Marriage and the forgotten art of flirting

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

The other night my husband and I got our flirt on big time.

I whispered to him in a sultry voice: "I unloaded the dishwasher" and he replied breathlessly: "I put the bins out".

Then we sat on the couch in our pyjamas watching The Bachelor and drinking cask wine.

As you can tell, after three kids and being together for nearly 20 years we've turned into flirting machines.

For many long-term couples, with or without children, flirting becomes non-existent.

Relationship expert Jacqui Manning said many parents are so focussed on being good parents they forget to be good partners too.

"It can be hard to juggle the demands of taking care of our children and taking care of each other, especially in the early years," Ms Manning said.

"It's easy to let the flirty, fun side of things go by the wayside amongst all of the commitments that come with being a parent, so it's no surprise that keeping the spark alive in a relationship can be tricky."

According to new research by Carnival Cruise Line, 46 per cent of parents have forgotten how to flirt with their partner since having kids, 50 per cent have forgotten what their partner's signature dance move was and one in three parents admitted that kid-free time together felt awkward at first.

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Researchers surveyed 1,000 Australian couples, aged between 45 and 60 years-old, with children aged 13-plus - a group Carnival has named the Honeyboomers. 

Carnival has seen an 80 per cent increase in Honeyboomers sailing over the past five years. The research findings have prompted the cruise line to offer the first ever "flirt classes" at sea for Honeyboomers travelling with them during October. 

Ms Manning said flirting was an important way to show your partner you think they're sexy.

"Flirting is a signal that says I want you, I find you interesting and sexy, so it's really vital to keep that focus alive for your partner," she said.

"It may not happen every day, but little ways you can flirt can be simple, send a flirty text or leave a note in their pocket."

Intimacy and relationship coach Myola Woods said couples often fall into the trap of becoming roommates, not lovers. 


"Once we are in a relationship for a while, things can become mundane and lose their spark," Ms Myola said.

"This happens because we become complacent, comfortable, forget to really honour and take care of us, our partner and relationship."

She said effective relationships need spark, tension, energy and desire.

"Our actions become our habits - make connection, your new habit - you and your relationship will be thankful," she said.

Here are her top five tips to rediscover how to flirt again:

Be cheeky and play

Give yourself permission to be a little cheeky with your words, facial expressions and attitude. Sometimes we let the possibility of feeling silly or embarrassed hold us back.

Send texts

During the day, don't just send 'to do' and shopping lists - send messages like how much you appreciate them, how attractive you find them and what you would like to do with them. They will love it, but ensure you're sending them to the correct number!

Linger in your touch


When you're close to your partner you might like to run your fingers over their neck, back or across their bum. Let them know with your touch you find them irresistible, tantalising and hard to keep your hands off.

Surprise them


Give your lover a surprise, long passionate kiss. Tease them enough to keep them wanting and desiring more with joy, love and intimacy.

Write them notes to find at random

Grab some post it notes or some nice writing paper and write your partner love notes. Once they're written, place them in different parts of the house so only your partner will find them.