In romantic relationships, cheating comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether you're talking about physical or emotional cheating, cheating means different things to different people. And now "micro-cheating" has been added to the infidelity mix, blurring the definitions of cheating even more. If you haven't already heard of it, micro-cheating is the latest dating trend that's been sweeping social media, the internet, and relationships.
"Micro-cheating can occur anytime someone acts in a way outside the boundaries of their relationship," Rachel DeAlto, certified professional coach and Match's Chief Dating Expert, tells Bustle. "It doesn’t involve physical contact, but it does involve energy — energy you could be giving to your partner. Anytime your focus is on another prospective romantic partner, it can be a slippery slope that can lead to the destruction of a relationship."
While you may call this emotional cheating, others may call it micro-cheating. In any case, it's ~not~ good to be doing it to your significant other. And there are definitely warning signs you can look out for to see if it's happening to you.
Matchmaker and dating expert Stef Safran tells Bustle that micro-cheating is way more common than you may realize. "Since all it takes these days to communicate is a phone and a keyboard, it's easy to start up a 'relationship' without anyone realizing that there is someone else there," Safran tells Bustle. "The biggest issue is trust. If you and your significant other don't regularly discuss what is and is not OK, you may be putting yourself at risk, as 'flirting' these days has taken on a whole new meaning."
You may think your partner's "Happy Birthday" post on someone's Facebook wall was flirty and could count as micro-cheating, whereas they spent all of five seconds coming up with and posting it like NBD. If you ask them about it, they may tell you it was no big deal, or they may become flustered and nervous and forgot that you'd be able to see it, too. However, if you and your partner define what cheating means to you — micro-, physical, and emotional — there should be no confusion or jumping to conclusions.
"Creating boundaries by discussing WHAT you consider to be cheating in a dating relationship might be the best way to understand if you both have the same values," Safran says. Especially with all the technological options out there today, it *is* easier than ever to micro-cheat. As she also says, communication is key. What you may think is an innocent email to someone who's not your partner may not be viewed as that innocent by them. Even if your partner is not micro-cheating, it's still good to make sure you're on the same page as your partner, to hopefully prevent micro-cheating — or any type of cheating — down the line.
That said, here are the signs to look out for to tell if someone may be micro-cheating on you.