Monkey Branching – What is it, why do people do it, and what are its signs

Last Update on October 5, 2023 : Published on October 7, 2023
Monkey Branching

In the complex world of relationships, the term “Monkey Branching” is gaining attention and sparking curiosity among the masses. But what exactly is it? Is it a way to strengthen relationships or a risky move that often leads to breakups or disappointments? This article will explain monkey branching, its potential outcomes, and why people follow such behavior.

In the matter of heart, genuine connections are a must. This is why relationships get complicated when unexpected challenges, like “monkey branching” – a dating behavior that raises questions about commitment, loyalty, and emotional integrity- are followed. 

As a monkey swiftly swings from one branch to the next, individuals engaging in monkey branching also get involved in new romantic relationships even when they are still clinging to the safety of their current partnership.

Monkey Branching

Whether you’ve encountered monkey branching in your own life or are simply curious about knowing more about this evolving dating landscape, keep reading. 

What is Monkey Branching Behavior?

What is Monkey Branching Behavior

In the realm of relationships, Monkey Branching is forming a new romantic connection before ending the current one. It is like swinging from one branch of an existing relationship to another without being single.

This behavior can involve emotional infidelity, where one partner gets emotionally invested in a new person while still in a relationship. This can extend to physical infidelity, where a fresh relationship blossoms without formally ending the previous one. Usually, people who do not plan to stay in a relationship for extended periods engage in monkey branching behavior.

For them, the duration of the relationship determines when it is time to swing to another branch. The relationships based on monkey branching have a low success rate, as there is a lack of commitment. 

Note – This behavior has been recognized in discussions about relationships. However, monkey branching is not an officially recognized clinical term. Instead, it is a colloquial expression used to describe a particular dating behavior.

Signs Your Partner is a Monkey Brancher

“Some people treat relationships as a video game; they play them, and when they get bored – they cheat.” – Anonymous

To have a healthy relationship and to prevent yourself from being heartbroken, it is a good idea to understand the signs of monkey branching. Generally, people who are into monkey branching are emotionally distant. They exhibit flirtatious behavior with others and actively seek out new romantic connections. This behavior can range from emotional to physical infidelity, involving physical intimacy.

Here are some common symptoms that reveal that your partner is a monkey brancher:

1. Emotional Distance:

The person you are in a relationship with will distance themselves and often show less interest and affection towards their current partner. Also, they will become more secretive about their activities, especially interactions with others, and you will start to notice an increase in flirting with people outside the relationship, both in person and online.

2. A long line of ex-partners:

There is no parameter to tell what number of ex-partners defines whether it is good or bad. However, knowing the total number of relationships a person has been in so far can give an insight into whether your partner can be into monkey branching. Also, if they don’t remember when they were single the last time, there are chances that they hop from one relationship to another very quickly. 

3. Constant flirts:

If you find your partner flirting constantly with words or gestures, even when they are in a relationship with you, watch out. They may plan to move on to the other branch without breaking up with you. 

4. Comparison with Others:

If they frequently compare you (current partner) to others, highlighting perceived shortcomings, and always appreciate others in a manner that might make others fall for them, you know what they are doing.

5. Won’t make you meet their friends:

Monkey branches don’t stay with one person for long; hence, they do not introduce them to their friends. You will find that the two of you are always hanging out, and if you want to meet their friends, they will always make an excuse. Therefore, if you are dating someone uninterested in making you meet their friends, look out for their behavior. 

6. Lack of Future Planning:

When discussing the future, monkey branches often avoid making long-term plans or commitments with their current partner. They will always avoid discussing the future and try to change their plans. Also, they will never meet your friends or want you to meet them. 

7. Expressing Dissatisfaction:

They vocalize dissatisfaction with the relationship or comment negatively about their partner. Also, monkey branches do not have any boundaries. They are always in a hurry rushing into severe and physical aspects of the relationship. Since they don’t have any boundaries, they don’t respect yours. You have probably met a monkey brancher if you feel the relationship moves too quickly.

8. Emotional Attachments:

Monkey branchers quickly form emotional connections with new acquaintances. Also, they are mysterious about their past, as it was not long-lasting, and there is nothing to discuss. They are always in a hurry to move from one relationship to another. 

