A wink, a stare or a gentle touch can all be innocent signs of flirtation, but how far does the situation have to go before things aren’t so innocent anymore? When does flirting become cheating?
“The intent of the flirtation is to get another person’s attention for romantic reasons, and if you’re committed, that’s a problem,” declares Donna L. Franklin, author of What’s Love Got to Do with It?
In an era where marriage as an institution is generally having it tough and rough from all possible dimensions, what with all these high divorce rates and lower marriage rates, even the contract marriages are fading out! Don’t be fooled by the number of wedding invitations you have on a single Saturday.
And it’s not because I am still single, but thanks to our culture among other factors, the institution still has some strength to it…or could it be that the same culture binds us together-like no divorce for the sake of the ‘kids’ but we do what we do with whomever?
However, generally speaking, the world is losing it on relationships. You add the issue of flirtation into it and it just creates another problem for our relationships that weakens the dyadic union between two people.
Franklin says that flirting becomes cheating from the moment the first signal is sent from someone who is already in a committed relationship.
“Even if the person doesn’t respond, the fact that you send it is intent on your part to betray the relationship of the person you are with. Whether every signal is returned is a non-issue. You have violated the commitment by seeking something elsewhere.”
When it comes to flirting, Franklin believes that mental or emotional intimacy with someone other than a person’s mate can be extremely hazardous to a couple.
“Mind games are always more dangerous,” she explains. “From what we know now about emotional versus physical intimacy, emotional intimacy is much more threatening to committed relationships than physical intimacy.”
Why? “The emotion is powerful and we tend to overlook it and technically define infidelity as the physical act when in fact it’s emotional as well.”
To all the culprits like myself, yes I said it! I like (d) to do it. We all try to dress up flirting with our own colors depending on one’s situation and reasons.However the bottom line is, we all contend flirting can be harmless and doesn’t necessarily have to lead to cheating.
Bruce, a Ugandan married pal of mine closes his eys and defends flirting:”It gives you a little rush when somebody flirts with you.You kind of feel like, `Yeah, I still got it!’”.
I know for certain that flirting is a conscious decision that people can control but tend to act on despite the consequences. And yes, I believe that people only think that flirting is a part of their personality. It is a choice that you make. It’s an intentional energy. You’re choosing to send out certain vibes.
Why do we even go there?
People flirt because they’re either doing it to boost their ego so that they can make themselves feel good by seeing how someone reacts, or if they’re not playing head games, then they’re looking for a sexual opportunity.
So when does flirting become cheating?
“Flirting becomes cheating when what you are doing is something that your partner would disapprove of and you’ve crossed that line from playfulness into lust.”
When it crosses into boundaries that cause physical arousal, when it becomes a challenge and your thoughts become increasingly `invaded’ by the other person you flirt with. Or is it up to the individual to define if he or she feels he or she is actually being an `emotional cheater.
“It’s a very selfish and self-motivated act. It becomes cheating when you imply that you are unattached and available when you are not. So is what is considered to be cheating dependant on what is and isn’t acceptable between the people who are actually involved in the relationship? You could be flirting and the other person could be flirting back, but does that determine cheating? Merriam-Webste defines flirting as, a) to behave amorously without serious intent, or b) to show superficial or casual interest or liking.”
It is synonymous with the word trifle, which is something of little value.It’s not because am single and trying to support the status but cheating has to do with two people who are committed to something. The third person is just out there trying to have a good time.To the couple, it’s more about what the two people in a relationship have said is `OK ‘behavior.