When it comes to relationships, the concepts of infidelity and loyalty aren’t as cut and dried as society wants us to believe. When you discover your lover is disloyal to you, it’s a done deal – that’s cheating, period. Yet there’s always that small grey area where you suspect your lover is cheating on you – but you can’t quite pin it down. This is when micro-cheating enters the picture.
Micro-cheating is the act of engaging in inappropriate intimate actions outside of your relationship. So it’s not sex per se, but intimate activities you would normally only engage in with your partner. Cases of micro-cheating might occur either purposefully or unintentionally. However, some individuals may not perceive the actions as constituting being unfaithful, since they do not involve sex – so why should they be concerned?
Here’s why: micro-cheating does far more harm than you might imagine. Small seeds of doubt may seem inconsequential, but they might cause a larger schism between you and your partner. Also, micro-cheating damages the connection, and, most crucially, trust that you’ve built, which may lead to future relationship problems.
So, the question is: what constitutes micro-cheating, and what are the signs?
Micro-cheating varies from person to person. To give you a sense of what micro-cheating is, here are five warning signs:
1. Hiding The Relationship Online And Offline
It’s no secret that keeping your relationship out of the public eye is key to keeping it healthy and balanced. There’s no need to feed society’s perception of what an ideal relationship should be by uploading a tonne of images and videos to the internet. There is, however, a difference between keeping your relationship private and fully hiding it. The difference is that one is protecting the relationship, whilst the other does not want others to know they are in one.
If you get the impression that your partner has never – not even once – posted about you on social media, with a lame excuse like “I want to remain private about us,” don’t buy it. It’s not as romantic as they make it out to be. It’s natural to want to brag about your lover when you’re in a relationship. Hiding it implies that they are either ashamed of it, or covering up something else. And that goes with offline as well.
If you discover that your partner has been telling others that they are single, it’s time to confront them.
2. They Focus On Other People Even When You’re There
The most obvious sign of micro-cheating is when they completely ignore you in a group setting. You may convince yourself that they merely want to reconnect with an old classmate during a class reunion, but it doesn’t excuse their avoidance of you. Your partner might be so focused on this one person that they would forget you’re even there, which is not a good sign.
Of course, you can’t expect your lover to always be at your side, especially while you’re both out with your pals. And, sure, it’s only talking, but think about it: if your special someone appears preoccupied or emotionally disconnected and openly ignores your relationship, what’s to stop it from becoming worse in the future?
3. Staying In Contact With Their Ex
Look – as long as your partner and their ex know where the boundaries lie – all is good. However, it starts to get a little bit slippery when, every time you’re having an argument, the first person they would turn to is their ex. Or, if your partner needs advice on something, the ex would be the first they turn to. If they still keep in contact with they exes, it’s best that you have a discussion with them to reassure yourself about the strength of your relationship.
While exes can be good friends and provide emotional support, it crosses the line when they share intimate information with the person they used to be intimate with.
4. Making A Dating Profile
The biggest and most obvious sign of micro-cheating is when your partner creates a dating profile. That is borderline cheating at this point. Having a dating profile with the intent of “exploring their options” displays a complete disrespect towards you. Or, another lame reason that they might give is that they want to know if they still “got it”.
Regardless of what their reasoning might be, it doesn’t justify the absolute disrespect they’ve committed towards you.
5. Going Out Without Telling You
Communication is the most important factor in a relationship’s success. You talk about everything, from the day that you had, to the food that you ate. It’s normal to want to tell your partner everything because they’re the only one who cares about what you’re up to. Yet, if they start going somewhere without informing you or hanging out with someone you’ve never met, that’s a solid indicator of micro-cheating.
When caught micro-cheating, people literally always say that they and the other party are ‘just friends’. It’s advisable to confront them on it and ease your anxiety, rather than allowing it to simmer because you don’t want to face the utter devastation of knowing that your partner is in fact cheating on you.
It’s up to you to decide if micro-cheating counts as cheating. Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes cheating, especially when it comes to micro-cheating. What’s crucial is that if you feel betrayed and your relationship is in peril, you should have a meaningful dialogue with your partner about where your boundaries are.