Signs When Flirting Can Become Cheating in a Relationship or Marriage

Updated on December 19, 2016
Friendly banter and healthy flirting is apparently supposed to be a common sight in offices and workplaces. But when does flirting cross the line and become cheating?
Friendly banter and healthy flirting is apparently supposed to be a common sight in offices and workplaces. But when does flirting cross the line and become cheating? | Source

Is healthy flirting the same as cheating? Should a wife be worried when her husband flirts with his secretary? Should a boyfriend dismiss his girlfriend's flirty text message to another guy as a non-issue? Is flirting outside a couple's relationship or marriage considered as cheating?

Is it flirting when a wife keeps her naughty chats on Facebook a secret from her husband? All these questions can be answered only when they are put into perspective in a real life scenario. This post discusses situations and signs when flirting crosses the line and becomes cheating and infidelity.

1) When All the Flirting Happens With Just One Person

Flirting can easily lead to cheating when it is focused on just one person. Behavioral traits may be blamed when a guy or a girl who has a flirty personality flirts with other people outside the relationship. But when only one girl or guy is at the receiving end of a partner's flirting habit, it needs to stop. Below are a few examples.

  • Boyfriend does not flirt with anyone except his childhood female friend who he claims to share a great bond with.
  • Wife flirts only with one of her husband's successful friend and no one else.
  • Girlfriend flirts over text messages with one of her classmates and does not pay any other guy much attention except her boyfriend.
  • Husband flirts with only one of his colleagues at work despite having many beautiful co-workers.

2) When the Flirting Is Kept a Secret

Flirting no longer remains playful and jolly when it is kept a secret. The concept of healthy flirting remains healthy only when both partners in a relationship or marriage are well aware of each other's flirting habit.

Couples in a happy relationship share everything with each other including flirty conversations they had with other people. Here are some real life examples of how flirting becomes cheating when it is kept a secret.

  • Boyfriend clears all browsing data and internet history so that his girlfriend does not find out about his flirty messages sent to another girl on Facebook.
  • Wife never talks to her male colleague in front of her husband because she thinks he may spot the flirty tone in her voice.

3) When Flirting Continues Despite Causing Problems in the Relationship

Flirting outside relationships is fine as long as both partners are completely okay with it. If either of the partners have an objection to this kind of behavior, it should stop immediately.

A boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband should instantly stop flirting if the other partner in his or her relationship is unhappy about it. For the sake of love and for the sake of the sanity of the relationship or marriage, the flirting must stop. If the flirting still continues, there could be a malicious and betraying side to it. Below are a few examples.

  • Girlfriend continues to flirt with her male friend despite her long term boyfriend clearly objecting to their close bond.
  • Husband flirts with other women at the gym despite his wife spiraling into a depression over his flirting habit.

4) When Flirting Involves Sharing Intimate Details About One's Own Relationship

Talking about the flaws, joys and intimate details about one's own relationship is a sign that flirting is on the way to becoming cheating. Sharing details about one's own partner, relationship or marriage shows complete disrespect.

All partners expect that their boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife keeps all aspects of their relationship private. Whether it is about complicated issues like marital problems and sex life or simple issues of jealousy over an ex, all these details are expected to be kept private. If a man or a woman starts a talking about such things while flirting with other people, the line between flirting and cheating can be said to have been crossed.

Has flirting become a compulsive need?
Has flirting become a compulsive need?

5) When Flirting Becomes a Compulsive Need

Flirting outside a relationship or marriage is supposed to be a casual habit. It is not supposed to become a compulsive need without which a person cannot pass a single day.

Flirting can turn into cheating when a man or a woman feels the urge to flirt with other people during all interactions whether it is a quick phone call or a lunch meeting. Here are a few situational examples when compulsive flirting can lead to cheating.

  • Wife's compulsive flirting habit leads to her colleague making a move on her while they are both travelling on a business trip together. One thing can lead to another and the woman may cheat on her man because things got just too steamy to control.
  • A boyfriend's obsessive flirting habit is misinterpreted by another woman as a sign that he is coming on to her in a romantic way. A flirty chat at a bar can easily make the woman falsely believe that he is interested in her, making her lean in to kiss him.

