Is flirting cheating or not? The answer is quite complicated. There are many reasons why people flirt with someone. If you already ask yourself whether flirting is cheating – there's a big chance you already know something’s not right.
This article talks about different types of flirting. You’ll see when it’s not something to worry about; at the same time, you will discover sure-fire signs when flirting crosses the line. Sounds interesting? There's more!
Keep reading until the end to learn about the best ways to verify if your partner is flirting or outright cheating on you. But first, let's see how common flirting and cheating really is.
How common is flirting while in a relationship?
The first thing to understand: flirting is extremely hard to put into statistics. A frivolous and playful attitude is universal in various environments (especially at work and online) so much it's almost impossible to calculate it accurately.
Unfaithfulness, however, is easier to gauge. Let's look at how it goes in the US.
- According to statistics, approximately 1/3 of workers (both men and women) admit to cheating during business trips.
- Flirting and cheating are far from being exclusive to a particular gender. For example, according to Family Studies research, women in specific age groups are even more likely to be unfaithful than men do.
- In the US, over 22% of men and 14% of women were guilty of infidelity or cheating at least once in their life.
- Report by Social Issues Research Centre concludes that flirting remains one of the most effective methods of attracting and retaining partners.
However, if you want to get a full picture of how widespread flirting is in today's world, you need to account for online communications.
Flirting in real life and online
Here’s a question you might be asking yourself. Is it cheating to flirt online?
Sending playful or suggestive text via messenger apps or SMS is considered normal in today's society. As for cheating, you should understand that over 10% of all real-life affairs originate online. And what about the so-called “online affairs“? It turns out, over 40% of relationships like that tend to evolve into real-life romances.
So, is flirting cheating by default? Not quite.
To understand when flirting is cheating and when it’s not, let’s touch on what is actually is.
So, what is flirting?
The conventional terminology classifies flirting as communication with a suggestive, sexual-like behavior. But there’s more to it.
It’s important to distinguish what kind of flirting it is (based on the goals and intentions of both parties). There are two types:
- Joyful flirting. It’s basically frivolous behavior that people do just for the fun of it. Some people approach flirt as a form of self-expression. They do it without clear goals or intentions of starting an affair. Sometimes, a little teasing or a compliment is just that, without the subtext.
- Flirting with clear intention. Now, here's a type of behavior that resembles cheating much more. Unlike the joyful flirt, this kind of flirting it’s a highly suggestive attitude used to make a move on someone.
Now, let's look at some examples of harmless courtesy and suggestive flirting up-close.
When flirting with someone is not harmful
First, let’s see what can be considered a joyful flirt with a friend.
- There's no physical contact involved. Do you know how to tell if flirting is anything but friendly? It's when it includes allegedly “accidental” or innocuous physical contact. The absence of physical proximity is a good indicator of ordinary friendly behavior which doesn’t threaten your relationship.
- Not much eye contact. Intense and prolonged eye-contact is rightfully considered to be very flirtatious. Pay attention to how your significant other looks at his or her friend. Or – if that is the case – what your friend's eyes show if he or she stares at you.
- The flirt happens in a “neutral zone.” Let’s face it. It’s not abnormal for co-workers to flirt with one another. In many companies and social circles, being frivolous is considered a norm. That’s why some flirting won’t lead to cheating. Unless, of course, it happens after working hours – when you or husband or spouse should pay attention to each other (more about it later).
6 Signs that Flirting Is Cheating
When should you consider that your partner's behavior crosses the line? Let's look at some vivid indications of flirting being more serious than you (or your significant other) want to think.
1. It takes too much time and energy
It’s not just context that matters. It's also the frequency at which people contact each other.
The number of messages being exchanged between people is also a good indicator that the friendly banter has grown into something more intimate. If your partner is bound to his or her mobile device – consider it a red flag.
2. It’s done in secret
Your significant other doesn’t want you to know about him or her talking with a specific friend? Or, even worse, your boyfriend (or girlfriend) doesn’t want you to know about this person’s existence? That is a good indicator that cheating may be involved.
Also, think about your behavior. Do you delete texts from an attractive co-worker because you feel that your partner is going to be jealous? Maybe, you are starting to realize that your flirting is becoming a form of emotional cheating.
3. Sexual undertones are getting too graphic
Many casual conversations become more and more sexual as they go on. Some people don’t even notice how innocent flirts have become suggestive and intimate.
First, it starts as casual flattery and half-jokes. You or your partner can then find themselves in a situation where explicit compliments have a normal thing. Sure that it won't go even further?
4. Sharing secrets
Sharing personal and intimate information with someone requires a degree of trust. Do you notice that one of your partner's friends knows something that he or she never told you? If they share something special between them (be it secrets, inside jokes) – that means your significant other is already committing emotional cheating.
Now's a good time to looking at yourself. Are you more open with a person you're flirting with than with your significant other? It's a definite sign that you are crossing the line of an innocuous flirt.
5. It affects everyday life
Here is a good way to find out is flirting cheating or something harmless. When you are getting too attached to a person, you may notice that it affects various aspects in your life.
Do you feel that your productivity or well-being improves after a little flirt with that person? Or, maybe you lose all desire for doing something after an unpleasant conversation with him or her?
Here are the facts. If your emotional well-being becomes too strongly tied with that person – it’s a sign that you’ve gone too far.
6. Non-verbal clues
Your or your partner's body language can tell more than words. Try observing your significant other's behavior if you are concerned about his or her faithfulness. When he or she talks with that one friend, how often do they smile, and how they look at each other? Remember that some of these physical gestures are happening subconsciously.
And that concerns you as well. Try taking a note at how you act when you talk with your “flirty” friend. If you can't wipe off the smile from your face during common exchanges, that is another bright red flag.
How to verify if your partner is cheating or flirting with other people?
Self-reflection not as easy as you'd think. However, it's much harder to check if your spouse, husband, or partner is flirting with someone.
If the signs mentioned above don't give you certainty about your significant other's faithfulness – it's time to bring out the heavy artillery.
What are the best ways to catch a cheating spouse or husband?
1. Read messaging apps
Nowadays, most people can't picture their lives without a phone. That's why getting access to someone's mobile device can help you get insight into that person's life.
Messaging applications (like WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, Facebook Messenger) tend to contain sensitive information. Thus, reading them will give you a good idea if your partner is frivolous with his or her friends, or if the flirting is cheating.
2. Use a Spy app
Want to be absolutely sure that if your loved one isn’t flirting with others, of if that flirting is not cheating?
Then, try a program that can monitor a phone's activity. Let's take mSpy and uMobix as two examples. These are some of the most reliable parenting control apps that can help you catch a cheating partner.
What can it do? After registering an account on an official site (and selecting a subscription plan), you can download an app on a spouse’s or husband’s Android or iOS device. This will allow you to see all activity on the phone in question, including:
- all incoming and outgoing texts in all messengers
- access to email content
- applications that he or she uses the most
- files (audio data, photos, and videos) that your partner receives
- call and contact history
- GPS location data
- internet activity
For most people, spy apps like these are considered taboo. However, there's no better way to verify your partner's faithfulness, especially if you feel that he or she betrays your love.
Let’s sum it up. Is flirting cheating? Not always. There's nothing horrendous with being a little frivolous with friends even when in the relationship. However, it depends on the boundaries you set with your partner.
If your significant other’s behavior deeply concerns you – try having a serious talk. If that doesn't calm you down – you can install a spy app, which will help to expose a cheating partner.
And the last thing. Remember not to cross the line yourself. Usually, common sense is all you need to keep control of yourself while it’s not too late.