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Newest Member: silenceisnotgold (46036)

User Topic: Flirting? Is it an emotional affair too?
rekindle
♀ 42184
Member # 42184
Default  Posted: 4:59 AM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I used to be a gamer. In fact, my BH and I met over a game. I also used to flirt with other players in the games over the years. I didn't usually initiate the flirts, but would reciprocate by responding in a flirtatious manner that gave the impression I was all into it. Is this type of behavior considered cheating by the SI community? I didn't always talk to the people on a consistent basis, didn't even know some of them beyond groups in the games. I know it is considered a betrayal, but is it actually an OEA too? I also had what I considered a full on OEA with intimiate conversations, explicit photo exchanges, and phone calls, but when I compare that to the flirting, I have a hard time categorizing the two together. Can anyone offer their take on this? Thanks.


Me, WW
Him, BH
2 DDs
Together 9 yrs, married 4
Flirting/Boundary Breaking/Cheating for 8 years, OEA Fall 09-Feb 10 with flirty friend from 2007/2008, lied and rugswept until TT 12/13-02/14.

Posts: 76 | Registered: Jan 2014
BrokenButTrying
♀ 42111
Member # 42111
Default  Posted: 5:08 AM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My BH flirts, it's just his personality. I don't consider it cheating although it has upset me occasionally.

It's about boundaries really, I guess.


Me - 27
Him - 27
Madhatters

My Ddays - Jan 2010 & 12/04/14
His Dday - 23/12/13

Chin up. Unwavering. Fight. I can do this.


Posts: 1270 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: UK
authenticnow
♀ 16024
Member # 16024
Default  Posted: 6:02 AM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Any flirting is disrespectful to the marriage and gives the message that you're open to cheating.

I don't consider it cheating, but I don't care what you call it, flirting is never okay for a married person. Don't all As start with some kind of flirting?

It's definitely a matter of establishing solid boundaries in every interaction.


Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."


Posts: 38956 | Registered: Sep 2007
rekindle
♀ 42184
Member # 42184
Default  Posted: 6:09 AM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Let me clarify just in case I'm giving off the wrong impression, I'm not looking for justification or anything. I know that flirting is huge boundary breaking, and unacceptable, deceptive, disrespectful and hurtful behavior. Definitely not something I will be repeating. I was curious what the folks here categorize it as, because BH had done some internet searching where everything he read said it was flat out cheating. I just have a difficult time categorizing it with the undeniable OEA I had, so I was wanting others' takes on it.

I totally agree it is a major boundary issue, and all A's do start with crossing that boundary. Thanks for your input.


Me, WW
Him, BH
2 DDs
Together 9 yrs, married 4
Flirting/Boundary Breaking/Cheating for 8 years, OEA Fall 09-Feb 10 with flirty friend from 2007/2008, lied and rugswept until TT 12/13-02/14.

Posts: 76 | Registered: Jan 2014
HUFI-PUFI
♂ 25460
Member # 25460
Default  Posted: 6:14 AM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

rekindle - Is this type of behavior considered cheating by the SI community?

I think there can be a certain harmless flirting but the danger lies in how far down the slippery road do you have to travel before it becomes cheating. For some people, SA's for instance, the act of flirting can be enough to break their need for sexual sobriety, for others, it will always be just banter.

Flirting isn't always an emotional affair but emotional affairs always have flirting within them.

The litmus test is an easy one.

Would you feel totally comfortable if your spouse could overhear your conversation? Would they understand that it was harmless banter and that your boundaries were not in danger of being broken?

And if the shoe was on the other foot, if your spouse was the one shamelessly flirting with someone else, would you feel a bit of the green eyed monster coming out?

HUFI

[This message edited by HUFI-PUFI at 6:16 AM, February 27th (Thursday)]


Donít listen to your head, itís easily confused. Donít listen to your heart, its fickle. Listen to your soul, God doesn't steer you wrong.

Posts: 3289 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: Azilda, Northern Ontario
JustWow
♀ 19636
Member # 19636
Default  Posted: 7:02 AM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I suppose the final word on whether it constitutes cheating in your relationship comes from the people in your M, so if your H views it as such, why argue?

If arguing is to justify past behavior that you do not think was acceptable, anyway, why defend it and minimize it? If you think it is acceptable, are you more attached to the positive feeling derived from it than the painful consequences it brings him?

