If you were to discover over time that your boyfriend or girlfriend is a serial flirt, would you still trust and remain in a relationship with him or her?
One has to question why their partner would persist in flirting with others despite being in a relationship. Perhaps it's an irrepressible urge to feed their ego; they can't help but fish for signs that their flirtatious remarks or gestures are being well-received and returned. Or, maybe their self-esteem is so low that positive feedback from their significant other just isn't enough; they'll only feel content if a wide range of attractive people of the opposite sex do the same.
But the fact they would need to look for such positive reinforcement outside their relationship raises serious flags.
Why does flirting with your own partner not suffice?
Here's the truth: It can only be insufficient for people who are truly not ready to be in a relationship.
When you enter into a relationship, you agree to forego making overtures of a sexual -- or flirty -- nature to other people.
That's why when people ask me whether flirting constitutes cheating -- a topic I've covered in depth on this blog -- I tell them that while it's not overt cheating, the person is treading dangerous ground. Flirting can easily escalate into touching, kissing, and sexual contact.
Let's be honest: It'd be naive to assume that people in relationships will only feel attracted toward their partner and no one else. But that doesn't make it right to go around flirting with others -- whether you're the one to initiate the flirting or not.
As I noted in a recent post, human beings have the ability to exercise free will and thus can restrain their impulses.
And when one is in doubt as to whether something they've done or plan to do counts as cheating, they need only ask themselves two questions:
1. Would they feel comfortable telling their partner what they've said or done?
2. Would they feel comfortable if their partner did the same thing?
If their answer to either question is "no," it's a telltale sign such behavior is venturing into cheating territory.
When one finds a need to flirt with people outside the relationship, it calls into question whether they genuinely care about or feel attracted to their partner. If deep down they know they don't, they should do the right thing and end the relationship gracefully.
Would you be able to continue dating someone you've discovered is a flirt?