Dear V: Are ‘flirtationships’ really cheating?

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Dear V,

Lately, I’ve noticed my boyfriend has been hiding his phone from me. He seems to always be texting someone, but he doesn’t tell me who it is. On Instagram, I noticed a girl commenting on all of his pictures. I’ve had an inkling that he’s been cheating for a while, so I asked him about it.

He told me he’s not cheating; he’s just “talking” to her. This was upsetting – to me, cheating is cheating, no matter if it’s actual sex or only flirting. His argument was that it wasn’t really cheating if all he was doing was flirting. I’m the only girl he has sex with and the only girl he’s dating, so the little online conversations don’t matter.

I don’t know how to feel. On one hand, I’m happy he’s not actually seeing anyone else, and I do believe him when he says he’s not. I can’t get mad that he has friends who are girls, either, and I’ll admit I sometimes hit on guys at parties for the thrill. On the other hand, I don’t feel good about him flirting with other girls. Doesn’t that mean he’s not completely interested in me?

Sincerely,

Tired of Blurred Lines

Dear Tired of Blurred Lines,

First of all, if you hit on guys at parties, why are you mad your guy is talking to other girls? That seems a bit hypocritical.

Anyway, though, all you two are doing is opening yourselves up to temptation. Think about it: when you and your guy first met each other, all you were doing was “talking,” too. Unless you’re in an open relationship, won’t these flirtations eventually lead to one of you falling for someone else or cheating?

That’s not to say people in relationships can’t have friends of the opposite sex. Cutting your guy off from the women in his life will make you look obsessive and controlling. That said, there’s more going on here than just a friendship between a guy and a girl.

If he openly admitted to flirting with other girls and so have you, maybe you’re not right for each other. It sounds like you’re both sticking around for the sake of being in a relationship, not because you’re actually in love with each other.

If you want to try to work things out, you’ll both have to cut off the flirtationships. They’re toxic. However, if both of you are still hung up on getting attention from other people, that’s a clear sign it’s time to call it quits.

In a healthy relationship, people don’t go out seeking others’ attention. It’s time to either be loyal to each other or move on.

-V

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