Identifity is a difficult subject. No one wants to be cheated on, and good people don’t want to be unfaithful to their partners. But being unfaithful isn’t just what happens when you sleep with someone else. It comes in many, many forms.
The problem is that a lot of these types of cheating aren’t considered cheating by the people doing them. This is a phenomenon known as “micro-cheating” – but don’t let the name fool you. It can be just as hurtful to your partner as more commonly condemned forms of infidelity.
It’s important to understand the concept of micro-cheating , how hurtful it can be, and what behaviors accompany them.
HERE ARE 9 SIGNS YOUR PARTNER IS UNFAITHFUL TO YOU WITHOUT BEING AWARE OF IT
1. COMPLAINING ABOUT A PARTNER
It’s okay to need to rant about a fight or negative trait sometimes, but for the most part, your relationship problems should be kept between the parties in a relationship. It’s the respectful, mature, and positive way to handle relationship issues.
If your partner constantly complains to their friends about every single little thing you do or is spilling details about your private life to them without your consent, it can be considered a form of unfaithfulness. The same goes if you act in the same way among your friends.
This isn’t just bad because you’re backstabbing your partner. It’s bad because your friends and others you complain to are getting a negative idea of your partner, and your partner can’t defend themselves. So if your partner’s friends seem to know nitty-gritty details of your arguments, it’s time to talk about some boundaries.
If there are some serious issues that you really need to hash out, seek help from a couple’s counselor or therapist. This way, you can have an impartial listener who is aiming to help you improve and grow stronger, not take sides and point fingers.
2. HIDING FINANCIAL ACTIVITY
Arguing is part and parcel of being in a relationship. Of all the things couples fight about, money accounts for a shocking 70% of the total – a good enough reason to make sure your relationship has positive views on financial situations.
If your partner is hiding financial activity from you, they are being intentionally deceitful and breaching your trust. We’re not just talking about major problems like gambling. We’re also talking about small things, like hiding receipts, pretending not to have spent money on something, secretly moving funds into a private account, or lying about your income.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have your own money kept safe in a separate account. If you do want that to happen, though, you should bring it up with your partner – and they should be allowed to do the same thing. In other words, it should go both ways.
If you or your spouse has a spending problem that is causing you to hide your financial activity, seek help from a relevant professional, whether an accountant or addiction therapist.
3. EMOTIONAL DISHONESTY
One of the most important parts of being in a relationship as an adult is emotional openness. You have to be honest with each other in order to be on the same page. After all, you’re not mind readers; you can’t know for sure what your partner thinks or feels unless they tell you the truth.
If your partner answers that everything is fine when you ask if something is wrong, but this clearly isn’t the case, it’s a type of micro-cheating. It creates a space of distrust where you can’t believe the things that your partner says and have to constantly second-guess everything. This isn’t healthy and it can be very damaging.
Communication is crucial in all relationships. If your partner – or you – can’t be honest about emotions, it’s a major red flag. If something is bothering you, you should be able to talk about it – and they should be able to do the same when they have something on their mind.
4. COMMUNICATING WITH SOMEONE IN SECRET
Does your partner delete all chat and call history, as if they have something to hide, but you know they aren’t physically cheating? Do you find out months later that they’ve had a friend they intentionally kept a secret from you?
Similarly, do you hide your call logs and delete your text messages to and from a certain someone? Do you feel like you have to keep this person a secret from your partner? It goes both ways, and this is a form of emotional cheating.
The first person you might think of when you talk about secret correspondence is an ex. Many, many people don’t cut ties with their exes, and this is fine if you’re open about it with your partner. But there are many people out there who do this in secret, claiming that telling their partners would just make them jealous and upset – even if they give their consent.
Studies have found that people are much more likely to keep in touch with ex-partners who they maintain some positive, more-than-platonic feelings for. Some have also found that there are links between current relationship satisfaction and ex-communication.
