Dear Jody: Just flirty fun?


Q: I have a friend, "Jorge," whom I work very closely with. He's gay, too. I really like Jorge and we have a lot of fun at work. (Just in case you're wondering, we do get our work done, and done well. Fun is just part of it.) We have been working together for over a year.

In the past few months, things seem to have changed with Jorge. He has become quite flirty with me. I mean that it's beyond our usual having fun and goofing around kind of stuff. It's been, like, sexual innuendos, asking me to go out for a drink after work - which I've never done - and other things that are hard to describe, like body language and off-the-cuff kind of statements. (Not any one thing he says or does would indicate much; it's the totality of it all.)

Jorge knows that I'm in a relationship with "David," and I have been with David for four years. Jorge has been to David's and my place for parties, and he has never seen me fooling around or flirting with other guys. I'm happy with my relationship and don't need anything - other than friendship - outside of my relationship with David. David and I have a monogamous agreement and I don't ever intend on dishonoring our arrangement. I love him very much and I feel like he is my soul mate. In fact, we're planning on going to Canada to get married next year.

Since it is difficult to pinpoint any one behavior as "coming on" to me, I don't know how to deal with this situation. I haven't told David about it, since I don't want David to get upset with Jorge, because I'm not really sure what this is all about, or if I'm just imagining it all. As you can see, I even begin to doubt my own perceptions.

Jody, how can I find out what's going on with Jorge without making him feel bad, or making myself feel like a fool, or destroying a good work relationship that I have with Jorge?

Is He Flirting With Me or Not?

A: You need to sit down and have a talk with Jorge. Let him know how much you enjoy and value his friendship. Then tell him that you are feeling uncomfortable with what you perceive as "flirty" behavior on his part. Ask if he has indeed been flirting with you, or if it's your imagination. Also let him know - even if you believe he already knows - that you are happy in your relationship with David, and that it is monogamous.

You might also check out with Jorge if you are sending off signals that made him feel like you'd welcome his flirtation. I understand from your letter that you love and intend to honor your monogamous relation with David, but ask yourself if you are somewhat attracted to Jorge. If so, it might be showing. It doesn't mean you'd do anything about it, but your feelings could cause you to be sending out those kinds of signals to Jorge; something he's picking up on and sending back to you.

The healthy way in any relationship is to bring concerns out on the table and deal with them in a kind and respectful manner, as well as accepting your part in the problem. Not addressing problems just makes them fester and grow worse overtime. Also, addressing problems in an upfront sort of way keeps relationship honest and builds trust - no matter what kind of relationship it is. It's hard work, but it is worth it.

Dear readers: Periodically, I get a letter or email from someone who asks me to put his or her name, address or phone number in this column in an effort to communicate, in some way, with others. It's my policy to never share names, addresses or phone numbers in this column. Real names are always changed to a pseudonym.

Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. Reach Jody at DearJodyValley@hotmail.com. The "Dear Jody" column appears weekly.
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