So ‘micro-cheating‘ is a thing now. Stop the dating rollercoaster, please, because I want to get off.
Aren’t there already enough ways for a partner to do you wrong? There’s old fashioned adultery and emotional cheating and financial infidelity and even a little sneaky Netflix cheating on the side.
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Well, now we can add micro-cheating to the list. It’s been described as the little sister of emotional cheating, but it’s actually kinda tricky to define, so I’ll use a real life example. Our case study also happens to be one of my ex-boyfriends, who is currently micro-cheating on his new partner. With me.
We called it quits a few years ago and he’s happily re-partnered, but he still watches my Insta Stories every single day.
OK, so we’re all guilty of checking an ex’s social media now and then — nothing wrong with that. But this guy looks at mine every day. Religiously. And he doesn’t even follow me on Instagram, so I can only assume he goes to the effort of looking up my account, daily, to keep tabs on my life. That’s weird, right?
It’s also, apparently, a classic example of ‘micro-cheating’ — the seemingly trivial actions that indicate you’re thinking about, or attracted to, someone who isn’t your significant other.
Therapists reckon it’s perfectly normal to be attracted to other people, even if you are in a happy monogamous relationship. So you can be guilty of a little cheeky micro-cheating and still be committed to your partner.
WATCH: Married at First Sight’s Mel Schilling talks us through the telltale signs of micro-cheating. (Post continues.)
In its most harmless form it’s hardly break-up worthy behaviour, but if you buy into the whole concept of micro-cheating, you can actually do it in a multitude of ways.
It’s also pushing the boundaries of acceptable flirting without actually crossing the line.
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Like, wearing that sexy dress to the office because you know the cute guy from Accounts will be at after-works drinks. Or the flirty conversation you have with the hot trainer at the gym that you definitely wouldn’t have if your partner was listening in.
Micro-cheating is also enjoying or welcoming the attention of someone other than your partner a little more than you should, and lying by omission or deliberately not telling your partner everything — like keeping your online dating profile active after you start a new relationship.
This is, I think, where the lines become blurred between micro and emotional cheating.
Dating apps and social media have provided convenient platforms for cheaters in this regard. Facebook, especially, can be a major infidelity facilitator.
I remember a holiday with a boyfriend years ago where he was constantly messaging his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. I’m not sure why it made me uncomfortable, but it did; maybe because he refused to show me the messages or explain why he was spending so much time communicating with her when he was supposed to be enjoying a romantic getaway on an idyllic tropical island with me.
He was all super defensive, accusing me of being jealous and insecure. Back then, the gaslighting worked, but now I realise he was probably micro-cheating, possibly emotional cheating, and maybe even up to something more sinister.
So, is micro-cheating ever break-up worthy? That’s entirely up to you and what you deem to be acceptable in your own relationship. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, you shouldn’t be afraid to call it out.
Most examples of so-called ‘micro-cheating’ are pretty innocuous, but it definitely hits the danger zone if it involves deceitful behaviour or lying to your partner.
I guess, ultimately, only the micro-cheater knows if it really is just harmless flirting or if they’re flirting with disaster.
Follow Sami Lukis on Instagram @samilukis