What Is Micro-Cheating In A Relationship? (Explained)

If you’ve noticed the subtle signs your partner may be doing things that cross the line and relationship boundaries with other people. It can be hard to know what to do or how to define their behavior when it’s not full-blown cheating.

They commit small acts that are ‘almost cheating’ and begin skirting the line when it comes to what could be deemed as inappropriate behavior in the relationship.

While it can be hard to know what to do in this scenario. There’s a good chance what they are doing could be defined, or described as being Micro-cheating.

So what exactly is ‘Micro-Cheating’?

What Is Micro-Cheating?

Micro-cheating is when small acts that could be considered cheating are committed by one partner in a relationship. Micro-cheating (almost cheating) is the act of cultivating inappropriate, physically, emotionally, or intimately charged connections outside of the relationship with someone else.

What Is Micro-Cheating In A Relationship

What Counts As Micro-Cheating?

While many things can count as Micro-cheating in a relationship. It usually involves small acts or behavior which is intended to cultivate inappropriate relationships or connections outside of the current relationship.

As a general rule, it’s counted as micro-cheating if you seek out another person with the sole intent of building an emotional, intimate, or romantically charged relationship with them.

What can be counted as micro-cheating (almost cheating) will heavily depend on how one partner views what the other is doing at that moment.

A few things that normally count as micro-cheating in a relationship are:

  1. Seeking out intimate or flirty interactions with people you find attractive.
  2. Trying to build intimate or romantic energy with someone else.
  3. Cultivating a deep emotional connection with someone who is not your partner.
  4. Contacting an ex-partner when you’re upset behind your current partners back.
  5. Using social media to flirt with, stalk, or send messages to someone you’re interested in.
  6. Lying about your relationship status to someone you’re attracted to.
  7. Keeping an active dating profile, or using dating apps.
  8. Using a fake name in your phone contacts, or hiding messages and calls.
  9. Sexting, or sending intimate photos to someone else.

However, every relationship is different. It can have its own set of boundaries or viewpoints regarding what could and could not count as micro-cheating.

Is Micro-Cheating The Same As Cheating?

Typically, micro-cheating involves small acts and inappropriate behavior committed by one partner that is considered to be almost cheating by the other. Cheating, on the other hand, is when one partner is engaged in intimate, physical, or sexual contact outside of the relationship.

The main difference between micro-cheating and cheating is the severity of the behavior. Small acts that could be considered micro-cheating at the start, could develop into full-blown cheating if left unchecked, or unchallenged.

Micro-cheating usually consists of behavior like flirtatious texting, lying about being single, or the pursuit of someone who you find attractive outside of the relationship.

Which would all be deemed as inappropriate behavior by your partner, and upset them if they were to see, hear, or witness what you were doing.

Whereas, cheating is when you are fully engaged in pursuing sexual, physical, intimate, or emotional connections outside of your current relationship.

How Do You Know If Someone Is Micro-Cheating?

If you suspect your partner of micro-cheating. What signs, behaviors, or habits should you look for and how do you spot them?

In many cases, a micro-cheater may seem distant or defensive when you confront them about the behavior you think could be almost cheating. The signs they are micro-cheating can be subtle, and can also involve small acts they believe you shouldn’t be upset by if you found out.

While there can be many signs that someone is micro-cheating. The majority of these signs can be hard to spot as they often take place on phones or as part of their usual daily habits.

Signs Someone Is Micro-Cheating

If you suspect your partner of micro-cheating (almost cheating) on you in the relationship. Here are some of the signs they are micro-cheating.

  1. They hide their phone from you and never let you borrow it.
  2. They seem distant or indifferent during conversations.
  3. They become defensive when you ask them about interactions they’ve had.
  4. They don’t reveal their relationship status on social media or in public.
  5. They seem fixated on their phone, and it feels like they give it more attention than they give you.
  6. They drop hints about someone they find attractive or interesting.
  7. They become detached or ghost you when they’re upset or during arguments.
  8. They delete text messages and call history on their phone.
  9. They call someone “just a friend” but talk about them like they’re something more.
  10. They ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on every single post a friend makes on social media.
  11. They ask you what the boundaries are in the relationship.
  12. They save someone under a ‘fake name’ in their phone contacts.
  13. They make jokes about cheating or infidelity.
  14. They make constant comparisons between you and somebody else.
  15. They are never romantic, intimate, and offer you less attention than before.

