What Is Micro Cheating? Signs, & How to Move Forward

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06 February 2024

6 Mins

We have all found ourselves in situations such as liking a tempting post on Instagram, engaging in a flirtatious conversation, or perhaps sliding into an ex's DMs. These actions don't fall under the traditional definition of cheating but they still provoke feelings of discomfort and unease, which we usually know as micro cheating.

Our feelings matter, and understanding the ins and outs of micro-cheating can be a crucial step in maintaining healthy relationships. So, let’s understand what micro cheating exactly is, its signs, and ways to combat it.

What Is Micro Cheating?

Micro cheating refers to a set of behaviors that, while not necessarily crossing the line into outright infidelity, can be considered minor betrayals or breaches of trust within a relationship.

These behaviors are usually subtle and can involve actions, words, or online interactions that suggest a level of romantic or emotional involvement with someone other than your partner.

Talk to a relationship counselor and understand what is microcheating for free.

Difference between Micro Cheating vs. Cheating

The primary difference between micro cheating and outright cheating lies in how much trust is broken and the kinds of actions that happen. Cheating is a clear breach of commitment, while micro-cheating is more about subtle actions that can still hurt the relationship. Let’s go deep into some of the micro cheating examples.

This is what cheating involves

  • A big breach of trust that's clear and serious
  • Physical involvement, such as kissing, having sex, or having a romantic relationship with someone else, when you are committed to a person
  • Forming deep emotional connections or romantic feelings with someone outside your relationship
  • It's seen as a clear violation of the commitment and loyalty expected in a relationship

This is what micro-cheating involves:

  • Doing small things that aren't as clear or physical as traditional cheating
  • Tiny actions that might seem harmless but can make someone feel betrayed
  • Emotional or flirty actions, keeping secrets, or having connections with others that go beyond what's okay in the relationship
  • It's not as bad as cheating, but it can still break trust and cause feelings of betrayal

Signs You are Micro Cheating

Micro-cheating is not always easy to detect, as these are small actions but there are certain signs that you must be aware of to understand these situations. Here are signs that you might be experiencing micro-cheating:

  • You hide your phone or are secretive about your messages
  • You frequently "like" or comment on someone else's social media posts in a flirtatious manner
  • You maintain close contact with an ex-partner without your current partner's knowledge
  • You share intimate details about your relationship issues with someone outside of your partner
  • You keep an active online dating profile, even if you are not actively using it
  • You spend a lot of one-on-one time with someone you find attractive
  • You compare your partner unfavorably to others in conversations
  • You frequently check out or make comments about attractive strangers
  • You engage in secretive or private online conversations with someone your partner may not approve of
  • You downplay or omit details about your relationship status when interacting with others
  • You accept and encourage romantic or flirtatious gestures from someone other than your partner

Signs You are Being Micro Cheated On

Being micro-cheated can make you feel upset or unsure about your relationship. It's important to be aware of subtle signs that may indicate these small betrayals. Look out for these micro cheating signs:

  • Your partner talks a lot with an ex or someone you don't know about
  • Your partner seems distant or not as into your relationship
  • They keep their social media and messages a secret, not sharing what they're up to online
  • Your partner doesn't talk about you on social media, at work, or with their friends
  • When you bring up these worries, they get defensive, play it down, or try to make you feel like you're wrong (gaslighting)

What Does Micro-Cheating Mean About Your Relationship?

Micro-cheating may indicate certain issues or concerns within a relationship, but its significance may vary depending on personal perspective and the specific behaviors involved. Here are some potential effects of micro-cheating on a relationship:

  • A breakdown in communication between partners
  • Trust issues
  • Unresolved fights
  • Personal insecurity or a desire for external validation
  • Need for clearer boundaries within the relationship
  • Emotional infidelity
  • Childhood patterns
  • Attachment styles
  • Learned behaviors and patterns

What to Do If You are Experiencing Micro Cheating

There are several helpful steps you can take to address the micro-cheating issue and strengthen your connection with your partner. Check out these strategies:

1. Communicate openly

Initiate an open and honest conversation with your partner. Share your concerns and express your feelings without blaming or accusing. Use "I" statements to describe your emotions and reactions.

2. Define boundaries

Clearly define and discuss the boundaries that make both partners comfortable within the relationship. Building clear expectations helps prevent misunderstandings and reinforces commitment to each other.

3. Ask for explanation

Give your partner the opportunity to explain their actions. It's possible that the micro-cheating behaviors were unintentional or driven by a lack of awareness. When you understand their perspective, it can provide clarity.

4. Reanalyze relationship dynamics

Consider whether there are broader issues in the relationship that need attention. Assess the overall health of your partnership and be open to making necessary adjustments to improve communication and connection.

5. Focus on rebuilding trust

If trust has been compromised, work together to rebuild it. This may involve setting new boundaries, being transparent with each other, and consistently demonstrating commitment to the relationship.

6. Build emotional intimacy

Invest time and effort in building emotional intimacy with your partner. Share experiences, thoughts, and feelings to create a deeper connection. Emotional closeness can strengthen the bond between partners.

7. Seek professional help

If the issues continue or become more complex, consider seeking the help of a relationship counselor or therapist. Professional guidance can provide valuable insights and strategies for addressing underlying concerns.

When to Reach Out for Help

If you find yourself dealing with micro-cheating in your relationship, reaching out for help can be beneficial in several situations. Firstly, if you are unsure about how to communicate your feelings or address the issue with your partner, seeking guidance from a relationship counselor or therapist can provide valuable insights.

If discussions with your partner don't lead to a solution, or if you both struggle to establish clear boundaries, a third-party perspective can help facilitate productive conversations. Relationship experts can also assist in uncovering underlying issues contributing to the micro-cheating behaviors and work with both partners to find constructive solutions.

Ultimately, reaching out for help is advisable when the challenges seem beyond your ability to manage effectively as a couple.

Talk to a relationship counselor and become transparent with yourself and your partner for free.

How can Now&Me Help You?

If you are dealing with micro-cheating in your relationship, Now&Me is here to help. Our platform provides a safe space for you to talk about your feelings and get support from qualified experts. We offer affordable therapy starting at just Rs 30/-, making professional help accessible.

Alongside therapy, Now&Me gives you self-help resources like articles, guides, and forums to help you deal with micro-cheating issues. What makes us special is our supportive community, where you can share thoughts without fear of judgment.

With Now&Me, you have a comprehensive approach to dealing with micro cheating—professional guidance, useful resources, and a caring community. Download the Now&Me app to take the first step towards understanding and healing in your relationship.


Now&Me articles are written by experienced mental health contributors and are purely based on scientific research and evidence-based practices, which are thoroughly reviewed by experts, including therapists and psychologists with various specialties, to ensure accuracy and alignment with current industry standards.

However, it is important to note that the information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Individual circumstances vary, and it is advisable to consult with a qualified mental health professional for personalized advice and guidance.

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