Is Flirting Cheating?
Cosmopolitan India|October 2020
Because the answer to this isn’t black and white, here’s what 10 relationship experts think.
Carina Hsieh

Is flirting cheating? If you’re in a relationship and either you or your partner flirt with someone else, it can be a tricky situation. On the one hand, it’s not like anyone did anything physical to be construed as ‘capital-C cheating’, but on the other hand, it’s not nothing, either. Depending on your relationship, you and your partner’s boundaries, and other factors, flirting can still potentially cause a lot of pain and hurt. Depending on who you ask, you might get different answers about whether flirting while in a relationship counts as infidelity or not. Because it’s not just a black-and-white ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and people do have varying feelings about it, we asked 10 experts to give their take on whether or not flirting counts as cheating.

1. IT DEPENDS ON THE INTENTION...

“Someone might simply be a very outgoing person and friendly with others but have no desire to lead someone on outside of their relationship. Yet, someone else might be trying to see how far they can go to get someone else’s attention, how much they can get away with, or what level of connection they can get with someone else. It’s a question of the intentions and integrity of the person. If one doesn’t mean to be flirting and is merely friendly, but it still bothers their significant other, their significant other can share how they feel and both can work to address what a solution might look like that they can both agree to.” —US-based Michelle Croyle, MA, Licensed Professional Counsellor (LPC)

2. IT’S NOT TECHNICALLY CHEATING, BUT IT COULD BE VERY HURTFUL TO YOUR PARTNER...

“While flirting may technically not be cheating, it could be viewed as a breach of fidelity because you are showing interest in someone else. The very thought of looking outside of the relationship and acting on it, even mildly, can be viewed by your partner as hurtful. It’s also a slippery slope that you may not be able to stop if it progresses beyond flirting.” — US-based Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC)

3. FOR SOME COUPLES, FLIRTING COULD ADD EXCITEMENT TO THE RELATIONSHIP...

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