Having trust issues? Your partner might be ‘micro-cheating’ you!

Micro cheating can refer to small acts of cheating that might not in physically intimate in nature, but can damage the trust in a relationship
A man on the phone while a woman is hugging him.
Micro cheating refers to small acts of cheating that can derail a relationship. Image courtesy: Freepik
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 18 Feb 2024, 17:30 pm IST
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People always link cheating to infidelity. But have you heard about micro-cheating? It has a lot to do with small acts of cheating that can hinder a healthy relationship. These acts might seem trivial to you, but when viewed in totally, micro cheating can cause major trust issues in a relationship.

Health Shots got in touch with relationship coach Deepika Shah tells us what IS micro-cheating, how to spot symptoms of micro-cheating, and how to deal with it.

What is micro-cheating?

The literal definition of micro-cheating is when one partner breaks trust through small acts of cheating. “The various examples of micro cheating can be like texting other men or women, meeting them without informing their partner, excessively and secretly liking their pictures on social media,” explains Shah. Basically, micro-cheating is the phase before cheating, and it has the potential to turn into a full-fledged affair which may involve physical intimacy as well, so don’t take it lightly. “In simpler words, micro cheating is when you are not fully committed to your partner, nor you are fully cheating,” Shah adds.

A woman hiding and her phone from her partner in bed
Hiding your texts from your partner is a form of micro cheating. Image courtesy: Freepik

5 signs of micro-cheating

Even if the micro-cheating is done in secret, you can always make out because your partner will start behaving differently with you. There might be a sudden shift in priorities. You might feel that you have become less important and that feeling of being cared and loved lessens. Trust your intuition, says Shah. Here are some examples that will help you:

1. Flirtatious behaviour with the opposite sex

While there is nothing wrong in having opposite gender friends, it’s not ideal when this is done without the knowledge of your partner. Sending flirty texts and having flirtatious interactions are examples of micro cheating.

2. Social media attention and flirting

You don’t have physically meet someone else to micro cheat. Liking someone’s photos and chatting on the phone secretly, without your partner knowing is cheating too.

3. Forming an intimate bond

Getting intimate with someone does not only mean physical intimacy, it can be emotional as well. But if you catch your partner meeting  members of the opposite sex without your information, that is cheating, and so is sharing intimate feelings and confessions with someone else. All these come under the realm of micro cheating.

4. Secrecy

Everyone is allowed to have a private life of their own, even if they are in a relationship, but purposely hiding things from your partner may not be correct. Talking to someone in a low voice so that your partner does not hear you is an example of this. Saving  contacts under false name is another example, and so is, deleting call history and messages.

Also Read: Mind games in relationships: Know how to deal with insecure men

5. Dating apps

If you are in a steady relationship, then dating apps have literally no use for you. So, installing dating apps on your phone can indicate your desire to step out of the relationship.

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A couple in therapy
Couple therapy is a good way to bounce back after micro cheating. Image courtesy: Pexels

What to do if your partner is micro-cheating?

Get down to resolving the matter! What’s done is done. It is important to not prolong the issue. “This will lead to more fights and arguments, which will probably make the reasons for micro cheating more pronounced. It’s important to resolve the issues as soon as possible,” suggests Shah.

1. Talk it out

Come clean with your partner about his or her actions, but try not to be emotional about it. Take some time to absorb what is happening in your life, and then have a calm discussion with your partner. If you are the one who has been micro-cheating, then apologizing is your safest bet. You can always keep your micro-cheating behaviour a secret but that would only make you feel guilty and uncomfortable.

2. Rebuild trust

Have a discussion on how you can together work on rebuilding the trust in your relationship. Work on creating a safe space for you two, and address the issues that led to the micro cheating in the first place. Listen to their side of the story as well, and talk about what hurt you too. If you are the one who has cheated, assure your partner that this won’t happen again.

3. Define boundaries

After discussion, come up with what is acceptable to the two of you, and what is not. It would be easier for both if the boundaries in the relationship are well defined. This needs participation from both parties and no one side should be dominant over the other.

4. Build your bond

It is very important to take note of what went wrong, and then seek to correct that. Micro-cheating does in no way indicate that your relationship is over. But you need to address the root cause, and change that. If you have cheated then build a strong will to remain loyal to your partner and not get tempted by these temporary flings. Remember how they have the power to destroy the life you have build together with your loved one.

5. Seek professional help

If things seem too distraught to be repaired, you can always go to a relationship coach or consultant and try to salvage your relationship. The important thing is to not lose hope and consulting a professional may help both of deal with your feelings in a better manner.

Can you prevent micro-cheating?

Yes, you can try! Here are some easy steps to follow:

  • Step 1: Talk openly without worrying what your partner may say. If you have done something wrong, take responsibility and let them know
  • Step 2: Keep your phone aside and spend quality time together because mindless scrolling won’t lead you anywhere
  • Step 3: Start by being transparent about your life outside of your relationship. Introduce your friends to your partner. It makes him/her feel secure
  • Step 4: Resolve any misunderstanding before they turn into doubts
  • Step 5: Deepen your bond by spending quality time together doing activities each of you love
  • Step 6: Though it is important to respect each other’s privacy but if at times your partner wants your phone let them have it. Refusing it may look like you are hiding something.
  • Step 7: Don’t do anything in secret which when exposed may cause arguments and fights.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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