Cheating is one of the most feared events in a relationship – a deal-breaker in many situations. Beyond physical cheating and emotional cheating is another scenario that you may not know about. It’s called micro-cheating, and it can be just as damaging as its large-scale counterpart. What is micro-cheating, and what signs should you watch for? We’ll explain more in this couple’s counseling guide from Oakland Psychological Clinic.
What Is Micro-Cheating?
Micro-cheating involves small, secret encounters with someone other than your partner. They may be in the form of text messages, conversations at work, social media messages, inside jokes, and more. While these acts seem innocent on their own, the secrecy behind them is what crosses the line into cheating.
Example: Let’s say you have a strong connection with a coworker. You maintain a professional relationship at work, but after hours, you chat on Facebook. You don’t tell your spouse about the chat, or more importantly, you make an effort to hide it or lie about it. This shows that you feel guilty or embarrassed by your actions, which brushes the line of emotional cheating.
How to Tell If You’re Micro-Cheating
This part is fairly simple. If you have secret interactions with someone other than your partner, you’re probably micro-cheating. They do not have to be physical. Most forms of micro-cheating happen through text or social media messages. If your spouse asks about a certain person, do you feel the need to hide certain information? Do you feel guilty after flirting or laughing about an inside joke? Be aware of your own actions and hold yourself accountable for them.
How to Tell If Your Partner Is Micro-Cheating
Micro-cheating is a little harder to identify if you’re on the other end of it. Your partner may not even realize he or she is doing it. Does your spouse tend to change the subject when a certain person gets brought up? Does your spouse spend a lengthy amount of time privately chatting on social media? Does your spouse naturally light up when a person enters the room? These are all potential signs of micro-cheating.
Just because your spouse does something like this does not mean he or she is cheating. If you are concerned about the nature of your partner’s outside relationships, talk about it. Explain why you feel worried about it and what would make you feel more comfortable. We will provide more information in Part 2.
Does This Mean I Can’t Have Close Friends?
No, not at all. You can have meaningful relationships with people from all backgrounds. However, there should be a level of transparency about these relationships. If the other person contacts you, there should be no secrecy. You don’t have to show your spouse every conversation, but he or she should be able to know you’re having one.
What to Do after Micro-Cheating
If you have experienced micro-cheating in your relationship, you can overcome it. In fact, micro-cheating is more common than most people realize because the people involved are not always aware of their actions. In Part 2 of this guide, we will explain what to do after micro-cheating and how to get couples counseling after infidelity.
To schedule an appointment with a couples counselor in Michigan, contact the Oakland Psychological Clinic location nearest to you.