To understand the effects of flirting with another person while in a relationship, you need to consider what flirtation means to different people. For instance, some people genuinely believe they are being friendly with third parties and don’t notice when they are crossing the line or the signal the third party is picking up from their friendliness. Others are serial sweet-talkers and very much aware of their superpower. Moreover, they used this same skill to endear their partners to themselves and continue to walk their charm with parties not aware of their relationship.
Some people believe flirting is a form of cheating and others hold the opinion that flirting is harmless and has nothing to ruffle their relationship. You must understand that whatever stance you take on the matter, flirting is a natural phenomenon and necessary in the law of natural selection and procreation. The bone of contention is after you’ve flexed your flirtation skills and landed a partner. Then, the flirting gets extended to random or familiar persons.
When weighing on the impact of teasing strangers or familiar facing while in a relationship, you must consider that some of the actions associated with philandering are relative to different people. For instance, compliments with a subtle sexual undertone, constant texting and calling, and lots of touching and shooting glances while talking are considered flirting. Some people think these acts are emotional cheating, while others and their partners don’t believe it is cheating.
We shall consider some effects of flirting with another person while in a relationship
Suspicion and accusation
Partners build bonds and intimacy over time, and it’s easy for them to have tell-tell signs when their partner is texting a lot, throwing glances or acting too friendly with another person. So naturally, suspicion builds up with time between them, and if they have poor communication, these suspicions can escalate to accusations quickly. Upon confrontation, trust is gradually eroded if the suspected partner doesn’t see anything wrong with their actions.
Gateway to cheating
Flirting almost always starts as a harmless, sweet gesture until the other party is responsive. Most people that flirt while in a relationship don’t begin with the intention of cheating. That’s not to say there aren’t serial flirts who indulge in getting extra cookies from persons who are not their partners.
Flirting is like wearing tight jeans— there is a little ruckus and uncertainty while wearing it at the beginning. This is the stage of fondness and contemplation between trying to be friendly, giving philandering a shot and anticipating that the side person feels the same way as you do. Once the jeans fit in, pulling it off is usually no small feat, and that’s how once two flirts are responsive to each other, taking it to the next stage becomes easy while stopping becomes even more challenging.
It’s building castles in the sky
Sometimes, the urge to compare your partner with others leads to flirtation. You find yourself talking to them more because you feel they are more intriguing, humorous, attractive, and available than your partner. The truth is, no one is perfect, not even you, and more people will be prettier, more beautiful, and more enjoyable than your present partner or fling.
You’re only building a fantasy castle in the air if you introduce flirting into your relationship and neglect putting effort into creating something beautiful with your partner. The satisfaction you seek in a relationship cannot be filled with a few minutes of flirting thrills.
It makes your relationship unsafe
When you choose to be with someone, you are inadvertently telling them that you want to make things work with them among the many people you know and will know in the future. You deploy different flirtatious moves to get each other’s attention and become an item.
So, when you use the same tactics you used with your partner for another person, whether you mean it to be a friendly gesture or not, it triggers unsafety in your partner. Your moves are too familiar to your significant other, and if it worked on them, why won’t it work on the person you are overly friendly with? You expose your spouse to second-guessing themselves and feeling unsafe.
It introduces a third party to the relationship
When you start flirting with someone outside your relationship, they don’t need to be present like a third wheel when you are together with your partner for you to make them a part of your relationship. The fact that you spend more time talking to them, paying compliments you should be giving your spouse or making them feel unique to the detriment of your date already makes the third party an essential element of your relationship. Likewise, sharing your physical or emotional availability between your relationship and another person makes that third party a vital determiner of what happens in your relationship.
Affect credibility of the relationship
When one partner constantly confronts the other about teasing gestures they make to other people, and the partner is either downplaying it or acting calm about it, the hurt partner begins to withdraw. The hurting partner comes to associate the words of the flirting partner with lies and a lack of integrity.
Things won’t add up if their partner says, “you are the only person I love”, “you mean everything to me”, “I cannot live without you”, “I respect you”, and all the sweet nothingness that lovers tell each other but then go ahead and act in a different with another person. When words don’t match actions, credibility and integrity, once attached to those words, disappear.
Hurt the person you love
Committing to one person can be tiring, and sometimes you crave something different. The feeling of wanting space or craving spontaneity while dating or married is a normal human response, and you are not alone. Purposeful people always find a way around wanting variety and flirting with others in a relationship. This is because they know that another human’s heart is involved in the relationship and give their word to honour and respect that person.
Imagine how your spouse feels when flirting makes them uncomfortable and they confront you about it. It’s even more betrayal when you are so good at concealing your flirting and your partner has no idea about it yet respect and give you their all. It’s cruel to be deceptive. It’s hurtful to make your partner feel unsafe or less than enough. Some people never recover from the trauma of being in a relationship where their partner pays more attention to others than them, insists they are not cheating, or even acknowledges they are cheating.
Jeopardise your relationship
Consider the time it took you to decide you want your partner. Regardless of who did the asking out, many pros and cons were considered before asking and accepting. So why throw away all that intentionality for something temporal? Whether being flirtatious is a one-time thing or a habit, it’s all chasing a cheap thrill, and the effect on your relationship will show.
Your partner will eventually get tired of the disrespect and empty promises and then want to leave. You will soon realise that even if your goal is to frustrate your spouse to leave the relationship for another person to come, no one is perfect, and you will need a change of partner as urgently as you need a change of clothes.
Flirting becomes a habit
A person who is not accountable is to be feared. If a relationship you claim to love cannot stop you from looking at someone else, then nothing will. You find that you start to flirt with confidence and lie effortlessly to clean up your tracks. Flirting and lying are negative habits to pick up, which are easy to learn but difficult to stop. Lying and flirting, are stressful to keep up with, so why cultivate the habit?
First-time attraction does not sustain intimacy; intentionality does. If you are channelling your energy towards flirting with another fling and working extra hard to conceal it or convince your partner that nothing is happening – in that case, little energy is left to blossom your main relationship. This is because it gets exhausting, and your partner will see through you at some point. Your relationship becomes superficial about buying gifts and giving money to your partner to make up for making them feel neglected or disrespected. That intimacy that fires up connections vanishes gradually, hence, the lack of intimacy is one of the effects of flirting.
Some people hold strong opinions about flirting and consider it cheating, while others feel it is not harmful. Every thought you have, you should know that there will be dents in your relationship if you choose to introduce flirtatious dynamics to your relationship. Whether you or your partner consider it cheating or decide to make light of it is up to the parties in the relationship.
Effects of Flirting With Another Person While In a Relationship