Cheating, micro or otherwise, is less about the particular behavior, and more about the keeping of secrets and the impact of those secrets when uncovered.
Cheating is fairly common. According to a recent poll, one in five Americans admit to having been unfaithful within the context of a committed relationship. And many of those who haven’t been unfaithful have at least considered it — 41 percent of men admit to thinking about cheating on their partners, as opposed to 28 percent of women.
This is where “micro-cheating” might come into play. Relationship experts define micro-cheating as behaviors that hover near the mutually agreed upon boundaries in your relationship that comprise fidelity — from logging on to a dating site to see what’s out there, to forging emotional relationships that are more emotionally charged and sexually tinged than a typical, platonic connection.
Isn’t micro-cheating just another buzzy term for having a wandering eye? It depends on how often the eye wanders, and when it does, if it lingers. Recent research from Florida State University examined how couples married for just over three years reacted to photos of potential partners. Those who quickly looked away from the photos were less likely to cheat than those who didn’t look away as quickly. They also discovered a tendency to put your partner above all others by devaluing or downgrading the attractiveness of potential romantic partners lowered the risk of infidelity.
After all, solid relationships are based on trust — and micro-cheating isn’t exactly a trustworthy behavior if you’re keeping your interactions on the downlow. Once trust is blown, it’s hard to regain and science says it’s for good reason. A study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior found those who strayed in their first relationship were three times more likely to stray in their next relationship. And those who suspected their partners were stepping out on them were four times more likely to think their next partner was as well.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
So how should a couple best deal with micro-cheating? Be honest and straightforward. Open communication is the key to healthy intimacy. With infidelity, it’s the lying and secrets that drive a couple apart. And if your partner doesn’t own up, you have to stand up for yourself and what you find acceptable. After all, if you have a partner that isn’t honest and doesn’t respect your feelings and boundaries, your issues might be more macro than micro.
For full article, visit NBC News.