Monogamy is a tricky concept and so is marriage, and that is why cheating is something that is unavoidable. Even the people who seem faithful, they also engage in something called “micro-cheating.”
Micro-cheating is kind of a discreet and innovative way that people step out of their relationships. Micro-cheating makes people feel like they are not really cheating, hence they do it without guilt or regret. This is a dangerously slippery slope that harms a relationship beyond repair.
Let’s find out what is micro-cheating and how it harms relationships
In micro-cheating, you are emotionally and physically focused on a person who is not your partner. And in that way, your focus shifts from your partner and even if you two are together, you are with someone else mentally.
While these activities don’t seem extensively damaging or dangerous, the state of being emotionally focused on someone else eventually takes a toll on your relationship. According to psychiatrists, once you have started to engage in micro-cheating, it’s just a slippery slope afterward from where your relationship just goes downhill. Most relationships do not recover from this.
Signs your spouse might be micro-cheating on you
#1. They always keep their phone face down
You can’t see notifications that pop up if your partner keeps their phone face down. Some micro-cheaters will go so far as to disguise texting apps as other apps or only chat within password-protected social media private messages, Madden says.
#2. They delete whole text conversations
Are there whole text threads missing with someone you know your spouse texts regularly with? “If they are deleting stuff so you don’t accidentally see something, even if it has nothing to do with sex, that is still cheating,” Madden says. “There’s a reason they feel like they have to hide it and it’s not a good reason.”
#3. They’re constantly on their phone during family time
If you ask your spouse to put the phone away so you can have uninterrupted time together, and they can’t, that’s a red flag, Dr. Patel-Dunn says. It shows they prioritize that “friendship” over your relationship.
#4. They call someone “just a friend” but spend more time talking to them than you
“People caught micro-cheating will almost always claim they are ‘just friends’ with the person you are worried about,” Madden says. “If the other person has feelings for them, they might not even be aware that they are on a slippery slope.” Pay more attention to what your spouse does than what they say.
#5. They won’t share their phone passcode
There are plenty of reasons you need the passcode to your partner’s phone—like using it to look something up or answering the phone when their mom calls, Madden says. People who don’t have anything to hide won’t have an issue sharing their unlock code. (Hint: This can also be a sign of sex addiction.)
#6. They have someone saved in their phone under the wrong name
Any time someone is lying, there’s a problem, Dr. Patel-Dunn says. So if you notice that your spouse is constantly texting with someone whose name you don’t recognize, they’re either hiding their relationship with that person from you or they’ve saved someone you do know under a false name—often a name of the opposite gender, to throw off suspicion.
#7. Your sex life is dead
When your partner is getting their romantic and sexual needs met through another person, they naturally turn less to you, Dr. Patel-Dunn says. This often manifests as declining sex life and much less physical and emotional intimacy between you.”
What to do if your spouse is micro-cheating
“The best way to counteract and prevent micro-cheating is to work on strengthening your relationship,” Madden says. “Lean into the relationship, pay more attention to your partner, plan date nights. Because here is the truth: Many people are tempted to cheat because they don’t feel appreciated or loved at home.”
Dr Patel-Dunn says:
“In many cases, physical cheating is an impulsive act, often as the result of being temporarily impaired from drinking. On the other hand, emotional affairs are intentional, and require a series of increasingly intimate decisions over a period of time.”
“Both types of affairs are terrible (and they can happen together) but it’s often the emotional aspect that is the hardest to recover from because it was premeditated. It can feel easier to forgive a spouse for a one-night stand than for months of lying and deception.”
When it comes to deciding if something is cheating, follow the Golden Rule principle. “Ask yourself, if you found out your partner was doing what you are about to do, would it hurt your feelings?”
Featured Image Courtesy: Disturbia