Label volunteer, Bola Johnson, explores definitions of micro-cheating. What is it and why do relationships become entangled in it?

Micro-cheating is a topic that is frequently disregarded because so much of our lives are now centred around the internet realm.

Micro-cheating is characterised as seemingly little, improper behaviours that take place outside of one’s committed relationship and are frequently done unknowingly, according to Lydia Antonatos’ definition in a “choosing therapy” article. These actions don’t generally qualify as actual infidelity, although they do have certain characteristics with it, such as dishonesty and secrecy while in a committed relationship. Examples of micro-cheating that are widely accepted include flirtatious messaging or texting, “liking” or posting a provocative comment on someone’s Instagram, lying about your relationship status online or in person, maintaining a dating profile to see if you get matched with someone “better” than your main person, and giving your phone number to someone you know is attracted to you. Many of these behaviours are pretty typical among people in partnerships. Yet this is because everyone’s definition of micro-cheating is different. What another person may perceive as micro-cheating to them, and hence disrespectful, another person may not perceive as such.

According to others, micro-cheating is just acting in a relationship in a way that isn’t outright rude or cheating, but you wouldn’t want the other person with whom you are in a relationship to learn about it or your motivations. particularly if there is any kind of secrecy underlying their behaviour. Although doing it obviously makes them feel guilty about their relationship, it almost seems as though they are aware that they shouldn’t be doing it.

Although the concept of micro-cheating is ultimately arbitrary, it would be simpler to avoid engaging in such behaviour by simply upholding the mutually agreed-upon relationship norms and standards. This way, both of you will know what is expected of you, and as long as you both uphold this, no such disrespect should arise.

Article Edited by: Rebecca Pearson

Header designed by: Sarim Mangi


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