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Is excessive flirting a form of cheating?

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I've been reading this forum for quite a while now, but I've rarely posted. I've seen the support that you give in this forum, and I think it's great. My story is a little long, but I would really appreciate any help with my situation. So here goes. I've been with my fiancé for 3.5 years. We've been engaged for almost 2 years. It's been a great time together. We had a great connection and had a lot in common from the start. I thought he was the perfect match. Handsome, thoughtful, considerate, my family loves him, and on top of all that he had decided that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.


Well, a few days ago, I was sitting on his lap while he was checking his email, and I see a message from a casual female acquaintance from college. (We both just graduated last May) It was really odd to me, because in all the time we dated, he only mentioned this girl once, and it was in passing, as if they weren't even friends. So since I have major trust issues, the next day at work I check his email to look at the message. I know I should have just flat out asked him about it, but in my gut I knew I had to check myself.

Well, the email was about a month old and they were making plans to have lunch together. I remember that day, because he had told me that he was eating lunch with his father. It hurt that he had lied, but not enough for me to question our relationship.


But then came an emotional avalanche. While I was in his email account, I saw a message from 2 weeks ago that he had written to an ex-girlfriend. He said he just wanted her to know he was thinking of her. I couldn't believe it. I thought I was the only one he was thinking of. And then, I saw and email from Facebook (a networking site similar to MySpace), and he had told me he didn't even have a Facebook page. So of course I continue snooping, and there is his Facebook page, with all of these messages that he's written to other college female friends. Now I'm ok with him having female friends, but the way he was writing them was inappropriate. To one of his friends he says, "I still love you and always will", he tells another girl she's gorgeous, he tells another girl he misses her pretty face and getting hugs from her on campus, and so on. His tone was the same as when he emails me, so I hate that he was replicating the beautiful things he said to me with them. The worst part is that all of the messages were from the past year and a half, so we had already been engaged for a year. This leads me to believe he's been doing this the whole time we've been together.


I approached him about it, and he says that he's insecure, and that he sought the attention to feel better about himself. He said he didn't mean any of it, and he just wanted the attention. He said he was an idiot and would never do anything like this again. I understand that some may feel that it's just flirting, but I think it's a slippery slope. Inviting and seeking attention can lead to emotional and/or physical cheating. And this hurts so badly that I feel like I've been cheated on. I really opened up to him and let my guard down, which I rarely do for anyone. So this worsens my trust issues, and really lowers my self-esteem.


I love him so much and I really cherish the time we've spent together. But now I'm apprehensive about marrying him. I'm afraid he'll hurt me again. I feel myself pulling away from him. I feel like nothing will ever be the same. And he didn't even physically do anything with any of these girls. But I hate that it seems like he was willing to spend intimate moments with them, just like he did with me. It makes me feel like it cheapens what we had.


So I really need your advice/input. Am I over-reacting? Am I being a prude because all he was doing was flirting? But I feel like if someone asks you to spend the rest of your lives together, that person should act like they mean it. Because I know I sure have. Can I believe that he won't continue to do this, and take it even further? Thanks for taking the time to read this. It feels good just typing it all out.

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Hey hun,


Emotional cheating sometimes causes more damage than physical cheating, because there is more involved in it, and it's not just some one-night stand.


I think his behavior is highly questionable.


He has violated your trust by flirting with other women, and now you feel like you are just anyone to him, and not his extra special fiance.


Since you have so much invested, it may be best to see things out, and see if he indeed stops, explaining to him how much it has hurt you.


If he doesn't, then it might be best to throw in your towel and move on.


You are not overreacting, to me that amount of flirting can be construed as cheating.


I really don't know if he will continue or take it further, but you might just give it a little time and see what happens.


Personally, if that happened to me, I would move on, but I am sometimes quick and rapid in my decisions, and regret them. So I would suggest watching his behavior and see what transpires, then you can decide the necessary steps.


Hugs, Rose

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I agree with Rose, his behavior is questionable. I would have a very very hard time trusting him in general. I don't care how insecure he is.....what he was doing is NOT acceptable.


If you can, give it some time, see if he continues. But, if it hurts too much or you find yourself stressed or sick over it, yes, move on.

Be strong.

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He is who he is but what hurts is that you believed his loving and flirtacious words were solely for you. I would be hurt and he surely knows you are too. Guys sometimes have a hard time understanding what you're on about as in "It didn't mean anything" and "I was just messing about," and things like that and so I have always found it helps them to understand if I say to them, "How would you feel if you discovered I sent an email to just a few weeks ago and had gone out with him for a lunch date and told you I was having lunch with my Mum?"


It helps them to see it more clearly.


I would ask him to stop this type of hurtful behaviour immediately and keep an eye on things to ensure this is the case.


I wish you well.

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Hey there,


Another very wise member on this forum defines cheating quite succinctly...


