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21 Examples of Micro-Cheating and How to Tell If You’re Doing It

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Sadie loves to help others get through the ups and downs of relationships.

Are you a micro-cheater?

Are you a micro-cheater?

We know that cheating on your partner is a big no-no. But what about micro-cheating? Is a simple flirtation crossing the line? Where is that line anyway?

Micro-cheating is a fairly new topic that is important to address. While seemingly harmless to some, it can lead to dishonesty and unfaithfulness. Let’s take a look at what exactly it means to micro-cheat, how to tell if you’re doing it, and examples of what it looks like.

What Is Micro-Cheating?

Micro-cheating, or microcheating, is a small action or combination of actions that aren’t technically cheating but are inappropriate and destructive to relationships. This could be anything from making a flirtatious remark to someone or complaining about your relationship behind your partner’s back.

Micro-cheating can be defined as any act that is unfaithful to your partner or the integrity of your relationship.

To further explain, Dr. Lori Schade describes micro-cheating as “small behaviors that both approach and potentiate infidelity.” She states that the concept has more to do with a person’s attitude rather than their action. This means that the intentions and feelings behind what a person does ultimately separate micro-cheating from any other harmless interaction.

How to Tell if You’re a Micro-Cheater

Since so many things can fall under the umbrella of micro-cheating, you may be confused about what qualifies and what doesn’t. So how are you supposed to tell if you’re doing it or not?

Well, it’s actually pretty easy to test your actions and reveal if you are a micro-cheater. When you’re doing something, act as if your partner were there with you. Would you still be doing it?

Would you be doing this in front of your partner?

Would you be doing this in front of your partner?

If you would stop your action based upon the fact that your partner was there, it’s probably inappropriate and a micro-cheat. If the things you do are disrespectful to your partner in any way or attack the integrity of your relationship, you are micro-cheating.

Examples of Micro-Cheating

As stated earlier, the reasoning and feelings behind actions are truly what classifies them as micro-cheating. You can like someone’s photo on social media without meaning anything negative by it.

However, if you’re obsessed with that person and following everything they do on social media, then you have a problem. You’ll know what is and isn’t micro-cheating by your motives. Here are some common examples of what it looks like to micro-cheat.

  1. Secretly messaging someone
  2. Meeting with someone without your partner knowing
  3. Complaining about your partner to the other person
  4. Sharing knowing looks behind your partner’s back
  5. Saying things like “If I weren’t in a relationship…..”
  6. Maintaining contact with your exes
  7. Flirtatious joking
  8. Creating a dating profile
  9. Trying to impress someone you have a crush on
  10. Telling someone you’re single when you aren’t
  11. Sending someone photos of yourself
  12. Having secret friendships
  13. Discussing your intimate desires with someone who isn’t your partner
  14. Following inappropriate accounts on Instagram or other social media
  15. Giving your number to a stranger
  16. Stalking your crush online
  17. Paying special attention to a particular person
  18. Always commenting on and liking a person’s pictures
  19. Hoping to make someone notice you in a romantic way
  20. Asking someone personal or inappropriate questions
  21. Turning to someone else for your emotional needs when your relationship is rocky
Examples of micro-cheating

Examples of micro-cheating

Is It Okay to Micro-Cheat?

Micro-cheating is not okay and it leaves the door open to actual cheating. Since these actions are things that your partner wouldn’t be alright with, they are harmful to your relationship.

These small actions are just as capable of causing pain to your partner as if you had actually cheated on them. Micro-cheating is a slippery slope that can eventually lead to full-blown cheating if it’s not stopped. If you’re not careful, it can ruin your relationship.

How to Avoid Micro-Cheating

The best way to avoid micro-cheating is to keep communication open with your partner. If you’re not comfortable doing something in front of them or if you feel the need to hide it from them, then it’s probably not okay.

Be open about who you talk to and how you spend your time. You shouldn’t be deleting messages, lying about things, or omitting facts.

If you feel like you are allowing yourself to micro-cheat, take away the temptation. This may mean that you stop communicating with someone, delete a social media profile, or give your partner the passcode to your phone to keep you accountable.

Keep your partner’s best interests in mind if all that you do. If you think it would hurt them or be disrespectful, then don’t do it.

Micro-Cheating FAQ

What is considered micro-cheating?

Microcheating is defined as a seemingly small action that violates the trust or emotional closeness of a relationship. Micro-cheating can be as simple as liking someone’s Instagram photos, flirting with a coworker, or maintaining an inappropriate level of communication with an ex.

How can you tell if someone is micro-cheating?

Someone who is micro-cheating may become secretive about what they are doing and who they are talking to. They may keep their phones with them at all times, lie about where they’ve been, and start secret emotional relationships. You can’t always tell when someone is micro-cheating because it can mean so many different things.

Is texting cheating in a relationship?

Texting someone else while you’re in a relationship isn’t always cheating. However, it depends on what the intentions are behind the texts. If you are being romantic with someone else over texts, then this can be a form of cheating or micro-cheating. If you’re hiding it from your partner, it’s a red flag of something bad going on.


Micro-cheating is a newer term, but the concept isn’t new. There is a thin line between being faithful to your partner and cheating on them. When you’re right on that line, you could be micro-cheating on them.

Remember that anything you do secretly behind your partner’s back with another person is most times a form of cheating or micro-cheating. This can be devastating to your relationship. If you find that you are on the verge of doing either, you should remove the temptation from your life.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.