[Read: Signs Your Partner Is Using Social Media To Cheat On You]

While these are just some of the signs your partner could be micro-cheating on you in the relationship. There can be many subtle things they do that could suggest they are doing something they shouldn’t be behind your back.

How Do You Avoid Micro-Cheating In A Relationship?

When you want to avoid or stop micro-cheating in a relationship. It’s important to talk openly and set clear boundaries for what should be considered almost cheating in the relationship.

You need to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about what you deem to be micro-cheating or inappropriate behavior. Talk to them, and take steps to strengthen your relationship. Chat about what counts as micro-cheating or cheating, and continue checking in with your partner.

It’s very common for micro-cheating to begin when a relationship is at its weakest point. Constant arguments, disagreements, or issues can all be a factor in driving someone towards micro-cheating.

If you aim to strengthen your relationship with your partner and set clear boundaries regarding what is acceptable and not acceptable. It will help to ensure you and your partner both have a better understanding of inappropriate behavior.

You, yourself also need to be confident in your viewpoint. If your partner is constantly micro-cheating or doing things you think are almost cheating. You need to follow through and let them know it’s inappropriate behavior.

Don’t allow them to continue getting away with micro-cheating, or small flirtatious acts towards someone else outside of the relationship. Confront it, and set boundaries before it turns into full-blown cheating.

Is Micro-Cheating Forgivable?

Can you forgive a micro-cheater if you catch them in the act?

While not everyone is capable of forgiving their partner for micro-cheating depending on the severity. A micro-cheater can be forgiven if they can prove they are going to prioritize the relationship or their partner.

Even though it can be upsetting to find out that your partner has been giving inappropriately charged attention to someone else, outside of the relationship.

In many cases, micro-cheating is forgivable simple because it does not cross as many lines, or relationship boundaries as cheating and infidelity do.

Micro-cheating can reside in the grey area of what could be deemed as acceptable or inappropriate behavior in a relationship.

This makes forgiving someone for doing it highly dependant on your own views towards the small acts of almost cheating they have carried out.

There can be many acts of micro-cheating that would commonly be referred to as unforgivable, especially based on their reasons for doing it.

Most of the time, whether or not it is forgivable relies on the actions of your partner after you’ve caught them in the act.

If they prove they can change, stop doing it, or open a dialogue with you to re-affirm boundaries. This is a step in the right direction, and proof they realize their actions were wrong.

How Do You Move Past Micro-Cheating?

To move past and get over micro-cheating in a relationship. You need to be honest about how you feel and allow your partner to explain themselves. You then need to set clear boundaries about what you think is inappropriate behavior and work on strengthening your relationship to rebuild trust.

While it’s true that not every couple will successfully be able to deal with and move past micro-cheating. Many couples do move past it if they are able to focus on boundaries and honesty.

A few tips for moving past micro-cheating:

  1. Confront your partner and look for reasons why they are doing it.
  2. Allow your partner to explain their actions, and be patient with them.
  3. Explain how it makes you feel, and why you think it’s inappropriate behavior.
  4. Set firm relationship boundaries regarding unacceptable behavior.
  5. Ask your partner to re-evaluate their actions, or motives for micro-cheating.
  6. Take steps to strengthen the relationship with gestures of love.
  7. Rebuild trust and reassurance with your partner.
  8. Check-in with your partner, and talk openly about boundaries.

Even though every relationship is different, and may run under its own set of rules when it comes to what is deemed as unacceptable behavior.

In most cases, micro-cheating is forgivable and will rely on both partners to work together to make changes for the better.

Is Micro-Cheating The Same As Emotional Cheating?

While Micro-cheating and Emotional cheating do share some overlap, they are not exactly the same.

Emotional cheating usually involves inappropriate levels of emotional investment being given to someone outside of the relationship. Whereas, Micro-cheating doesn’t refer exclusively to small acts of emotional boundary-crossing. Micro-cheating has a much larger scope of behaviors.

Even though there are some big similarities between the two. Micro-cheating expands beyond what is found in emotional cheating.

It can include it, but also involve the cultivation of inappropriately charged emotional, physical, and intimate connections outside of the relationship.

Emotional cheating compared to micro-cheating is also much harder to define. Simply because couples are likely to have very different ideas as to what constitutes ’emotional closeness.’