In a relationship, a person is expected to commit to their partner. However, there’s a constant desire in us, and that’s the need to feel appreciated by others too. Complimenting your co-worker or having a simple conversation with a stranger at the bar might be as friendly as you can think. But to some, flirting is not healthy, unless you only do it with your partner. And there’s the contradiction.
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To put it short, flirting is a way of communication that involves the use of charm as well as a person’s conversational skills. Usually, we do it when we’re attracted to someone, and that’s what most people understand by “flirting”. However, it may not be necessarily the point. According to many psychologists and relationship experts, flirting is a normal habit if kept in safe boundaries.
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Of course, every individual has their own understanding of how things should work in a marriage or relationship. For this reason, there’s a big debate on whether flirting should be considered cheating or not. Depending on the case and the intentions of the doer, flirting might be nothing but part of an innocent and natural flowing conversation or the opposite.
Flirting – 10 Red Flags
Surely, in most cases flirting is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially when you’re in a relationship. Of course, it’s a sign of sexuality and confidence, but doing it may seriously damage your partner’s self-esteem. What’s more, it can even ruin marriages and is generally thought of as cheating. There’s always a fine line between a harmless online chat and a dangerous dialogue. Therefore, here are some worrying signs you should take into consideration when you or your partner are flirting with a third person.
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Keeping it all secret
First and foremost, if you constantly delete your conversations, emails, and calls from the person you’re flirting with, then you should reconsider your contact with them. Hiding your deeds from your spouse indicates a feeling of guilt. In every relationship, trust is the main drive that strengthens the bond between the two partners. If you don’t think your partner would be happy that you are flirting with that person and you’re afraid to tell him or her, then you should stop. Ask yourself, “What’s the point?” and “Is it worth it?”.
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You’re looking for emotional support in that person
As should be expected, people share their most personal and intimate feelings and emotions with their significant others. Having a day-to-day chat with your co-worker or an online friend might feel just okay. But when you start looking for emotional support in that exact person rather than your spouse, then this is the moment where things become serious. Getting the feeling that another person understands you in a way that your partner doesn’t is really worrying. The playful flirting might quickly turn into something more serious. Of course, in some cases, you might just need to vent off, but you don’t forget that your loved one should be the one you go to for emotional support.
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You share secrets with them
Sharing things with another person rather than your partner is an indication of mistrust and even conspiratorial behavior. That’s emotional cheating and flirting of this kind might be harmful to both partners since you not only expose your spouse but yourself too. Make up your mind and decide what it is that you find attracting in that person you’re flirting with that you can’t find in your partner and whether it’s worth it.
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Spending too much time flirting with them
Even if you’re obsessively talkative and flirtatious by nature, spending too much time flirting with one person is a huge red flag. If you’re unable to get over it and prevent it from happening, then you might not be prepared for a long-term relationship.
Using unique “inside” jokes with the person
Much like the previous red flag, having “inside” jokes with another person is an easily-predictable sign of flirting-turned-to-infidelity. Sharing a joke with an old friend is nothing to worry about. But flirting in an “unknown” language with another person in front of your partner can really hurt your relationship. And it’s all because the other half of the loving couple will start feeling excluded from the “circle” of intimacy.
Discuss your relationship and your partner with them
Similarly to the previous point, discussing your relationship and your partner with another person is closely connected to the emotional gap you’re looking to fill up. It’s simply disrespectful, especially if you’re sharing something that you wouldn’t want your spouse to overhear. Discussing such things is especially dangerous in cases where the flirting is done through social media and online interaction. On the Internet, it’s very difficult to see the thin line between having a conversation and a seductive chat with a person you don’t always know very well.
Frankly, flirting in a sexual way like dirty talk or even sexting is plain cheating. Even though it’s not always intentional or obvious, you should be wary of your conversations getting too deep into your sexual fantasies. All in all, if your communication sounds like foreplay or an overture of subtle sexual overtones, then you should stop flirting with that person immediately.
Acting defensive and rationalizing
As cliché as it may seem, the phrase “He’s just a friend” is still very common among those who are trying to rationalize their flirting habits. If you’re flirting with another person and believe it’s that easy to come out and tell your partner, you’re wrong. If you deny the facts, then you need to come to terms with yourself because you obviously feel guilty deep inside. You’re in a constant need of justifying your new “friendship”.
Being manipulative and rebellious
Finally, although it may not be that serious, flirting with another person just to make your partner jealous won’t do any good. Of course, seeking out an admirer to flirt with will certainly manipulate your significant other into taking notice of you. To some extent, it can be effective. However, you should bear in mind that there are healthier ways to increase your self-esteem and regain your confidence.
How to flirt in a harmless way
To conclude, flirting can be both cheating and a harmless and happy conversation. It all depends on the way you do it and the people you do it with. Using gestures and voice alterations are definitely harmless, and the end game is just having a healthy conversation. But if you get touchy or dirty-talking, then you should reconsider your bad habit even if it feeds your ego and makes you feel appreciated.
If you happen to cross the line, there are a few steps to sorting things out or at least trying. Firstly, you should admit your mistake. It’s important to show that you’re really remorseful and want to fix things. Secondly, you should ask yourself why you did it and the reasons behind this. Some psychologists even recommend looking into the future and how it could look like with the person who you’re flirting with. In most cases, it’s not worth it. Being honest will always prevail, and addressing your problems and needs will relieve you of the urge to flirt with harmful intents.