Being Attracted To Someone Else While You’re In A Relationship; Normal Or “Micro Cheating”?


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Casually scrolling through Instagram, I came across a friend’s picture. She had posted a throwback with a really good-looking man. I couldn’t help but click on his tag and feel thankful that he had a public profile. 

I checked out all his pictures and instantly developed a crush on him. A man I had never met, nor spoken to, only knew him by his full name, and his Instagram handle had taken over my mind and was giving me butterflies. I did not even care that he did not know of my existence, and probably never will. 

What it means for someone in a relationship to have “crushes”

I am a 23-year-old woman in a steady three-year-long relationship with a man I wish to spend the rest of my life with. 

Just like other things and emotions which have been analysed and broken down, this crush of mine too has its own analysis. It is apparently a form of micro-cheating or emotional infidelity in relationships. 

Ty Tashiro, psychologist and author of The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love, defines micro-cheating as “a relatively small act of emotional infidelity with someone outside of a person’s committed relationship” that mostly occurs through apps, texting, or online interactions.

Damage lies in the deception; but who is keeping a check on intentions?

Apparently, the damage lies in the deception, where your feelings are now divided between two people and not just one person. In a normal world where people find others attractive and appreciate them in their own space, a term like “micro-cheating” can be offensive. Like it was to me when a friend pointed it out. 

If you’re exclusive, committed, married, or about to get married, it is assumed that all your feelings and emotions are now reserved for your partner. You’re like a horse with blinders on so that your morals are not compromised and no “dirt” enters your eyes. You don’t look at other people, call them hot, cute or good looking and god forbid you follow them on social media and like their pictures! You are asking to be labelled as a “cheat” for breaking your partner’s trust. 

While most cheating begins emotionally and then manifests physically, a little harmless appreciation of a fine human specimen was never criminal until a few years ago. It was considered insecure to be obsessed with who your partner is friends with or whom they follow on Instagram. Now it is all just “micro-cheating”.

A yellow flag that might turn into a red flag, so you stay conscious of your own natural ability to look at someone else who is not your partner. 

A piece of information that your significant other can do without 

After being told that “stalking another guy is a form of cheating”, I was guilt-tripped into confessing this act to my boyfriend. After a long discussion, my boyfriend said, “I could have lived without this information.”

The gist of our conversation was that I had not cheated in any way, and my crushing on another person was absolutely innocent. This person was not only at this point unattainable because of the lack of familiarity between us, but also that I had no intentions of following up on my feelings. An example thrown up during the discussion was: he is just like the ten other influencers or models that I follow, and like, for how he looks. That is where it begins and ends. 

At the end of the day, it truly was a piece of information that my boyfriend could have done without. Hence, the tag of ‘micro-cheating’ without the intention of infidelity is completely unnecessary, complicating things that are not complex in the first place.

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