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Is Flirting Cheating When You’re In A Relationship? How To Know When You’ve Crossed The Line

We were on our third round of margaritas, and typically, that’s the breaking point for most of the so called “polished and pretentious” women who now use language and don’t sugarcoat their words. A girls’ night out is enjoyable only after the third round of drinks because that’s when the real truth comes out. Women speak their mind and they sort of become unstoppable. Just then, someone asked, “So, is it only me or do you women also enjoy flirting and attention from men who aren’t your partners?”

Suggested read: 10 facts that women who hate flirting want you to know

We all looked at each other, an expression of guilt covered some of our faces, and then we reluctantly yet collectively nodded.

Heck, I mean, everyone does enjoy flirting, because it makes you feel good about yourself. When someone flirts back, you know in your mind that you’ve “still got it” and it lifts up your spirit. However, one should be mindful if they are in a committed relationship. Flirting can flip easily and could potentially lead to things that don’t always make you proud.


Image source: l4lol

If you’re on the same page as me, I’d like to define flirting as the art of seeking and giving attention to someone. It happens when you communicate with them, thereby making yourself feel good. As human beings, we are bound to feel a little unhappy about ourselves at some point in our lives or maybe sometimes because of our partners. Relationships can get monotonous and you need a little something to spice things up for yourself. There is a need to feel good about being you. We need that little appreciation and love, however false it may be, to make us feel treasured. It needn’t always come from our respective partners. We could sometimes expect that from the opposite sex who we aren’t committed to. It’s normal to flirt and exchange a little bit of that “girl-boy” moment because it’s just natural. You feel like a silly college kid and enjoy that attention. But let’s not forget that you are still in a relationship with someone else, and your little flirty interlude should stay off limits. Or rather, you must know when to stop!

So, the question still remains – is flirting cheating?

Yes and no.

Yes it is, when:

  • Your partner is not happy with it, doesn’t approve of it, and gets jealous.
  • You do it despite knowing very well that your partner is uncomfortable with it.
  • You flirt with only one person – ALWAYS.
  • You are thinking of that person – ALL THE TIME.
  • You’ve taken the flirting to the next level – the sexual level.
  • The touching is a little out of control.

woman flirting_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

No it’s not, when:

  • Your partner is fully aware that you are flirting with someone and has no qualms about it.
  • You discuss it openly with your partner and most often laugh about it.
  • You enjoy that moment, only temporarily.
  • You know your conscience is clear and haven’t done anything that you have to hide from your partner.

A lot of people consider flirting to be healthy, and it’s true. However, to ensure that you are doing harmless flirting, you must know when you’ve crossed the line. Here are some clues.

1. Does your flirting make the other person uncomfortable?

I guess this is something that one must think of even otherwise. You don’t want to end up looking like a douchebag that’s making passes at someone when all they think is that you’re a creep. Has the other person ever made sly innuendos that they want you to stop? Get the point – stop right then.

2. Does your flirting make your own partner uncomfortable?

Perhaps your partner doesn’t like you giving attention to someone else and is disturbed by it. But you still continue knowing very well that this upsets your partner. You may be crossing a fine line here.

3. Do you go out of your way to flirt?

I know of some men who are flirts by birth, and that is what is charming about them. They could flirt with everyone, from my mother to the cashier at the grocery store! It’s just how they are wired, so there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you are someone who tries really hard, or has to read a bunch of books to get humor into your conversations while flirting, you need to take a break. This ain’t meant for you.

flirting with a random stranger_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

4. Are you thinking of that person even afterwards?

Fine, you meet this person maybe at work or at a party. You did your thing, had a good laugh, and felt great. Now that you’re home, are you still thinking about that person? Or two weeks later – are you still hung up on that little rendezvous you had with that person?

5. Is there too much touching?

An occasional arm pinching or hand around the shoulder, an intimate caress on the arm, a brief hug, and a peck on the cheek. But if you’ve gone beyond these things, I must warn you that that’s what would be too touchy.

6. Has your little flirty game turned into intense sexual conversations?

There’s nothing wrong in discussing sex with people apart from your partner. It depends on the comfort level you share with them. But, if your online flirting has led to suggestive conversations, then even before you know it, you both are sexting! That’s danger! Stay clear.

woman texting_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Flirting can become cheating when you are emotionally attaching yourself with your flirting partner, when you start feeling that your little verbal exchanges are more than what they seem like, when you take it a little too personally or seriously, constantly thinking of what it really meant. Is flirting cheating when you reserve your flirting for just one person? Yes, it could be. Is flirting cheating when you spend too much time with that person and people around you misinterpret it? Perception is reality. So yes, when people begin to notice and make remarks, you have to remember that something wrong is being portrayed. Something that people don’t approve of, something that feels incorrect. Are you getting closer to your flirting partner and discussing emotional and intimate issues with them? That would suggest that it’s a little more than harmless flirting and can be considered as cheating.

Suggested read: 10 struggles of women whose friendliness is mistaken for flirting

Ultimately, flirting becomes cheating when your feelings for your flirting partner are the same as your spouse or your actual partner. It is, when you put in a lot of thought when you think about your flirting partner, or when you are hiding it from your actual partner. One must not feel the need to hide something or feel ashamed about what they are doing behind their partner’s back. The minute you feel weird, you could have crossed the line. That’s when you need to hit the panic button because those feelings are wrong – they constitute cheating. Flirting becomes cheating when you are breaking a boundary of the committed relationship, if it involves physical intimacy, or, disrespecting your own partner.

When two people enter into a relationship, they form a commitment towards each other, that involves giving a certain amount of love, time, and physical attention to the other person. If you are able to continue with this commitment without causing any disruption but enjoy a little laugh and attention from someone outside your existing committed circle, it’s fine. It’s fine as long as your committed partner knows about it and feels the same.

Now, that is harmless or innocent flirting, and no, that isn’t cheating.

Featured image source: l4lol

Article Name
Is Flirting Cheating When You're In A Relationship?
So you like flirting with a person who is NOT your partner. Is flirting cheating when you're in a relationship? Does it mean you've crossed a line?
Steffi D'Souza

Steffi D'Souza

I am a converted dog lover, lipstick addict, and travel enthusiast. I have a distinct love for old architecture and the ocean. I like reading books but love writing more. After experimenting with a gamut of roles in various leading corporations, I have finally discovered my passion. Thus, I have given up my corporate job to pursue a full time career in writing. I hope to write books and I'm already working on my first novel. I blog about all happy things on