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I have a good working relationship with my Significant Other, but today she and I decided we would talk to each other about what we feel should be improved on an individual basis in order to progress our relationship (towards marriage.) In the course of this chat, we both gave a valid points on how to improve our relationship:

  • I would improve how I speak to women, being less flirtacous (which I don't try to be!)
  • She would improve how she handles her finances

For my point to improve upon, I have found this a challenge as my Significant Other has pointed out that I have done it a number of times, often I don't realise I do this. It has been pointed out that I have done things such as:

  • Not being explicit that I have a Signficant Other when I have met with other women, such as at Work/College/University
  • Making ambigious statements (such as when praying in a three person group, in a Church group with another woman, with my Significant Other, that it comes across that I was being flirtaceous.)

I recognise that I have not been faithful in this way, and I wish to change for the better. For the time being, I have decided to cut out most contact with other women (both social and otherwise). I know this can't necessarily go on forever, and my Significant Other recognises this, as I will have to speak to other women at some stage. At the same time my Significant Other has warned me that there may be consequences if I don't recognise my actions sooner. I have read other related answers here and here, but I feel as though I may break her trust further. How can I reassure my SO and reaffirm her trust?

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    Just to clarify your second example, you are saying that you are in a 3 person prayer group that is yourself, your SO, and another woman, and your SO considered you flirtatious while praying? Can you clarify what you did that was considered flirtatious? Also, was it clear to this other woman what your relationship was with your SO?
    – DaveG
    Feb 21 at 1:43
  • Hi Spaceship! You mention your SO has had trouble with two specific things in the past, but what has your reply been when she's pointed those out, how have you already tried to reassure her that you're not flirting? How do you usually try to reassure her you weren't flirting? And, I'd like you to consider: Is this about reassuring your SO, or is this more about improving your interactions with other women to seem less flirtateous? Your last paragraph suggests you may be asking us about the former, but are actually struggling with the latter.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Feb 21 at 10:05
  • Does your church have any ministers that could give you guidance on what is expected from couples, and whether you are violating your SO's trust, or whether your SO is expecting too much?
    – DaveG
    Feb 21 at 15:06
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    @DaveG To answer your first comment - I suggested we pray, at which point I prayed for the third party, the third member prayed for me, this making my SO feel left out. To answer your second comment - This is my SO's church and they don't have a minister, and are looking for someone to fill the gap (as of writing.)
    – Spaceship
    Feb 21 at 18:22
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    @Tinkeringbell So the point of this question is how to reassure my SO that I'm not going to be breaking her trust or otherwise. I will reword it shortly.
    – Spaceship
    Feb 21 at 18:23
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As stated I'm afraid this is not possible.

Deciding whether or not an interaction is flirting is a partly subjective notion: flirting is showing interest in deeper relationship, how that is done could be left to evaluation of behavioral cues, which also know cultural (and, most likely, individual) variations.

Flirting usually involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests a mildly greater intimacy than the actual relationship between the parties would justify, though within the rules of social etiquette, which generally disapproves of a direct expression of sexual interest in the given setting. This may be accomplished by communicating a sense of playfulness or irony. Double entendres (where one meaning is more formally appropriate, and another more suggestive) may be used. Body language can include flicking the hair, eye contact, brief touching, open stances, proximity, and other gestures. Flirting may be done in an under-exaggerated, shy or frivolous style.

(Empathis mine)

Trying to frame in objective terms what you can or can't do, when flirting can consist in double-meaning sentences, body language and attitude that are tolerated by the etiquette, can be quite complicated.

Being in a relationship I can say there are things you could do and promise to your wife to ease possible conflicts: wearing your wedding ring will especially address the issue of making your engagement clear, as it serves exactly that purpose;

A wedding ring or wedding band is a finger ring that indicates that its wearer is married.

In the meantime you aren't married, you could mention engagement verbally, although when you could so is not always clear.

If you feel this is reasonable you can also promise to decline invitations outside work setting when your wife is not invited and generally speaking promise her you would not do anything secret to her. This is something I did in my couple as I feel secrecy is not necessary to me.

We come to the point where you can't do much more. You could promise every kind of added security, gps tracking and whatnot, the cold truth is that unless you're made prisoner and locked down there will always be opportunity for you to cheat. Because of how anxiety works, it could be in the long term reinforced by "security measures", which is why I would definitely argue against agreeing on them.

As your anxiety increases, you try to reduce the anxiety and prevent what you think might happen by avoiding the situation. If you cannot avoid the situation, then you use subtle avoidance to reduce the anxiety. For example, you may use certain rituals, like standing close to a door to make a quick escape. In some way, you might feel less anxious in the short term when you engage in avoidance behaviours. You may take tranquillisers to deal with distressing situations. However, when you have to deal with the situation the next time, you are less confident that you can cope with it because you avoided it the last time or become dependent on safety behaviours. So you feel more anxious.

The more your wife has to trust your word, the sooner she may realize you can be trusted.

One important step in reversing the anxiety cycle is gradually confronting feared situations. If you do this, it will lead to an improved sense of confidence, which will help reduce your anxiety and allow you to go into situations that are important to you.

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