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“You’re so sexy,” Isaac said to me as he opened the cab door, letting me slide into the backseat. I blushed because I’ve always been physically attracted to him, but because of that glaring symbol of matrimony on his finger, I always behaved myself, giggling off his flirty smiles and lingering moments of eye contact.

I met Isaac through a friend. He was genuinely sweet, had a killer smile and rocked the one accessory that should stop every single one of my eyelashes from batting–a wedding band. So I kept our friendship as red tape-free as possible, often only going out with him if we were a part of a group. I trusted myself, but I wasn’t so sure I trusted Isaac’s intentions.

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I was never really good at deciphering flirtation from just being nice. Since middle school, I’ve always thought that a boy being nice to me meant he liked me and I would place him in a “potentials” category. I knew I couldn’t do this with Isaac! His potential to be a potential was null and void.

Flirting is always innocent, until a move is made. I am not married, but I know enough to know that married men are only married, not blind or oblivious. And it’s the same with married women. We can all pretend that a ring negates desires, but we know that’s far from the truth. It’s up the individual to police themselves.

This is what scares me most about marriage. I realize that no one is perfect and there will be times of flirtation that crosses your partner’s line of comfort. How they handle the advances or how they choose to interact with the objects of their desire determines a cheating spouse from a flirty one.

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I know I’ve said that Isaac’s flirtation was always innocent, but how innocent could you be if you’re flirting and you’re married? Isaac invited me out for happy hour and because of the day I’d had, I kindly accepted, not worrying if we’d be a part of a bigger group this time.

“There’s just something about you,” Isaac leaned in, putting his lips just close enough to mine to shame Jesus. “I’ve always thought you were hot. I just didn’t make a move because…”

“You’re married,” I laughed in a tipsy giggle.

“Because I like quirky girls,” Isaac stated without breaking his gaze.

How did Isaac and I end up in this compromising position? After two years of being friendly and often flirty, Isaac and I found ourselves closing down the bar one night, drunkenly chatting about philosophy, interracial dating, which then led to sexy chatter that rushed blood to my cheeks. Isaac’s impressive conversational skills smoothly carried us into a world of verbal flirting that I should have never wandered into, but I was curious. I wanted to see how far Issac would take this.

Isaac laughed at a joke of mine about Black women and head, then he placed his ring-free hand on my thigh and squeezed it, “You know that myth isn’t true.” He fingers dug into the meatiest part of my leg. “Show me,” Isaac boldly stated.

I pushed him, “You’re crazy!” I laughed and slapped his hand.

“And you’re scared,” Isaac leaned away from me.

“You might be right.” I smiled, summoning the bartender to bring us the check. I’d had enough. While I enjoyed my time with Isaac, I knew that our friendship was headed into a shameful territory and I had the power to opt out. So I did just that. It sucks because I know that Isaac is a good guy, but he’s just awful at being married. And because I know he’s not the only one and this wasn’t the first not the last time Isaac has tried his luck with single women, I’m scared of marriage. Not every woman or man is going to walk away from desire.

Maybe it’s less about the union and more about an individual’s ability to limit just how far they go with flirtation. Either way, I’m not 100% sold on the sanctity of marriage. Are you? Let’s chat @Rhapsodani.

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