What the consensus here is doesn't matter so much. What is the agreement under your roof?


BW - Reconciling

edited for typos (I always have to!)


Posts: 3646 | Registered: May 2008 | From: Midwest
rekindle
♀ 42184
Member # 42184
Default  Posted: 7:30 AM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wise words as always, HUFI! Thank you.

JW, I'm not sure where you perceived my question as both arguing and justification when I clearly stated I am not looking to justify or defend the behavior and I do not think it is acceptable at all. Any good feelings I once had about flirting are long gone, and have been squashed by the pain I caused BH, I assure you. I asked the question out of sheer curiosity. The SI community has a much different perspective on behaviors such as these than a random website with people screaming "ITS CHEATING" who lack the knowledge and experience of the SI members. Perspective was all that I was asking for. Thanks for yours. For the record, the agreement under our roof is that it is unacceptable, hurtful behavior that will not be tolerated.


Me, WW
Him, BH
2 DDs
Together 9 yrs, married 4
Flirting/Boundary Breaking/Cheating for 8 years, OEA Fall 09-Feb 10 with flirty friend from 2007/2008, lied and rugswept until TT 12/13-02/14.

Posts: 76 | Registered: Jan 2014
20WrongsVs1
♀ 39000
Member # 39000
Default  Posted: 7:33 AM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Infidelity isn't about flirting or emotional attachments or sex. It's about one partner violating the terms of the relationship, including lying or hiding a behavior of which the other partner disapproves.

There are marriages in which having sex with someone outside the marriage isn't considered cheating, because both spouses agree to that arrangement and are open about it. There are marriages in which secret porn use is considered infidelity.

So if you're sitting there gaming with BH, and you both openly flirt with other gamers, and you're both comfortable with it, and you sit and laugh with each other about it...no problem.

(We cross-posted.)

[This message edited by 20WrongsVs1 at 7:34 AM, February 27th, 2014 (Thursday)]


fWW: 42
BH: 52
DDay: April 21, 2013
Sweet DS & fierce DD, under 10
"Between stimulus and response thereís a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom." V. Frankl

Posts: 1260 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
Ascendant
♂ 38303
Member # 38303
Default  Posted: 11:47 AM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

It's a good question, but like some of the other posters have said, the label you assign to the specific behavior is not nearly as important recognizing how it is inappropriate within the the context of having an authentic life and marriage.

We use terms like EA, PA, etc., because they operate as a quick shorthand for those of us 'in the know' to recognize the sorts of acts associated with a specific label.

I think that what 20V1 said here:

Infidelity isn't about flirting or emotional attachments or sex. It's about one partner violating the terms of the relationship, including lying or hiding a behavior of which the other partner disapproves.
...really nails it. I think one of the major mistakes many married couples never do is to sit down together and hash out exactly what sorts of behaviors are unacceptable within their specific marriage. I think many partners just sort of have their own ideas of what constitutes cheating, and assume that it matches their spouses.
Any flirting is disrespectful to the marriage and gives the message that you're open to cheating.
I don't consider it cheating, but I don't care what you call it, flirting is never okay for a married person. Don't all As start with some kind of flirting?
I don't think I automatically agree here. My wife and I both work in the restaurant industry. Some amount of flirting is considered part of our job....and we both recognize that aspect of our work and it's never really been an issue.
Would you feel totally comfortable if your spouse could overhear your conversation? Would they understand that it was harmless banter and that your boundaries were not in danger of being broken?
I think that's really the more important litmus test.
I suppose the final word on whether it constitutes cheating in your relationship comes from the people in your M, so if your H views it as such, why argue?
I sometimes wonder about this, because it's not the first time I've heard it. What if one spouse is unnaturally jealous of ANY interaction with the opposite sex? What if your spouse considers every interaction with the opposite sex flirting, regardless of the subject matter? If the only way your spouse is happiest is if you have zero interactions with the opposite sex, isn't that controlling behavior?

[This message edited by FacePunched at 11:49 AM, February 27th (Thursday)]


Other people are not medicine.

Posts: 2303 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: City in the Midwest/Best In The Whole Wide World
DixieD
♀ 33457
Member # 33457
Default  Posted: 12:07 PM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I was going to say, it's complicated because in some ways it is.

But FacePunched said it VERY WELL.

the label you assign to the specific behavior is not nearly as important recognizing how it is inappropriate within the the context of having an authentic life and marriage.

