly is inclined to take a more "pro-active" approach through words and more cognicent behavior. I agree with your text by and large.
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Old 05-26-07, 12:28 AM   #4
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old and new, if I understand your point (please correct me if I did not), you raise an interesting angle I simply hadn't considered.

A woman (married, attached, or otherwise), theoretically, can doll herself up, step out the door, and have her attractiveness validated by random strangers. No fuss, no muss. And then return home to her mate, with him being none the wiser.

Let me emphasize: THEORETICALLY. Not all woman need or want this, nor do they pursue it. I'm a tomboy, so that is not my way; but I recognize that it IS the way some gals operate.

Am I on track?

Whereas for a man, that easy avenue is not so available? (Though here in L.A., we do have our male peacocks, strutting their stuff! See also: the hot men of Foo thread.). For a guy, then, seeking validation (gawd, I hate that touchy-feely word) , engaging in conversation through the internet, is an alternative?

Again, I suspect we both would agree that these are JUST broad stereotypes, and that we are not suggesting ALL women act one way, or that ALL men act another. I simply hadn't considered the fact that men can't simply put on strappy heels and a short skirt and get their daily dose of strokes.

And again, I want to emphasize: the behavior I've described is only more obvious in males, to me, simply because I'm a woman. Believe me, I *know* how we women are, and we ain't angels. It's very important to me that this discussion not be about men vs. women, and any differences there. I'm really more interested in the *commonalities*: why ANYONE who is attached would seek an intimate sort of attention on the 'net.

Interesting response, old and new. Thank you. And that 30% stat is new to me, as well.

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Old 05-26-07, 02:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnamb
Ooh, this has the potential to be a good one...
Well, since you posted, I would be very interested to hear your take on things, per your quote elsewhere:

My crush sends me amusing and occasionally naughty messages during my normally miserable workday. Now that's fun.

?
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Old 05-26-07, 03:38 AM   #6
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Well, I'm single nowadays and I have been since Jan 2005, and as you can see from the left, that's before my BikeForums days. As my posting history amply demonstrates, as a single guy, both online and in the real world, I am perfectly capable of and often indulge in a bit of flirtation. I think there's many levels of flirting, from subtle to extremely obvious, from innocent (or even potentially a bit positive under the right circumstances) to extremely harmful. Those two traits (obviousness and harmfulness) are not necessarily correlated.

Each one must set for oneself one's boundaries. I don't consider it my job to set someone else's boundaries in my response to that person, though I hope to respect others' boundaries. For what it's worth, my boundaries as a single guy are very different with women who are married or in dating relationships than they are with women who I know are single (and somewhere in between when not sure). Watching what a friend of mine and her husband are going through, there's no doubt in my mind that "harmless flirting" is not always harmless. I have personal experiences that support that conclusion, too (both from single life and dating life). Of course, it doesn't help that one may well label a situation as "harmless" knowing full well that it has dramatic and undesirable effects on one's other relationships since labeling it as such is a convenient way to try to avoid discussing it. I think the potential for less than innocent behavior or thought is increased for people who are not anonymous people behind a computer screen but rather people who you know in the "real world". But physical touch isn't necessarily required for flirting to become harmful, so the dangers are just as real with people one is not likely to meet.

Things may get interesting for me in this regard if/when I start dating someone again. I would never be comfortable with my current behavior in a significant other if I knew about it, and I therefore don't intend to tolerate it of myself, either. But having been single for a while and far more social than in earlier stages of my life, I seem to have woven quite a web of female friendships that I would rather not discuss in detail with a girl who I might date. (Those who know me well might recognize these people as the "acronym girls" and "letter girls" of past and present, for starters.) I'm not sure how much self control I actually have, and even if every female around me starts treating me differently because I'm taken, I may still find it difficult to not cross my own lines in the sand. I may have to stop eating at a certain restaurant and visiting BikeForums with the regularity I currently engage in those two activities to help me hold the line. Of course, it's far easier to set limits from arm's length than to apply them to reality. For better or worse, time will tell how I actually behave once in a dating relationship. Historically, it has been pretty easy for me to turn off the flirting once dating someone, but historically, I've been far more of a hermit, too.

Anyway, that probably doesn't give much generalizable insight since I don't have much insight into how people behave or what constitutes "normal". But I thought I'd offer my thoughts on the topic.

