Micro-Cheating: what is it and should you be worried?



Micro-cheating is the latest viral dating term shining a spotlight on couples’ digital bad behaviour. But what is it and should you be worried? Laura Yates explains all

With social media and digital communication more prominent in our lives than ever, the definition of cheating now extends beyond the physical.

What is micro-cheating?

Micro-cheating is the latest viral dating trend coined to describe couples’ digital bad behaviour. This form of cheating doesn’t involve sex at all. It’s more about likes and comments on social media than anything salacious.

Examples include reaching out to an ex on Facebook, excessively liking or commenting on other people’s social media posts or giving compliments to someone you’re attracted to.

In short, if someone is doing things that give the impression they’re single when they’re not, they’re micro-cheating.

How to deal with it

While many forms of micro-cheating can – and should – raise red flags, if you feel your partner is over-stepping the mark, try not to get too hung up on it. This can be a slippery slope, leading to paranoia and a habit of taking things out of context. You might start to over-analyse everything your partner is doing, from them sharing inside jokes with someone to them even looking at someone else!

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It’s also important to be aware that it’s quite normal to be attracted to other people, even when you’re in a relationship. Just because you look at someone and feel an attraction that doesn’t mean you’re micro-cheating. What matters is whether you act on that attraction or not.

The most important thing is to have open communication, demonstrate trust in your relationship and know where the boundaries are.

Define your own boundaries

The micro-cheating trend has caused a real stir. The best way to tackle it is to step away from the drama and make a real effort to keep everything in perspective. Communicate with your partner about where your lines are drawn. Reaching out to an ex on their birthday, for example, might be harmless, but if there’s still an emotional attachment there, that can change things. If something makes you feel comfortable, explain why to your partner.

Establish boundaries sooner rather than later. Don’t let uncommunicated feelings eat you up inside. Having an open dialogue in a relationship is healthy and it’s what will make it stronger in the long-run.

Of course, what counts as a relationship issue is unique to that relationship. Some couples have more open boundaries than others and that’s fine. If you fixate on the concept of micro-cheating, you could be at risk of becoming overly self-conscious about what you, and your partner, is doing. That isn’t healthy.

The main thing to takeaway from micro-cheating is that it can help to reveal the buried personal insecurities you need to address. Be clear about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour in your relationship. And remember, micro-cheating is almost always a micro-issue.

Laura Yates is a coach, writer and content creator specialising in helping people bounce back from heartbreak. You can find Laura at her website https://www.laurayates.org/ and on Instagram @lauramyates.

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