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It remained flirtatious and pleasant, until one week on a wine tour, George made a move on Anne. What caused the shift? For Anne, the appeal of the Insignificant Other was the emotional intimacy without the risk of vulnerability.

Here's What It's Really Like to Be Someone's "Insignificant Other"

If they're not getting it from their main relationship, they may feel empowered to go get it from someone else. It's one thing to embrace an Insignificant Other if you're both single; it's another when the relationship is an appendage to an actual romantic relationship. In those cases, the blurriness of the status reflects the ever-shifting nature of cheating, one that includes the digital, non-physical ways we're connecting. Between copious texts, few mentions of their S.

But these ambiguous moves are interpreted differently by each person.

Why women's rights activists want a "no" vote for Brett Kavanaugh

This might play into why more men seem to have Insignificant Others anecdotally, at least than women — since men tend to define cheating more literally , a flirtatious emotional outlet might seem like a risk-free escape. Whereas for straight women, calling on a man when they're "emotionally horny," as one something woman put it to Mic , would constitute cheating. Redefining a "significant" other: Proponents of "monogamish" relationships like TEDx speaker Jessica O'Reilly believe that flirting and fantasizing about other people can help make already existing relationships stronger.

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Opening up your relationship in small ways, she said , "forces your relationship to thrive on emotional expression, connectivity balanced with freedom and an active sex life. But those lines need to become less blurry in order for trust to remain.

Said Moors, "As long as people in monogamous relationships or other types of relationships agree that flirting or being emotionally intimate with people other than their partner is fine, then using technology in these ways would be a way for people to feel validated, yet remain sexually faithful. Without those conversations, people like Cassie, George and myself become Insignificant Others. I realized it was true, but I also couldn't blame him. There's never been an easier time to reach for a fork. Related stories by this author. Why women's rights activists want a "no" vote for Brett Kavanaugh.


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Hate to eat and run, but … iStock. Cosmopolitan recommends setting a time limit on the date before things even really start.

What It’s Like Dating Someone Who’s More Attractive Than You [Intimacy Issues]

Setting up an escape plan can get you out quickly. This takes a little bit of thinking before you go on the date, but it might be well worth the effort.

This way, you can text them a code word, have them call you, and you can act like you need to leave immediately. Who knows — your date might totally agree, and you two could be great friends. Think about it … you always have a single friend who needs a match.

Set a deadline for how long you can stay

Moffit says you can mention you have a friend who you think they would get along with. You can then offer to introduce the two of them. This might seem awkward to add into date-night conversation, but it really can be for the best. Coffee dates are more casual than dinner.