Micro cheating is a new relationship problem on the rise – not like we didn't already have enough! As the name suggests, it is almost like a lesser version of cheating. You might not even class some of the things I am going to mention as cheating, but a lot of these things can still do a lot of damage to your relationship.
Social media mainly influences micro cheating, and the access we have to meet and see other people in this day and age.
Therefore, you need to be clued up about micro cheating so you can check if you or your partner could be doing it. The scary thing is that most of the time, you will not even realize if you are.
So, I have written this article to give you some insight into the world of micro cheating.
Throughout the article, I will be speaking about the basis of micro cheating, as well as giving you a self-assessment to see if you are unknowingly partaking it in. Finally, I will be ending the article by sharing tips to recognize if your partner is micro cheating on you and what you can do to move forward if it is an issue.
So buckle up and be prepared to soak up a lot of knowledge about the newest relationship problem.
Micro cheating can be plainly described as being similar to an emotional affair. It is rarely to do with sexual contact, however, it can gain momentum and form into that if not addressed early. The dating app Zoosk has defined micro cheating as, "A series of small actions that a person takes when they're emotionally or physically focused on someone outside their relationship. These actions may not be disloyal, but they're not completely innocent either."
Social media has a large part to play in the problem. Anything as seemingly innocent as liking other people's photos on Instagram or messaging an ex-partner on Facebook can be classed as micro cheating.
There are varying degrees of micro cheating, so we are going to explore some of them.
Someone liking their ex partner’s photos or posts on social media might seem innocent, especially if you still remain friends. However, how people use social media can be classed as micro cheating, depending on the type of intent they have while doing it.
For example, if you like someone's photos to get their attention or because you think they look attractive, this can be classed as micro cheating. Similarly, it could be entirely innocent to message someone you have had a history with to see how they are and what they have been up to. But if you are messaging someone because you miss them or you want to talk to them about the relationship you had, this will most definitely be classed as micro-cheating.
The digital world is a dangerous place for relationships, so to avoid micro cheating you need to make sure that when you are online, you would feel happy for your partner to see what you have been doing. However, we will touch on what to do and how to avoid micro cheating later in the article.
As mentioned earlier, when it comes to the usage of social media, it is all about intent. So if you find yourself continually looking at your ex partner's social media profiles, is it really as innocent as you think?
It can be considered micro cheating if you are looking at their profile with the intent of re-kindle your connection with them, or if you are feeling jealous of their new partner you can see posted all over their feed.
In addition to this, if you deliberately like old content on that person's profile, ask yourself why. It is obviously because you want them to see it and get in contact with you. Not only is this slightly creepy, but it's not done with the right intent at all.
All of the points mentioned here can be classed as micro cheating.
Perhaps you have found your relationship through a dating website – that is absolutely great, and dating websites are amazing to find an extraordinary connection with others that you might not have met or known previously.
However, the problem occurs when people find themselves in relationships, but mysteriously can't seem to delete their profile on dating websites. If someone is in a relationship and they are still actively using dating sites to look at other people, this can, of course, be seen as micro cheating.
It can seem like there are so many options out there on dating websites and perhaps people worry that they could find someone better for them, so they continue to search, even when they are in a relationship.
This can be really concerning and ruin budding relationships.
Micro cheating is not always done online, even though of course, this is the easiest way to micro cheat without realizing it. It can potentially be a problem in the real world too. In the real world, it is a lot more about your attention towards someone and how you change yourself in relation to what you want to gain from the interaction.
It is still very easy to not realize you are doing anything wrong, but if you start reading the points below and think, "Oh dear, I do that with…" that is not a good sign.
For example, if someone who is in a relationship goes to meet someone and puts a great deal of effort (more than usual) into how they look, this could be a sign of micro cheating. People might not even realize they are doing it, but a lot of people do.
Perhaps they put on a shorter shorts than usual to head to the gym because they have spotted someone who takes their fancy and knows they might be there. This person is intentionally, without realizing or not, thinking about someone other than their partner to impress.
