How (and Why) to Flirt When You’re Already in a Committed Relationship

And You Don’t Want to Try Polyamory Or Anything Like That

Sophie Lucido Johnson
7 min readMay 26


A few months ago, I wanted to start writing a new book, but I wasn’t sure how to begin. So I asked my colleague and mentor Jill if she would help me get it off the ground by being an accountability partner. Could I send her some writing every week so she could encourage me? She said yes. But still, the writing wasn’t coming.

Instead, I made an outline. Here was what the book would be. These would be the chapters. This was the plan. The plan would help me reach the finish line, and then the book would be done. Wasn’t that what I wanted? I sent the outline to Jill.

Jill responded that a lot of men having heterosexual sex with women see foreplay as something to be sped through, as a way to get to the end. She suggested that this book might benefit from a more feminine approach.

“Amble up to the book. Survey its terroir. Collect shells from the beach and tuck some acorns in your pocket,” she wrote. In other words: flirt unabashedly with all the things this book might be.

In adulthood, it’s easy to forget what was once fun about flirting — even if you aren’t in a committed relationship (or three). You might remember it as being exhausting. All that work, just to get someone to ultimately watch “Survivor” with you, or tolerate your farts. The time it took to get dressed up or put on fancy eyeliner; the achy smiling and laughing, even when nothing was particularly funny; the terribly real possibility of rejection. Isn’t a lot of being a grownup about earning the right to not try so hard? To get to lie on your couch seven out of seven of the days of the week, assured that you have accomplished the big life things you once set out to accomplish?

But another way of thinking about flirting is to describe it as entertaining interesting possibilities. Consider the possibility that flirting might be fun; that flirtation might still have a place in your life.