You’re not getting physical with this “harmless” crush. You haven’t even gotten to the place where you’re texting and emoting feelings to each other, which would fall under the category of having an emotional affair…
Editor’s note: Although this article uses male pronouns, the advice applies to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Micro-cheating is when you’re behaving from a place of romantic interest toward a person outside of your relationship in such a subtle way that no one (including the object of your affection) could know about it.
However, if your partner was a fly on the wall in your brain, he probably wouldn’t be pleased to know about the energy you’re investing and inspired actions you’re taking because of someone else, even if you’ve convinced yourself “it’s nothing.”
1) On the days you know you’ll see him, you put more effort into your appearance by wearing a sexy top or amping up your hair and makeup, hoping he’ll notice.
2) If you do engage with your crush, you selectively leave out that you’re in a committed relationship because you don’t want him to know you’re taken.
3) If he does ask about your relationship status, you play it down like it isn’t that serious. You say things like, “It’s new, so we’ll see.” Or, “We both have such busy schedules, so we’re not really even seeing much of each other these days.”
4) You look for excuses to connect with him.
5) You purposely show up at the time you know he’ll be at the gym or will be grabbing a coffee.
6) You check out his social media enough times that if your partner knew, he’d be uncomfortable.
7) You post pics on your social media, hoping he’ll see—a heart would give you such a thrill!
8) Maybe he’s an old ex from your past, and you’re “innocently” reminiscing about the good ole days, which could border on being disrespectful to your guy.
Sure, some of the above acts of micro-cheating really do seem harmless, and if you’ve been in a relationship for however long, you’ll likely enter boring/stale phases where it’s natural to get a cheap thrill from a hot dude watching your IG stories.
But overall, this heartbreak coach views consistent micro-cheating as a slippery slope that could lead to an emotional or physical affair, if you don’t catch yourself caring about looking and feeling great around your crush more than your partner.
Ask yourself, “Why?” if you are micro-cheating. Is your guy not as attentive? Is the sex vanilla? Are his weird habits that seemed so cute in the beginning starting to bug the crap out of you?
If so, communicate what’s missing and ask to work through it—that is, of course, if you know you WANT to stay with him.
But, if you realize you’re staying because he’s more of a comfy, familiar security blanket, do both of yourselves a favor and set him free.
Breakups are painful—especially when you’re letting a good or safe person go. And yes, it can be scary and lonely once you end a relationship and are out in the world as a single woman again.
But wouldn’t you rather let the wrong person go, and poosh yourself to do some deeper soul-searching by befriending your fabulous, independent self, while also getting clear on what’s most important in an ideal relationship for you, so that you can create space for Mr. Right to enter?
Who knows? He could end up being your micro-crush!
Claire Byrne is a heartbreak/finding-love coach, and the host of her podcast, Stop Wanting Him Back & Find Someone Better. Click here for more information on her group program.
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