What is Micro-Cheating? Are You or Your Partner Guilty?

How to tell if casual flirting has turned to something more serious

You’ve noticed that your partner laughs a lot at texts he’s getting, but he’s reluctant to talk about the person sending them. Or maybe you yourself feel a little distant from your partner, spending more time on Facebook flirting with an old high school flame who flatters you in ways your partner doesn’t. In a Daily Mail interview, Australian psychologist Melanie Schilling describes this as “micro-cheating” — when seemingly small actions actually indicate that someone is taking the emotional focus off their primary relationship.

What Is Micro-Cheating?

Micro-cheating isn’t a new thing. Though the phrase wasn’t documented on Urban Dictionary until 2008, micro-cheating is just a relatively new name for an old behavior. One that probably goes back thousands of years. It’s something is the same issues couples have been dealing with for decades.

For example, a married man meets a new woman and engages in “outside” behaviors with her — letters sealed with wax in the olden days, but today it’s texts and DMs. Maybe even a hilarious meme or a gym mirror selfie. He hides the existence and/or frequency of the interactions from his wife. The two aren’t fully having an affair – there’s no physical contact between them, after all. In fact, the “other woman” might even consider their interaction as merely friendly. But for the man, he plays down the relationship to his wife as a platonic friendship or work interaction with the secret hopes of starting an affair. Maybe he’s already crushing on the new woman, emotionally betraying his partner.

Signs Your Partner May Be Micro-Cheating

The following are a few signs your partner may be micro cheating. They include:

  • They’re secretive: This is one of the major signs of a micro-cheating partner. When they constantly keep things away from you, this could be a major sign.
  • They’re beginning to withdraw: when your partner is micro-cheating, they may begin to withdraw themselves from you. This may not be obvious to you initially, but if they are not telling you things the way they used to previously and are staying away from spending too much time with you, this may be a clear sign.
  • They’re extremely close to another person: it is normal for everyone to have other friends, if your partner is starting to spend excessive time with someone at work or school, it could be a sign of micro-cheating.

Now that we have covered that, you may be wondering: what is micro cheating definition? We will be covering this below.

Does Micro-Cheating Mean the Relationship is Over?

Some individuals explain this as the boundaries fading off in a platonic friendship with the opposite sex which occurs naturally most of the time. However, Schilling states that if this behavior goes on, the core partner will become the secondary one. Its effect is almost as terrible as engaging in an affair. It alters the core relationship’s nature and places it in danger.

Susan Winter, a relationship expert does not agree with this as she made clear in an interview with The Independent. Although flirting in secret may undoubtedly be testing the relationship’s boundaries, she states that it does not necessarily need to be a deal-breaker.

She suggests that you have a sit down with your partner and rationally speak about what you have observed. Let them understand the way their behavior is making you feel. She also recommends that you ask your partner: ‘’How would you feel if I did something similar?’’

Understanding is Key

As stated by Leslie Becker-Phelps, a clinical psychologist, relationships usually suffer because individuals get stuck in their personal experience that they simply are unable to relate to what another individual is dealing with. Therefore, the actual test of whether or not you are engaged in micro-cheating lies in your capacity to view the experience from the eyes of your partner.

All relationships are unique. For some individuals, micro-cheating may be healthy independence for others. However, the actual method of telling if you are participating in harmful behavior is to speak to your significant other and express any concerns they may bring forth seriously.

Becker-Phelps states that the practice of empathy helps in connecting much deeper with others. This, in turn, enriches both your relationships and social connections across the board.

Beyond Micro-Cheating

If you believe the behavior of your partner has gone past micro-cheating, don’t allow the suspicions get worse, you need to put your mind at ease, and the Spokeo can be of help to you via the following ways:

  • Utilize a reverse phone lookup tool to search for identifying info on unknown numbers you’ve found on your phone bill.
  • Uncover accounts on social media by searching for the username and email address of your partner.
  • Do a name search to reveal any new phone numbers and email addresses that have been associated recently with your partner.

We’re here to help you shine a light on areas of uncertainty in your life, especially concerning the increasingly common question: What is micro-cheating in a relationship? The information we have provided above would help you in finding this out.