We had ghosting, breadcrumbing, and benching. Now, there’s a whole new dating term that’ll make you potentially second guess your own dating habits, and those of your partner. It’s called micro-cheating, and you may have experienced it yourself.
In an article in the Daily Mail, psychologist Melanie Schilling explains that unlike the most obvious kinds of cheating, micro-cheating is much more subtle than you might expect. In fact, it could be as small as a work relationship that you forget to mention to your love.
“You might be engaging in micro-cheating if you secretly connect with another person on social media, if you share private jokes, if you downplay the seriousness of your relationship to your partner or if you enter their name under a code in your phone,” Schilling tells the site.
And it’s these small gestures — and hidden gestures, at that — that could break the bond you’ve grown with your partner.
“These are all signs that you are conducting a ‘covert flirtation’ and keeping it from your partner,” she adds. “If you feel you have something to hide – ask yourself why.”
The most obvious sign that micro-cheating is happening, or that you’re actively doing it yourself, is the process of secrecy. If you need to keep it a secret from your partner, it’s a form of micro-cheating, the psychologist says.
And yes, online relationships and interactions count.
If your bae is still talking to his or her ex, but hides the conversations and interactions, or comments on their Instagram posts, that’s a sign of micro-cheating.
But don’t go on thinking that any interaction with someone else outside of your relationship is automatically a sign of infidelity, Schilling says.
“Your partner may have a perfectly platonic relationship with a friend and they may be up-front and open about talking to them and seeing them. This should not ring alarm bells,” she says. “However, if they start to conceal their relationship from you or lie to you about it, then start considering the appropriateness of their connection.”
And while there are certain other signs of cheating (and according to research, men with certain faces are more likely to cheat), the most common factor you have to watch out for is the need for secrecy. Fancy some further reading? Check out the below!