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 micro-cheating.
It is much easier to recognise 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 of the cell phone for no reason.
The entire concept of micro-cheating can be unnerving.
What Is Micro-Cheating In A Relationship?
Micro-cheating is when the tiny acts that appear to be 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 sexily at someone apart from their partner 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 more.
Signs Of Micro-Cheating In A Relationship
Now that you understand micro-cheating better, you must be wondering what are the signs of micro-cheating? Well, keep reading. Below are listed 7 signs of micro-cheating followed by 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 in our bedrooms as well. At any given point of time, most people will be scrolling through social media or watching videos or surfing through the internet. However, sometimes, you might find that your partner is extra glued to their phones, more than a normal amount. Its like the phone is the second spouse.
That is when trouble knocks on the door of their relationship.
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 space to be alone with their phone, chances are they are micro-cheating on you. They would even snatch their phone or hide the screen whenever a notification pops up.
2. They follow their ex-partners on Social Media Apps
Some people don’t believe in blocking their exes, which is understandable at some level. Stalking an ex is another dimension. But it is entirely another thing if your boyfriend or girlfriend is constantly following their ex-partners updates on social media and even commenting and liking their posts. Sadly, social media micro-cheating is one of the most popular means of micro-cheating.
If you have an understanding about 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 their exes or their actions on social media, you are possibly a victim of micro-cheating.
Related Reading: 8 ways we stalk our exes
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?
When this information about the exes come 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. 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 relationship, he or she would never feel the need to go out there, explore and meet new people on dating apps. 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.
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 shows when the user was last active. Downloading dating apps “to see what is out there” is not harmless. It is rather a very hurtful means of social media micro-cheating.
5. They prefer going to events alone
Couples go to events together. There are times when a person has to go to some event alone, especially when he or she is meeting their close friends. 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 with my friends“, chances are they are hoping to run into a specific someone and do not want you to find out.
It may not be certain that they are trying to woo that specific someone. 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 a sure shot sign of micro-cheating.
6. They are always smiling at their phones- without looking at memes
Memes are the most common form of humour on social media. Looking at memes and laughing is not unusual. But how long can one possibly look at memes? People smile in a similar way when they get a cute text or a flirty message.
One way of knowing the difference is observing their response. When they look at their phones and smile, ask them what they are smiling at. If they show you the text or image, you’re all clear. However, if they simply respond with “nothing“, time and again, you are possibly being micro-cheated on. Partners would not mind sharing anything with their significant others if they are truly innocent, right?
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 behaviour is constantly bugging you at the back of your mind, you will eventually bring it up. A partner who is genuinely not at fault will sit you down and talk to you about it. If you notice their energy and behaviour shifting, something is very fishy.
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. However, with enough effort, you can put an end to micro-cheating. Here are 7 ways on how to stop micro-cheating:
1. Figure out what behaviour is bothering you and why
Before having an honest 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. The instances of micro-cheating on internet are so many that your opinions might be influenced.
Your partner might enjoy scrolling through social media while taking their morning dump and you may be okay with it. But all of a sudden you see ‘taking the phone to the bathroom’ as a sign of micro-cheating. This creates more differences than needed. All you have to do is contemplate on the behavioural changes that you observe related to micro-cheating and also contemplate on why it is bothering you, then you can go ahead to stop micro-cheating.
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 of cheating that you have been observing and communicate how terrible it makes you feel. A sensible boyfriend/girlfriend 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 social media micro-cheating.
3. Discuss what counts as micro-cheating
Micro-cheating is a new concept, what constitutes as micro-cheating to one person may not be micro-cheating to someone else. For example, it may bother one person if their partner compliments someone else when they upload a beautiful picture. For them, the flirty compliment is equivalent to micro-cheating. On the other hand, someone else might find a cute compliment okay from time to time, even if the cute compliment is given by their partner to someone else.
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.
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 in the phone and unfollow your respective exes. These are the tiny signs of micro-cheating, and you need to get rid of all of them immediately.
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. Social media micro-cheating makes this very tricky, but with a good amount of trust and reassurance, it is possible.
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 behaviour is acceptable and what is not needs to be discussed, and needs to be kept in mind at all times.
You also need to set boundaries for yourself. If you consider your partner complimenting a woman in a flirty manner as micro-cheating, you need to actively stop yourself from doing the same if you come across a very hot picture of a man on Instagram. You cannot think about getting away with a compliment if your partner doing the same is unacceptable to you.
6. Begin rebuilding trust as hard as you can
Micro-cheating isn’t as terrible as physical or emotional cheating. If caught on early, mistakes can be rectified and it is easier to move on from those mistakes. 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.
Begin spending more quality time together, attending more events together, even doing more PDA. Anything that helps you get over the episodes of micro-cheating and have faith in your relationship once again.
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 would apologise for their actions, but then end up doing the same things again, only trying to hide it much better, you are dating or 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.
Micro-cheating cannot be ignored and if someone isn’t rectifying the mistakes they made by 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 stupid, irrational, or just another dating trend. But sufferers of micro-cheating could tell you how bad 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 it later. If you have been micro-cheated on, give your partner a benefit of doubt and stop micro-cheating. Although, I certainly hope nobody goes through these tiny but painful daggers of unfaithfulness. Take care.