9. They still have dating apps :

There is no room for dating apps in a committed relationship. However, if you find that your partner still uses them or has them and always gives the lame excuse of “I forgot to delete them.” “Don’t you trust me?” “I never check them. They are just there”. Ask your partner to delete them; you know where you stand if they refuse to do so or make more excuses. 

10. They spend more time on the phone than with you:

Usually, the phone is the best friend of monkey branches. They will spend more time on social media or taking calls away from you. They will never tell who they are talking to and will always be overprotective of their phone. Try to talk to them about the behavior change.

If they are not ready to talk about it or are being defensive and blaming you, this is a clue that something is wrong. Pay attention to how things are going. This will help you understand if your partner is in trouble or a monkey brancher.

Why Do People Engage in Monkey Branching?

People involved in monkey branching behavior usually have low self-esteem and cannot stand being alone. Alongside these, there are other underlying motivations:

1. Fear of Loneliness:

Individuals with deep-seated fear of being alone follow this behavior as they believe moving from one relationship to another without being emotionally attached will help them always be with someone and give them a sense of security.

2. Avoid Emotional Pain:

Ending a relationship can be emotionally challenging. Monkey Branching allows individuals to bypass this discomfort as the person moves on to the potential partner without breaking up with the first one. This helps them not to face and process the emotions associated with a breakup.

3. Insecurity:

People with low self-esteem may seek validation and affirmation from external sources, including new romantic partners. Jumping from one relationship to another can temporarily boost their self-worth. Also, it satisfies their ego as they are in control, and they can decide when to stay and move on. 

4. Desire for Continuous Attention:

Individuals who thrive on the attention and affection of a romantic relationship often become monkey branches as this behavior allows them to maintain a constant stream of this validation. Also, this constant change refuels their narcissistic desires.

5. Dissatisfaction:

Sometimes, a person might feel unfulfilled or dissatisfied in their current relationship. Instead of addressing these issues directly, they seek fulfillment elsewhere because it helps them avoid arguments or face emotional disturbances. 

6. Lack of Self-Control:

Sometimes, monkey branches do what they do because they find relationships as a type of game. If they find something not going as they desire, they struggle with impulse control and find it difficult to resist the lure of a new romantic connection, even if they are still in a relationship.

7. Avoidant Attachment Style

Attachment styles play an important role in monkey branches. People with anxious attachment are monkey branches as they need constant validation, while those with an avoidant attachment will follow this behavior as they want to dodge emotional closeness. 

Six Stages of Monkey Branching

Often discussed in relationship advice and discussions, there are “Six Stages of Monkey Branching.” These stages explain an individual’s process when engaging in monkey branching behavior.

However, no one size fits all, so don’t consider these stages universal, recognized, or scientifically validated. They are a conceptual framework used in some relationship discussions.

1. Dissatisfaction in Current Relationship:

This is the initial stage where the individual begins to feel dissatisfied or unhappy in their current relationship, and they start to find or notice flaws or feel unfulfilled.

2. Emotional Detachment:

At this stage, the individual emotionally detaches and becomes distant, less affectionate, and less invested in the relationship.

3. Look of Alternatives:

The person actively seeks out new potential partners, often through social interactions, dating apps, or other means. They also start flirting or conversing with people outside of their current relationship.

4. Testing the Waters:

This is when the person starts dating a potential partner and spends time to see if there is a potential for a new relationship involving emotional or even physical infidelity.

5. Transition:

After testing water, if the individual finds a potential partner, they decide to hop to the new relationship without breaking off. 

6. New Relationship:

Finally, the individual officially enters into a new relationship with the person they’ve been pursuing, marking the completion of the monkey branching process.

Not everyone who experiences dissatisfaction in a relationship engages in monkey branching behavior. However, if there is no communication and honesty, and you find a change in your partner’s behavior, you know where you stand. 

How To Deal With Monkey Branching?

Dealing with monkey branching can be emotionally challenging, but it’s important to prioritize your well-being and make the best decision for you. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Stay Calm and Collected:

It’s natural to feel upset, angry, or betrayed. Take some time to process your emotions before taking any action. Have an honest and direct conversation with your partner about your concerns. Ask for their perspective and listen carefully.

If you find that they are not interested in listening to you or do want to change, then you need to move on without feeling guilty or thinking there is something wrong with you. 

