Micro Cheating – What is it, Examples Signs, and How to Deal With it
Infidelity sucks. It is the reason most relationships die. However, when there is talk about micro-cheating, most people consider it okay. Do you know why?
Well, this is what we will be discussing in this post. What is micro-cheating, its examples, what are the signs of micro-cheating, and how to deal with it?
However, before we get into the details, let me give you an overview. Infidelity involves crossing the line physically, while micro-cheating is a tinier version of infidelity within territories that damages the relationship and hurts the partner.
What Is Micro Cheating?
Micro cheating involves sexual attraction, showing affectionate behavior to someone with whom you are not in a relationship. Generally practiced without a partner, this behavior breaks the unspoken bond, trust, and boundaries. Though it is not a full-fledged affair and does not involve physical intimacy, it leads to issues and can break the relationship.
What type of behavior is considered micro-cheating?
What may or may not be considered cheating depends solely on the relationship between two individuals. However, when discussing micro-cheating, here are some behavioral traits to watch:
- Having a feeling of being intimate and sharing erotic energy with others.
- Building a fantasy of having emotional closeness with others.
- Looking for ways to have private conversations with the ex.
- Find ways to have an unclear and dark chit-chat with people you are attracted to.
- When upset with your partner, meet the person you are attracted to and share your talks.
- Not having intimate conversations and relationships with your partner.
When such or similar changes are noticed in your relationship, it is essential to pay attention. Micro cheating involves first lying to oneself and then to the partner.
Examples of Micro Cheating
If you think meeting your ex or being sexually attracted to someone else is not cheating and it is okay, ask these questions to yourself.
- Are you sharing everything with your partner?
- Can your actions hurt your partner and harm the relationship?
- What will I feel if I find my partner doing the same thing?
When you get answers to these questions, you can understand if you are participating in micro-cheating and betraying your partner or if it is just a friendly meeting, as you say.
Some prominent examples of micro-cheating include
- Chit-chatting with someone or sending WhatsApp messages flirtatiously.
- Liking stories, sending provocative emojis, or posting comments on social media pages.
- Not disclosing your relationship status online and offline.
- Using dating apps to find a better match.
- Exchanging phone numbers and messages with someone you know is attractive to you.
- Getting dressed up for that one person you have a crush on, whether at work or personal space.
- Keeping a check on an ex and following them.
- Sharing nude pics, sexting, or discussing your feelings when you think about the person.
- Encouraging someone you know is attracted to you.
- Not keeping your wedding ring on when going out.
- Partying without informing your partner and then making excuses.
- Still being in touch with your ex or someone you always had a crush on.
Signs of Micro Cheating
Though micro-cheating can occur in social circles, at work, or anywhere you are familiar, it is not easily identifiable. Spotting micro-cheating and uncharacteristic behaviors is challenging. However, sure signs can help pinpoint micro-cheating.
1. Lies and Secrets
When lies and secrets cloud a relationship, you know something is wrong. Typically this happens in infidelity, but micro-cheating is not exempted from it. Everyone wants and loves their personal space, but when it is the only thing the partner wants, it is a sign that something is cooking that you are unaware of.
Examples of secrecy are:
- Not sharing all the information and using social media to interact with others.
- Locking the phone, not sharing passwords, and deleting messages or emails.
- Talking to others when the partner is not around.
- Saving their name with another name and talking to them like you are talking to your parents.
- Keeping the phone on silent when a partner is around.
- Shutting down the system or closing the screen when someone suddenly enters the room.
2. Absent Mindedness
When a person is micro-cheating, they are often preoccupied with their thoughts, distracted, and physically present by mentally absent. Sometimes being preoccupied is normal, but when this behavior is persistent, and the person is always mentally absent, it is a significant red flag.
Examples of absent-mindedness include:
- They are glued to their phone or other electronic devices.
- They are never interested in a date night and are always inattentive if they go. They are not involved in an emotional conversation.
- They make a distance emotionally, mentally, or physically.
- The primary relationship is often neglected.
3. Overstepping Boundaries
Usually, in micro-cheating and infidelity, the boundaries are crossed, and the trust is broken. Though the physical barriers are maintained in micro-cheating, the emotional ones are broken. For example, even when the person knows that the partner feels offended if he/she talks to the ex, the person continues with the activity.
Another important trait of the person involved in micro-cheating or infidelity is to lie on the face. They bluntly deny any wrongdoing when caught or confronted. Sometimes they even blame others and give a plausible explanation of their wrongdoing to justify themselves and prove they are innocent.
5 Signs You’re Micro Cheating.
If you think you are micro-cheating but are unsure about it, try to self-reflect and pay attention to the intention behind your actions. Be honest with yourself, as only you know what you feel. You and your actions affect you, your partner, and the relationship. You know you are micro-cheating if you behave or exhibit the following signs.
- You always want to connect with the person you are connected to.
- You expect their calls or messages and stay online to avoid missing any of them.
- You portray yourself as single, both online and offline.
- You never introduce your partner to the people you are attracted to.