Another example of micro cheating in the real world is someone withholding information from their partner. For instance, if someone is heading out for drinks with a few girlfriends, but there are some men there, and this person withholds this information from their partner, this could be a cause for concern.
There is no reason to lie about who you are with if you have nothing to hide. It could be because they are feeling a slight connection with someone around them, and don't want their partner to clock on to that.
When you really think about it, you are intentionally lying to your partner about what you are doing or who you are with. Once you start lying or withholding the truth, this can become normal and become a downward spiral to less communication with your other half.
If someone makes out that their relationship is less than it is to other people, this could be a sign of micro cheating. If you are usually happy to speak about your relationship but then suddenly decide to downplay it to someone, it could be because you are unintentionally wanting to withhold the fact they are taken.
For example, someone who has been in a relationship for a while might just say they are merely 'dating' when the truth is more like they cohabit with their partner engagement is probably on the horizon any time soon.
In this situation, it is crucial to think about how your partner would feel if you were making your relationship out to be less serious than it is, and what is your intention in doing so? Is it to look more available to this person?
Of course, in a certain respect, we all like a little bit of attention to be on us. It naturally makes us feel special and valued. Normally, the longer we have been in a relationship, the more comfortable we get, and as soon as the 'honeymoon phase' comes to an end, a lot of people start to search for attention to fulfill them elsewhere.
This usually isn't a problem, for example, if what happens is some innocent flirting at a bar with a stranger that leaves you going back to your table giggling. However, that is all innocent as long as you ensure that it goes no further than that.
The problem will come about when someone who is not feeling emotionally fulfilled in their relationship feels like they need to get attention from somewhere else. This can leads to micro cheating in terms of flirting with people or a certain person a lot. But it can also lead to physical cheating if it is not addressed straight away.
If someone has to delete texts, then it can imply that there is something or someone that they have to hide from their partner. For example, if someone is sexting someone who is not their partner, this can be when texts need to be deleted.
Firstly, it is essential to acknowledge that if you are sexting someone else in the first place, this is definitely classed as micro cheating – pretty serious micro cheating at that. If you then have to delete the texts after, you probably will know that you are intentionally doing something wrong and having to hide things from your partner.
If someone has to go to the lengths of saving someone's number under a different or fake name in their phone because they are trying to hide whoever it is that keeps ringing them or texting them throughout the day, this is considered micro cheating. However, this also sounds like that person could actually be falling into a more serious emotional affair with someone. It's a dangerous downward spiral if this is the case.
On the topic of phones and communication, if someone is sending nude or X-rated photos of themselves to someone who is not their partner, this is definitely considered micro cheating.
This is also most likely to happen in relationships where the sexual connection has slowed down or disappeared. Essentially, you are having a sexual relationship with someone other than your partner.
However, a lot of people tend to think that because you are behind a screen and you're not having sexual intercourse with another person, it is made acceptable. It is not acceptable.
Self-Assessment to see if you are a micro cheater or if you have micro cheated in the past…
So, we have come to the point in this article where it is time to see if you are guilty of micro cheating or have been in the past.
Ask yourself these questions below and try to answer completely honestly.
If your answer was yes to some of these questions, this could be a strong sign that you are or have been at some point in your life, a micro cheater.
The next step you need to take is not to punish yourself, even if you do feel slightly embarrassed or unfaithful. You need to first forgive yourself for whatever actions you took and think about the reasoning behind it.
To determine the reason behind your micro cheating, you might find it useful to think about why you micro cheated or have been micro cheating.
Are there problems in your relationship that you need to work on or are you unsatisfied with the attention you are receiving from your partner? If so, it's time to address them.
The important thing is that once you have realized that you are micro cheating, or that you have done in the past, you need to put a stop to it and make sure it doesn't happen again.
The important thing to know when you are trying to decide if your partner is micro cheating on you or not is that it can be really hard to pick up on. Unlike physical cheating, where you could perhaps spot your partner on a date with someone in the city or catch them in bed with someone else, micro cheating is a lot less subtle.
If you have a gut feeling that your partner is micro cheating on you, it's probably true. Now that is probably not what you to want to hear, but our intuition is normally extremely accurate and can be a good way to tell if your partner is not being as faithful as they might like you to think they are.
