Dating and Relationship Advice

With the prevalence of social media, it's easier than ever to form online relationships with others—sometimes without a romantic partner's consent. Microcheating is the latest trend to come out of online dating. Unlike actual cheating, it doesn’t involve full-blown affairs or sleeping with another person. Instead, it includes emotionally intimate conversations, flirty texts, naughty pictures, and Instagram comments.

Microcheating usually occurs when a partner desires attention that they’re not getting in their current relationship. As a result, they’ll forge a romantic or sexual bond with someone via texting, while their partner has no idea. Especially nowadays, when people are quarantining with their SOs 24/7, microcheating can serve as a temporary escape from a troubled relationship.

How to recognize it

If you see your partner frequently leaving suggestive comments (this includes emojis like the heart eyes, water drops, eggplant, etc.) on sexy Instagram posts, it could mean that they’re on the path to microcheating. However, if you have an agreement with them about browsing hotties on IG and are cool with it, more power to you!

If your partner is always distracted and on their phone, they could be emotionally cheating and creating a fantasy while browsing through someone else’s life. If you find that your partner frequently doesn’t listen to you, feels bored, and your bedroom life has significantly declined, these could all be potential signs of a social media or texting rendezvous.

If your partner frequently (or passionately) talks about how cheating is only physical, they might just be making excuses for themselves and their acts of deception. Don't let them gaslight you into thinking your concerns about emotional infidelity aren't that big of a deal.

How to deal with it

At the end of the day, microcheating is completely subjective and depends on the boundaries you set in your relationship. You might find it grounds to break up with someone if they’re overly flirtatious at a party. Or you might forgive a partner of many years for a major indiscretion. Everyone’s level of tolerance is different—just make sure that you don’t downplay your genuine emotions if your partner microcheats.

Set boundaries beforehand

To avoid these kinds of problems, it's important to talk about cheating dealbreakers in the beginning of your relationship. A lot of tiny actions add up over time, so consider taking a look at your dynamic with your partner instead of turning a blind eye to actions that make you feel uncomfortable.

Openness and honesty are the strongest basis of all human relationships, and if it’s not present in yours, it might be time to reconsider how you can really talk to and understand each other.

Don’t minimize your feelings

Whether you’re the microcheater, or the victim of microcheating, it’s important to unearth your true feelings. If you find yourself with a wandering eye: is it because you aren't getting what you need out of the relationship? Or maybe you don't see a future with your current partner?

And if you find your partner directing their attention somewhere else: it's completely understandable that you'd be hurt by their actions. Though microcheating is a downsized version of cheating, it’s still cheating. And if it doesn’t bother you, consider the possibility of discussing an open relationship (or at least redefining boundaries) with your partner. After all: the destruction is in the deception.