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Micro-Cheating: 5 Signs and What to Do About It

Detangle Love’s Insight:


Micro-Cheating has been a hot-button topic lately because everyone has their own views on the matter. We recommend reading through the article and coming to your own conclusion on whether you consider the signs on our list cheating or not. Remember that in any relationship, communication is key. So speak to your partner if something is bothering you.

Have you heard about micro-cheating?

We like to think that the difference between loyalty and cheating in a monogamous relationship is black and white. But sadly, everything, especially in relationships, is gray. Sleeping with someone outside your marriage is undoubtedly considered cheating.

But what about repeatedly spending time with someone you’re attracted to? These things might look innocent initially, but they can have serious consequences.

Even though cheating is as old as time, you may be shocked to learn that people are still developing creative new ways to do it. Here’s where micro-cheating comes in. This is the latest trend happening in unhappy relationships…and many may not even realize they’re doing it.

Here are 5 signs that might indicate your partner is micro-cheating. And remember, it will ultimately come down to what you consider “micro-cheating” yourself.

Photo by Antonio Guillem at Shutterstock

What Exactly Is Micro-Cheating?

This phrase has been used in recent times to describe actions that could be considered inappropriate when someone is in a committed relationship. It’s all about being emotionally and possibly even physically focused on someone who isn’t your mate.

“What is micro-cheating?” is one of the main questions couples therapists get asked the most. To get a better idea, here’s what the experts say are some of the most common ways people micro-cheat:

  • Texting flirty jokes
  • Sending graphic photos
  • Sending flirty messages anonymously online
  • Constantly searching for someone on Google
  • Secretly texting throughout the day repeatedly
  • Inventing reasons to see or spend time with someone you’re attracted to
  • Telling someone you’d date them if you weren’t married
  • Confiding emotionally intimate things in someone who isn’t your spouse
  • Lying about your relationship status
  • Making a dating profile just to see how many matches obtain
  • Having inside jokes that your partner isn’t aware of
  • Hiding a friendship

…To get an idea of what all this really looks like, here are the signs to look for

1. They’re Always Glued To Their Phone

Even though most people are glued to their phones nowadays, you sometimes find that your spouse is on their phone just a little bit too much for comfort.

They take it with them everywhere they go, it’s never out of their sight, and they constantly pick it up and hide the screen from view whenever a new notification comes in. These are all signs that your partner might be micro-cheating.

Another red flag of micro-cheating is if they have a code on their phone or always take it to the bathroom with them, even at home. Micro-cheating via social media, text, or email is a real possibility.

Photo by Andrey_Popov at Shutterstock

2. They Accuse You Of Overreacting

If they begin to freak out whenever you bring any of these matters to their attention, you might have a micro-cheater on your hands. Usually, micro-cheating might seem like a bit of innocent flirting with someone else.

But it can, unfortunately, lead to the downfall of your relationship. This could mean that your partner might not think they’re doing anything wrong and, therefore, might overreact. Sometimes, all it takes is an open conversation about how you feel to get them to straighten up.

Other times, these conversations create a defensive nature that makes you second-think your choices. That’s okay too. At least now you know they prefer the single life, and you’re better off.

If they apologize and say they didn’t realize how they were acting, there’s still hope for your relationship.

3. They Still Follow Their Exes On Social Media

People who micro-cheat do it in the craftiest ways: everyone has social media, so it’s easy to hide what’s happening when you pick up your phone and scroll through profiles and feeds.

You may have an issue if your partner spends too much time following, discussing, or commenting on ex-partners’ social media feeds. Micro-cheating can be as simple as constantly liking someone’s posts on Facebook or commenting on someone’s Instagram.

If this is something you’ve known about and accepted about them before the relationship, you’ll need to speak to your mate about how this has become an issue for you and why it bothers you after all this time.

If this behavior is something new, it’s better to talk to them sooner rather than later so that you don’t continue to worry about what it all signifies. Boundaries need to be in place for you and your partner for what micro-cheating means to you.

And you should both take responsibility for your actions. Even if the flirting happens online, it’s a situation where people could still get hurt.

4. They Prefer Going Everywhere Solo

Couples that are in the honeymoon stage of their relationship and go to parties or events together should technically want to be around each other. If your partner abandons you at the door as soon as you walk in, you may be dealing with a micro-cheater.

But the same goes for couples who have been content together for the past 25 years. And it’s not that they’re going out searching for love someplace else. But if they aren’t proud to stand next to you and have you on their arm when they walk into a room, something’s off.

Some people prefer some alone time, even if they’re in a happily committed relationship, and that’s fine.

But if that kind of behavior is not what you signed up for and you were expecting more from that person, it’s time to have an honest conversation about each other’s boundaries.

Emotional and physical withdrawal are possible signs of micro-cheating and could be something you should be on the lookout for.

Photo by Koshiro K at Shutterstock

5. They’re Still Checking That Old Dating App Profile Regularly

Nowadays, couples meeting on dating apps is a pretty common practice. Dating apps are an excellent tool for singles to make new connections.

Unfortunately, though, some people don’t get out of the habit of checking their dating app profiles after they’ve found someone to share their lives with. In fact, a lot of research supports this.

Studies show that some people in committed relationships still check in with their dating apps long after committing to someone.

Several academic studies on dating apps have even consistently reported that between 18 and 25% of the people who participated were in a committed relationship while using Tinder or some other dating app. This is due to several factors, including simple habits.

One thing is certain, though. If the person you’re with is regularly checking their dating app for updates on other women or men, you should probably sit them down and talk to them about it. Many people would consider this cheating.

Your partner shouldn’t be out and about, wondering what’s out there if they’ve found what they’re looking for with you. This one may be an uncomfortable conversation to have. But it’s a critical one you must have together if you want your relationship to survive.

If you discover that you are, in fact, being cheated on, you shouldn’t suffer through it. Reading THIS helpful book from Amazon might help!

Have you ever been in any of these situations? Be sure to leave us a comment in the section below, and share your own tips on how you resolved the matter.

And if you found this article on micro-cheating useful, we’ve got many more like it. We also recommend reading: Online Senior Dating: Avoid These 12 Mistakes at All Costs!

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