An Affair To Remember
Imagine you are scrolling through Instagram and all of sudden you stumble upon a post, only to see that your partner has double-tapped their ex’s photo. Or, perhaps you saw a very tantalising yet flirtatious text between your partner and their co-worker. Of course, at this point you won’t think of it as much of a problem, but for some reason, their actions still make you uneasy. Well, there is a term for all of this and it is known as “micro-cheating”.
Digital platforms, like social media websites, dating apps, encrypted texts and other mediums have made it a lot easier for people to connect. But at the same time, the scope of cheating has also become far more complex than just having sex with someone else. In reality, micro-cheating is a whole new level of betrayal, one that you might not even be aware of. While it may sound harmless and somewhat equivalent to “innocent flirting”, many experts agree that its effects can be quite detrimental to relationships.
So, what exactly counts as micro-cheating? More importantly, what should you do if you catch your partner in the act? It is time for some real talk, as we unearth this trending relationship issue of the digital era.
Understanding the Phenomenon
The reason why micro-cheating is still a grey area is because it can be difficult to define. Yes, we agree that it is a subtler form of cheating, but do not let that fool you. This type of infidelity can still be incredibly destructive. Micro-cheating can be classified as an act of moving past the perceived boundaries of appropriate behaviour, for people in a dedicated relationship. While these actions may seem benign to some, but when the urge to hide them from your partner becomes strong, that is a major red flag. So if you are involving yourself in such affairs and hiding it at the same time, you are betraying their trust.
Examples For Explanation
Comprehending the term can be a tricky feat, as there are numerous types of actions that can fall under the umbrella of micro-cheating. For instance, let’s talk about a text message. If you are texting your co-worker about non-work things, or if you are going out with your colleagues just because the co-worker you are infatuated with will be there, you are entering into dicey territory. Even if you are not looking for a hookup, it is still a form of cheating, because you are deliberately looking for chances to fraternise and flirt.
Another example would be posting sexual and seductive comments on social media posts. Even it may sound okay for today’s culture, but putting up something suggestive, whether comments or photos, especially if it is intended to allure and engage others perfectly fits the bill of cheating in the digital age. Even lengthy DMs with a former flame, crush or even a total stranger can also come under this category, because these discussions may build emotional closeness in future.
As for what is not micro-cheating? Checking out a random stranger on the street, or following your beloved celebrity crush on social media does not count. While it is completely normal to find other personalities attractive outside of the relationship, it is acting on that attraction that makes it problematic.
What's The Harm
Well, it is true that this form of cheating is not as devastating as physical infidelity, but in a way it still puts a lot of toll on the relationship. It works as a stepping stone to traditional cheating, like pushing the envelope of emotional deception. While this does not imply that the person will definitely cheat, the problem can escalate real fast if the relationship is already going through a vulnerable state.
Different Definitions For Different Relations
Every relationship is different, and it is okay to think about how far the scope of this cheating varies. Couples who have an open relationship will have a different set of ground rules, compared to those supporting monogamous unions. What separates them is the tolerance level for this kind of dishonesty. Some people might not think of this as a critical matter, but it definitely becomes challenging if one partner is more tolerant than the other. If the thresholds don’t align, problems occur. So, it is vital to have an open, honest discussion with your partner, and be on the same page about all actions that transpire in a relationship. It will diminish the prospect that either of you unwittingly betrays the other.
Caught In the Act
Remember season four of Sherlock Holmes, where Mary Watson died saving Sherlock? Now, remember how before everything happened John cheated on her, even after she had his baby? Not physically of course, but on the micro-level. His confession after her death was a manifestation of the guilt he was carrying inside of him. So, no matter how awkward it may feel to confront your partner about their micro-cheating ways, the crucial thing is to vocalise your concerns, and make them address small problems before they blow out of proportions.
The bottom line? No matter how much sugar-coated it is, betrayal is betrayal. You deserve to be in a relationship where your personal and moral boundaries are respected. Moreover, if you are still uncertain about what counts as micro-cheating, ask yourself this: Is this something you or your partner would still do if your significant other was in front of them? Or would you be ashamed if they witnessed it? The answer to this can help you determine whether sending that first text, posting that one comment or initiating that harmless conversation crosses the line or not.