Today’s question is about one of those “hot button” issues that always leads to a good conversation on my Facebook wall . . .
Crystal Bopp asks:
“I’m wondering how many of you out there consider flirting cheating? what are your thoughts and/or opinions on this…?”
Great question with a complicated answer, so here we go in handy numbered form:
1. Personally I think that STOPPING non-serious flirting with other people (at least in a playful way) is downright deadly to a relationship.
I deal with a LOT of men and women every day who talk about how “dead” they feel sexually and emotionally after a few months or a few years together . . .
How they just don’t feel attractive to the opposite sex anymore.
Or how they feel suffocated by having to shut that flirty, fun, sparkly side of their personality down.
And relying on just one person to appreciate you emotionally and physically while denying that kind of energy from everybody else can really be toxic.
So in a weird way, flirting can actually be GOOD for a long term relationship.
Done right, it’s a little like stopping by the gas station for some “passion fuel” and “self esteem oil.”
(Wow, that’s the worst metaphor I’ve ever written.)
2. That said, there’s flirting and there’s flirting:
The kind of flirting that’s good for a relationship is pretty light. I call it “appreciative” flirting. It’s a quick glance or a funny double entendre’. It’s you or your partner PLAYING a little bit with their sexuality and their attractiveness to the opposite sex.
The key is really in the intention: If you or your partner are flirting knowing full well that nothing is going to happen (and not actually WANTING anything to happen) it’s really no big deal.
If you’re “hunting” or actually trying to seduce somebody?
Well, that’s a whole other ball game.
The actual limits of what “acceptable” flirting is are going to vary wildly by relationship.
Personally, I’m a huge flirt (which is probably pretty obvious.)
And even though I’m in a committed (and awesome) relationship, I have no problem at all commenting on how beautiful a female friend of mine looks, or sharing a moment of attraction and playful tension with a woman. (I also make it very apparent from the beginning that I have a girlfriend and that I’m in a committed relationship with her.)
My girlfriend isn’t terribly bothered by this because . . .
A. She knows 110% how I feel about her, how I lust after her, how much I love her.
B. I make it totally apparent that when I’m “flirting” it’s just a game and I’m not actually trying to seduce a girl.
C. She’s secure enough to know that the fact that I’m a guy who other women want to in some way flirt with actually reflects REALLY well on her.
The same goes the other way, by the way. When I catch another guy checking out my girlfriend, I don’t freak out about it like a jealous beast . . . I just kind of smile because I know I’ve got a beautiful, sexy woman in my life and I know she’s coming home with me.
Not a big deal if you don’t make it a big deal.
Again, though, there’s a big difference between playful flirting (or just “appreciating” someone) and actually trying to attract or seduce them and you need to talk to your partner about where that line is in your relationship.
C. As for whether flirting is “cheating” I’d say it’s a pretty definitive “No.” Is over-the-top-flirting-with-the-intention-of-screwing-someone’s-brains-out dangerous to a relationship?
Sure. But it in and of itself is not cheating.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below…
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