What to do when your partner has a flirty friendship

Sometimes, flirtatious friendships are just fun and entertaining, and each person has a keen awareness that the relationship would never go further.

Story highlights

  • You can take steps to maintain a flirty friendship without crossing the line
  • But if your partner still feels threatened, it's your job to remove the threat

Ian Kerner is a licensed couples therapist, writer and contributor on the topic of sex for CNN.

(CNN)It's called "micro-cheating": the small, seemingly innocuous acts of flirtation that don't necessary qualify as cheating but might be considered a little sketchy by your partner.

Many of us have experienced flirtatious relationships with friends and never acted on them sexually. Are these friendships signs of infidelity? Should you be worried if your significant other is attracted to someone else? Or could a little harmless flirtation actually be good for your relationship?

Acknowledge the benefits

    Flirtation is normal, sex therapist Tammy Nelson said. "Why shut down your natural feelings of attraction for someone just because you are in a monogamous relationship with someone else?" she asked. "You might be married, but you're not dead."
    A flirty friendship could help feed the flames of your relationship, but it depends on the couple. "In some cases, flirting outside the relationship enhances the primary relationship, and in other cases, it siphons energy from the primary relationship," marriage and family therapist Nicolle Zapien explained. The key is to know your partner and to communicate about the friendship before it becomes a problem in your relationship.

    Understand your motivations

    Sometimes, flirtatious friendships are just fun and entertaining, and each person has a keen awareness that the relationship would never go fur