Is Flirting Cheating when you are in a relationship?

There is a very thin line between flirting and cheating. This blog is all about that thin line.

Due to social taboo, the word flirting is often associated with raised eyebrows and lots of hush-hush. But it is a natural reaction of a human being towards something they admire. Is it really wrong to praise beauty (of course when done in a healthy manner)? Flirting when done in a healthy manner not only makes the other person feels good about themselves but also boosts your morale and gives you a feel-good factor.

What is flirting?

Flirting is natural and essential part of human communication. It is a chain of verbal communication and body language used to express interest or attraction towards another person. It is playful and surprisingly good for health. According to a research done by the University of Washington – People who do harmless flirting remains more cheerful and stress-free at their workplace and perform well in odd situations.

Is flirting cheating?

Now the big question which comes to everyone’s mind is “Is Flirting = Cheating when you are in a Relationship? Well, the answer to this is, it all depends on the way you perceive the scenario. If your partner is comfortable with your flirting attitude and you feel good about yourself, you can always go for it. But if it is affecting your relationship it is a red flag for you.

Benefits of Healthy Flirting

People often say that flirting is first move towards cheating; Maybe they are right but this not always true. While in a relationship if flirting is done to take relation to a new level it is “Cheating”. But healthy flirting is a different game altogether. So before we ditch this concept lets talk about benefits of healthy flirting ( you need to set boundaries anyways)

1. Makes you feel Good

Hey all people reading this. Do you really feel bad when someone comes and admire your beauty or habit ( even if you are in a relationship)? Well if you say yes, you are probably lying to yourself. It is in our DNA to feel happy if someone appreciates us. According to Sue Ostler, author of a book on rocking relationships flirting can make one feel good and also, reduce stress levels.

2.Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem

If you are in a relationship for a long time there are chances that your partner may take you for granted sometimes thus lowering your self-esteem. Indulging in a harmless flirting and attracting people with your charm can just fill the gap. But again you need to draw your boundaries.

3.Generates Positive Energy

Flirting makes you feel good about yourself. Thus creating positive energy around you. You can flirt with your partner too. Think of the days when you were about to get into a relationship and flirting helped you. So why stop now, your partner is in front of you..just get set and go…

4.Strengthens your relationship

When you flirt with someone outside ( within your boundaries) the feel-good factor accompanies you in your relationship also. You will value your partner more for the extra thing you have.

Motives of Flirting

According to David Dryden Henningsen famous researcher in flirting, “flirting is an ambiguous goal-motivated behavior that can be, but is not restricted to being, interpreted as sexually motivated.” The motive behind flirting and one’s intentions differentiate playful flirting from cheating. According to Dr. Henningsen, there are six motivations of flirting :

Playfully Motivated

This is playful commenting and teasing that’s been liked by both the parties and motto behind this flirting is only fun. It is harmful to none and doesn’t make both the people involved uncomfortable.

Relationally Motivated

This is flirting between two individuals who are seeking to take their relationship to next level. This is more mutual than one-sided.

Esteem Motivated

When the act of flirting is received on a positive note and reciprocated it feels good and gives a boost to self-esteem. People engage in flirting because it makes them feel attractive.

Instrumental Motivation

The motive behind this kind of flirting is to convince someone to do something for you. You flirt so that your work may be done and does not mean that you want to have a relationship with that person.

Exploring Motivation

The vague nature of flirting make it easier for people to use it as a tool to convey the sexual or romantic feeling to someone with a very low fear if rejection. People often use this as a test to know the other person’s interest in beginning a relationship

Sexually Motivated

As the name suggests the clear motivation behind this type of flirting is to convey the desire for sexual contact or sexual relationship.

Signs of Harmless or Innocent Flirting

  • The first rule of innocent harmless flirting is it does not involve physical intimacy. There is no form of a feeling of cheating your partner in it.
  • In innocent flirting you are very comfortable teasing, admiring your friend, colleague in front of your partner.
  • In Innocent flirting, there is no room for romance or romantic promises to any other person apart from your partner.
  • There is no starring in innocent fliering. Eye contacts are really short.
  • Your flirting is harmless if you do not lie to your partner about it.
  • You treat everyone in the same You are not reserved for certain touched or moments for a particular individual. (Obviously except your love).
  • Please be cautious! It can be complicated to distinguish harmless flirting versus emotional cheating when your partner and you have different views. However, the most important thing for you is to reassure your partner by any mean.. which may mean, taking a break from even the most innocent of flirtatious behaviors.

Also Read –

Flirting or cheating – signs to watch

Every relationship is different and so there may be varying degrees of comfort with flirting. The innocent flirting with friends may be fun for some couples and uncomfortable to other. That is the reason it is very important to keep an open communication with your partner when it comes to boundaries of flirting.

Flirting that is sexually motivated is no doubt cheating. But the chain doesn’t start from here. It often begins with innocence and gradually the thin line between flirting and cheating gets vanished. Below are signed to watch for that flirting has gone far away –

When you want to flirt with the same person

Flirting is healthy when your behavior is same for all. But if it limits to just one person, and you are day and night dreaming, reminiscing about him/her, then it is something else. Take a step back and question yourself..Do you miss that person when he/she is not around..If yes, revaluate your relation.

When you hide your flirtatious behavior with your partner

This is simple if you are hiding your flirtatious behavior with your partner, friends, and family; there is something wrong with it. Maybe you give an excuse that your partner is sensitive and doesn’t take it positively..but love your partner and if he/she doesn’t like should stop and not hide stuff.

Also Read:

When You Feel Guilty

Ask yourself…are you doing wrong to your partner. If slightly also your inner voice is saying yes. It is time to stop and focus on your relationship rather than flirting.

You share Emotional Intimacy with person you flirt with

As human beings, we all need love and care. If in a relationship these needs are not met we start to feel lonely. If you are in a relationship but feel emotionally connected to the person you flirt with. You are cheating with your partner.

According to relationship experts, “Flirting can help us to open up and get emotionally connected with someone. It always starts with innocent friendly flirting but can actually end up in a very serious emotional relationship. If you are already in a relationship but share a more connected relation with the person you flirt with. You have probably moved into the red zone.”

Beware, be within your limits and enjoy this natural gift. Do not let it be a curse to your relationship. After all, it is relations that matters in the end.

If you feel like this has taken over and started to affect your relationship or your marriage, speak with our expert counsellors anonymously at

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