Does Flirting Online Count as Cheating?

Does flirting online count as cheating?  Well that depends on a few things.  Below you’ll find some insight into when online flirting counts as cheating and when it doesn’t.  Then, you’ll find a few important things to consider before chatting up other women, as well as tips on how you can flirt with other women guilt-free.

When flirting isn’t cheating

One of the most important factors in determining whether or not online flirting counts as cheating is how long you’ve been with the girl you’re dating.  If you’ve only been on a date or two then it’s perfectly reasonable for you to chat and flirt with other women.  Odds are she’s out there flirting with other guys, too.

But if you’ve been dating for a while then the girl likely expects some degree of exclusivity.  Of course, it can be difficult to tell when you’ve passed that line from “causal dating” to “exclusive relationship”.  So the best way to figure out exactly where you stand is to have an open, honest talk.  The sooner you can have this conversation and let her know exactly what you want out of your relationship, the better.  If she knows from day 1 that you’re going to be flirting with other women during the course of your relationship, then it won’t count as cheating.

When flirting is cheating

If the girl you’re dating saw the flirty online conversations you’ve been having, how would she react?  Would she feel shocked and hurt?  Are you forced to hide these conversations from her to shield her form the pain she’d feel if she found out?

If that’s the case, then something has got to change.  You don’t create strong, healthy relationships by hiding parts of yourself from the girl you’re dating.  And letting her assume she’s the only girl receiving your affections when she’s not is a wildly unfair thing to do.  Your best option then is to come clean and let her know what’s going on.  After all the longer you keep this a secret, the more it’s going to hurt her (and the relationship) when she eventually finds out.

Letting her know you’ve been flirting online with other women can be a scary thing to do, but the fear of how she’ll react is often worse than the reaction itself.  After all if things have been going well in your relationship she’s likely going to want to find a way to work through this bump in the road.  Weeks later, you may find that coming clean about what you’ve been up to and working through this issue may actually make your relationship stronger, and deepen the connection between you.

Emotional Cheating

Aside from online flirting there’s another form of cheating that many guys aren’t even aware of, but can be even more devastating to a relationship than flirting or even sleeping with another girl.  It’s known as emotional cheating

Emotional cheating is basically going into deep rapport with another woman – sharing your emotions, your secrets, making yourself vulnerable, etc.  This is particularly distressing if you’re sharing these feelings with another woman while withholding them from the girl you’re dating.  For example, if you share all the stress and troubles you’re feeling from work with a girl you know online – yet tell your girlfriend everything at work is “fine” – she may see this as “emotional cheating”.  The easiest way to avoid hurting your girlfriend this way is to simply open up to her as deeply and authentically as you would to anyone else.  That way she won’t feel left out, and is less likely to mind if you open up to other women as well.

The slippery slope of “harmless flirting”

It’s easy to brush off online flirting as harmless fun.  But harmless online flirting can easily take on a life of its own.  It’s usually only a matter of time until you wind up meeting the girl you’ve been flirting with for “a quick drink”.  And with all the tension that’s been building between you, it’s easy for that drink to lead to “one little kiss” and eventually “one big mistake”.

If you know getting physical with another girl outside your relationship won’t be tolerated, don’t put yourself in a position where it’d be so easy to cheat (and difficult not to).  Your best bet is to cut out the flirting entirely, before you get carried away and do something you regret.

How to flirt without ever cheating

If you’re in a committed, exclusive relationship but still feel the need to flirt with other women, then it may be time to expand the boundaries of your relationship.  Talk with your girl and be honest about the kind of freedom you want, and see if you can work out an arrangement that suits both of you.

In order to have this talk effectively, there are 3 things you should keep in mind:  First, it may take time for her to come around and see this as an acceptable solution.  After bringing this idea up, give her time to get comfortable with it.  Once she’s had time to think it over, she may feel more at ease.

Second, pushing the boundaries of a relationship is a give-and-take.  You’ve got to give her the same exact freedom you’re requesting for yourself.  Otherwise she may come to resent the lack of balance in your relationship.

Finally, she may stand firm in her belief that it’s not okay to flirt with women outside the relationship.  If that’s the case you’ve got a choice to make.  Is flirting with other women a necessary thing for you to have in your relationships?  If so, the harsh truth is that you both may be better off moving on.  Then you can find a girl who will accept the kind of arrangement you need.

More dating and relationship advice

Have any questions about dating and relationships?  The Art of Charm has hundreds of articles and podcasts filled with dating tips and advice for men.  If you’re not sure where to start, talk to the customer support representative on the bottom right of your screen.  They will be happy to point you in the right direction.

Brian M - author of 191 posts on The Art of Charm

Once he realized attraction was something he could learn, Brian spent way too much of his free time studying and practicing everything he could find on the subject. He stumbled across The Art of Charm podcast and eventually signed up for an AoC bootcamp. Excited by the progress he's made in his own life since the program, he decided to start writing for AoC to help other guys do the same. By writing about interpersonal dynamics, he’s finally able to put that psychology degree to good use.

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in Art of Dating, Flirting And Attraction

One Comment on “Does Flirting Online Count as Cheating?”

  1. Pingback: Does Flirting Online Count as Cheating? | Good morning, stranger

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