Micro-cheating is like small needles punching painful holes in your heart. Before those needles turn into a big dagger, read about what are the signs of micro-cheating and how to stop it.
It is much easier to recognize infidelity when there are two physical bodies involved, one of them being outside of a relationship. But what do you do when things get more subtle? When there are only hints like winking, flirting with the eyes, or hiding the cell phone for no reason. The entire concept of micro-cheating can be unnerving.
Micro-cheating in marriage can wreak havoc. It can start with an innocuous online conversation and snowball into an affair. It’s always the little things that matter in a relationship, that might have started without any ill will, but which can cause fissures in your shared lives.
What Is Micro-Cheating In A Relationship?
Micro-cheating is when certain tiny acts appear to be doing a flirty dance on the fine line of fidelity and infidelity. Micro-cheating is often termed as ‘almost’ cheating. For example, when a person stares at someone apart from their partner in a lustful manner but does not actually kiss them.
Micro-cheating psychology is also a thing of its own now. Micro-cheating psychology generally hints at the fact that one person in a relationship isn’t as committed as the other is. They still want to keep their options open or have this unceasing desire to explore what is out there. And this can later result in trust issues that can severely damage the relationship.
People who indulge in micro-cheating do not think that it could have an adverse effect on their steady relationship. They often think it’s just for fun. If you are doing any of these things, you are probably micro-cheating.
- You hide your ex/close friend: You’re still in contact with your ex and you talk to them on social media. You have frequent conversations and remember all the good, old times without telling your partner about any of it. Or, you have a really close friend from college, whom your partner has never met
- You flirt online: You always have a roving eye on social media and keep sending friend requests to random people in the hope of a conversation. You frequently comment on and like other people’s posts who aren’t your friends or celebrities. You send them messages and compliments, showing your love and attraction toward them
- You’ve crossed the lines of friendship: You are emotionally intimate with someone other than your partner. You share your most intimate details with them and have a closeness to them that’s completely different than what you’d have with a regular friend
- You lie about who you talk to: You save your contacts with fake names and identities so your partner doesn’t suspect anything. By keeping your partner out of the loop, you’re breaking their trust and their right to know about the friends and contacts in your life
- You’re on dating apps: All your profiles are active. Despite being in a monogamous relationship, you want to keep all the gates, front or back, open. These are signs of a troubled or damaged relationship
- You like someone: You make extra efforts while visiting someone. It makes sense when there’s an event or perhaps an interview, but when it’s just a friend and you put in an extra hour just to get ready, it’s clear you’re trying to impress them
- You are emotionally dependent on someone else: You contact someone else other than your shared group or long-time friends to resolve your relationship issues. As long as it’s someone both you and your partner know, it’s okay. But when you contact your ex or some random stranger about your relationship issues, it can be an indication of something more serious
- Your profile is deceptive: You have your family photo as your profile picture so that people feel safe accepting friend requests from you
- You’d love to have a new partner: At parties, you love to flirt, even if your partner is with you. And it’s not even playful, it’s like you’re trying to get into a new relationship
- You are tempted easily: The moment you are introduced to a good-looking person, you want a selfie with them or to meet them later. This happens often and you also end up taking their contact details
Signs Of Micro-Cheating In A Relationship
Now that you understood the concept better, you must be wondering, what are the signs of micro-cheating? How do you identify the signs he is micro-cheating and what should you do about them? Well, keep reading. Below, we’ve listed 7 signs of micro-cheating, followed by ideas on how to stop micro-cheating.
1. They are suspiciously protective of their phone
The new generation is always on their phone, there is nothing new about that. Phones have crept into our bedrooms as well. At any given point in time, most people will be scrolling through social media or watching videos or surfing the internet.
However, sometimes, you might find that your partner is extra glued to their phone, more than the usual amount. It’s like the phone is the second spouse. That is when trouble knocks at the door of your relationship. So, how do you know your partner is micro-cheating?
Related Reading: Are You Unknowingly Flirting? How To Know?
If your significant other is on their phone even when you are with them, and they find the need to carry their phone everywhere they go (even the bathroom), not giving you any chance to be alone with their phone, then they are probably micro-cheating on you. They would even snatch their phone or hide the screen whenever a notification pops up. If they guard their phone like it’s a treasure chest, it can be because they find others attractive in a relationship.
2. They follow their ex-partners on social media apps
Some people don’t believe in blocking their exes, which is understandable. Stalking an ex is another dimension. But it is entirely another thing if your partner is constantly following their ex-partner’s updates on social media and even commenting on and liking their posts. It’s even worse when they chat with their exes all the time on social media as if they aren’t in a committed relationship.
Sadly, social media micro-cheating is one of the most popular means of micro-cheating. If you have an understanding of dealing with your respective exes before the relationship, you can give them the benefit of doubt. However, if your partner doesn’t let you know about their conversations with the ex or their actions on social media, you are possibly a victim of micro-cheating.
