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“Microcheating”: is this a thing now?

I guess once something gets a name on the Internet, it is, so allow me to indulge.

The definition, from a recent Esquire article, is: “If you’re exchanging flirty texts with someone who isn’t your partner, consistently liking and commenting on their posts, or leaving googly-eye emojis on their Instagram photos, you may be engaging in micro-cheating. The term describes a wide range of actions and behaviors that aren’t egregious enough to qualify as cheating but are definitely a little bit shady nonetheless.”

I’m of two minds about this, as any reasonable adult would be. In short, such behaviors COULD be a sign of future infidelity, but they certainly are not NECESSARILY a sign. Which makes micro-cheating as a broad definition just about as clear as mud.

Such behaviors COULD be a sign of future infidelity, but they certainly are not NECESSARILY a sign.

As anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows, I am a proponent of the “full trust or no trust” relationship. If you’re dating someone you don’t trust, your boyfriend liking a woman’s photo online is a threat. If you’re dating someone you completely trust, it’s just another sign that he’s the same human being he was when you first met – and liking photos is unfaithful as  he’ll ever be.

I’m well aware of the first category of men, whose micro-cheating is a slippery slope to full-blown affairs. But I try to embody the latter category of men   – guys who have flirtatious personalities and libidos that don’t shut off like a light switch after marriage, but whose healthy marriages and strong moral code would never involve infidelity.

Both sides  are important to acknowledge – but usually, the alarmists get more airtime. It’s simpler to think in black-and-white terms about attraction and behavior than engage in nuanced discussions about how people REALLY act, rather than how we think they SHOULD act. Per the Esquire article, “It is a myth to believe that being in a committed relationship means you can never or should never feel attracted to someone else.” (In fact, nearly 46% of women and 42% of men  have fantasized about someone other than their partner during sex, according to a 2015 British survey.)  Hell, I don’t even do that.

Both sides  are important to acknowledge – but usually, the alarmists get more airtime.

To be fair, the article is actually quite balanced and gets a series of expert quotes to balance out the fear-based worldview that conflates micro-cheating with cheating.

So what do you think, readers? Is sending a Facebook message to an ex-boyfriend a sign that your relationship is going down the tubes? Or is it just a sign that you were thinking momentarily of your ex-boyfriend, but have no intention of  doing anything nefarious? Do you have different rules for your own behavior than your boyfriend’s behavior?

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.