'The problem with micro-cheating is that you are not necessarily aware that you are doing it.' Picture: Supplied

Micro-cheating – a new phenomenon sweeping the globe – is affecting relationships all around the world via social media, laptops and smartphones. 

The new trend is now under the spotlight, with international media and a new research study shedding light on this startling global phenomenon.  But what is it? And how do you know if you’re guilty of it? 

A new study has tested a number of examples of micro-cheating to discover more about this new in adultery. Global extramarital site, Victoria Milan and one of Scandinavia's largest social networks, NextLove – a dating site for divorced and single parents – teamed up to conduct a research study to discover when micro-cheating is considered cheating.

Responses from 6 894 users showed a clear trend: micro-cheating is a variant of infidelity.

What is micro-cheating?

Micro-cheating can best be described as a series of seemingly small actions - typically digital – that can be perceived as infidelity. It ranges from lying about one’s relationship status on social media to active and conscious digital practice that the partner is unaware of because it is consciously being hidden from them.

‘Likes’ of images on Instagram and Facebook, or messaging with an ex are examples of this conduct. 88 percent do not doubt that it is infidelity if it's nude images are exchanged with another, but even the seemingly innocent 'like' of an image on social media is perceived as a sign on infidelity by 24 percent. It indicates that the partner is emotionally or physically focused on someone outside of the relationship.

"The problem with micro-cheating is that you are not necessarily aware that you are doing it. It may seem harmless to leave a sweet message on someone’s page, but for the partner it can be perceived as a threatening behavior, or at least a signal that there is something wrong with the loyalty and trust in your relationship, "says CEOs and Founder of Victoria Milan and the NextLove network, Sigurd Vedal.

"Whether it’s done consciously or unconsciously, performing actions that can be considered as micro-cheating, is rarely innocent. If one party perceives the digital behavior as a threat or signal that the partner is loosing interest in the relationship, it is a good idea to talk about your boundaries and what you consider to be innocent or damaging behavior in your relationship - also online", Vedal says.

10 examples of micro-cheating:

  1. Lying about their relationship status on social media
  2. Keeping an active dating profile
  3. 'Liking' of old photos or posts on social media
  4. Continuously checking a person's posts or profile on social media
  5. Texting or contact with someone else - without the partner's knowledge and attempts to hide it
  6. Deleting messages and phone calls
  7. List a so-called "friend" under a code on your phone, for example the "the dentist"
  8. Engagement with a former boy- or girlfriend or someone you are attracted to, whether in reality or on social media
  9. Share secrets or confide in someone else outside the relationship
  10. Texting with sexual content with someone outside the relationship