If I used 20V1's example which mentions lying and hiding as a key factor, it would give me an out. I didn't lie or hide. My husband was aware and didn't come right out and say 'I disapprove'. That wasn't his style back then. He did however make reference to my OEA AP being my 'FB Boyfriend' and that was his way of disapproving. I ignored it -- don't be silly. In my mind I wasn't doing anything wrong.

It was similar with my husband's affair. I knew his AP had no boundaries and was pushing them further all the time. I thought who does this pushy chick think she is? I voiced to him that she was crazy and he better watch out for her (we agreed upon that, or so I thought). I expected him to do something about it. He sure did.

So not voicing concerns in a flat out -- these are the boundaries and they shouldn't be crossed or this is the consequences, did not happen. Neither of us had boundaries or understood them.

I now know there are also one-sided EA's. AP thought we were lovers in another time and had circumstances been different we would have been together. I was not thinking that at all.

So I'll say it's complicated when you don't have boundaries in place. Once you've BTDT and you want to live an authentic life and marriage, it's not so complicated anymore.


Growing forward

Posts: 1767 | Registered: Sep 2011
LifeIsTooWeird
♀ 42093
Member # 42093
Default  Posted: 12:40 PM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

First off, Girl Gamers! Awesome! My BF and I are gamers as well. We play MPORPGs together, with this type of game, there is a lot of social interaction. Forming bonds over a shared interest is common, flirting in game is common and I wouldn't consider it cheating IF it's harmless interaction. I don't have to tell you that most gamers are not who they claim to be, but, you said you and your hubby met through game, so you shattered that gaming lie. So think back to how you two interacted online back then, what chats led up to you two meeting in real life. It's natural to be curios about the mystery people we spend our nights with, but if you find yourself seeking out a specific person, counting down the hours till you talk to them again, then that is the starting point of a potentially disaster and considering your past a HUGE trigger for your BH, which I'm assuming is why you gave gaming up. If you're concerned with how you come across online, talk to him about what thoughts he had back then prior to meeting. Also, I sense some longing in your post perhaps you miss gaming? I understand giving up passions to ease his feelings, but don't forget your feelings too. Talk to each other, and maybe you can find a way to work together whereby you both get what you need to feel safe and have fun together.


Me - GF (38)
Him - BF (33)
DDay - 08/13
Together 8 Years
In R

Posts: 133 | Registered: Jan 2014
JustWow
♀ 19636
Member # 19636
Default  Posted: 8:06 PM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

rekindle- I apologize if I worded my response poorly, I was not implying that you argued with what your H may have said, I should have been more careful in my wording and said if a person's spouse sees their flirting as cheating, why would one argue with your spouse, as in - how important is this flirting anyway.

Personally, I do not like it one bit. I don't appreciate it directed at me from someone outside of my M either. But, not everyone is me (thankfully) and there are people who genuinely seem to not have a problem with it.

FacePunched-

I suppose the final word on whether it constitutes cheating in your relationship comes from the people in your M, so if your H views it as such, why argue?

I sometimes wonder about this, because it's not the first time I've heard it. What if one spouse is unnaturally jealous of ANY interaction with the opposite sex? What if your spouse considers every interaction with the opposite sex flirting, regardless of the subject matter? If the only way your spouse is happiest is if you have zero interactions with the opposite sex, isn't that controlling behavior

No one has the ability to control another's behavior, although many spend a lot of effort trying. Hypothetically, if I am a nut job BS who sees every possible encounter my H has as flirting, even when it is not, he is not forced to comply with my "demands" about no opposite sex interactions. If he has integrity, he could tell me I am wrong in my interpretation of his encounters, and he refuses to avoid all opposite sex interactions. He could suggest we get MC to help us with the issue. He could know I am nutso, but choose to comply, anyway. He has a choice. It is not controlling simply because he does not like or agree with me.

It could very well be a crazy boundary, but if it is a boundary, I have the choice of altering my relationship with him if he does not wish to respect my crazy boundary.


BW - Reconciling

edited for typos (I always have to!)


Posts: 3646 | Registered: May 2008 | From: Midwest
workindad
♂ 41790
Member # 41790
Default  Posted: 8:24 PM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


my .02
If you hide it from your spouse, then yes it is cheating. If you don't then it is very disrespectful.

