In a culture where it’s become commonplace to indulge in all our variety of impulses what defines loyalty? Is just flirting harmless? Where is the line defined? I have always had a bit of a sour look at how most people seem to act in relationships, especially new relationships or young relationships. There have been times I've gotten into fights with other women because I see them flirt with some random man or woman when I know they are in a 'committed' relationship. They usually use the, "It is just harmless flirting fun" excuse. I have also had the, "Well we aren't exclusive" thrown at me. I usually ask if they (their significant other) knows that... at which point I generally become their least favorite person of the day.
While there may be some grey areas, I believe there is an easy way to make loyalty fairly black and white in a relationship. It is called completely honest communication. Relationships are built on honesty, communication, and loyalty. Without these three things, you have nothing but a weak construct bound to fail.
Now I understand communication can be hard. A good place to start? Do not treat dating and relationships like a game. Not that you can't have fun, of course, it should be fun, but do not toy with someone else's emotions. Be honest and upfront about how you roll.
For example: If you are a shameless flirt, own it! Tell anyone you start to truly date how you behave. This will open the door to deeper communication about what both of you are comfortable tolerating, what you both define as loyal behavior within your relationship.
Another example: Maybe you are like me and have guy friends who are just friends. Now you start dating the man of your dreams. How do you handle it? Tell your significant other about your friends, be honest, do not be secretive. You may even need to reach an agreement about who you go out with when. All this can be discussed so everyone is comfortable and knows what is happening. This is loyalty.
What happens if you feel like you've been disloyal for one reason or another? Communicate! Own up and discuss it with your partner. Maybe it's a little thing they do not care about, maybe it's a big thing that hurts them. Regardless, being loyal and honest means stepping up and telling them the truth. We all know secrets never stay hidden, so again own your actions!
To summarize: Maintaining loyalty is only possible through honesty & communication with those you are loyal too.
I'm a woman who sees the world a bit differently. I've studied relationships, both through those around me, my own experiences & through traditional education on how human psychology affects our interpersonal connections for over ten years. This is my story, my advice, and my not so humble opinions.