The question, “Is flirting cheating?” has been asked time and time again. Every relationship has different boundaries that can’t be crossed, and what’s considered flirting for one relationship may be different for another.
Typically, flirting does not entail physical activity, but it can still lead to hurt feelings and broken trust. The answer to this question is difficult, and it’s something that must be established with every relationship. But there are a few things you can look at to find the answer you’re looking for:
What were the intentions?
Typically, flirting is done with the intention of something. Maybe that’s getting a person’s number, perhaps that’s getting your way in a situation. Regardless, the intention of the flirting is essential to look at. Someone who is overly friendly can be perceived as flirting when those weren’t the intentions at all. If you suspect your partner is flirting, it might be best to be frank and ask them what their purposes are.
Does the flirting hurt you?
Regardless of the intentions of flirting, it’s important to know if flirting is hurtful to either person in the relationship. Even if the flirting is entirely innocent and nothing would ever come from it, it still can be painful. It’s important to discuss this with your partner if you are feeling hurt, as hiding your feelings will only make the situation worse.
What are the boundaries?
With social media being such a big part of today’s society, flirting can go beyond just talking in real life. What boundaries do you have set with your partner in terms of flirting both in real life and online? While you may view messaging someone online as entirely harmless, your partner may see that as flirting. The boundaries of social media is another critical topic to discuss.
Would you do it in front of your partner?
Chances are if you would only flirt when your partner isn’t around, you probably shouldn’t be flirting at all. Doing things behind your partner’s back is just as, if not more, hurtful than doing it when they are around. If light flirting is something you and your partner both take part in and have established boundaries for, then go for it. Otherwise, it’s probably best to avoid it, whether or not they’re around.
Do you feel threatened by the flirting?
Even if you and your partner have established boundaries where a level of flirting is okay, if you find yourself feeling threatened by it, it might be a good idea to talk it through again. In every relationship, you want to be important in your partners’ eyes- not a second choice to someone they’re flirting with. If you know the flirting is innocent and harmless, that’s one thing. But if you find yourself feeling threatened by it, talk to your partner.
Are you feeling guilty?
Feeling guilty or bad about a situation may mean you went a little too far with your flirting. If you feel like you have to hide a situation from your partner, they may consider that flirting as cheating. Feeling guilty, anxious, or angry at yourself for flirting are all signs that you need to take a step back and reevaluate your intentions.