Flirts and groin-lookers

Joey Garcia

I am in a four-year relationship with a woman I love deeply. Last year, my partner and I met another couple and became fast friends. “Sandy” and I bonded more than our partners did. Sandy is affectionate to the point of being flirty. When I thought I could no longer take it, I confronted her. My goal was to reveal my discomfort and ask about her intentions. She apologized and admitted to being a flirt. We also both acknowledged that we would pursue dating if we were single. We e-mail a lot and when we see each other, we agree to be the voice of reason for each other if we’re ever tempted to be physical. It isn’t simply lust, at least not on my part. I feel a strong connection, but I don’t want to betray my partner or ruin Sandy’s relationship. Do I have a character flaw for being drawn in? Am I a horrible person? I want to grow and I don’t want to start over. Is that reason enough to forget Sandy?

The best reason to forget Sandy is the deep love you share with your partner. Cleaving to a commitment is soul nourishing and life transforming. But don’t harangue yourself for feeling attracted to Sandy. You’re not horrible or fatally flawed. Just curious. Luckily, you’re also conscious. Be grateful for the integrity that inspired you to call Sandy on her flirtatious behavior. It’s great that the two of you talked, but now that you’re clued into her need to be noticed (that’s why we flirt), step away from the sugar. Stop e-mailing her and stop seeing her. Please don’t ask her to help you stay faithful (it’s like asking a stoner to hold your stash). Have you heard the 12-step proverb: “You’re only as sick as your secrets”? By swapping stories of attraction with Sandy, you establish a secret intimacy with her. That means you share a secret with Sandy that your partner isn’t privy to. If this emotional affair with Sandy continues, so will the intense temptation. But if you tell your partner about the attraction, the attraction will probably fade. And if you also tell her about your intention to remain in your current commitment, it will strengthen the trust between you.

Is it normal or natural when looking at a stranger or even someone you know to make eye contact and then (consciously or unconsciously) take a look over their body (specifically the groin area)? This is not done in a sexual way at all, and it has no relationship to the person’s sex or the viewer’s sexual orientation. It’s just a look. I was speaking with a woman on this topic (that’s a whole other story) and she claims she never does that. Isn’t looking an innocent reaction?

I’ve opened over half the files in my brain and still can’t find a reason to be checking out someone’s “groin area,” unless you’re a medical doctor—or someone who has a penchant for catching things that are out of order (like unzipped trousers) and you’re courteous enough to help that person avoid public embarrassment. Hey, it’s natural to make eye contact when encountering someone. It’s also normal to appreciate the beauty of human beings, but it’s creepy to give someone a once-over as if you are undressing them with your eyes. However, if you are open-hearted and see that each human being is an exquisite work of art and if your eyes drink in that vision equally with each person, without lingering inappropriately, then your vision is innocent and so is your heart.

Meditation of the week
“Almost always it is the fear of being ourselves that brings us to the mirror,” says Italian poet Antonio Porchia. If you permitted yourself to see the truth about who you are, the fear would dissolve; what other choice would it have in the face of so much love and truth?

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