I am an incurable flirt. It is a big part of my personality, and it is something that often happens without me being conscious of it.
For the most part it is harmless. I’m not going to lie—I have used flirting to my advantage to get my way in public with both men and women. It’s a thing that I do.
That said, when my flirting has intention behind it, you will know. It’s a different kind of flirting. Flirting with a purpose has a different type of energy, and that difference is noticeable.
I’m inclined to think that most flirting is of the simple, harmless sort—but could it still be considered a form of cheating?
Speaking solely for myself, I would say that the answer to that question depends on the intention and the intensity behind the flirting.
I have had partners flirt before—in front of me, even—and it never bothered me because I knew it was harmless. They weren’t trying to hook up with anyone on the low or make someone have more interest in them than what was there already.
The other side of that, of course, is when the person doing the flirting has the goal of creating something with the other person—even if what they are creating is simply a situation in which there will be more consistent flirting between the two parties. That is a level of inappropriateness that would give me cause for concern.
I asked this question on Twitter and took a poll. The vast majority of people who responded said “it depends,” which I take to mean basically the same thing I’ve already touched on.
It depends on your circumstances and the boundaries you have set with your partner. If you are OK with flirting as long as it goes no further, then so be it.
If, on the other hand, your trust in your partner is shaky, then flirting could be an issue.
Insecurity is real, and it could be disastrous if you are already even the tiniest bit insecure about your partner flirting with another person.
There are people who believe that you only flirt when you are interested in another person and you are entertaining their interest in you. If this is the case, then it is a form of cheating. It is a betrayal of trust.
This is ultimately a topic that not everyone is going to agree on, because not everyone views flirting in the same way. It is a deeply personal thing that varies from relationship to relationship.
So the next time you are having pillow talk with your partner, have a dialogue with them about it. Be open and honest about your definition of flirting, and ask them theirs. Then the two of you will be able to decide together.
Is flirting a form of cheating?
The short answer: It can be.
We will be discussing flirting when The Root After Dark Twitter chat returns on Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. I will take over The Root’s official Twitter account as always, and we will chop it up. Be sure to follow The Root on Twitter and be a part of the discussion using the hashtag #TheRootAfterDark.