At what point does flirting become cheating?
We found out what you thought
The issue of when flirting becomes cheating while you’re in an exclusive relationship divides people as much as the question: ‘Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead?’
Some people think flirting is perfectly fine, whereas others think it’s totally off-limits. So, we went to find out where you guys think the line is.
Hayley Allen, 21, student
“Realistically, everyone has a slightly flirtatious side, and there are different things that people interpret as ‘flirting’. I’ve known some girls to be like ‘omg they looked at each other for longer than two seconds!’, and they count that as flirting/cheating.
“Personally, I think when you’re messaging others on the sly, hiding your phone, or deleting messages, then you’re already cheating. A boy did that to me once, messaging another girl in secret while we were on holiday, so I nicked his phone to have a look, and he almost broke my wrist trying to take it back. To this day he doesn’t get why I broke up with him.”
Piers Pike, 20, student
“The very definition of the term to ‘flirt’ is a difficult one, you see. The dictionary defines ‘flirting’ as: ‘To behave as though sexually attracted to someone, but playfully rather than with serious intentions.’ This creates a blurry line when it comes to the subject of cheating. It’s understandable that people get upset when this line is stepped on between partners, but to suggest that someone is cheating purely through the notion of ‘flirting’ if, defined by the dictionary definition – it arguably isn’t. With this in mind, I would suggest that cheating is when the act of flirtation is actually acted upon. (Hence the definition of cheating being defined as ‘acting dishonestly’)
“Flirts I’d say aren’t always solely focused upon sexual attraction, sometimes they can be used as personal leverage or just simply to make someone feel good or better about themselves. However, I would always heavily suggest that it’s better for you to only ‘flirt’ within the perimeters that your partner is comfortable with.”
Jemma Allen, 20, Country Coordinator for Amnesty International
“I’m probably not the best person to ask, I’ve been with my boyfriend since we were 14, so we’re both a bit clueless on picking up on what flirting is. I’d say the line is when you’re talking to someone and you keep it a secret from your partner, and you intentionally flirt with the same person a lot. If you feel guilty about it, then you’re probably crossing a boundary.”
Becca Short, 20, student
“When you do it with the intention of flirting and getting with a particular person.”
Gabbie Wain, 24, Hairdresser
“When you’re out and about there’s always banter, but when it goes to the next level and you’re swapping numbers and secretly texting, and if you know your partner won’t like it – that’s cheating. If you feel it’s wrong, don’t do it, it’s no longer just flirting.”
Alice West, 29, Teacher
“I think that flirting becomes cheating when it becomes premeditated in some way. So, if an individual plans to ‘flirt’ with someone because they find them attractive and think that doing so could lead to something else, then it would be cheating.
“Flirting with someone that you have met on a night out is harmless enough as long as it doesn’t lead to anything physical or doesn’t extend further than the night out. Flirting has to be a ‘spur of the moment’ type of thing, whereas cheating is either spontaneous physical contact, or premeditated texting etc.”
Stacey Abbott, 22, Beautician
“I believe any type of flirting is cheating. If you’re flirting with someone then your partner isn’t giving you what you want, so you’re trying to receive it from someone else. If you’re flirting through messages and deleting them after, then you’re trying to hide something from your partner, and deep down you know it isn’t right.
“I think some people find it hard to admit when they’re not happy in a relationship so that’s why they end up cheating. Never make the one you love feel alone, especially when you’re there.”
Dan Gosling, 20, Lifeguard
“I think that flirting becomes cheating when the talking becomes suggestive, and obviously, there’s touching, even if it’s just a hand on the leg or something. I think that for different people there are different boundaries, for example, what me and my girlfriend consider the line to be will be different for other couples.”
Jordan Smith, 20, student
“I think that if you’re in a relationship, flirting is harmless when done to boost your own or someone else’s confidence. Basically you’re just being a nice person. If you’re doing it to get something you want, or because you think they’re attractive, then that’s just wrong.”
Alisa Smallwood, 46, Care Assistant
“Flirting itself is innocent. I am a flirter, I love going out and chatting to people, having a laugh and a dance and stuff – that’s all harmless. When it becomes more than that though, when it’s touching, and holding hands and all that, that’s when it becomes cheating.”