February 23, 2018

Why Micro-Cheating is still Cheating.

For more mindful relationship advice, check out: The Childhood Wounds that Keep us from Setting Boundaries. and I Hope he Loves you like This. {Poem}.

Micro-cheating, a.k.a. social media sideways comments, subtle hints via text, or any emotional overstepping of ‘the line’ is still cheating. And there’s a dark side… trust me.

Love can be so terribly complicated at times.

Lately I’ve been playing back the series of events that led to my striking out on my own, and leaving my kids’ mom last year, with the tenacity of a crime scene investigator.

What is a Micro-Cheater?

Not wanting to be the run-of-the-mill man that only sees one side of the story, I’ve been trying out various scenarios in my head that include myself as the problem. I did bring some stuff to the relationship that most likely hastened its conclusion. In truth, I was a serial micro-cheater.

This sort of behavior is not too difficult to engage in these days. The most common entry into this world for a man like myself will usually begin on Facebook or Instagram and include a sexy photo posted by a friend. Then there’s the message that goes “I want you to know you look striking and beautiful but I couldn’t very well leave that as a comment. I wouldn’t want [insert name here] to get the wrong idea.”

Actually, in retrospect, I didn’t want [insert name here] to get the right idea.

This would then escalate as a private conversation by the flattered photo subject and myself, and before you knew it, racy photos were flying through cyberspace from iPhone to iPhone. It was, as they say, on.

Why this is known as “micro-cheating” is because the word cheating usually implies an exchange of one kind of bodily fluid or another. This brand of betrayal is generally pretty dry (to keep it as delicate as I can). The cheating aspect in the word micro-cheating is fairly obvious. Is this something you want your partner to know about? Are you hiding the messages? Are you deleting the messages? Yup, that’s cheating.

As most people should know, when one is disengaging from the relationship they are currently in and putting time and energy into a different person or situation, they are doing everything they can to systematically destroy their present relationship.

The Dark Side to Micro-Cheating: It Doesn’t Actually Make You Feel Good

From firsthand experience, I can say I never got busted, but now that I am sitting here in my groovy bachelor pad, I can say with a degree of certainty—it didn’t really matter. As long as I was able to sell myself on the passive idea that greener grass was growing somewhere else, I was helping close the curtain.

Obviously, it did just that.

The particular aspect of micro-cheating that is most insidious is the fact that, at first blush, it sort of seems like you’re getting away with something great. You get all of the serotonin rush of flirtation and lust without the guilt of actually having slept with someone else.

For all of its destructive power though, you may as well just go ahead and commit the old-fashioned act like they used to do pre-internet. I am pretty sure that it hurts the betrayed person just as much to know that their partner is getting nude photos of a mutual friend secretly, as it does to find out they’re meeting at a hotel and getting it on.

While this is not meant to be a cautionary tale, there is something to take away from all of this: it’s never worth it.

Unfortunately, behaviors like micro-cheating fall in line with all other instantly gratifying and empty practices that feel good in the moment but create problems in the long run.

~According to Trustify.info these were the infidelity statistics in the Unites States as of 2017:

  1. In over one third of marriages, one or both partners admitted to some form of cheating.
  2. 40 percent of online flirtations graduate into physical affairs.
  3. 10 percent of affairs begin online.
  4. 36 percent of men and women admit to having had an affair with a co-worker.
  5. If a person has cheated in the past, they are 350 percent more likely to cheat again.
  6. 22 percent of men admit to having cheated on their significant other.

I’ll admit, there’s nothing terribly sexy about working on a difficult long-term relationship, but the rewards of this kind of work will help keep you sane when all of your other friends are noticing their lives crashing down around them.

And what could be sexier than that?

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