Is Flirting Cheating? Fine Line Between Flirting and Cheating

Is flirting cheating?

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    You might have asked this question a hundred times, discussed it with friends or relatives, or looked for a flirting definition online. Where is this fine line when seemingly innocent flirting vibes risk turning into disloyalty to your partner? 

    So, is flirting cheating? You won’t find the only true answer to this question. For example, the prominent American digital media PureWow surveyed over 60 people to learn whether flirting is cheating or not. Even though the sample size was small, the numbers spoke louder than words: only 21% of the responders considered flirting with others as cheating. Here, you will learn what counts as flirting and how to act when you suspect your partner of cheating, so keep reading!

    What Is Flirting Actually?

    A famous Check and French novelist, Milan Kundera, wrote that “flirting is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee.” But is flirting always a behavior that leads to cheating?¬†

    Flirting is playful communication, sometimes with sexual overtones, usually undertaken to attract someone with whom one is not romantically involved yet. It can be subtle or intense, depending on the person’s goals and personality type. However, it does not always lead to cheating. For example, someone with a flirtatious personality may use compliments, smiling, or eye contact to attract others but will never cheat. At the same time, a reserved and shy person may flirt with someone else online and eventually betray their partners.

    Things get complicated when flirting turns into emotional infidelity when one of the partners gets emotionally involved with someone else.

    Flirting while in a relationship may also be a response to trust issues a couple experiences. For example, when one of the spouses betrayed in the past or whose behavior has changed. No matter what intentions and reasons one has when starting this game, flirting and cheating in a marriage or partnership have consequences.

    3 Ways How Flirting Can Influence the Relationship

    How flirting can influence relationship

    Flirting impacts a couple’s overall well-being in many ways. If you or your partner is flirting with someone, be ready that your relationship may change. Let’s see in what way.

    Impact on Intimacy Between Partners

    Flirting while married or in partnership influences the intimacy in people’s relationships. By intimacy, we mean not only the sexual aspect of interactions between partners. Flirtatious behavior of any kind with others can lead to distancing or abandonment, as it opens the gate to a fantasy world where the person with whom one flirts has no flaws or problems and seems to be just perfect for a happy life. As a result, one of the spouses starts avoiding the other and stops sharing their feelings. Even innocent flirting online can give a boost to fantasizing about someone else.

    Flirting Increases Chances of Cheating

    Once one steps on this road of flirting, it may lead everywhere, including betrayal and systematic physical cheating. As said before, if your partner starts flirting online with an unknown person, there are high chances of wanting to meet them in real life. 

    The same goes for more advanced forms of flirting: innocent smiling at a colleague at work may eventually lead to long conversations after work and a coffee together at weekends. So, when you notice your partner flirts, discuss this issue and reveal your concerns to avoid their further emotional engagement in the potential flirting play.  

    Financial Issues Appear

    Flirting with others may lead to financial issues within a family, especially when we talk about flirting at work. Your spouse spends so much time at work interacting with so many people that the chances of getting into someone else are high. If your partner flirts at work, they risk getting involved with someone else or getting caught. But they also risk losing their job or reputation as well. So, the behavior of a flirting partner will not only cause financial problems but will embarrass the entire family.

    5 Red Flags When Flirting Is Cheating 

    Is my husband flirting or being friendly? Are there any risks that his flirting becomes cheating eventually? Is texting cheating? If you ask yourself these questions, you are in the right place. Here are 5 red flags to see that flirting has turned into cheating. There might be a warning sign of infidelity that applies to your situation, isn’t there?

    Physical Contact with Someone Else

    Physical contact with someone else

    Flirting with the physical contact involved is a form of cheating. Whether it’s a careless touch of a colleague’s hand or more intimate matters, there is no room for debates. If you suspect your spouse or a partner of having ambiguous physical contact with another sex – that’s a red flag.

    Not Being Honest About Flirting

    Lying about flirting is another warning sign of a potential disloyalty. If your partner hides their devices, deletes text messages and calls, spends too much time on social media, and simply avoids having an honest conversation about why they stay late at work, they might be cheating.

    Lack of Intimacy Between You

    Flirting in a relationship causes a lack of intimacy within a couple. One of the partners stops being honest with the other. Instead, they share more with another person, sometimes revealing things that should remain inside the relationship or marriage.

    You Become Less Important to Your Partner

    Another sign that flirting might have led to betrayal is when you become second to your partner. They prefer to spend more time at work or with friends during weekends rather than choosing your presence. 

    They Rationalize Their Behavior

    One of the most common psychological defense responses your partner might have is rationalizing. They realize such behavior is harmful and inappropriate, so they try to justify it: “I am just bored,” “My partner does not support me enough,” “flirting isn’t cheating,” and so on.