It is NOT cheating when your partner does something and you know about it and you are okay with it.


It IS cheating when your partner does something behind your back and you don't know about it.


It IS cheating when your partner does something and you know about it, not cool with it but still does it anyway.


It is my opinion your fiance has cheated emotionally. IMO, emotional cheating can cause more damage than physical cheating. If I were you, I would not marry this man just yet, until he gets his act together and sorts out his insecurity issues. These issues will not go away or get better just because you get married. In fact, they can get worse.

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When someone has insecurities, they should be able to speak to their partners especially their future spouses about them, not looking for comfort and reassurence from the opposite sex....I just don't buy it!


I'm sorry I don't want to jump the gun here Babybrowneyes, but it hurts to read your problem, and I really feel for you. I have a bad gut feeling about this, but hey hun that may just be me.


Follow the advice that has been written, by giving him the benefit of the doubt and seeing if he will change his ways. If he starts blocking you from seeing into his emails etc, then I think you can assume he is still continuing.


Listen Hun, the choice is ultimately yours in the long run, but for your own self respect, just bear in mind that this may not be the happy ending you would have wanted..


I'm sorry if I sound bitter, had a bad day, but I do hope this works out for you...Honestly!


Hugs.....Helen x

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I have to say that the behavior is odd. It's not even that he's talking to the opposite sex so much as the fact that he lies about it or is evasive. The emotional aspect of his feelings would be much harder to take the the physical, I would think. When is your wedding date set for? Maybe you should hold off for awhile until you find out what his deal really is. You are still pretty young, so you have time.

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Our wedding date was set for 2008, but I definitely plan on pushing the wedding back, rmpavlock. But I'm so afraid and so hurt right now, that it's making me question marrying him at all. Before we got together, I really didn't think I would marry anyone because every marriage that I knew of had at least one unfaithful partner. Everyone in my family and everyone in my friend's families had crappy marriages and were unhappy because of them. And I didn't want that. Then he and I got together, and he really seemed like someone who I could have a wonderful marriage with. And now I'm questioning everything. The guarded side of me is saying 'take your heart and run', but the side of my idealistic side is saying 'give him time.'

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Stating the fact that you already have major trust issues only makes this issue worse, I dont feel that what he was saying was appropriate but it is said all the time. I dont believe that he is ready or knows what it means to get married. I believe you will be making a mistake by marrying him.

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I don't think you were overreacting at all.


Honestly, if I were in your shoes I would not marry someone who behaved that way.


I agree that it seems he is not ready for the level of commitment that marriage entails.


If he's straying emotionally now, and you're not even married yet, what is going to happen in the future? Is he able to be faithful to you FOREVER, when he can't even do so now?


Is this something he'll resort to every time he has a bad day or feels "insecure".


When someone has insecurities, they should be able to speak to their partners especially their future spouses about them, not looking for comfort and reassurence from the opposite sex....I just don't buy it!


I agree with that 100%.



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If my fiance were acting this way, I'd step back and perhaps even call off the engagement. I realize this would be an impulsive, emotional reaction but this behavior is not appropriate for someone who claims they intend to spend the rest of their life in a committed, monogamous relationship.


Naturally, an event like this one would cause you to question you guys' relationship.

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I feel for you honey.


I think that emotional cheating is real, and I do know it HURTS deeply even if there is no "physical". Because it is about him sharing his deep, emotional aspect with someone else. Giving "love you's" to someone else.


If I were in your shoes, I certainly would be questioning marrying this guy.


Even if he did do it out of "insecurity" that does not make his actions valid or excusable. If he was insecure, there are OTHER ways to deal with it - not by telling other girls he loves them, and by lying to YOU, being evasive and hurting the woman he purpotedly is making a promise to love and cherish forever.

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Brown Eyes,


Another thing that struck to me as odd about your fiance's reasoning of why he did this. You two are going to be married, life long partners, it is weird if he had issues, he was not compelled to talk to you about them.


All I know when ever something bad OR good happens, I always tell my boyfriend first. I am not sure I buy that reason he gave you. But this is your life and decision.


Please keep us informed.



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Hey, I would be mad too. Just like someone else said, it is emotional cheating. He said that he was insecure and needed the attention. Well, it seems like he was the one seeking out and giving the attention. It's not the same as someone flirting w/him and him feeling good about it.

And if that is the excuse he used, what did he become secure all of a sudden. Also, what else has he done that you haven't found out about yet? Not saying that is the case, but.......

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I think its highly disrespectful, and inconsiderate, a slap in the face to your partner to do this sort of thing. The fact that he had to hide it from you, and couldnt tell you about these 'friends' should have been more than enough to tell him he was in the wrong.

I went down a similar road with my girl a while back, and we eventually broke up over it. We got back together, and things are going mostly well.

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