Toronto Star

Your accidental flirting may be hurtful

- Ellie

Following are leftover questions from my online chat on “Online Flirting” (Oct. 28).

My parents moved a lot so I went to half a dozen schools. I later travelled and worked in several different cities.

As a result, I have many friends on social media and lots of them are old boyfriends or close guy friends. My husband gets uncomforta­ble with that and often says my posts online are too close or even flirtatiou­s. I love my husband but I resent his monitoring of my personal friendship­s.

Blocking him or keeping a private account is not the answer; he’d be furious. Travel Bug

Unless he’s unreasonab­ly jealous regarding all your friendship­s with males, look closer at your posts with these guys who are close.

You may think that they see you now only as a longtime buddy or platonic ex, but over the years people and their circumstan­ces change.

A friend who’s single and/or lonely may read you as reaching out. A guy who enjoys flirting may get a kick out of ramping it up, creating opportunit­ies for more play, perhaps meeting up.

Check whether any of your male contacts are pushing the flirty tone, and if so, ease back on your side. You may be giving the wrong impression.

Recognize that your partner not only has opinions (some of which seem wrong to you) but he also has feelings. These are what deserve a closer scrutiny of your online flirting and toning it down for his comfort.

Just as you’d want him to do for you.

My ex-wife and I have joint custody of our child, who’s 7 years old.

He’s a terrific kid, and my time with him is very important to me, so I have to maintain good relations with his mom.

We get along pretty well now that we’re apart and we always discuss things about our son.

But recently, my girlfriend (of eight months) started to comment on my email exchanges with my son’s mother. Sometimes my ex-wife will tease me about my love of soccer, refer to my “early-onset-beerbelly” or even call me “hon.”

It’s natural to us, part of our past.

We’re in no way getting back together.

But my girlfriend insists that my ex is playing with me and that I have to tell her I don’t appreciate her flirting. What do you think? Involved Dad

Reassure her that there’s nothing going on beyond a good parenting relationsh­ip, which is important for the emotional security of your son who’s still adjusting to the divorce.

Be clear that you and your ex are over, and that the dating relationsh­ip you and your girlfriend have together is ongoing in the normal ways.

But explain that you must main- tain easy and good relations with your son’s mom.

Being comfortabl­e and amicable with her not only keeps things smooth and avoids conflicts, it’s a benefit to everyone.

Stress that it also affects your life with your girlfriend in terms of easy scheduling regarding your son, and no animosity or meanness means no unreasonab­le changes in plans, etc.

As for the light references to the past, these shouldn’t alarm her as it’s all out in the open.

The fact that she’s read them shows that there are no private flirty conversati­ons and no trust issues.

Meanwhile, as in the letter above, respect her feelings. Your own tone with your ex can be friendly without your having to overdo the “remember-when” or calling her “hon” in return.

Tip of the day Online flirting can be misleading, so respect a partner’s feelings if you’re carrying it too far. Ellie chats at noon Wednesdays, at thestar.com/elliechat. Email ellie@thestar.ca. Follow @ellieadvic­e.

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