Do flirty texts count as a fling? And why can't I stop sending them?


I love my husband and family, but I haven't worked since I married and often feel profoundly bored, as if life is passing me by. My sex life is also dull and predictable.

A couple of months ago, I got talking to a charming man who sat down beside me in the coffee shop at John Lewis. We exchanged mobile numbers and since then we've been texting each other regularly. The messages have become increasingly suggestive.

I don't really fancy this man, but I’m thrilled by the passion of our exchanges. We haven't met up again yet, but he keeps suggesting it — I don't think I can hold out for long.

I don't really want an affair, but I feel desperate at the thought of losing this excitement and returning to my dull life. What should I do?

Craving excitement: But exchanging flirty texts with another man could destroy your relationship (posed by model)

Craving excitement: But exchanging flirty texts with another man could destroy your relationship (posed by model)

You say you don’t want a love affair, but to all intents and ­purposes, you have already embarked upon one.

Don’t delude yourself: most spouses believe sending a ­passionate, ­suggestive text to someone else is tantamount to ­infidelity.

You have only to remember Tess Daly’s stricken face when it was revealed her husband Vernon Kay had been ‘sexting’ another woman to know how ­seriously such actions are taken by the betrayed spouse. 

True, it may not be the fatal body blow that full-blown physical ­adultery inflicts, but that’s no ­reason to deceive yourself about the capacity this correspondence has to destroy your family.

One moment’s carelessness with your phone could mean a lifetime’s misery. You’ve been preparing ­yourself for adultery from the moment you met this man — ­otherwise you would have mentioned the encounter to your husband.

What is clear, however, is that you’re far more taken with the romantic, flirtatious side of this relationship than the potential physical release, if you proceed towards a full-blown affair.

Vernon Kay
Jason Manford

Sexting: Vernon Kay, left, and Jason Manford put their marriages at risk by sending texts to other women

Most middle-aged women in long-term relationships feel a romance deficit far more acutely than they feel a lack of sex.

After years of ­child-rearing and supporting their spouses, they want a man to look at them and see a desirable woman — not a wife or a mother.

You are not unusual in craving a ­little excitement, and many women will have had similar impulses. Why else the success of Shirley ­Valentine?

Practically every woman I know in a lengthy relationship has had a similar wobble, even if it’s only exchanging a couple of emails with their first love on Friends Reunited.

One long married friend was left hyperventilating in ecstasy after a stranger at a party sent her two naughty emails, even though — as she freely admitted — he was the plainest man she had ever met.

‘It took every last inch of ­resolution not to reply, even though I have no ­intention of going to bed with him,’ she said. ‘It just made me feel so happy that, at 56, someone was giving me go-to-bed eyes.’

Similarly, one man I know who’s been with his partner for 25 years, confessed that the most adulterous thing he’d ever done was strike up an online flirtation with a woman he had met in an internet chat room (this from a man who once went to bed with his secretary).

He said that the intimacies exchanged during the course of a purely literary relationship were far more compelling than face-to-face banter.

‘You have more control over your personality and can ­construct an alter ego,’ he said.

He ended up seeing a shrink because he was so addicted to the correspondence.

‘I became ­agitated if I didn’t check my ­computer every 20 minutes,’ he said. The key word in your letter is ‘excitement’, juxtaposed with the dullness of your domestic life.

What you really crave is an electric ­lifeline to a more thrilling ­existence, not sex with a stranger.

I suspect if you take things further you will feel confused and ­disappointed, because you really seek admiration and affirmation.

You are looking for exhilaration in the wrong place when you really need to inject some excitement back into your marriage. This may necessitate you telling your husband how tempted you were to stray.

When domestic relations get stuck in a rut people tend to need a short, sharp shock (but not an earthquake) to make everyone realise the stakes are high. You might discover he shares your feelings of having slipped into ­comfortable tedium.

This is the moment to begin courting one another anew: going on dates, ­having weekends away.

And don’t expect all the impetus to come from him: it takes two to tango. Try sending your husband sexy emails and texts. Ask yourself when you last bought underwear for his benefit or initiated sex.

Surely this is the moment to look for a job and assert an independence your spouse will probably find intriguing. You can’t ask ­someone to look at you anew if you never try new tricks. If you have a sense of purpose, I doubt you’ll be so ­dazzled by a ­facile ­flirtation.

 

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