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The lines of dating and relationships in 2018 are getting more and more blurry. With terms like “talking” to “seeing each other” to now “micro-cheating” – relationships and the challenges that come with them are becoming increasingly ambiguous.
It’s no surprise that dating culture these days is becoming a little more casual. If you’re currently out in the dating world like I am, you’ve probably noticed that less and less guys (and even girls) are willing to shell out the time and effort it takes to make a real commitment. Us 20-somethings are known, among being entitled and lazy, for being notorious for keeping our options open. This is especially true, it seems, when it comes to love.
Are we vague when it comes to love because we don’t want to choose the wrongperson? Are we all just more focused on spending our time on other aspects of our life?
Collectively, I’m trying to figure it out.
For those of us that are in relationships, there are challenges riddled with even more ambiguity, which make me wonder how we can successfully draw boundaries to create a healthy environment with our significant other. I started seeing a lot of articles pop up recently about “micro-cheating.” To me, this seems like the latest “buzzword” in dating culture. Of course, we’ve all heard of ghosting. Some of us more than others (oops).
Micro-cheating, as defined by Australian psychologist Melanie Schilling, is a series of seemingly small actions that indicate a person is emotionally or physically focused on someone outside of the relationship. As Buzzfeed put it, it’s kind of like that distracted man meme come to life.
The easiest way to tell if there’s micro-cheating at play, she says, is if there are secrets between you. This could also be quickly exiting out of a window on the computer when you walk in the room, shutting down conversations, or giving another man or woman compliments or attention they don’t give to you. Obviously, these acts are without the physical act of cheating, though it could be as simple as getting attention from an attractive stranger or bantering with a co-worker you always thought was hot. ThoughtCatalog writer Mélanie Berliet did a great job breaking down a number of ways you can tell if you’re being micro-cheated on.
For a long time, there had been debates about how we can define what cheating really is.
Do you think micro-cheating is a real thing? Does this count as cheating?
If you ask me, I think it counts. I think, however, there’s an important distinction to be made between micro-cheating and simply doing these things without knowing it would hurt your partner. I think there’s a degree of intentionality that has to exist behind these actions. In other words, I think the partner has to have questioned their feelings for their significant other and even more importantly, question their feelings for another.
To me, I don’t really think it’s necessarily “cheating” if it’s just shifty behavior without any real meat to back it up. Those behaviors could definitely be reason for a couple to split, but I would argue that the cause of that split is not under the umbrella of cheating.
When we start to try to put labels on things when the rest of our dating culture remains ambiguous, things begin to get complicated. Heck, you can’t even tell your friend you hooked up with someone without them asking if you made out or a little something more.
The way we talk about relationships is just as confusing as it is to pursue them.