“Hey, it’s not like I’m cheating on you! Cool off, you’re acting crazy!” he says as his “friend” sits on his lap, smirking at you. The overall scene, or something similar to it, has happened to many girls. If you’ve ever been in this situation, then you already know how incredibly uncomfortable it can make you. That’s what makes micro-cheating such insidious, relationship-wrecking behavior.
What Is Micro-Cheating?
Micro-cheating is not overt cheating like having an emotional or physical affair, but crosses boundaries that are still notably inappropriate. By not being overt about the deeds, the micro-cheater leaves a nice amount of plausible deniability that they can use to avoid getting called out on their behavior.
There’s no cut-and-dry guide to micro-cheating, since many cases are situation-based. Examples of micro-cheating would include having a female “friend” sitting on your boyfriend’s lap when you’re sitting right next to him, keeping an active dating profile, or even sending kiss emojis to someone who isn’t your SO.
What Are Some Common Examples Of Micro-Cheating?
Believe it or not, micro-cheating is pretty easy to spot in some cases. These common behaviors, for example, are very frequently cited as micro-cheating:
- Thirst-Liking Girls’ Photos On Social Media. You know how guys tend to “Like” girls’ photos in rapid succession when they are into a girl? Yeah, if you see your guy adding and liking a bunch of models, it might be micro-cheating.
- Refusing To Shut Down Flirting From Other Women. Do girls get up on your guy, chat him up, and try to force you out of the mix? We all know what that is. If he’s not putting a hard stop to it, he’s micro-cheating at the very least or cheating at worst.
- Withholding Information About Who He’s Hanging Out. It was a work night with the guys, except that he forgot to tell you that all the guys invited their girlfriends and his coworker Carla was there. It was a normal Saturday, except he neglected to mention hanging out with Anna. See the pattern?
- Fudging Your Relationship Status. When he introduces you to others, he doesn’t say “girlfriend,” but rather calls you his “friend.” On Facebook, he says he’s “In A Relationship” but doesn’t say to who…or worse, he makes it sound like he’s single.
- Being Too Close To That One Friend. You know the friend we’re talking about, right? It’s that one female friend who is just a little too close to him for your own comfort’s sake. A little healthy distance is a must to keep a relationship intact, and if he’s not backing away, it might spell disaster later on.
Is Micro-Cheating A Sign Of Cheating?
This is where things get a little sticky. Micro-cheating, in and of itself, can happen without actual cheating ever occurring. Some people simply have a tendency to act thirsty as part of their personalities. It’s rare, but it happens.
That being said, most people who do cheat start off with micro-cheating as a way to plausibly cover up for their misdeeds while they browse for a fling. When there’s smoke, there’s probably going to be fire too.
Why Micro-Cheating Is Disrespectful
The problem with micro-cheating isn’t just the way it tends to act as a precursor to cheating. Rather, it’s also a sign that your partner doesn’t respect you or the typical boundaries that a relationship has. It’s a sign that your partner tends to see their sexual or “ego” needs as something that trumps your need for respect in your relationship.
A person who respects their partners doesn’t put their partners in the awkward position of trying to explain why someone else’s body language makes it seem like they’re dating your partner. A respectful relationship also doesn’t involve actions that cause concern or behavior that makes one doubt themselves.
Is Your Partner Micro-Cheating On You?
The hardest part of micro-cheating is definine whether or not you’re being micro-cheated on. With this issue, it’s best to go with your gut and think about how he’d react if you did the same thing. Would he flip out? Would you feel uneasy doing it? If so, it’s micro-cheating.
The issue with micro-cheating is that many perpetrators write it off as a partner being paranoid, which makes it hard to confront them without looking crazy. So, it’s better to trust your instincts.If you aren’t sure whether or not something’s micro-cheating, it’s probably micro-cheating.
What To Do If You Notice Your Partner Micro-Cheating
Understandably, micro-cheating can be a dealbreaker. The best way to handle micro-cheating is to enforce bouindaries and take note of other “red flag” behavior. Here’s how to make it work for you and determine whether you want to keep this relationship afloat:
- Confront your partner over their behavior and explain why it doesn’t make you feel comfortable. The first thing you need to do is make sure that there’s no misunderstanding about your partner’s behavior. So, take time to explain why it’s inappropriate.
- Gauge their reaction. If their first reaction is to dismiss your concern or make it seem like it’s your fault, then the relationship isn’t a healthy one. Before you make any decisions, check out how they react to the confrontation.
- Break up if they dismiss your behavior or refuse to stop their micro-cheating. If your partner starts placing the burden on you to “deal with it,” then chances are that your relationship isn’t a healthy one–nor will it ever be. It’s a sign that your partner doesn’t respect you. This is a good time to take your leave and find someone who will.
- If they seem willing to change, keep them around. Being apologetic and trying to open a dialogue between the two of you is a great sign. With hope, a new level of trust can be established and you will be able to have a happier relationship.
Should you find more micro-cheating later on, it may be time to dump them. It seems a little insane, but trust us on this one. Micro-cheating should be a dealbreaker in any relationship you have.