Micro-cheating is trending
Although cheating is as old as time, you might be surprised to learn that people are still coming up with creative new ways to do it. Enter micro-cheating, the latest way people are stepping out on their relationships – but they may not even realise what they’re doing. Thanks to the rise of digital technology and the impact of current events, it’s no surprise micro-cheating is mega-trending.
What is micro-cheating?
This phrase has been used recently to describe day-to-day actions that could be considered ‘inappropriate flirting’ when someone is in a relationship. The hallmark of micro-cheating is being emotionally and perhaps even physically focused on a person who isn’t your partner. “What is cheating?” is one of the questions sex therapists get asked the most. For a more detailed look, here’s what relationship experts say are some of the common ways people micro-cheat:
Texting flirty jokes and memes
Making a Tinder profile just to see how many matches/likes you get
Putting extra effort into your appearance in case you run into your crush
Google stalking a crush
Lying about your relationship status, either in person or online
Sending anonymous flirty messages, tweets, or posts
Liking and/or commenting on a crush’s social media
Discussing your sex life with someone who isn’t your partner
Constantly texting throughout the day
Sending ‘feelin’ cute’ or slightly revealing selfies to a crush
Hiding a friendship
Telling someone you’d date them if you/they weren’t married
Having inside jokes that your partner isn’t a part of
Inventing reasons to see or spend time with your crush
Confiding emotionally intimate things in someone who’s not your partner
Sexting, including graphic language and sending nudes
It’s a slippery slope
While these behaviours may seem innocent on the surface, micro-cheating takes harmless crushing to the next level and if left unchecked, can lead to a full-blown affair, says psychiatrist, Anisha Patel-Dunn. Even if it never turns physical, micro-cheating fits all the criteria for an emotional affair, and those can be even more damaging to your relationship, she says.
“In many cases, physical cheating is an impulsive act, often as the result of being temporarily impaired from drinking,” she says. “On the other hand, emotional affairs are intentional, and require a series of increasingly intimate decisions over a period of time.” Both types of affairs are terrible (and they can happen together) but it’s often the emotional aspect that is the hardest to recover from because it was premeditated, she says.
“It can feel easier to forgive a spouse for a one-night stand than for months of lying and deception,” she says.