Let’s face the cold hard facts: infidelity is so rampant these days. In fact, research tells us that around 23% of men and 12% of women who are married have engaged in some form of sexual relations with someone other than their spouse. And yes, it’s so easy to determine when someone is cheating on heir spouse in the sexual sense. However, there are other forms of cheating that are much more difficult to spot out.
In a recent study published by the Journal of Sexual and Marital Therapy and findings by other various experts in the field, there are many various forms of cheating that don’t necessarily involve actual sex. These forms of infidelity can range from sexting to casual flirting. The spectrum of cheating can change depending on the perspective of the people involved in the relationship. There are multiple and conflicting definitions of infidelity – and that’s why it’s always important for couples to be drawing the lines and setting the boundaries in their relationships.
So, what is micro-cheating exactly?
It’s actually certain behaviors that skirt around the traditional understandings and perceptions of what infidelity really means. It’s when people try to push the envelope of what is accepted loyal behavior in a relationship. It’s when people try to walk the line between being faithful and unfaithful to their partners. However, unlike real infidelity that you can spot from a distance, micro-cheating can be much harder to identify because the definitions can depend on the people who are in the relationships.
For some people, browsing through dating apps like Tinder even though you’re in a relationship might be innocent and meaningless. However, other people might not be so comfortable with finding out that their partners are still on these dating sites, to begin with. However, experts have concluded that the most common form of micro-cheating can take the shape of flirtatious texting or communications with a third party (regardless of any plans or intentions).
Is micro-cheating really a problem in relationships?
Well, it all depends on the people in the relationship themselves. However, it’s important to note that micro-cheating in itself might not necessarily be something to be worried about. But the truth remains that micro-cheating can often lead to bigger and more serious problems. For instance, your partner might just randomly be browsing through Tinder. But then, one thing leads to another and they’re already meeting up with these potential mates behind your back. And sometimes, it’s quite inevitable. Human nature just makes us that way; to always want more. We are all social creatures and we are constantly craving for the social interactions that we don’t have.
There are times wherein flirtatious interactions with someone outside of the relationship is completely innocent and harmless. A lot of people flirt just as a way to boost their own egos and practice their own confidence. They try to validate their personal attractiveness by putting it to the test with other people. And that can even be healthy in a relationship. It keeps the sense of confidence and self-esteem within a person alive. That can make you more attractive to your partner.
However, are the potential benefits really worth the risk?
Yes, you might be feeling better about yourself if someone is actually responding to your flirtatious advances but what happens when you can no longer control the urges? What happens when your seemingly innocent flirtations start turning into something real? What happens then? That’s when the slope becomes really slippery and you and your partner might both regret ever allowing it to get to this point.
So what exactly do you have to do if you find out that your partner is engaging in micro-cheating?
Well, you really have to engage in proactive communication with your partner. That means the both of you really have to set the house rules. You need to be laying out the groundwork for your relationship by discussing your boundaries, expectations, and standards for one another. The more transparent you are about what you expect from one another in your relationship, then the easier it will be for you to hold each other accountable.
It can be really awkward to talk about this stuff in the relationship. However, it’s always a conversation that you need to be having. It’s not just one talk that the two of you have at the start of the relationship. You should both be learning from one another as you go along in your relationship. And that requires opening up to each other on a consistent basis.
At the end of the day, the healthiest relationships are the ones that are able to block out all of the unnecessary noise. And if you and your partner are just able to really focus on your relationship and on each other, then you have really high chances of making things work.