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3 Times It’s Okay to Flirt With Other People (and When It’s Not)

Is flirting cheating? This is a question that many of us have, and we are here to deliver the answer. In short, sometimes it is, and sometimes it is not. But since this can be confusing, we want to present you with all the scenarios.

This is for sure one of the hard questions that affected many relationships, with fingers pointed left and right. Flirting outside the relationship can trigger insecurities and feelings of jealousy. This type of behavior is harmful and can cause even the most stable relationships to crumble.

Read on and find out when it is okay to flirt and when it is not. Don’t let something like this destroy your relationship!

Let’s start with the times when it is not okay to flirt.

Is flirting cheating
Photo by fizkes on Shutterstock

1. Thinking about the person when you are with your partner

Have you ever heard about emotional cheating? Imagine that you are home with your partner, and your mind keeps going back to that person you talked to a few days ago. You two are constantly flirting when you are together, and you can’t think about something else.

This is emotional cheating, and is flirting cheating in this case? The answer is yes. The person in question may not be physically there between you and your significant other, but they are emotionally present since they are on your mind.

Feeling emotionally attracted to someone else is a pretty normal incident, especially when you are in a long-term relationship. But remember that experiencing those emotions is not the issue.

The issue arises when you give in to those emotions instead of addressing them and making a decision about how to handle them.

2. You get that emotional high when flirting

Generally speaking, flirting refers to teasing someone in a way that never quite crosses the boundary into actual intimate relationships. This is one of the basic types of communication that people use to show their attraction to someone.

Having said that, flirting may occasionally cross the boundary between emotional involvement and emotional attachment, which is when it may develop into infidelity. So, is flirting cheating?

It is no longer flirting when you start turning to that person instead of your partner for emotional support and connection. When this is happening, it’s easy to tell that you’re emotionally chatting.

It’s acceptable to have fun, chat, and confide in a buddy, but you’re emotionally cheating if your friend knows more about your life than your spouse does. This issue is made worse if you also trust this person with your partner’s relationship problems.

3. You feel that your partner should never know about the person you are flirting with

If you feel that you need to hide the person you are flirting with from your partner, then there is something wrong out there. But is flirting cheating in this case? Well, if you think that what you are doing is not appropriate and you feel guilty for having a crush on this person, then it is most probably cheating.

If you’re anxious about your spouse seeing the object of your flirtatious advances, it’s likely because you’ve done something you know they won’t approve of. It is this simple, and most of the time you can figure out on your own if the flirting you do is slowly turning into cheating.

Now that we have covered all of this, let’s discuss the times when it is acceptable to flirt.

1. You and the person you are flirting with don’t have a deep, meaningful connection

While it’s wrong to use flirting as a means of obtaining emotional pleasure, lighthearted banter and light chat are acceptable. It’s harmless to make remarks as long as everyone feels comfortable doing so, as well as to simply appreciate having someone to laugh and joke with.

Is flirting cheating when something like this happens? Most probably not, but again, both parties should feel comfortable with it.

The problem arises when you start to open up a deeper connection during those heavier, more emotional conversations. It’s okay to have deeper conversations with a friend, but it’s better to avoid flirting with them as well since they might easily come across as a potential partner, and this is definitely something your partner won’t like.

2. Your partner knows about the person you are flirting with, and they are okay with that

Many people flirt innocently, and many more are aware that their spouses do the same. Talk to your spouse about their feelings if you’ve been flirting with someone for a while, and see what they have to say about this.

Hiding flirtatious behavior from a spouse might be a reflexive response, but it can easily create a negative cycle. In a committed relationship, flirtation is allowed as long as there are three consenting adults involved: you, your spouse, and the person you are flirting with.

In a committed relationship, flirtation is allowed as long as there are three consenting adults involved: you, your spouse, and the person you are flirting with. In order to achieve this, you need to talk with your partner about what is happening. If they are okay with this and you discuss it, then everything should be alright.

So, if this is happening, is flirting cheating? No, it is not. If you and your partner are aware of it and agree with it, then it is not cheating.

Is flirting cheating
Photo by Celia Ong on Shutterstock

3. You and the person you are flirting with have boundaries

The person you’re flirting with has to be aware that you have a relationship, just as your partner needs to be aware that you’re flirting. If not, they could believe you’re setting yourself up for a future in which you become closer to them emotionally or perhaps physically.

Is flirting cheating if this is happening? No, if you make sure the person you are flirting with understands that there are rules that shouldn’t ever be broken. This boundary can be something like never being involved emotionally or physically.

It is your responsibility, not theirs, to set these boundaries, and if they try to push past the limits one day, you cannot expect them to know what you have chosen not to tell them. Remember that, as in any relationship, communication is key, and you should take care of this aspect.

You have emotionally cheated. Now what?

Psychologists advise that recognizing that you are emotionally cheating is the first step, but remember that the next step is figuring out why, and this is not always that easy.

Imagine a scenario in which there were no boundaries and the flirting went on. How might things happen? Would you want the possible outcome to occur? Could you really seek a connection with this person, and could it be reasonable to end your present relationship in order to do so?

Once you’ve identified your mental state, discuss it with your spouse to talk about the reasons behind it as well as what you two can do to keep it from happening again. Take note of what your partner wants to say about their thoughts on this issue and use it as motivation to modify your own behavior as you both move forward with your relationship.

If you want to learn more about cheating, this book might be a good start: Cheating in a Nutshell: What Infidelity Does to The Victim

You should also read: 9 Most Common Causes People Get a Divorce

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