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Is Flirting Cheating?

Is Flirting Cheating

How to Talk With Your Partner Is Flirting Cheating? About Flirtatious Interactions


The age-old discussion about flirting with your partner has certainly come up if you’ve been in a relationship for any length of time. Is flirting Cheating You and your partner could discuss what constitutes flirting and the level of interaction you are both comfortable with.

Relationship therapist Anita Chlipala, LMFT, the founder of Relationship Reality 312, has dealt with this issue with a number of her clients. Is flirting Cheating Couples must recognise “emotional or sexual intimacy that violates trust (as opposed to a conduct that you just don’t like),” according to the author, for it to work.

Below, Chlipala discusses how she suggests that partners have a conversation about establishing firm limits in their union.

Types of Cheating

According to Chlipala, four types of cheating are frequent in romantic relationships.

  • Micro-cheating: according to Chlipala, is a term that has become popular in recent years and describes the minor actions that can make someone more susceptible to cheating. Small flirtations, for instance, Is Flirting Cheating? can cause one partner to share more and more with a person not in the relationship until they develop an emotional bond. Chlipala thinks it is beneficial to highlight the more subtle problematic behaviours in various relationships.
  • Emotional infidelity: is “a more imprecise and nuanced term than sexual adultery,” according to a study1 that included 1,379 interviews. They also discovered that the definitions of emotional cheating between men and women were extremely different. According to Chlipala, Is Flirting Cheating? emotional cheating is characterised by sexual chemistry and emotional intimacy that haven’t been acted upon, but whose extent may be kept a secret.
  • Physical infidelity: This occurs when one partner engages in sexual activity with someone else while maintaining no emotional or personal connection with them.
  • Physical-emotional: infidelity is when one partner engages in a sexually and emotionally intimate relationship with another person. The other partner is also kept in the dark about this kind of relationship.

How Men and Women View Flirting

Although it might not seem like this would be a topic that would particularly divide men and women, it can actually lead to serious issues in relationships. Men and women may feel differently about emotional and physical infidelity, which may be one explanation for this.

A study discovered that after emotional infidelity, women feel guiltier than after sexual infidelity.

However, both men and women acknowledged that they would find it more challenging to forgive their partner for having an extramarital affair.


Men tend to have a broader understanding of what flirting is, despite the fact that they might not feel as bad about emotional infidelity as women do. In a frequently cited laboratory test,

144 undergraduate students were questioned by researchers over the course of 36 sessions beginning in 1982. They discovered that encounters were far more likely to be perceived as sexual by men than by women. Additionally, it implies that men are much more likely to mistake a woman’s friendliness for seduction or sex interest.

Couples should discuss their boundaries because one partner may not even be aware that what they’re doing is being interpreted as flirting.

How to Talk to Your Partner About Flirting

Even though it can be challenging, discussing flirting with your partner may be the greatest approach to prevent conflicts and keep your relationship strong. Chlipala provided a list of topics for discussion. Stick to mentioning concerns and outlining non-negotiables if you are not discussing an ongoing issue.

Understand Their Logic

Even if you don’t agree with your partner’s reasons, Chlipala advises couples to strive to understand their partner’s motivations for flirting in addition to their partner’s choices. If a person feels that their spouse doesn’t understand them, they are more inclined to stand their ground and refuse to make concessions, according to Chlipala. Additionally, inquire as to whether their flirtatious behaviours are meeting a need that they are attempting to satiate.

Identify Concerns

Determine the specific causes of your annoyance with flirting. Chlipala advises her patients who believe their partners are flirting with them to think about the following questions:

  • Is it a respect issue or do I feel anxious because I believe my partner will in fact cheat?
  • Is it just that I find it annoying because I would never do it?

Once you’ve identified these problems, you can explain to your partner how and why it makes you feel. Both of you will benefit from having a better understanding of the options.

Discuss Non-negotiables

Chlipala advises her patients to specify their non-negotiables in detail. Instead of telling your partner to completely stop flirting,

you could tell them that you find it most uncomfortable when they repeatedly,

try to impress that one coworker with their best jokes or playfully touch a friend of yours.

What to Do If You and Your Partner Disagree About Flirting

It makes sense if your definition of flirting differs from the one your partner holds since studies have shown that men,

and women have such disparate ideas of what flirting entails4. Couples can still resolve this problem, despite what has been said.

“You two might never come to an understanding on what constitutes flirting or infidelity.

It matters how you and your partner handle the situation and what you’re both willing to do to keep it under control so that it doesn’t ruin your relationship.”


As was already indicated, one approach to guarantee your comfort and your partner’s comfort is to establish non-negotiables. It’s also crucial to take into account whether you or your partner is nervously attached,

as this condition can cause someone to become too preoccupied with their partner’s actions and level absurd charges at them.

If this is a possibility,

you can ask a mental health professional for assistance in learning to recognise and deal with these behaviors.

Most importantly, couples should avoid using contempt, criticism, and constant nagging when they disagree about what constitutes flirting. One person may end up secretly flirting as a result, which increases their propensity to cheat.

A Word From Verywell

Flirting with someone who are not in your relationship can be complex, despite initially looking damaging.

When in doubt, discuss cultural and religious issues with your partner(s) and be clear and

brave when discussing which behaviours are more or less appropriate in your relationship.

Define what constitutes flirting, establish boundaries in relation to it, and, if and when necessary,

seek assistance from a couples therapist or mental health specialist to help mend any rifts.