What Are the Signs That Flirting Has Gone Too Far?

Don't make flirting at work your full-time job.
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Well-established couples experience rocky times, including flirtations and outside crushes. Even thought you're in a long-term relationship, you may find yourself flirting with someone in the office or online. If you are attracted to someone other than your main partner or simply involved in a harmless flirtation, it’s important to know when to draw the line. If you think your flirting has gone too far, take a step back to consider how it’s impacting your primary relationship.

1 You Constantly Pick Fights with Your Partner

Turning small disagreements into full-blown arguments can make you see only the negative side of your relationship and relieve yourself from feeling guilty about flirting. In their book “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags,” Natasha Burton, Julie Fishman and Meagan McCrary note that picking fights can be a way to get more space to keep your flirtation going. Any time your flirtation causes you to communicate less with your partner or find flaws in your relationship, it is a sign that you’re taking things too far. Instead, dial back your flirting and celebrate the good aspects of your relationship.

2 You Are Too Affectionate

Constantly touching your crush is another red flag. Once your flirting ventures into physical territory, you run the risk of taking it a step further and cheating on your partner. Too much affection can make it hard to realize that you're developing feelings that you want to express beyond words, an indication that the relationship is bordering on inappropriate. Sharing too-long hugs or holding hands is crossing the line. Re-evaluate your emotional involvement to determine if you are developing feelings beyond simply flirting. If you find that your demonstration of affection isn’t something you’d feel comfortable doing in front of your partner, your flirting has gone too far.

3 You Are Keeping Secrets

Avoiding topics related to your flirting partner or even keeping the friend a secret is cause for concern. Hiding text messages, lying about spending time with the other person and going into another room to hold a conversation are all signs that you’re doing something you feel the need to hide. Another red flag is deleting emails because you feel your significant other would be offended if he read them, notes the article “When Does Flirting Become Cheating? 9 Red Flags.” Deception undermines the trust you’ve established in your relationship. Find a way to ensure that your partner knows that this person exists.

4 You Share Too Much

Turning to your crush for solace when you have a fight with your mate or telling her details about your relationship issues is a sign that things have gone too far. Flirting should be light and innocent; once you start sharing the intimate particulars of your relationship, the flirting is harmful. Consider how your partner would feel hearing the conversation. Saying things you don't want your partner to overhear is a red flag.

Based in Chicago, Nicole Nalls has been writing and editing career and education-related articles since 2008. Her articles have appeared in "Venus Zine" magazine, as well as a number of online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in sociology from Illinois State University.