Related Reading: Confession of an insecure wife – Every night after he sleeps, I check his messages
3. They bring up their ex-partner in a conversation more than a normal amount
Bringing up the name of your ex in a relevant conversation is one thing, but a frequent mention of the ex could make things more doubtful. Is your partner up to date with their ex’s life? Do they seem to know everything that is going on with them and even mention it to you more than a normal amount? It’s natural to worry if your partner talks to their ex quite often. When this information about the exes comes from a place of secrecy, micro-cheating is a very plausible reason for it.
In any relationship, there is a boundary between staying friends with one’s ex-partner and knowing every little detail about them months after the breakup. If they’re still not over their ex, maybe it requires an honest conversation. But it can’t go on like this. Look out for this sign, for your partner could be micro-cheating on you with their ex.
4. Their profiles on dating apps still exist
If a person is in a happy, monogamous relationship, they would never feel the need to go out there, explore and meet new people on dating apps. But if your partner is micro-cheating, their dating profile would be still be active. Discovering your partner’s profile on dating apps through any means could be a sign of micro-cheating; possibly something even bigger than micro-cheating. Maybe they’re still open to new relationships and your connection with them is just temporary in their minds.
Before risking it all, you need to make sure that your partner is active on those dating apps, for a lot of people simply uninstall the applications without deleting the profile. One way to confirm is by asking a friend to match with them and check their last active status. Dating apps like Tinder show when the user was last active. Downloading dating apps ”to see what is out there” is not harmless by any means. It can be a rather hurtful way of micro-cheating on social media.
5. They prefer going to events alone
Couples go to many events together. There are times when a person wants to go to some event alone, or when they’re meeting their close friends, which is understandable.
However, if you notice that your partner always prefers to go alone, even if you offer to accompany them, by giving unreasonable excuses like ”It is a boring party” or ”Even I am just going there for 15 minutes” or ”You will not enjoy spending time with my friends”, chances are they are hoping to run into a specific someone and do not want you to find out. If they refuse to take you with them even after you insist, there can be something suspicious at play here.
It may not be certain that they are trying to woo that person. But the need to hide it from you might spell out their hopes of flirting with them or checking them out as much as they want to, and that is one of the sure-shot signs he is micro-cheating or that she’s lying to you about her feelings. It’s also possible that your partner is losing interest in the relationship.
6. They are always smiling at their phones – without looking at memes
Memes are the most common form of humor on social media. Looking at memes and laughing is not unusual. But how long can one possibly look at memes? People smile in a particular way when they get a cute text or a flirty message.
One way of knowing the difference is by observing their response. When they look at their phones and smile, and it’s different from the spontaneous laughter that jokes induce, ask them what they are smiling at. Maybe you should wait a few times for it to happen before asking them. It would give you a better idea of whether they’re smiling because they’re chatting with someone or because they’re looking at some meme.
If they show you the text or image, they’re all clear. However, if they simply respond with “nothing” over and over again, you are possibly being micro-cheated on. Partners would not mind sharing anything with their significant others if they are truly innocent, right? Do remember that without their permission, checking your partner’s phone is not a good idea and can bring severe cracks in your relationship for no reason at all.
Related Reading: Confession Story: Emotional Cheating Vs Friendship – The Blurry Line
7. They get defensive when you bring these things up
All said and done, the most important sign of micro-cheating is intuition. If their behavior is constantly bugging you at the back of your mind, you will eventually bring it up. It’s not the behavior that’s the issue in these cases, it’s the urge to keep it a secret. There shouldn’t be secrets between partners, especially if it’s something that irks one of them again and again.
A partner who is genuinely not at fault will sit you down and talk to you about it. They’ll understand and will actively clarify your suspicions. If you notice their energy and behavior shifting, something is very fishy. Signs of guilt or hesitation can be an indication that your partner is being unfaithful, whether through their thoughts or actions.
Related Reading: What To Do When A Woman Is Flirting With Your Husband At Work
We all know that culprits chatter more than they have to. If you find your partner being extremely defensive in their dialogue, avoiding all your statements, trying to sweep the dust under the carpet by saying things like “You are imagining things” or “I don’t know what has gotten into you“, then I am sorry to break it to you, but it is simply a confirmation that they have been micro-cheating on you.
How To Deal With Micro-Cheating
If you are able to relate to these signs, you are a victim of micro-cheating. But you don’t need to get worried or scared, it’s one of the more common relationship problems. With enough effort, you can easily put an end to your partner’s micro-cheating. Can it be forgiven though? Since it is not as serious as physical or emotional cheating, it is still hard to forgive micro-cheating but it’s certainly easier. Here are 7 ways on how to stop micro-cheating:
1. Figure out what behavior is bothering you and why
Before having a heart-to-heart conversation about micro-cheating with your partner, you need to figure out what exactly it is that they have been doing which is bothering you so much. Instances of micro-cheating on the internet are so many that your opinions might be influenced. You need to make sure that you’re not getting worked up without any reason.
It might be that your partner enjoys scrolling through social media while taking their morning dump. But all of a sudden, you see ‘taking the phone to the bathroom’ as a sign of micro-cheating in marriage. This leads to worry for no reason and causes reasons for suspicion where there should be none.
