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Is it okay to flirt with other people while in a relationship?

Updated on October 21, 2016

What is flirting?

Many have differing opinions on what is and isn’t considered flirting. This is the first thing to take into consideration. For one person chatting to a complete stranger of the opposite sex, exchanging phone numbers or interacting with members of the opposite sex may be considered flirting and inappropriate while to someone else it may be viewed as completely normal or ‘just being friendly’.

Why do guys / girls flirt with other people while in a relationship?

I’ve chatted to numerous individuals about this trying to gain some insight to different mind-sets. From what I’ve seen and heard, the following are common reasons:

1. To get an ego Boost

Some men or woman turn to other people when feeling neglected, unappreciated or not valued enough. Sometimes this doesn’t take on the extreme of physically cheating (depending on your definition of cheating) but may play out in flirting with others. For a women who hasn’t been complimented or made to feel beautiful in a while or a man who doesn’t feel desirable to his wife, that “hey beautiful!” or “you look handsome today” could be enough to keep entertaining enticing conversations with a member of the opposite sex.


2. To give an ego boost

Keeping the above in mind, I’ve heard of other’s who flirt with other people in what they describe as their aim to help the above mentioned people out. A colleague actually mentioned flirting with members of the opposite sex “because they need it”, he said. He described it as somewhat of a good deed to humanity explaining that he was completely happy and in love with his partner but merely helping out others.

3. Bad habits die hard

Others just haven’t managed to shake the habit. Being used to being a single individual chatting to, flirting with or conversing with numerous different members of the opposite sex and merely being accustomed to the single life, it is sometimes hard to shake the habit resulting in the behaviour continuing even after you are no longer single.

4. Keeping your options open

For others, flirting is a way of keeping your options open. You know that you are in a relationship or that you have a partner but aren’t certain about the seriousness of your relationship and whether or not it will stand the test of time. This or the fact that you don’t see yourself spending forever with your current partner may lead you to flirt with or continue flirting with others in an aim to keep your options open should or when something goes wrong in your current relationship. You aim to ensure that you always have a Plan B or someone to fall back on.

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5. Personality

For others flirting is somewhat unintentional. People have differing personalities and sometimes being “overly friendly” may be perceived as being flirtatious. Having a bubbly or outgoing personality may mean that you strike up a conversation with a random individual standing behind you in a store (whether male or female) or make conversation with the stranger in the park while out walking your dog. There is a difference between being friendly and leading someone on or flirting with them. It is highly important to figure out the difference and avoid crossing the very thin line unintentionally.


Is flirting cheating?

Relationships differ just as individuals do and the general rule of thumb should be – flirting is what you and your partner perceive it to be. People flirt with others for various reasons. If you and your partner have spoken about it and either or both of you agree that it shouldn’t be tolerated or isn’t okay in your relationship then it would be considered cheating if you did it. Emotional affairs (whether they lead to cheating or not) are still considered affairs.

It is also important to know that flirting with other people especially if your partner doesn’t approve or if you do not know whether or not your partner approves may be viewed as disrespectful. You’re giving off a message that you do not value your partner enough to respect him / her or your relationship.


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    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 2 years ago

      Voted up and useful!

      Some people also flirt to manipulate or get favors out of people.

      I've posted a question about this subject in the past and many women said they flirt because it's "fun". I tend to agree with you that it has more to do with getting an ego boost.

      Deep down a lot of people would be (depressed) if the only person that found them "hot" or "attractive" was their significant other!

      They need to believe as Beyoncé states in her song "Irreplaceable" - "I could have another you in a minute."

      I suspect deep down no one actually wants to feel "lucky" they have their mate. They want to prove they could get someone else (if) they wanted.

      Lastly it can't be ignored that all serious relationships begin with a certain amount of flirting or sexual innuendo. This is what causes many people to view flirting as a "gateway to cheating". Very few people would love to see their mate flirting with another person.

      The reason why most people don't flirt front of their mate is because they know it's disrespectful to their relationship.

      Flirting is also a safe way for men in particular to "test the waters" if they want to hookup with a woman. If she flirts back they gradually amp things up over time to mix in some sexual innuendo and at some point make their move.

      On the other if the woman responds negatively or appears to be insulted the guy can back off by saying: "I can't believe you thought I was serious!"

      This causes the offended person to question them self.

      One thing I've been curious about is why do people in relationships and marriages stop flirting with each other?