    Examples of How Flirting Can Cross the Line into Cheating

    How to figure out what is inappropriate flirting when married? Or when does social media flirting become cheating? In this part, you will see examples of how, at first sight, harmless flirting crosses the line into cheating.

    • Your partner is flirting with someone with physical touch involved, like caressing someone’s hands, legs, etc.;
    • Social media flirting can easily cross the line. Your partner spends too much time online, chatting and texting with someone, hiding their phone or leaving the room when someone calls them;
    • They prefer spending all their free time with others, without inviting you. Moreover, they will rationalize their choices to spend another weekend with friends;
    • It is inappropriate when your spouse compares you to someone else, minimizing your achievements and neglecting your needs. If it is happening, there is a high chance they’re cheating.

    Things to Do If My Partner Is Flirting with Someone

    Flirting with someone else may eventually lead to a physical or emotional affair. Here are some tips you could try if your relationships experience turbulence.

    Start the Conversation

    The most logical but, at the same time, the most complicated thing one can do while experiencing trust issues in a couple is to tell about this openly. Don’t start a conversation while being stressed. Stand your ground calmly. Explain that their innocent flirty texts to someone else on Instagram hurt and why such behavior must stop. Depending on how your partner reacts, you will see whether this conversation can solve the issue.

    Outline What Is Not Acceptable for You

    One should outline this at the very beginning of any relationship. However, if you didn’t set boundaries when you met, do it now. You should realize what makes you no good. Some couples don’t mind micro-cheating, but if it is inappropriate for you that your partner likes someone on social media, doesn’t wear a wedding ring, or has a Tinder profile, and so on – be firm and explain why it’s disrespectful.  

    Learn to Trust Each Other Again

    It may seem impossible to rebuild trust after you spot a spouse flirting with someone. However, this is an inevitable step if both of you are interested in saving the relationship. It requires both parties to self-reflect over the past negative experience and accept it. Ensure you are on the same page on how you both define flirting and cheating. Be honest about your fears and expectations.

    Use Spying Apps to Dispel All Doubts

    SpyBubble to disable all doubts

    If you want to know how to tell if someone is cheating over text or hiding conversations, calls, or meetings without getting into tiring, sometimes ineffective talks with your partner – here is what you can do. Use a spy app instead. Some of them, like SpyBubble, are secure and stealth monitoring tools capable of getting into someone’s hidden life without leaving a trace. 

    With SpyBubble, you will see whether your boyfriend is flirting with another girl through texts, messengers, social media or is watching YouTube all day. The spy app will help you learn what is really behind someone’s words and actions.

    How to Set Boundaries with a Partner

    It’s essential in any relationship to know how to set boundaries so both partners can maintain a decent level of respect, autonomy, and well-being. Here are some rules:

    • Communicate what you want and need in your partnership;
    • Be honest about things you don’t like, and don’t be afraid of disapproval;
    • Be ready to hear what your partner wants; remember you might need to find a compromise;
    • Be clear about the consequences of crossing one’s boundaries. If your partner has a flirty friendship with someone, you don’t necessarily need to accept it;
    • Adjust your boundaries if necessary. There is no need to violate anyone’s principles but be open to changes.


    So, is flirting cheating or not? The answer is very subjective. For many people, innocent online flirting usually ends with a few words and never extends to physical contact with the opposite sex. For others, flirting online and in real life is the first step to getting into heavy flirting mode, with all consequences included. We all have different ideas of what a healthy relationship is. Only you are responsible for defining good and bad for your well-being and partnership.

    When does flirting cross the line? Flirting crosses the line when our partners violate our boundaries, ignore our needs, and neglect us. Sometimes, your boyfriend’s innocent flirting on Facebook can show what he thinks about your relationship more than a talk. So, when discussions do not help, a spy app can help reveal the truth.


    Can flirting be innocent?

    Yes, it can be innocent when both parties agree that this behavior is acceptable. There are multiple examples of flirting. Thus, a couple should discuss what is considered as innocent flirting for them.

    How to catch my partner flirting on social media?

    The best way to catch them flirting on social media is to use a reliable tracking app like SpyBubble. It is a stealth and effective spyware, capable of accessing someone’s chats, calls, location, and much more.

    What is emotional cheating?

    An emotional affair is a relationship between two people that involves the emotional intimacy of a romantic relationship, but it is not physical yet.

    Is flirting a sign of a cheating partner?

    Flirting can be a sign of a cheating partner, but not necessarily. However, flirting can eventually lead to cheating if not stopped in time.

    What is the difference between flirting and cheating?

    Flirting is not always cheating, as it may not involve physical contact. People at the stage of flirting can stop to prevent implications. Cheating is a hurtful behavior. It involves deeper physical involvement with someone else outside the relationship.

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