[e] Oh, I didn't address the "why do guys flirt" question. Lots of reasons! Yes, in various situations, flirting can relieve boredom, break the ice with someone, relieve stress, excite, attempt to seduce, entertain, etc. Or it can simply be response to flirtation.
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Old 05-26-07, 04:32 AM   #7
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the difference between "flirting" and actually "pursuing" is plausible deniability. not only deniability towards (significant) others, but deniability to protect one's own ego if one is rebuffed or the ability to minimize awkwardness with the subject of the "flirting" if it is not returned in kind.

both satisfy a variety of needs....bolstering one's self-esteem, thrill of the chase, the "hope" that something could come of it someday, etc.
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Old 05-26-07, 04:48 AM   #8
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I openly claim my wife on the net! I've never claimed to be "single", and while I flirt a little, I hold to a boundary. I don't do or say anything that would hurt my wife.
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Old 05-26-07, 05:41 AM   #9
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I also speak of my fiance on the net....harmless banter amongs friends is how I see it...there are however people that take it too far. but that is true in every aspect of life anyway...there will always be those people who take it too far.
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Old 05-26-07, 07:31 AM   #10
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Flirting, at least from me, is harmless. It's just how I relate to people. If the person I'm dating can't handle me flirting with most everyone I come in contact with in my daily life (not in my professional life, though), then they will not be dating me.

This is one reason I'm single.

Hitting on someone is a different story, though.
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Old 05-26-07, 07:50 AM   #11
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Very interesting thread. Makes my brain hurt on a Saturday morning...lol

I too am married and also make no secret of it.

Although I may flirt some, I try to be respectful of everyone.
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Old 05-26-07, 07:57 AM   #12
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My wife encourages my flirting on the net. In fact she is also open to the idea of selling me on ebay.
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Old 05-26-07, 08:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
My wife encourages my flirting on the net. In fact she is also open to the idea of selling me on ebay.
Better remind her of the double your money back guarantee that Ebay requires for dissatisfaction with used husbands sold on their service!
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Old 05-26-07, 08:01 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ritehsedad
Very interesting thread. Makes my brain hurt on a Saturday morning...lol

I too am married and also make no secret of it.

Although I may flirt some, I try to be respectful of everyone.
+1.
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Old 05-26-07, 09:21 AM   #15
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Married with two kids and a dog. Make no secret of any of it. I think Foo is a very honest place. Flirting occurs but it is just playing as usually both flirters are married and respect one another.
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Old 05-26-07, 09:31 AM   #16
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I'm single here and in real life. But here, although I'm an equal-opportunity flirter, I realize that some of these boys are married. So, I try and mind my Ps&Qs. In real life, if you are married, don't come knocking (unless you bring your wife with you - and NO, I don't mean that in a , way). Of course, many of the men in So Cal, I've met, so they know I'm just playing. The single men get the real "flirt" deal offline, but even then, I try and control myself (emphasis on "try")
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Old 05-26-07, 09:32 AM   #17
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It all depends on the intentions and the level of honesty given to their partner.

There are some who are flirtatious, but there is clearly nothing serious. This to me seems what happens publicly, and from what I can tell it's friendly stuff.

As for what goes on in PMs I wouldn't know. But yes, something does seem a bit fishy from what you describe.

Just depends on what's really going on - I'm not in your position so I have no idea what sort of attention you've been privy to.

Just first thoughts off the top of my head.
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Old 05-26-07, 09:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allez Oops
I'm interested to hear what others think about internet flirting.
It's remarkably cheesy.
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Old 05-26-07, 10:14 AM   #19
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I believe the original post was about interactions on another forum. We Foosters do seem to generally keep it pretty clean. But even then, depending on mindset, "harmless" isn't always so harmless.
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Old 05-26-07, 10:21 AM   #20
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What's match.com's slogan? "It's ok to look" or something of that nature?
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Old 05-26-07, 10:26 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
I openly claim my wife on the net! I've never claimed to be "single", and while I flirt a little, I hold to a boundary. I don't do or say anything that would hurt my wife.
It's called having friends - what a concept.
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Old 05-26-07, 10:27 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschen
I believe the original post was about interactions on another forum. We Foosters do seem to generally keep it pretty clean. But even then, depending on mindset, "harmless" isn't always so harmless.
YES,things start-out harmless,then turn; ya know, like the old accidently on-purpose sort o'thing, in a similar catagory with "self-fullfilling prophecies"
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Old 05-26-07, 10:27 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merider1
In real life, if you are married, don't come knocking (unless you bring your wife with you - and NO, I don't mean that in a , way).
DRAT! Foiled again!
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Old 05-26-07, 10:29 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsharr
Married with two kids and a dog. Make no secret of any of it. I think Foo is a very honest place. Flirting occurs but it is just playing as usually both flirters are married and respect one another.
I will vouch for Jeff's faithfullness to his dog. But the way the dog looks at me...I dunno...
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Old 05-26-07, 10:32 AM   #25
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You pig.
You say pig like it's a bad thing.

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