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Is Instagram micro-infidelity?

Is Instagram micro-infidelity?

Your boyfriend "liked" a model's bikini photos on Instagram. Is it a betrayal? Harmless flirting? Or is it just a small, red heart?

Most everything we do online leaves a trace, from tagging a friend in a photo to liking a video on TikTok. For people in relationships, those breadcrumbs can become a sign of infidelity – real or perceived.

"Micro-cheating," an Internet-age term for small acts of infidelity, is the subject of an endless stream of content on social media like TikTok and Instagram. Because so much of it happens online, couples are monitoring and investigating each other's digital habits for signs of infidelity.

How much of a partner's online life are we entitled to control and how much privacy is appropriate?

Help Desk reporter Tatum Hunter breaks down the concept of "micro-cheating": the small acts of infidelity that usually show up on your partner's phone.

What is treason these days?

Rana Coniglio, an Arizona-based therapist who works almost exclusively with Gen Z, says clients often come to her with concerns about their partner's online behavior.

If someone's Snapchat score - a measure of activity on the app - goes up while they're at work, does that mean they're cheating? Who are they chatting with in messages? Is it a problem if they keep stalking their ex?

The struggle is not unique to her customers, who tend to be young women. (Men don't seek therapy as often, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Every relationship has different boundaries and what is too much for one couple may be normal for another.

In a TikTok trend, people listed "micro-cheating" behaviors that they considered just as bad as sex. They include liking another woman's Instagram story or replying to a guy's post on a discussion forum. These may be exaggerated, but talk of digital infidelity is happening as young people express growing dissatisfaction with love and romance. Americans of all ages are having less sex than ever before. Critically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data in 2023 showing that 14 percent of teenage girls in the United States had been raped.

When Kai Gonzalez, 23, had a suspicion her boyfriend was cheating on her, she drove to his house and parked outside while he was sleeping. He had connected his phone to her car's Bluetooth earlier, so she connected the systems while being near his house and saw the messages he was exchanging with other girls on the screen.

She ended the relationship normally.

After her heart was broken, Patrice Gilgan, a private investigator in North Carolina, dedicated her career to helping people sniff out cheating partners. These days, infidelity mostly takes place online, she said.

People come to her profiles on TikTok, Instagram or Facebook when they are in a relationship. Their intuition is telling them something is wrong, but they have no proof. Her videos teach people how to dig up evidence of big, medium or small betrayals.

The means are countless. Put his email address into an account finder and see what social profiles come up. Find him on Tinder among a sea of ​​real singles. Gilgan even runs a new Facebook group called "MomFish," where women volunteer to create fake social media profiles to test the fidelity of each other's husbands.

Coniglio, the Gen Z therapist, said she sees young people increasingly sharing their real-time location data and accessing digital accounts in relationships as a sign of trust.