It’s a relationship that starts fun and quickly goes to confusing. You smile, wink, and use phrases that have innuendo. Maybe you go to a bar for a drink or go grab something to eat. He’s your guy friend, but you have those butterflies and not sure what t do.
Congratulations. You’re in a flirtationship.
Flirtationships are those relationships that fall in the limbo atmosphere between friendship and relationship. It can be fun but turn awkward at the drop of a pin. There are rules and plenty of advice from best selling author Julie Spira.
There are some problems with flirtationships. Your family and friends assume your dating and don’t believe you when you tell them otherwise. There are three ways they end up: either they bud into a romantic relationship, go back to a strict friendship or completely fall apart. Most do not last.
The Advantages of a Flirtationship
While they can get complicated, they can also be carefree and easygoing. The other person is someone you can depend on without fearing judgment that sometimes comes with boyfriends.
There isn’t a commitment, so you can still date without drama or being labeled a cheater. There aren’t any demands or expectations like paying for dinner or meeting the parents.
Disadvantages of a Flirtationship
Like anything in life, a flirtationship has disadvantages. There is always a risk of it turning sour and this could ruin your friendship forever. Typically, the relationship takes a turn one of the two develops feelings the other doesn’t have. It can also spiral downward when one develops a serious relationship with someone else. It’s then everything changes and you are likely to get hurt.
All of those scenarios boil down to jealously. It is the root cause of a fractured flirtationship, according to Spira.
The #1 Pitfall
There is one thing that can happen to these types of relationships that end up with a ton of hurt feelings, Spira said.
“The number one way a flirtationship can hurt a friendship is if all of a sudden with all this flirting foreplay you get a false sense that you’re in a relationship,” she said.
The one who believes they are in a relationship will start acting that way while the other doesn’t. These mixed-up signals can lead to big misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Do They Work?
Most relationship experts say no. That’s because one person will want to eventually take the relationship to the next level while the other doesn’t. They can become emotionally dangerous when the other person has a committed relationship but continues with the flirtation. That means it can hurt the person’s romantic partner as well as you. You must be sensitive to your flirty friend’s significant other to avoid problems. They still may pick up on the steam between you and ask questions, which can lead to accusations and jealousy.
Are They Worth It?
Spira said they can be healthy if you consider them the first phase of a relationship and don’t let them languish in the middle or if you have formidable boundaries that neither cross. The key thing is to not hurt the other person or yourself in the process.