As if cheating wasn’t bad enough, we now have a new dating-term in town to give us a run for our money. Introducing micro-cheating.
Micro-cheating is like cheating’s younger, millennial, sister. It refers to being deceitful and secretive, but in ostensibly trivial ways–think texting a kissy face emoji to a guy who isn’t your romantic partner and then deleting said text from your outbox abyss because you don’t want your partner to ‘look into it’ and ‘blow it out of proportion’. (Or because you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place, you un-loyal partner you!)
Confused yet? Me too. Because chances are you’re the village bicycle when it comes to being a micro-cheater and didn’t even know it. Woof!
So, what do the pros have to say? Melanie Schilling, a psychologist and dating expert, told HuffPost Australia, “Micro-cheating is a series of seemingly small actions that indicate a person is emotionally or physically focused on someone outside their relationship.” Micro refers to cheating only just “a little bit.” Like just the tip, just for a second, just to see how it feels.
And not to be That Girl, but like, yeah. Being in a relationship isn’t about solely communicating with one person for the rest of your life. Friendly flirting is natural and I’d argue even necessary in social interactions in order to have a healthy relationship and sense of self. But the problem with micro-cheating, according to Schilling, is that it involves seemingly trivial behaviours that you either find the need to hide, or do so with not-so-pure intentions.
I came up with a purely unscientific listicle of signs that you might be micro-cheating on your partner. If you nod your head in agreement while reading any of the below, head to your nearest confessional and ask the Lord to forgive you for your sins, you homewrecker you!:
- You’re reading this article. Because if you’ve read all my words so far – as well as I express myself in writing, thankyouverymuch – and are still here, chances are your gut instinct knows you’re guilty AF. No biggie. Awareness is the first step.
- You slide into someone-who’s-not-your-partner’s DMs, possibly under the guise of partnering up, wanting business advice, or straight up asking if they’re DTF.
- You have a lock on your cell, and sort of cover it (like people cover ATM machines to enter in their passwords) when your partner comes into the room.
- If you talk to/go out with/share messages on social with someone and then keep it from your partner, or don’t offer to share info on who you were out with/who was at an event with you (you’re not officially lying per se, but you’re lying by not sharing that info in an upfront way). This can also be you finding the need to delete messages as soon as you send them.
- You forward a screen grab of an ‘on this day last year’ to a former partner or playmate. That or you reach out to an ex on a set day like an anniversary, a birthday, the day they got their dog’s Instagram account active, or to say “hope you’re well.”
- You run into an old flame at an outing, and leave together to go for drinks and then keep it from your partner.
- You turn your phone on airplane mode before letting your partner use it, in fear something from another person you’re chatting with on the side will pop up.
You only have one life to live and yes, you should be doing you and have a sense of freedom within your relationship, but at the same time, your partner should be respected and honoured, and healthy boundaries should be put in place to ensure there’s no fallout. Check in with your other half every now and then to make sure they know they’re number one, and also maybe to see how they feel about you liking 16 photos in a row of a younger, big-shot guy on Instagram.