Sounds like a tricky situation. Boys can be confusing, but us women can be too! I would put money on that he is probably feeling as confused as you are!
I feel you on the “flirty aspect” I have a very best friend who is a girl, whom I have no problem getting close too. Heck, last weekend we were camping (with both our boyfriends) and I was so sea sick in the morning, laying in bed, and she came and snuggled right up with me. I have a few other female friends whom I’m like this with as well but it is not sexual, its purely a comfort level thing. These are my people, they understand me and love me and accept me as I am and I love them like that. I love them like family, and you darned well better believe I’m not afraid to snuggle my fam jam either!! I suppose its way more “flirty” with my friends than with my family. But even with my friends, it’s not “oh I totally want to take you to bed” bhaviour, its just playful and fun.
Maybe he’s having a hard time with the distinction? As a bartender, he felt he HAD to be firtatious, it was in the job description. If I were a bartender, I’d wear v necks and flirt my face of too!! I mean, seriously, there is some good cash in effective bartending!! And so maybe it was just “easier” for him then (so to speak) because it was his job description and in his mind yu were probably being the best woman ever and playing along. Then he gets a 9-5 job and he’s 30 and he feels like “wait” All the sudden he a grown, engaged man with a real job and flirting has probably become “innapropriate” in his mind. I don’t try to understand what goes on in those minds but I know that sometimes they feel the same pressures of society and family and relationships and what not. Its all a little different but its still there.
So now he feels like he’s past flirting with everyone (in this theoretical possibility) and now suddenly you have gone from the supportive girlfriend who was the best in the world because she played along with the “flirtatious” aspect to the girlfriend who wants to flirt with other people. That would be a blow to the face for me! He probably struggled with it in that frustrating silent way boys like too and then when he didn’t know how to deal with it outloud, it seems likely that he reverted to his former ways of “flirtatiousness” in the workplace, but silently (maybe a little spitefully) because well, that’s what you want and maybe he decided that instead of fighting you on that topic, he’d fight you with it.
Now everyone is confused and hurt and wondering what the heck is going on. I know everyone else has said it, but this really needs to be talked out with him! He’s the only one who knows what is actually happening on his end of this. “Love, I think we need to talk about some things that concern our relationship. I used to feel like we stood on the same page concerning our behaviour with other people but I feel like something has changed and we need to talk about it so we can be on the same page as each other” Then you should explain how you like to flirt but its not because you want to go home with all these people, its because it makes you feel even more thrilled to go home with him! Explain how you like him to flirt too, but that you need him to be open about it for it to stir those feelings for you. And I think you both need to accept that flirting is a way to make you both look for fondly on each other. If only one of you is playing that way. its only going to further the resentment and confusion.
Its a hard talk to have but at this point, its way more than well worth it!