- You avoid putting the right name of your ex or your crush.
5 Signs You’re Being Micro-Cheated On
Spotting and identifying micro-cheating is tedious, but knowing the signs can save you from getting dumped. If you feel like your partner is cheating on you, instead of confronting your partner, observe your partner and see if what you feel is true or if there is something else you should be aware of.
- Regular interactions with the partner or someone you are unaware of or have met.
- Your partner is emotionally detached, inattentive, and constantly distracted.
- They have hidden their social media profile from you or are using an alternate profile.
- You are not mentioned on social media, at the workplace, or even in front of friends. They have stopped sharing things with you and always make excuses.
- When you talk about these things, they become protective or gaslight you and are never present or always look at the phone screen.
Why Does Micro-Cheating Take Place in a Relationship?
There are different reasons for a person being attracted to infidelity or micro-cheating. Even though the meaning of micro-cheating and infidelity differ, they both stem from a lack of relationship satisfaction. Often the other person feels undervalued, taken for granted, has low self-esteem, poor relationship quality, etc. Also, both partners feel trapped. They look for excitement, lack intimacy, feel neglected, lack communication, no boundaries are defined, and there is no mutual respect.
In addition, when there is, a lack of affection or the person feels that they are being seen and valued outside.
How to Deal with Micro Cheating?
Although micro-cheating doesn’t involve physical relations with others, it is heartbreaking to know your partner is cheating. It strains the relationship, stresses the person, and can lead to depression. Sometimes it can turn into infidelity, betrayal, trauma, or PTSD. But this doesn’t mean all relationships end this way or that everyone acts and reacts the same way. Everyone has different ways to look at and deal with things. Some work on their relationship and bounce back to living happily together, while others just break up.
1. Avoid Overreacting
Stopping yourself from asking questions, showing anger, or overreacting is difficult. But if you want to keep the relationship and you care about your partner and yourself, then give some space to yourself and your partner. Getting hyper or aggressive will not solve anyone.
Saying anything from a place you feel too emotional will hurt you and your relationship. This might be difficult for you, but giving yourself time to process your emotions will help you look at things differently and find a solution to work things out.
2. Make a plan to talk.
Conversation without knowing what to say and ask will decrease the chances of success. When you decide to talk, explain how and why you feel this way. Focus on micro-cheating. Use sentences that start with I like I feel heartbroken; I feel lonely, I feel betrayed. Do not frame sentences such as You betrayed me. You are not good.
This sounds like you are blaming the partner. You cannot achieve anything by finger-pointing and shaming the partner or making them feel guilty. Listen to your partner when they try to explain things and see what leads them to micro-cheating.
However, if you have cheated, listen to your partner and try to understand their feelings, be empathetic, and stop defending yourself or making excuses. Do not blame them for what you did. Share your feelings and address their emotions. also, explain what went wrong and what factors contributed to micro-cheating.
3. Set Healthy Relationship Boundaries
When you or your partner have been caught micro-cheating or involved in infidelity, you must first see what the terms mean. If you both are on the same page, only them talking about it will make sense. You need to set boundaries around micro-cheating or any act of cheating.
If something is unacceptable to you, you can’t expect your partner to accept that when you do it. Feeling jealous and doubtful is obvious, but if you keep asking questions, keep an eye on the person, or stalk them, things will just worsen. There will be no chance you get back into a normal relationship.
4. Think if you want to be in the relationship or not.
If you have tried everything you can, like talking to the person, expressing your emotions, asking questions, and setting boundaries, but your partner is not ready to respond, then it is time you think about what you want.
You can run a relationship on a single wheel; involvement and commitment from both parties are required for a healthy relationship. If you are ready to walk halfway, but the person doesn’t want to move even an inch, it makes no sense to put in an effort.
However, if you are the one who has been cheating, then ask yourself, are you happy in the current situation? Do you want to spend your life with your partner or the one you are attracted to? Often unhappiness is the reason why a person gets involved in micro-cheating. So before you take any extreme step, take a step back, see things, acknowledge your emotions, and see with who you want to be.
5. Micro Cheating is Bad and Ruins Relationships
Micro-cheating is not something that can be taken lightly. Undeniably it is disturbing and stressful. This is why is essential that communication never stops, boundaries are always set, expectations are always expressed, and feelings should not be withheld.
If you think your partner is cheating on you, instead of blaming, try to talk and see what has happened and that there is bitterness in the relationship. Also, if needed, look for professional counseling.
Cheating is not something that you can let go of. It means there is something wrong with your relationship and how you handle things. If you both want to keep the relationship, you need to work on it together. When you understand one another, the bond will only get more robust, and there will be no slip-backs into the micro-cheating mode.
Hanging out with an ex or talking to the person you feel attracted to initially might seem okay, but you never know when things get stretched. So pay attention to how you treat your partner and have an open conversation about where the boundaries should lie.
Don’t hide things from your partner. If you feel offended or stressed, tell them.
Micro-cheating is a slippery slope. No one can stop you from going there. It is only you who can stop yourself.