We’ve all heard of cheating before.
We’ve even heard of “emotional cheating.”
But lately, there is a new buzzword gaining steam , “micro-cheating.”
This page is designed to be the definitive guide on it.
I’m going to teach you,
- What micro-cheating is
- If you should worry about it
- Some of the most common warning signs to watch out for
- How to talk to your partner about it
What Is Micro-Cheating?
Honestly, micro cheating is very difficult to define.
Well, because everyone has their own view on what “cheating” is and isn’t.
For example, someone may have an agreement with their significant other that it’s ok to go out with a member of the opposite sex and another couple might agree that it isn’t ok.
Now, I realize my example there is excluding the LGBTQ community but I couldn’t think of an all encompassing example so bear with me here (it still applies to you too.)
Understanding this “grey area” of what is right and wrong is important to understand what micro cheating is.
Micro cheating is when you engage in a set of behaviors that skirt the line between fidelity and infidelity.
It’s when you live in that grey area.
Probably the most common example I give to people is that if you purposely flirt with someone and you believe the interaction is harmless but your partner does not. That’s a good example of micro cheating because it violates the boundaries of your relationship.
Now, this leads us to the next big thing that we need to talk about.
Should You Worry If Your Partner Is Micro-Cheating?
In most cases I believe micro-cheating isn’t something you should be worrying about.
Nine times out of ten I notice that it’s completely normal for someone to need to get that ego boost of flirting with someone else to feel validated when someone flirts with them.
That is normal.
However, with that being said I’d like to give you a few strategies that you can use to really determine if this is something to worry about.
Let’s go all in on the example I gave above with flirting.
I’d also like to operate under the assumption that you are not ok with your partner flirting with someone he/she could potentially date.
If you really take a step back and think about it, there are two types of flirting.
- Harmless flirting
- Serious flirting
Generally there are certain types of behaviors that follow these paths.
Let’s look at harmless flirting first.
- Generally this type of flirting is done in front of you
- There are no sexual innuendos made
- If you notice the body language of your partner remain relatively normal
- Your partner doesn’t single out one person and spend all of their time talking to them
- Your partner doesn’t make meaningful eye contact with the person
- If you notice that the frequency in which your partner flirts with someone increasing
- You notice the intensity of the conversations becoming greater with that someone else
- If your partner starts sharing personal things with someone else that should only stay within the confines of your relationship
- If sexual innuendos are made to someone else
- You get the picture
Now, this puts us on an interesting path. Let’s take a moment and talk about some of the warning signs you should be watching out for with micro cheating.
What Are The Most Common Warning Signs To Watch Out For?
In my opinion there are three big signs that you want to keep an eye out for if you suspect your partner of “micro-cheating.”
- The frequency and intensity increasing
- Your partner begins hiding things
- Your partner gets in touch with their ex
Lets take a moment to talk a little bit about what each of these signs means.
1. The Frequency And Intensity Of Micro-Cheating Increases
In my experience from working with clients I notice a clear correlation to addictive behavior and make no mistake about it, micro-cheating is a precursor to actual cheating.
If you really think about it you usually aren’t going to cheat on someone who you are unfamiliar with. Often, you find that cheating starts out with these small micro-cheating behaviors and slowly but surely increase.
So, if you notice your partner spending a lot of time on the phone with someone odd and the intensity of their conversations progress in a romantic way that is a big warning sign to keep an eye out for.
2. Your Partner Begins Hiding Things
Let’s say that you notice your partner feels the need to hide certain things from you.
That could be problematic.
One common theme I see among micro-cheaters is that they are very protective of their phones and sometimes even go as far as changing names in conversations they are having with people.
A few months ago, I was working with a client who told me that she caught her partner cheating by going through his phone, which is a bit morally debatable, but she noticed that the girl he was talking to he renamed as “Billy” so it didn’t seem odd that he was spending so much time talking to this person.
Pay attention for behaviors like that.
3. Your Partner Gets In Touch With Their Ex
I specialize in advising people going through breakups.
So, it shouldn’t come as a shock that I’m talking about this.
The big thing I want to highlight here is that it’s ok for them to get in touch with their ex during appropriate times. If you share a child with your ex it’s not exactly like you can NOT talk to that person.
However, if you notice your partner starting to rely on their ex for emotional support on things that they should really be coming to you for then that is cause for concern.
How Do You Talk To Your Partner About Micro-Cheating?
Talking to your partner about this type of stuff is never easy.
Often I find that when people do end up having conversations about micro-cheating it’s immediately after the “offending” person has ben caught micro-cheating and both parties aren’t exactly in the calmest moods.
So, I always advise my clients that coming away from a conversation successfully boils down to two things,
Lets talk about each of those things now.
Rather than rushing into a conversation I think it’s a lot smarter to wait 24 hours to let your emotions settle down. Ideally you’d want to have this conversation during a time where your partner is in a great mood.
I find people tend to be a lot more responsive to bad news or controversial news when they are in good moods.
Waiting 24 hours is also great because it gives you time to plan out what you want to say.
Your tone during this conversation can make or break you.
If you come at this with an aggressive, rude or even mean tone your partner will not be receptive towards what you have to say. On the other hand, if you come at this with a nice, kind tone, almost as if to say,
Hey, the micro-cheating didn’t bother me. Let’s just talk about why you felt the need to do this.
You’ll find your partner is going to be a lot more receptive towards what you have to say.