is flirting cheating

Is Flirting Cheating? Understanding Boundaries in Relationships

Natalie Buchwald, LMHCHealthy Relationships

By Natalie Buchwald, LMHC | Last Updated: June 14th, 2023
Reviewed by Steven Buchwald

Flirting is often a contentious topic in relationships, as some people view it as harmless fun, while others consider it a form of cheating. Open communication and understanding are essential to navigate this gray area and maintain a healthy relationship.

The Importance of Communication in Defining Boundaries

Every relationship is unique, with different dynamics and expectations. It’s crucial to discuss and understand each other’s perspectives on what constitutes infidelity.

Neither of you will know where the boundaries are until you discuss them. By honestly communicating with your partner, you can set boundaries and avoid misunderstandings.

Is Flirting Harmful or Harmless in a Relationship?

In some relationships, flirting with others may be seen as harmless or even enjoyable.If the both of you are outgoing and friendly people, occasional flirting with others may not be an issue. Some couples even find pleasure in watching their partner flirt with someone else, as long as it doesn’t cross the agreed-upon boundaries.

Flirting is not healthy for every relationship; however Flirting might be hurtful to your partner, especially if it represents a sudden change in your demeanor. Sudden shifts often signal deeper issues that may need to be addressed.

Looking For Therapy? Start Healing Today. Call Now To Get Started!


If one of you starts flirting with other people when it’s not something either of you did before, you may want to explore why.

Emotional Cheating and Its Connection to Flirting

Emotional cheating involves forming a deep emotional bond with someone outside of your romantic relationship without any physical intimacy. It includes seeking emotional support or validation in ways that can undermine trust, foster secrecy, or generate feelings of betrayal or jealousy.

Emotional cheating is solely emotional in nature; while there may be fantasies about taking the relationship to a physical level, no actions are taken to fulfill those desires.

Emotional cheating consist of receiving emotional support or validation from someone outside your relationship and to do it in a way that erode trust, foster secrecy or create feelings of betrayal or jealousy.

While flirting doesn’t always equate to emotional cheating, it can be an indicator.

Signs that Flirting Might Be Emotional Cheating

  • Concealing your flirtatious behavior from your partner may indicate a deeper issue.
  • Feeling guilty or remorseful after flirting suggests that you may have crossed a boundary.
  • Acting defensively or passive-aggressively when your partner brings up the issue can signal that the flirting wasn’t entirely innocent.

Looking For Therapy? Start Healing Today. Call Now To Get Started!


Addressing Flirting and Infidelity in Your Relationship

If you’re uncomfortable with your partner’s flirting, it’s essential to acknowledge your feelings and address them constructively. Open communication is crucial for discussing your concerns and establishing mutual expectations.

Let them know how it makes you feel. With open communication, the two of you can set expectations for your relationship.

Explore the reasons behind your partner’s flirting can help identify any underlying issues within the relationship that may need to be addressed.

What do you think about flirting in relationships? Have you ever encountered a situation where flirting became a problem? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

If you have concerns about flirting or infidelity in your relationship, initiating a conversation with your partner is the first step. If you’re facing communication difficulties, seeking the help of a couples’ therapist can be beneficial. Individual therapy can also provide valuable insights, allowing you to explore your personal issues, triggers, and motivations more deeply.

Find Top-Rated Therapists

At Manhattan Mental Health Counseling, we support individuals and couples in their journey to understand themselves and strengthen their relationships. Our experienced therapists can equip you with the tools necessary to navigate disagreements and work through challenges together. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.