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Micro-Cheating: Monogamy and Social Media

Just when I started to relax into my, (for once) super healthy, hyper-communicative 5-month-old relationship, which began after my now bf slid into my DM, I received an incendiary email from a trusted wellness e-zine warning against a growing relationship trend called, “micro-cheating.”

As a 36-year-old woman with an abysmal record of picking cheaters, one of my guys had fake accounts dedicated to hollering at other girls on the sneak, my Spidey senses were peaked.

My current boyfriend is genuinely the most trustworthy guy. He even gave me the password to his computer, que pendejo! But he also has a healthy crop of amigas en línea and a record for “scoring” online. Should I be policing his engagement? Could he be micro-cheating?

According to relationship therapist and author Jane Greer PhD, “Micro cheating are flirtations with someone other than your significant other that have sexy and or seductive overtones. It may be commenting on someone’s appearance or other desirable qualities, like intelligence or humor—anything that makes someone distinctly individual and attractive.”

My boyfriend and I are both pro-social. How could we not be? It’s how we met. Policing his activity would be quite an undertaking, although it’s tempting based on my history. Each time I confirmed cheating in the past, the receipts were found online. And the breadcrumbs were often in the comment section.

The problem is nowadays so much can be misinterpreted, especially since we mostly interact using emojis. The true test is not in the type, frequency or recipient of the engagement, it’s the intention. When we begin to look outside our relationships to find something we feel is missing, it creates separation, which can lead to unfaithful behavior. And when we use social media to fixate on an image or person, fantasy can begin to take over reality.

Likewise, if you are stalking your partner’s time online, instead of focusing on your vibe IRL, you’re not fully participating. And the stress of your distrust and conjecture will negatively affect your bond, which is what you should be focused on.

Of my four major relationships, three cheated and in all instances with a connection made online. (The fourth denied me access to his social media, claiming he used FB for work and was barely on it but that’s another story.) Way before I violated each of these guys’ privacy, I knew damn well what was happening. I didn’t have proof, but I felt it. And my participation in the disrespectful behavior, snooping and stalking, only hurt me more.

I promised myself I would never breach a partner’s trust in this way again and that I would choose one more wisely, ensuring the rules of engagement were in alignment when it comes to monogamy.

I knew prior to dating, that my bf’s comment contingent was heavily female but I’ve never seen anything untoward. It’s all love—positive, encouraging and platonic. When I feel triggered, I know my fear is not based on anything that’s gone down between us, it’s based on a painful past.

I try not to be hard myself or hysterical with my man. I keep it in the day, in this moment, where I am loved and all facts are in full disclosure.

If you’d like to know where you and your partner stand on the topic of micro-cheating, give this test below a try. You might be surprised with the results.

Jessica Hoppe

Jessica Hoppe is a New York-based writer and social media strategist who founded her blog, Nueva Yorka, in 2015. She has been featured in Vogue, Yahoo, HuffPost, PopSugar, Who What Wear, Ravishly and worked as Lifestyle Editor for StyleCaster. Jessica has been passionate about writing, diversity and Latin American culture from an early age. Having grown up in a Spanish speaking home, her father is Ecuadorian and her mother is from Honduras.

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