Posts: 16 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: United States
SisterMilkshake
♀ 30024
Member # 30024
Default  Posted: 9:04 PM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Flirting isn't always an emotional affair but emotional affairs always have flirting within them.
First, I want to agree with this quote from Hufi's post and that is how I feel about flirting and EA's.
I sometimes wonder about this, because it's not the first time I've heard it. What if one spouse is unnaturally jealous of ANY interaction with the opposite sex? What if your spouse considers every interaction with the opposite sex flirting, regardless of the subject matter? If the only way your spouse is happiest is if you have zero interactions with the opposite sex, isn't that controlling behavior?
This is the problem I had with MisterSister's "flirting" and his interactions with most people. FWH is friendly, charming, and funny with men and women. From the waiter, waitress, retail salespeople, he is this outgoing guy. Doesn't say anything inappropriate, but just is all joking and friendly. This never used to bother me. Until after d-day.

A couple of months after d-day we are at a hibachi restaurant. A mother and her adult daughter where seated right next to my FWH at our table. He starts chatting them up. Being funny, ignoring me. It finally hits me why I was often vaguely uncomfortable with how FWH seemed to put on a show whenever we were out. It wasn't jealousy what I was feeling but I rugswept my feelings putting it off to my issues. Society has conditioned us to believe that if we have a problem with our spouse's talking to other people we are jealous or controlling.

What hit me that night at that Japanese restaurant was: My husband is acting like a trained dog, begging for some ego kibbles from these complete strangers. Entertaining complete female strangers who are laughing and smiling at FWH. Ignoring me and getting external validation from these strangers. WTF? Not only was he pathetic, so was I to tolerate this embarrassing behaviour. For some reason, MisterSister had an "a-ha" moment at the same time as I did. He turned to me and said "That wasn't okay, was it?" Since than FWH has been aware of this unbecoming behaviour and makes a conscious effort to be polite to people, but he isn't performing anymore.


BW (me) 50ish FWH 50ish
Married 34 years, 3 children
d-day 3/10 LTA (4 yrs./fucking & flirting)

"Oh, why do my actions have consequences?" ~ Homer Simpson
"She knew my one weakness: That I'm weak!" ~ Homer Simpson


Posts: 10087 | Registered: Nov 2010 | From: The Great White North USA
bionicgal
♀ 39803
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 10:42 PM, February 27th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

SisterM I was interested in what you said, because I have tried to figure out whether my H's extroversion is flirting, seeking validation, or just being a nice guy. He is a classic extrovert, and is not the type to flatter, or be inappropriate, or be overly personal. But, he is friendly, and has always gotten energy from being around other people and socializing.

He is keenly aware these days if a woman is talking too much to him, and because the AP was a part of a couple friend that we socialized with a lot, just socializing has been triggery for me. We did a lot of bantering with that couple, and now when I look back at it, I think her behavior did eventually cross the line into flirting, but I thought it was all done in affection and fun. (She poked fun at him, rather mercilessly, and we had a lot of fun with it. He thought of her like a pesky little sister for years.) I knew she and her husband both had affection for my husband -- and I, stupidly, welcomed it. That is the most poisonous part of it; we were very familiar with each other.

My H does, also, relate particularly well with women, and generally chooses to stay with me in social situations rather than hang out with "the guys" and talk guy stuff. He has always said that this is because he likes to be with me, and I do think that is the case. If he finds himself talking to a woman now, he always makes efforts to say "we" and try to pull me into the conversation if I am not already, so that part is good anyway.

I brought this up with our MC, and he challenged me a little on whether it was ok for my H to have positive social interactions with women -- and for him to feel liked by our female friends. This is tough for me, and it will take a while to tease apart -- what are real boundary issues, and what are just vestiges of the hurt of the betrayal. But, I think our MC would say that we all need some amount of positive social interaction and some validation from the world at large. But, right now, I am very much on guard.


me - BS (45) - DDay - June 2013
A was 2+ months, EA/PA
In MC & Reconciling
"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point to move forward." -- C.S. Lewis.

Posts: 2247 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
rekindle
♀ 42184
Member # 42184
Default  Posted: 1:20 AM, February 28th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks for the responses, everyone. I appreciate the different perspectives. It is the different experiences and perspectives that helps me improve myself and drill better behaviors into my head.

I agree it all comes down to the couple, since some are okay with flirting and some aren't. For my relationship, its definitely not okay, regardless of whatever label is attached to it.