However, gut feelings can sometimes be wrong. So, if you pick up on something, it is a good idea to investigate the situation first before accusing your partner of doing anything wrong.
In terms of investigating, you can do this by asking why they look so unusually great to work on certain days, and if they blush or feel flustered, then you probably have your answer. Likewise, if they respond straight away and tell you they have an important business meeting, you can probably let this pass.
Other ways you could try to find out some more information would be asking if they mind you coming out with them on their next friendly night out, or if they meant to like a photo of their ex on Instagram from 2016.
Firstly, it's important to say that I am not encouraging you to stalk them on every social media platform they've had dating back to before you were together. However, if you have noticed that they are always liking one person's posts in particular quite frequently, it wouldn't hurt to have a look at said person's profile.
If you start to see that he likes and comments on a lot of photos, maybe try bringing it up with him. Obviously, if it's a mutual friend, you probably don't need to be concerned, but if it is someone he knows at work or through his guy friends, check it out. It sounds and looks suspicious.
It is just as important to look at who is liking and commenting on his photos or posts. If you start to notice that someone sounds like they're flirting with him on his photo, ask him who she is.
However, social media can be very dangerous, and it's often difficult to tell what the intention is behind a lot of people.
So, don't take everything you see on social media to be true and start accusing your partner of cheating on you because a random girl (probably a spam account) commented "sexy" on his photo.
An obvious sign that your partner is micro cheating on you will be if they are withholding information from you and being secretive.
For example, if someone you know saw your partner with his friends talking to a group of women, and when you ask him how his night was, he replies something like, "just a quiet night with the boys…" you can most likely assume he has micro cheated on you.
This is possibly a good time to let him know that you know he is lying to you. You can then see what his response is to being caught out. If he says that he forgot and remembers now that they did get speaking to some women, then that's probably a good sign he hasn't done anything too bad.
However, if he gets flustered and denies it or gets angry with you, this is not a good sign, and you have every right to be worried about his actions.
One or both of you could be micro cheating without really recognizing it. However, when you do recognize it, it is important to tackle the issue head on. It could actually strengthen your relationship if handled correctly. Clear and honest communication between both people in the relationship is vital.
Firstly, we are going to tackle how to move forward if the problem is you.
If you think that you have been guilty of micro cheating, the first thing to do is think about why this has occurred for you. Perhaps you feel like you need more love and affection in your relationship or that your partner is simply not giving you enough attention.
It might be possible that you are genuinely attracted to someone else and you feel like you need to explore that before you can move forward with your relationship. You could maybe ask your partner how he would feel about an open relationship.
Whatever the reason might be that has led you to micro cheat, you need to think about it, conclude why you feel this way and then discuss it with your partner. It might actually turn out that he agrees that your relationship is having some issues, or possibly he has even been micro cheating too, without realizing.
If you are both guilty, this could actually create a stronger bond between the two of you because you both want to tackle the issue head on and get your relationship back on track.
You need to explain to him how he is hurting you. If you don't like the fact that he puts more effort into his appearance for other women, let him know. As I mentioned previously, he might not even realize that he is doing it.
Whatever is making you unhappy needs to be expressed, so he can understand you. It could bring to the surface some of the underlying issues in your relationship, which will then allow you to move forward together.
If he really cares about you and your relationship together, he will stop micro cheating. This is the result you will be hoping for, and then you can start rebuilding your relationship together.
If he doesn't change his attitude and what he is doing, you can take this as a pretty clear sign that he doesn't want to change. My advice, in this case, is if he isn't listening to your feelings and is continuing to micro cheat on you, he might be tempted to cheat on you physically, so its probably best for the relationship to be stopped.
I really hope that with the help of this article, you can now understand micro cheating and will be able to tell if you are your partner are doing it. Micro cheating is obviously a lot less severe than physically having an affair, but similar feelings can be brought to the surface by it.
It is always best to confront these issues, however innocent they seem. Otherwise, they could turn in to more serious problems in the future.
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