Spotlight

Is Micro-Cheating, Cheating?

Illustration by Rahima Bhatti

By Inga Marsden

From the perspective of a University student who has had a handful of relationships, I would define infidelity as engaging in anything regarding another person, of which you would not wish your significant other to find out. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no saint, we all have flirtatious exchanges from time to time. But where would this be said to draw the line? The argument, by a number of relationship coaches I have researched, is that the allowance of micro-cheating may give a green light to physical cheating in the future. So, with the increased media coverage around this new term, I thought it may be nice to simply shed light on micro-cheating as a concept and discuss what constitutes disloyalty.

Micro-cheating is a modern phenomenon that has been coined in the 21st century. It is described by Ty Tashiro, a relationship psychologist and author, to occur whereby one partner engages in a ‘relatively small act of infidelity with someone outside of a person’s committed relationship.’ It can be viewed in numerous forms, but ultimately lies in deception and secret interactions. These acts could constitute something like holding hands with someone or simply playing down your relationship as not to ruin a potential connection with someone else. With the emergence of social media giants, there are now a plethora of new ways one could engage in potentially disrespectful acts. Before social media, we would not have had the means to scroll up on someone’s story on Instagram, flirt with someone on snapchat, like suggestive photos; the list goes on. It is indeed a subjective matter, but anything which oversteps the boundaries set in the relationship may fall under this category.

‘It can be viewed in numerous forms, but ultimately lies in deception and secret interactions. These acts could constitute something like holding hands with someone or simply playing down your relationship as not to ruin a potential connection with someone else’

According to a study by Rescue Time, the average person spends 3 hours 15 minutes on their phone. This fact may be coupled with the uncomfortable thought that during that time, your significant other may be engaging with people who would not have been so easy to reach had social media never existed. It is now easier than ever to ‘escape into the lives of others’ through platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. Illicit lovers, or micro cheaters, can entertain emotional connections with others from the comfort of their own home. Therefore, questions emerge around whether, or to what extent, emotional acts may be considered to be equivalent to the physical act of cheating.

I thought it may be interesting to hear from other University students about their take on cheating. I asked 15 of my friends here at Cardiff University, of all genders, whether three acts fall under the bracket of micro-cheating: complimenting someone online, holding hands, and kissing someone. The answers I received were not only very juicy, but reaffirmed the subjective nature of infidelity.

Complimenting someone online was deemed by 10 people to be within the cheating realm, a few said it depended on the context, and 2 said it did not. In terms of holding hands, 10 people also considered this to be cheating and the rest unanimously maintained it was not cheating. Despite inconsistencies, all 15 people agreed that kissing someone else would no doubt constitute cheating. Thank god. 

‘Despite inconsistencies, all 15 people agreed that kissing someone else would no doubt constitute cheating. Thank god’

Every relationship is different, so as to say, what constitutes disloyalty for one person may be entirely different for someone else, as shown by the results in my mini survey. It is natural for the eye to wander, however we all set our own boundaries, and when someone is acting to the detriment of our own security is when this becomes an issue. Reasons for micro cheating, whether intentional or unintentional, lie in feelings of some form of dissatisfaction in the relationship.

Due to the root of the issue deriving in dishonesty, open and proactive communication is the key to successful dispute resolution. Infidelity is not a specific behaviour. If you happen to be faced with this form of infidelity, I believe that language use when confronting your partner is pretty important. Speaking from personal experience, ideally, and in order to get the best outcome, it may be wise to approach your significant other in a proactive way, seeking to explain and understand, rather than condemn them for actions which may have blurred lines. It may also be comforting to remember that your emotions surrounding the matter are valid, and anything you feel is compromising your comfortability in the relationship, ought to be squashed instead of coming into fruition by means of passive aggression or one upping one another; we are better than that.

So, with regards to this ‘micro’ disloyalty, it is always beneficial to have honest communication regarding the matter. Whether you want to call it micro-cheating, or simply disrespect, is entirely up to you.


Instagram: @quenchspotlight
Write for us: email [email protected] or join the Facebook group where all pitches are posted
Our articles: Spotlight

css.php