Is Flirty Text Cheating? | Navigating the Boundaries

So you found your partner giggling while looking at their phone, and they just happened to be talking to this new “friend” of theirs. You asked what it was, and they skipped the topic. And you, being the nosy girlfriend/boyfriend you are, checked their texts, and they seemed a bit too friendly, flirtatious even. Then is this something to worry about? Is your partner cheating?

Flirty text is cheating in situations like when explicit and sexual messages are shared, when such texts are sent with the intention of building a romantic connection, when intimate details of the relationship are shared, when texts are hidden from the partner, or when they are texting an ex.

Let’s look at the situation in detail.

Situations When Flirty Text Is Cheating

1. Sending Explicit or Sexual Messages

Yeah, this one is a dead giveaway. While a sexual joke here and there isn’t an issue, repeatedly talking sexually or sending explicitly sexual messages is a form of cheating.

It is considered a form of emotional infidelity and can heavily damage the relationship.

It conveys that the person is seeking sexual satisfaction or gratification from someone other than their partner, which amounts to cheating.

So if you found explicit texts between your partner and the “third” person, well, you need to have “the talk” with your partner ASAP.

Sending Explicit or Sexual Messages

2. Consistent Flirty Texts With The Intention To Build A Romantic Connection

Just a heads-up, we are not talking about a normal, friendly conversation here. We are referring to those consistent flirty texts that come with a considerable amount of effort from the party involved.

Such texts are often sent with the intention of building an emotionally romantic connection with the other person and not just to “joke around”.

It can be a form of emotional infidelity, as this suggests that the person is seeking attention, validation, or emotional support from someone other than their partner, which is a major red flag in the relationship.

It is a definite sign to call it quits in the relationship. I have covered more about this in my article on when to end your relationship.

3. Sharing Personal Or Intimate Information About Your Relationship

Look, sharing things with others is fine, even about your relationship and its various shenanigans. But up to an extent.

Sharing intimate details, information about all the fights, and the sexual details of your relationship with another person is often a breach of trust and privacy of your partner.

This isn’t textbook cheating but is considered a form of emotional infidelity if the sole intention of sharing the details is to build an emotional connection with the other person by gaining their sympathy.

This, again, is a form of emotional infidelity and should be dealt with at the earliest.

Sharing Personal Or Intimate Information About Your Relationship

4. Hiding Or Deleting Texts To Hide Them From Your Partner

Hiding or deleting texts with the other person is a way to conceal the nature of the conversations from your partner.

This suggests that you know the conversations are inappropriate and can damage your relationship, which is why you hid them.

This is extremely suspicious behavior, and if your partner is doing this with the facade of whatever reason they cooked, talk with them immediately about how this makes you uncomfortable and builds distrust in you about them.

5. Continuous Texting With An Ex

Here, you have to tread carefully as your partner can get ultra-defensive about their behavior.

But again, it’s a major red flag if your partner is continuously texting someone with whom they had a romantic or sexual connection in the past.

This suggests that they haven’t moved on and are still seeking romantic and emotional validation and gratification from their ex, which is extremely problematic in a committed relationship.

While a normal conversation with an ex is itself a bit fishy, a full-blown and continuous flirty text is a dead giveaway of emotional cheating. You can read more about it in my article on Is Texting an Ex Cheating?

Well, as much as you are paranoid about it, not every suspicious text amounts to cheating. Let’s look at the situation where it’s not.

Continuous Texting With An Ex

Situations When Flirty Text Is NOT Cheating

1. Messages Are Harmless Without Unfaithful Intentions

Yeah, we know we are countering the first point in the previous section, but the truth needs to be told.

Some of those “flirty” texts that you saw between your partner and their new friend are most likely just harmless and nothing to be worried about.

Especially if there are no intentions of building an emotionally romantic connection from either side, you may be just imagining things here because of deep-seated thoughts and trying to look into things a bit too much, that is, overthinking.

In this case, we would encourage you to talk to your partner to help you figure your thought process out.

2. Messages Are Just Jokes

The seriousness of flirty texts is hard to figure out, but a way to find the actual matter is to see the quantity of it.

Such texts in-jokes/banter are fine in extremely moderate amounts and do not amount to emotional infidelity. If the texts do not seem overly flirtatious and are not continuous, then it’s not cheating.

All this is applicable when it is clear that none of the parties are going for a romantic connection but rather a strictly friendly one.

Obviously, each person has a different threshold when it comes to this, so talk to your partner and establish the boundaries that you are comfortable with.

Messages Are Just Jokes

3. Messages Are Sent As A Means Of Boosting Self-Confidence

This one is tricky, but we will help you figure it out.

We are sure even you have done this sometimes, where you played around with words while talking to another person to boost your image in their eyes and increase your self-esteem.

This may include accepting their compliments or returning the compliments positively.

The human mind does this as a way to impress others and increase one’s own self-confidence, and in such situations, no intentions of developing any sort of romantic connection are involved.

It’s just our inner ego trying to be satisfied. So if your partner’s behavior falls under this, try to talk with them regarding this and help them sort their self-esteem issues out within you two.

4. One Time Reciprocation Of A Flirtatious Text

Well, this one is more of an unfortunate reality, but sometimes, some “friends” tend to think and demand more from their “friendship” and want to get into their friends’ pants.

To navigate such a situation is extremely difficult as you just can’t outright negate this person whom you consider(or considered) a “friend”.

So the person on the receiving end tends to reciprocate the flirty text just once.

This is a widespread problem of people’s inability to say NO in such a situation, so in the surrounding pressure, they tend to fold in.

So if your partner did this once and never again, then there’s no need for you to get your pitchforks out.

Instead, have a conversation about this with them, and you may even be helping your partner out of such a precarious situation by discussing ways to deal with their so-called “friend”.

One Time Reciprocation Of A Flirtatious Text


In today’s world, texting is an important part of communication, and we know you tend to be wary about flirty texts between your partner and a third person.

We hope this article helped you navigate such a situation more effectively and calmed your mind if you were overthinking.

Shashank Verma

A trained theatre actor and a STEM graduate who brings perspectives and methods from these worlds into dating and relationships. Also a big time Krav Maga enthusiast and practitioner.

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