This creates more differences than needed. All you have to do is contemplate the behavioral changes that you observe related to micro-cheating and also contemplate why it is bothering you. After that, you can go ahead with your plan to stop micro-cheating. But you need to make sure that it’s not you who’s at fault here instead of your partner.
Related Reading: Surviving An Affair – 12 Steps To Reinstate Love And Trust In A Marriage
2. Honestly tell your partner how you feel
If micro-cheating is unintentional, it can be worked upon. All you have to do to stop micro-cheating is tell your partner about the signs that you have been observing and communicate how terrible it makes you feel. Maybe they don’t even do it intentionally in the first place. Or maybe they’re unaware of how it makes you feel.
A sensible partner will understand the gravity of the situation and immediately start making efforts to put an end to all that is hurting you, even if it means blocking certain people to avoid micro-cheating on social media. For them, your relationship is more important than conversations with some stranger on the internet and they’ll be respectful of it. At the end of the day, it’s the priorities in a relationship that define it.
3. Discuss what counts as micro-cheating
Micro-cheating is a new concept, what constitutes micro-cheating for one person may not be micro-cheating for someone else. For example, it may bother one person if their partner compliments someone else when they upload a beautiful picture, while for another partner, it doesn’t matter at all. It’s important to also understand the differences between signs of cheating and of micro-cheating.
For one person, a flirty compliment is equivalent to micro-cheating. On the other hand, someone else might find their partner giving someone a cute compliment okay from time to time. Another person might not find their partner flirting with others anything to be worried about. It’s a concept that changes with the couple in question. It is important to discuss what counts as micro-cheating with your partner to make sure they steer clear of all those actions in the future, or so that you can work on your own insecurities.
4. Get rid of all the bothersome apps and people
The best answer on how to stop micro-cheating is by getting rid of everything that could bother you or your partner. Delete all those dating apps if they are lying around on the phone and sometimes, even politely unfriend or unfollow your respective exes. These are the tiny signs of micro-cheating, and you need to immediately get rid of them all.
However, it is important to note that there is a difference between riddance and control. You can get rid of these little hindrances in your relationship, but you cannot and should not control who your partner talks to and what they do with their phones. You must also ensure your partner has sufficient space in their relationship or it can soon turn into a bitter or toxic one.
Micro-cheating on social media makes this very tricky, but with a good amount of trust and reassurance, it is possible. You need to be respectful toward your partner and take care of their needs too.
5. Set boundaries
To best way to avoid any possibilities of micro-cheating is by setting healthy relationship boundaries that leave no room for doubt. What behavior is acceptable and what is not needs to be discussed, and individual needs to be kept in mind at all times.
You also need to set boundaries for yourself. If you consider your partner complimenting a person in a flirty manner as micro-cheating, you need to actively stop yourself from doing the same if you come across a picture of a hottie on Instagram.
You cannot think about getting away with a compliment if your partner doing the same is unacceptable to you. The mutually accepted boundaries in a relationship are equally applicable on both the partners for it to be effective in the first place. But we’d also recommend working through these insecurities simultaneously.
6. Begin rebuilding trust as hard as you can
Micro-cheating isn’t as terrible as physical or emotional cheating. If caught early, mistakes can be rectified and it gets easier to move on from those mistakes at that stage. All you need to do is have a heart-to-heart conversation about it with your partner and then do whatever is possible to make things right in your relationship. Don’t get bogged down by this modern form of cheating as it can be easily handled.
Begin spending more quality time together, attend more events together, and even do more PDA if you want. Anything that helps you get over the episodes of micro-cheating and have faith in your relationship once again is recommended.
7. If nothing works, call it quits
Micro-cheating is certainly not as major as physical cheating, but it can hurt just as much. If your partner is the kind who apologizes for their actions, but then ends up doing the same things again, only trying to hide it much better this time, you might be dating or are married to the wrong person.
If you have already made it clear to your significant other that you do not like them complimenting their exes, and they still continue to do so, you need to walk out of the relationship. Despite what they say, it’s not something insignificant. Such small things create seeds of distrust and resentment.
Micro-cheating cannot be ignored. And if someone isn’t rectifying the mistakes they made through micro-cheating, it won’t be long till you find out they physically cheated on you as well. Therefore, do yourself a favour and call it quits before it hurts you more.
Micro-cheating may seem trivial, irrational, or just another dating trend. But cheating starts with a conversation and can take a serious turn at times. So it’s natural for the partner in a relationship to be wary of their other half indulging with someone else, even if verbally, without telling them. Sufferers of micro-cheating could tell you how badly it hurts. Actions that may seem insignificant now can lead to something major, and it is always better to catch on to these actions and work on them instead of regretting them later.
If you have been micro-cheated on, give your partner the benefit of doubt and allow them to stop micro-cheating in the first place. But don’t ignore it altogether either. I would certainly hope nobody goes through these tiny but painful daggers of unfaithfulness in the first place. Take care of yourself and your relationship and hopefully you will continue to have a great partnership with your other half.
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