6) When the Time Spent Flirting Increases Significantly

Short and subtle flirty dialogues may be common in a typical office environment. Men and women working together day after day may find themselves engaging in a short five-second flirty banter to liven up a boring day.

But this flirty banter can easily cross the line and send mixed signals if the time spent in flirting increases dramatically. This is elaborated with a situational example.

  • A girl who is in a committed long distance relationship may find herself flirting with a guy in her class. Initially she could be dismissing this off as a random chat. But if her flirty exchanges with this guy keep getting longer and longer, their relationship may bloom into something more complicated than just a plain friendship. An intimate moment and a slight slip of judgment will be all it takes to give an ugly twist to flirting, leading to cheating.

7) When Flirty Conversations Become Naughty and Sexual

Friendly flirty banter is one thing but flirty conversations that have a sexual tone are definitely considered as a sign of cheating. Partners in a committed relationship or marriage are not expected to behave naughtily or have sexually inclined conversations with other men or women.

Any kind of chat which is sexually suggestive may be seen as a direct sign of physical attraction. One line can lead to another and in no time, a partner could find himself or herself having naughty chats with another man or woman.

8) When Flirting Contradicts a Person's Normal Personality Type

Flirting can be considered as cheating when it is done by people who are generally not the ones to flirt in the first place.

Putting this into real life perspective with an example, suppose a woman has a very introvert personality. She doesn't even know how to flirt with her husband and remains shy when he flirts with her. Her husband will never expect her to flirt with any other man. But if she does, he will directly interpret it as cheating.

Flirting instantly becomes cheating when it becomes touchy feely.
Flirting instantly becomes cheating when it becomes touchy feely.

9) When Flirting Gets Touchy Feely

Partners in a committed relationship or a marriage are supposed to keep their hands to themselves. There is no justification for getting touchy feely while talking to people of the opposite sex outside their own relationship.

The definition of healthy flirting in the form of playful banter or jokes may vary from couple to couple. But a hands-on approach to flirting is frowned upon and is considered as the first step towards cheating.

10) When Flirting Is Openly Noticed by Others

Friendly and healthy flirting may have crossed the line if it is evidently noticed by other people. For example, a married man should immediately stop his flirty behavior in the office if he hears gossip about sparks flying between him and his secretary. A girl who is in a committed relationship should stop being overly friendly with her ex if all her friends think that she is caught in-between the love of two guys.

Healthy flirting outside marriage or a committed relationship must stay minimalistic, subtle and rare. You know there is something odd when other people single out flirting behavior.

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        DrLloyd Probber 

        10 months ago

        Thank you for your insight.

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        John Horn 

        16 months ago

        This read must be the most accurate I have ever read, it describes my situation to a T.

      • bernard.sinai profile image

        Bernard Sinai 

        5 years ago from Papua New Guinea

        I think flirting is something that should be worrying to your partner. It might be innocent but everything starts with a thought, and if it is not stopped immediately will undoubtedly lead so something more serious.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        5 years ago from The Caribbean

        Princess, this is excellent. It seems that you left no stone unturned. Some people are flirtatious by nature, but they'll keep their flirting above board if they read you. Voted Up and Useful!

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        Flirting does have its ups and downs, and can make a difference for some boring housewife most helpful points mentioned here thanks

      • dashingscorpio profile image

        dashingscorpio 

        5 years ago

        These are all signs that flirting has gone too far. However I can't think of anyone who would approve of their mate flirting.

        The act itself is dangerous because most (new) relationships begin with a certain amount of flirting or sexual innuendo!

        Generally speaking flirting is done for two reasons.

        1. Boost one's ego (confirm: "I still got it!") as well as obtain a favor.

        2. Test the waters to see if there is a possibility there is some "interest"

        The beautiful thing about flirting is it allows the person to back off if the other person is offended or uncomfortable by saying, "I can't believe you thought I was serious!" lol!

        With regard to #2 I can't imagine any man wanting to see or hear about his wife or significant other flirting with another man. Most people don't brag about flirting to their mates! They usually keep it a secret.

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