Micro-cheating: The kind of infidelity we need to start calling out.

Oh, goodie.

Just when we thought we were across all the dating terms 2017 flung at us (breadcrumbing, anyone?), 2018 has given us something new to worry about.

It’s called micro-cheating, and honestly, it seems rather legit.

Micro-cheating happens when your partner does small – seemingly innocent – things that eventually make it obvious they’re keen on someone else.

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They might strike up a friendship with a female colleague and not tell you about it. Or constantly refresh another woman’s Insta feed. Or share private jokes with a mutual friend and not include you.

While these actions might seem insignificant, they can actually be a sign that things aren’t quite right in your relationship.

According to Australian psychologist, Melanie Schilling, micro-cheating is a series of small actions that make it clear your partner is emotionally or physically interested in someone outside of the relationship.

“You might be engaging in micro-cheating if you secretly connect with another person on social media, if you share private jokes, if you downplay the seriousness of your relationship to your partner or if you enter their name under a code in your phone,” she recently explained to the Daily Mail.

“These are all signs that you are conducting a ‘covert flirtation’ and keeping it from your partner. If you feel you have something to hide – ask yourself why.”


Schilling said you can spot a micro-cheater if they quickly shut down their phone or computer when you enter the room, or if they reach out to an ex on an anniversary or on their birthday.

There are other red flags you should be on the look out for too – like your partner suddenly having a lot of “business meetings” at weird times, or if they start complimenting someone else a little too frequently.

Obviously the lines between friendship, micro-cheating, and flat out infidelity are blurred – but there is a distinction between each.

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If your partner starts doing something that’s out of character, or makes you uneasy, there’s probably something in it.

Of course, there’s a chance you’ve also been guilty of micro-cheating without even realising it.

Have you had a few too many work lunches with Ben from accounting recently? Or have you spent a bit too much time monitoring your ex-boyfriend’s trip to South America on Instagram?

Yep, you too could be a micro-cheater.

Have you ever micro-cheated on your partner? Tell us about it in the comments below.