But it isn’t just exes who might get this treatment. Maybe there’s a family member you promised to cut ties with whom you still talk to. Maybe your partner has some people he hangs out with that he feels like you shouldn’t know about. If there’s something you’re trying to keep secret from each other, it’s never harmless: it’s always because you have something to hide.
5. INVESTING EFFORT INTO A CRUSH
An emotional affair may never get sexual or even remotely physical, but to some, it’s even worse – likely because intimacy can just be intimacy, but emotions run much deeper. It’s a huge deal-breaker of the signs your partner is unfaithful to you without being aware of it.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a crush. After all, settling down with someone you love doesn’t mean you lose your sense of sight. You’ll still find other people attractive sometimes, and so will your partner; what matters is that neither person acts on that attraction.
How does an emotional affair tie into all of this? Well, this occurs when someone takes an extra step to get closer to a crush. They began to expend energy and time on this person and may even start paying a lot of attention to them constantly.
They might dress up extra nicely when they know they’ll bump into that crush. Perhaps they enjoy secret chats that they don’t tell their partner about. They may share intimate secrets and details with this person. That’s when someone’s investment in that person goes way beyond platonic interest.
6. CASUAL FLIRTING
Some people are natural flirts. For some, it’s part of social interaction and they do it for fun, not because they actually have feelings for those they flirt with. For others, they’re legitimately attracted to the other person but feel that flirting is harmless. And for many, they don’t even realize they’re flirting!
Unfortunately, all forms of casual flirting can be considered a way of being unfaithful. Even if your partner doesn’t mean to flirt, chances are that the other person is getting the flirtatious vibes loud and clear. This can make things pretty awkward even in the best-case scenario, and the other person can get the wrong idea.
There are also some people who intentionally flirt because they like the attention it earns them. This can be caused by self-esteem issues, a desire to be more attractive to others, or simply out of boredom. Although some consider casual flirting harmless, it betrays the trust of the partner they are committed to.
7. IMAGINING SOMEONE ELSE IN BED
We all have fantasies, but your intimate time in bed with your partner is meant to be focused on them. It’s a celebration of your bond, your love, and your passion for each other. If your partner seems to be having an amazing time but was actually thinking about another person throughout the whole ordeal, it can be insulting and feel like a betrayal.
Many people consider intimacy to be a very important component of their relationship. It’s disrespectful to think about someone else while it happens, and you and your partner deserve better than an absent lover.
8. LYING ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP STATUS
There are very few reasons to fib about being taken. If your partner tells people that they are single when they’re dating you, it definitely falls into the unfaithful territory. It’s hard to imagine any other reason people would do this, after all.
Some people might feel uncomfortable admitting to their relationship status in certain settings, but again, it’s hard to come up with any reason why this would be the case. The best option if your partner knows they will feel this way is to tell you about it beforehand so you know it’s out of their own anxiety or nervousness, and not a way to denounce you.
9. KEEPING DATING APPS
When you’re off the dating market, there’s no need to keep your membership. Deleting your dating apps is one of the many modern ways that someone says, “I’m now taken and committed!”
Of course, sometimes people can forget to delete them. But for those who just feel like keeping them around, you can’t help but wonder why. Are they keeping their options open? Are they really as committed as they claim?
Even worse are people who still have their dating profiles completely up and running, actively. Sure, there’s something entertaining about fooling around and chatting on Tinder or Bumble with strangers, but it definitely seems shady and can be classified as cheating.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SIGNS YOUR PARTNER IS UNFAITHFUL TO YOU WITHOUT BEING AWARE OF IT
Every couple is different. For some, these types of “micro-cheating” aren’t a big deal. If both parties are aware of and consent to these actions, then it is not a form of unfaithful behavior and you’re fine.
But the truth is that a lot of people do feel bothered by these behaviors. It can be confusing to the partner performing them to be accused of behaving negatively when they think their actions are completely fine, and that’s why it’s good to be aware of what may be bad for a typical romantic partnership.
All relationships are unique and all people have different perceptions of what crosses a line and what doesn’t. As a couple, it is important to communicate boundaries, expectations, and feelings surrounding these actions so you know what is okay and what isn’t