Lifeistooweird: Also, I sense some longing in your post perhaps you miss gaming?

Yes and no. Yes because it was a relaxing hobby that BH and I enjoyed together, it was an escape from stresses, an an outlet to talk and play with family when they played. But also no because it is now a massive trigger for BH and I and any good feeling I would have about playing it would now be replaced with loads of guilt for putting him through the overloads of memories, stress, worry, and suspicion. I'm in school while taking care of a toddler and expecting another soon, so I wouldn't have the time anyway now! And I'd rather the free time go to my BH instead of being distracted by the game.


Me, WW
Him, BH
2 DDs
Together 9 yrs, married 4
Flirting/Boundary Breaking/Cheating for 8 years, OEA Fall 09-Feb 10 with flirty friend from 2007/2008, lied and rugswept until TT 12/13-02/14.

Posts: 76 | Registered: Jan 2014
NoGoodUsername
♂ 40181
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 7:46 AM, February 28th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

SisterMilkshake wrote:

What hit me that night at that Japanese restaurant was: My husband is acting like a trained dog, begging for some ego kibbles from these complete strangers. Entertaining complete female strangers who are laughing and smiling at FWH. Ignoring me and getting external validation from these strangers. WTF? Not only was he pathetic, so was I to tolerate this embarrassing behaviour. For some reason, MisterSister had an "a-ha" moment at the same time as I did. He turned to me and said "That wasn't okay, was it?" Since than FWH has been aware of this unbecoming behaviour and makes a conscious effort to be polite to people, but he isn't performing anymore.


This is kind of behavior a big part of the flaws that I have had historically. I was a pretty big flirt pre-affair but also did a lot of social interactions in a flamboyant, charismatic way. Why? For the ego-kibble. I wanted the attention, the validation and to feel like other people thought I was interesting. The problem is, if you are performing, then it's fake, a show. It's fake for everyone. The other people don't get the real you and the validation that comes back is processed kibble you paid for with a facade.

I'm learning that doing something real is a better use of that effort. The rewards are not a flashy, but the do seem to last longer. It's hard, though. I have a lifetime of habits to overcome.


Me: WH
Her: BW
Dday 7/11/13
"May you be protected from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry."

Posts: 261 | Registered: Aug 2013
lostmylight55
♂ 33517
Member # 33517
Default  Posted: 8:40 AM, February 28th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

NoGoodUsername,

I could have wrote your post word for word.

For me, it goes way back to my FOO. I was the dancing monkey in my family, trying to smooth out tensions and avoid conflict and just to get approval from my mother by being overly funny or goofy. I carried that with me throughout my life. When I left the house, I would put on the show.

I don't put on a show for anyone now. It's less draining and feels more authentic.


My Boundaries are firm: Trespassers will be shot on sight.

Posts: 91 | Registered: Oct 2011
cancuncrushed
♀ 28156
Member # 28156
Default  Posted: 11:42 AM, February 28th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think no flirting is the only answer post A. Its just rude and inconsiderate..ANd stepping back into the pain of A...Its a total NO..its best to realize the boundaries are now further back...Now the question is, what is everyones opinion on what is flirting? Its never clear and easy..Its best just not to go anywhere near there...ANd also, as in our situation....You can flirt without converstion...Staring for long periods of time,. making eye contact, and smiling, over and over,standing too close, and looking at asses and boobs...Yep, all crosses the line for a marriage and considered bad behavior.


a trigger yesterday

Posts: 1109 | Registered: Apr 2010 | From: athome
mrs7
♀ 42505
Member # 42505
Default  Posted: 1:27 PM, February 28th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

People always talk about "harmless" flirting. Sort of the same phrase as "JUST friends" - when all of us here know better. Flirting is appropriate between uncommitted people. It can stoke fires that either party might be totally unaware of, and NO ONE has any business stoking any fires in someone who is already with someone else. I'm certain that "harmless flirting" led to my EA, it's that simple. No one else besides my H should be complimenting me, or stroking my ego (or anything else). And the same goes for me. It's not just a slippery slope to an affair, for some it's more like a greased laundry chute directly into an affair. Boom! You're there, before you can really even process what has happened.


Me -WW - 49
Him -BH -45
DD - 1-21-14
no children together
M - 3 1/2 years, together 7

Posts: 46 | Registered: Feb 2014 | From: CO
Topic Posts: 20

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