2. Set Clear Boundaries:

Establish boundaries defining acceptable behavior in the relationship. Communicate your expectations. If they cannot respect your boundaries and just want to rush with things, you need to stop all this, as this behavior will affect your mental and physical well-being in the long run. 

3. Focus on Self-Care:

Take care of your physical and emotional well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and fulfillment. Consider whether the relationship aligns with your long-term goals and values. Assess if you’re getting the emotional support you need.

Listen to your intuition. Trust yourself if you feel that the relationship is unhealthy or fulfilling, then move on. Although it might not be easy, you can’t undermine yourself for someone who doesn’t respect you. 

4. Seek Support from Others:

If nothing works and you feel broken, take the support of trusted friends or family members for emotional support and advice. Take their help to assess whether the relationship is worth salvaging. See if both parties are willing to put in the effort to rebuild trust, depending on the circumstances, mutually decide whether working through the issues together or ending the relationship is the healthier choice.

5. Let Go if Necessary:

If trust is consistently violated or the relationship is causing significant emotional distress, it may be in your best interest to end it. Remember, you deserve to be in a valued, respected, and supported relationship. Trust your instincts and prioritize your well-being.

6. Seek Professional Help:

If both of you want to keep the relationship, but things aren’t working out, consider couples therapy or counseling to work through the issues.

Is Monkey Branching and Rebound The Same?

Monkey branching and rebounding aren’t the same. Although the terms are used in relationships, they refer to different behaviors.

Monkey Branching:

Monkey branching is a dating behavior where an individual looks for potential partners while already in a relationship. It symbolizes a monkey swinging from branch to branch, where each new branch represents a new relationship. Monkey branches are not fully committed to their current relationship, actively seek alternatives, and are involved in emotional and physical infidelity.


Rebound, on the other hand, is entering into a new relationship shortly after the end of a previous one to cope with the emotion after a breakup. It is typically characterized by a sense of urgency to fill the void left by the previous relationship. The person in a rebound usually is not ready for a new, long-term commitment. They might use the new relationship to avoid dealing with their feelings about the breakup.

Monkey Branching VS Rebound

Key Aspects Monkey Branching Rebound
Timing Occurs while a person is still in a relationship. Happens after a breakup.
Emotional Involvement Purse a new partner while in a relationship, which shows a lack of emotional investment in the current partnership. It is a response to emotional distress following a breakup.
Intentions A deliberate act of seeking alternatives even when in a relationship. It is an emotional response and may not involve conscious decision-making.
Longevity Can lead to a new long-term or short-term relationship. Often short-lived and may not convert into a lasting relationship.
Impact Emotionally hurtful and damaging to the current partner Less intentional and malicious

Does Monkey Branching Ever Work?

Monkey Branching is a way to have a secure new relationship without facing loneliness and heartbreak. However, its success rate is low as relationships are built on trust, and in monkey branching, it is missing. Often, people who make new relationships due to monkey branching behavior carry emotional baggage as they cannot understand their feelings, and the potential resentment of the prior partner shadows the new relationship.

Is Monkey Branching Considered Cheating?

Yes, monkey branching is generally considered a form of emotional cheating. It involves pursuing new potential partners while still being in a committed relationship. The behavior indicates a lack of emotional commitment and fidelity. It often includes flirtation, emotional connection, and the intent to pursue a new romantic relationship, which can deeply hurt and damage the person being cheated on.

Addressing Monkey Branching

Monkey Branching may provide a temporary sense of security to those following it. Still, the relationships based on it are neither sustainable nor healthy and long-lasting. There is always a risk of carrying unresolved emotional baggage, which might reflect in a new relationship.

Therefore, instead of jumping from one relationship to another so that you don’t feel lonely and your ego is satisfied, it is best to prioritize self-care, heal your wounds, pay attention to personal growth, and then think of making new long-lasting romantic connections. 

You might see monkey branching as a way of enjoyment, but it can be overwhelming for you and the other person you are cheating on. So, think twice before getting into any new trend. 

About The Author

Ayush Yadav
Ayush Yadav

Aayush is a writer, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change and make people aware about the history. He holds a bachelor's in law, lives in the princely state Jaipur and is passionate about helping people in anyway possible. In his spare time, he is usually out with friends and enjoys exploring different facets of life.

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