A leading relationship and dating coach has revealed the 15 signs your partner could be micro-cheating, and what to do about it right now.
‘Micro-cheating is any action that could be interpreted as flirty, and it is therefore a subset of infidelity,’ Louanne told FEMAIL.
‘The micro-cheater’s actions are more subtle than physical or emotional cheating, to the point where they may not even know they’re engaging in it.’
A leading relationship and dating coach has revealed the 15 signs your partner could be micro-cheating, and what to do about it right now (Louanne Ward pictured)
There are many subtle indicators of micro-cheating, the relationship expert explained, but 15 are more common than most:
‘It’s the secret Tinder profile, the flirty water cooler conversations with a co-worker, the seemingly harmless wink at the waitress,’ Louanne said.
‘They may not seem like much, but small acts begin to add up, and these behaviours begin to erode the stability of a relationship – creating jealousy and damaging trust, confidence and ultimately, longevity.’
1. Communicating with an ex on social media
The first example of micro-cheating Louanne highlighted is communicating with or following an ex on social media.
‘It might not seem like much, but catching your partner stalking an ex’s profile regularly or chatting to an ex is never a good sign for a relationship,’ Louanne said.
2. Having sex with someone else
One of the more obvious signs is having sex with someone without telling them you are still seeing other people.
A relationship may be new, but Louanne said that is no reason not to be upfront.
The first example of micro-cheating Louanne highlighted is communicating with or following an ex on social media (stock image)
3. Keeping your options open
In the modern dating world, many people who are seeing someone will happily be in daily contact and communication with someone who believes they are exclusive, while they all the while ‘keep their options open’ and talk to other people.
‘Our phones have become our second favourite accessory next to Netflix (especially during snap lockdowns), potentially ruining our relationships,’ Louanne said.
‘They’ve become our crutch to lean on when we’re standing alone at the train station, bored with work (or our social circles) or relaxing after a long day.’
4. Setting up plan B while still dating
If you’ve ever been with someone who you think is starting to let go of you while setting up their next relationship, this is micro-cheating.
‘Setting up a plan B while still dating the person you intend to break up with is not a good look,’ Louanne said.
5. Complimenting other people on social media
Seen your partner excessively complimenting someone else on social media and try to hide it?
Louanne said this is an example of micro-cheating.
6. Messaging people in secret
In the same way, messaging someone in secret and ‘building strong emotional connections’ is a strong example of micro-cheating.
‘It shouldn’t surprise you that these behaviours aren’t just reserved for the dating addicts or those in toxic relationships,’ Louanne said.
7. Having regular after-work drinks with a single
You’re right to be suspicious if your partner is always having lunches, coffees or after-work drinks with someone who is single and not inviting you, Louanne said.
Chances are, even if they aren’t actively cheating, again they are building those strong emotional connections.
8. Having secret fantasies
The dating expert also highlighted a porn fantasy as something that could constitute as micro-cheating.
If you aren’t sharing these fantasies with your partner, then you could get tempted to do something else.
What to do if you catch your partner micro-cheating
Whatever your perception of micro-cheating, setting clear boundaries with your partner is crucial to avoiding miscommunications, turned disagreements leading to future breakups.
Louanne has several tips for dealing with a micro-cheater:
1. Don’t over-react or come from an accusatory standpoint.
2. Before opening the discussion make sure your past isn’t triggering insecurities causing an over-reaction.
3. Open the conversation by telling your partner it isn’t a big deal, but you’d like to share something with them.
4. Communicate your perceptions and how you feel and allow your partner the same opportunity.
5. Open the discussion on boundaries, and what your definitions of micro-cheating to ensure you’re on the same page.
6. Resist the urge to break the trust by snooping through your partner’s phone, iPad or computer. Trust your intuition.
7. If your partner is insensitive to your feeling and requests and things don’t change, consider whether it’s better to simply end things.
9. Massages with an attractive masseuse
If your partner regularly gets massages with an attractive masseuse, you should be worried, Louanne said.
10. Visiting strip clubs
Similarly, if they’ve been known to visit strip clubs on a regular basis, this could also be a sign you need to worry.
11. Talking to other people about relationship problems
If you’ve got a problem in your relationship, your first port of call ought to be talking to your partner about it.
But Louanne said a micro-cheater’s first response might be to discuss it with someone else, rather than trying to resolve the problem with the person closest to them.
12. Looking at your partner’s phone
You should never check a partner’s phone, iPad or computer in secret.
This, almost more than anything, betrays a huge lack of trust, Louanne said.
You’re right to be suspicious if your partner is always having lunches, coffees or after-work drinks with someone who is single and not inviting you, Louanne said (stock image)
13. Lying about your relationship status
Lying about your relationship status is a big no no, Louanne said, and if you ever catch someone you’re with doing it, you need to ditch them right now.
14. Keeping an active dating profile
As soon as you start dating and committing to someone fully, you shouldn’t retain your dating profile.
Louanne said if you see someone you’re dating on Tinder or Bumble, it’s a red flag straight away.
15. Listing someone by a fake name
Finally, if you see that your partner has someone listed under a fake name, it’s a sure-fire warning sign it’s time to end the relationship.
‘Micro-cheating may be growing more prevalent in the era of online dating and COVID-19, but it’s a subset of infidelity with the same amount of power to tear down the strongest relationships,’ Louanne said.
‘Even behaviours as harmless as a flirty emoji or after-work drinks can, when repeatedly engaged in, create lasting divides.’
She concluded: ‘As a result, open communication and clear boundaries are crucial to navigating this modern dating phenomenon that looks like it’s here to stay.’
For more information about Louanne Ward, you can visit her website here.