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Micro-cheating’, the latest dating term on the block. Wanna know what it is?

Micro cheating in dating

What is ‘Micro-Cheating’?

Micro-cheating is a term used to describe behaviors in a committed relationship that may not be considered traditional infidelity but still exhibit signs of dishonesty and secrecy. While these actions may appear insignificant, they can still cause harm to both your partner and the relationship. Over time, dating has evolved, bringing forth new terms and trends that require us to adapt. Micro-cheating is one such concept, highlighting actions that fall short of infidelity but involve elements such as emotional connections and romantic involvement outside the relationship.

Engaging in small acts like exchanging numbers with strangers, sharing intimate secrets, sending flirtatious texts, concealing your relationship status, maintaining online dating profiles, hiding interactions or friendships, or frequently fantasizing about someone other than your partner may seem harmless initially. However, these behaviors can be categorized as micro-cheating.

According to Ekta Dixit, a life and relationship coach, micro-cheating encompasses subtle actions that breach the boundaries of a committed relationship. These actions may not involve explicit physical or sexual behavior but still involve emotional or romantic connections with individuals outside the relationship. While they may not constitute full-blown betrayal, they can violate the spoken or unspoken norms, trust, and boundaries within a couple.

How does it impact us?

The concept of micro-cheating is not entirely new. It is a result of our contemporary fascination with labeling dating trends. However, it has become more prevalent in recent times due to our increasing online presence. People may feel that being in a monogamous relationship becomes monotonous or routine, leading them to seek a small escape, which can be termed micro-cheating. It can involve either a physical connection or an emotional connection that surpasses the existing relationship, as explained by Radhika Mohta, a matchmaker and relationship coach.

While micro-cheating may not always escalate into a full-fledged affair, it can create problems within the relationship. One of the primary signs of micro-cheating is prioritizing someone else’s feelings, approval, or attention over one’s partner. Consequently, micro-cheating can start innocently but eventually lead to adultery.

According to Dixit, micro-cheating can erode trust in a relationship due to differing perceptions of what constitutes cheating. When emotional energy is directed outside the relationship, it can diminish the desire for intimacy and closeness within the committed partnership. This can result in feelings of neglect, rejection, or dissatisfaction.

Suspecting micro-cheating can also have a significant impact on an individual’s self-esteem. It can lead to feelings of inadequacy, betrayal, and self-doubt. The person who has experienced micro-cheating may question their own worth and desirability, negatively affecting their overall well-being.

How can we address it?

To address micro-cheating in a relationship, it is crucial for the person engaging in such behavior to acknowledge the impact on the relationship. Open communication with your partner about exclusivity or non-monogamy preferences is essential. If you observe your partner displaying micro-cheating behaviors, it is important to express your concerns constructively and discuss how it has affected you. Establishing healthy boundaries is crucial in defining what is acceptable and what is not, as explained by Dixit.

Understanding the underlying reasons behind micro-cheating can also be helpful. Is it a result of dissatisfaction within the relationship, a need for validation, or a lack of emotional intimacy? Reflecting on these motivations can provide insight into the root causes and enable both partners to work together in addressing them. Creating new strategies to address any missing aspects in the relationship can reignite the spark between partners.

In some cases, seeking the guidance of a relationship counselor or therapist may be beneficial. A trained professional can provide a neutral space for both partners to express their concerns and facilitate productive discussions to rebuild trust and intimacy.

Similarly, Aanchal Narang, a Counseling Psychologist, emphasizes the importance of discussing clear boundaries to deal with micro-cheating. Couples should have conversations about their individual definitions of cheating and establish deal breakers. Regularly checking in and understanding your partner’s perspective on cheating is crucial because the definition can vary among different individuals.

In a nutshell, micro-cheating may not be traditional infidelity, but it can still harm relationships. Understanding the concept of micro-cheating, its potential impact, and effective communication can help identify and cope with it in a committed relationship. Open dialogue, setting boundaries, and addressing underlying issues can contribute to rebuilding trust and maintaining a healthy relationship.

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