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Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship/Flirting? Making Mountain Out of Molehill?

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First of all, should point out that spouse and I have had some degree (usually milder) problems since mid 2000s which broke open into a more major problem in late 2013 which led to me separating for a couple months or so.

My concern here is that if there is some type of flirtatious behavior going on (even if not recognized by my spouse as such or not, or if felt to be "harmless fun") that I be able to either "nip in the bud" or at least be fully aware of what is happening.


I felt that this would be a proper place to post as what is going on is a form of a date... just not a "date" involving the spouse!  

This situation is a mixed league (MF /MF) bowling league that bowls on a weekend night. It involves just one partner (spouse - who was previously paired up not with current bowling partner, but a relative - who has since been replaced by a "sub" who is a close friend of the other male on their team).

I am not only not involved (not asked), but am actively discouraged from going at all.

Particulars:

It is a bowling league environment where everyone else is doing high fives (strikes or difficult spares picked up), or fist bumps (spares not made), that most of the times he, my spouse's partner, (who started out as a sub and I don't know at all - nor did she, until now anyway; he's a close friend of the other male on this MF / MF team) and my spouse instead do this with JUST each other...

One will hold their hand out flat and horizontal with palm up. When the other responds with their hand out flat and palm down, instead of a high five, they slide their fingertips across the other's palm and fingertips in a single soft stroking movement. It is a modification of the "gimme skin" maneuver that (like high fives, slapping five, fist bumps, etc.,) came from the "dap greeting".

And that's whether it's a high five situation or a fist bump situation. (The gimme skin move - especially as modified - does, I understand, have supposedly flirtatious connotations when done between opposite sexes)

This is what is done by them instead of high fives / fist bumps well over 90% of the time.

And either can / does initiate it.

No high fives or fist bumps hardly ever... just this.

I haven't really paid much attention before now as there's only been like 4-5 games to this point (where I have casually stopped by... and yes, done in front of me as it appears to have become so natural), but it's hit me how consistent it is and has me now wondering if that action is a flirting maneuver (especially as it is only done softly and not "macho" or with exuberance).

And especially with the fact that they DO perform high fives and fist bumps with the other members of the team (and with persons on the team that is being played occasionally) as when appropriate - and never does the "palm stroke" with them!

BTW, I only see any of the other bowlers doing high fives or fist bumps (or occasional double high fives or hugs between obvious "partner couples"). I haven't seen any others do this "palm / fingertips slide".

Simply having fun?

Meaningless good time?

Or some degree of flirting (even if at simply some subconscious level)???

My wife as a history of being highly naive and innocent of the activities of others (throughout our relationship there were instances of mistakenly interpreted but clear to any normal person that it was an outright HMU pickup attempt... rhetorically could have had dire consequences - and not exaggerating either: in one instance she approached a guy that she THOUGHT she knew slightly and began super nicely chatting away; not him... a complete stranger - who took her by the elbow and started steering her outside the store suggesting that they "go get a drink"; she was so stunned that all she could think to say - I think she still thought it was the guy she / we slightly know - was "well, we should ask my husband first", as I was walking around corner of nearby aisle just then - thankfully as they were about 15' from store exit... and the guy released her and literally took off running out the store and completely through the parking lot - obviously didn't want me to see the car he got into... I could relate numerous similar incidents from over the years).

Anyway, while it "is" possible that this is being done mutually and with eyes wide open, it is just as possible that this sweetly modified gimme skin (and chatting, etcetera) move was started by him and she just went along with it, not grasping its significance or that he was doing it just with her and that other bowlers do not use that gesture.

But... am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

Or indeed a form of flirting?

Thank you.

Answer
Hi Larry,
My short answer is that you probably are reading too much into this.....
My longer answer - and the one which will probably be more helpful for you - is to examine why you are thinking this way. It sounds like you are very anxious about your wife's behaviour. However, it's not going to help and will probably make things worse between you as it comes across as controlling behaviour.
Underlying are fears you have about what your wife does, what it means for you and for your marriage. Have a think about what your fears are and how you can reduce them. The less you react from your fears the more you can act out of love - and the better response you will get.
I hope this helps!
All the best
Liam

Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship

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Liam Naden

Expertise

I specialise in helping couples save their marriage and rebuild it after major hurts such as an affair. Creating intimacy, removing hurt, dealing with sexual and communication problems. I have two relationship-saver programs and a free podcast which are available from my website www.liamnaden.com and a free report, "The Five Keys to Saving Your Marriage Now" at www.growinginloveforlife.com.

Experience

Relationship coach with own relationship coaching business. Author of several books on marriage and intimacy. I offer two relationship saving programs: "Stop Your Divorce" and "Save Your Marriage" which have helped many couples save their marriage and rebuild their love and intimacy.

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About.com Amazon Kindle: Author of the ""Growing in Love for Life" series of ebooks for saving and strengthening marriage.

Education/Credentials
Master of Arts (First Class Honors)

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