Is It Infidelity? Micro-Cheating in Second Life

Are you micro cheating?

The evolution of technology has led us to some pretty unfamiliar territory when it comes to how we behave outside of our relationships, how we find love and how we can start veering in the the “infidelity” territory. When it came to cheating, it used to be a lot more cut and dry than it’s become today. There was physically cheating, and then there were emotional affairs. It was, in its own way, uncomplicated.

But then, the phenomenon of micro cheating emerged.

Micro cheating is, in a nutshell, much that is inappropriate for you to do when you are already in a relationship. This can include flirting (even if just online), getting excited when you see someone’s name pop up on your timeline or friend’s list, posting things on social media hoping “someone” will see it, purposely liking photos and posts of an ex, and hiding your phone. The idea behind micro cheating is that it can be a gateway to actual cheating….a cheating stepping stone, if you will.

Now we have a slew of ways we can talk to people without our significant other being aware: social media, texting, Skype, even Craigslist if you’re that eager. It’s easier to discreetly plan out no-strings situations and move on with your life with a blissfully unaware (or intentionally blind) partner back at home. It gives us access to ex’s, to strangers, and to always keep options open if you get seduced into the “grass is always greener” mindset through the plethora of swiping opportunities.

And then, we have Second Life, this beautiful and boundless space that we all share. It is a massive world filled with incredible diversity and……plenty of people that are unhappily spoken for in the real world.

You often see people who clearly state that they are taken in real life, but will blatantly try to talk to you in a non-platonic way. Sometimes there’s nudes they try to share, or they simply want you to grace them with your presence when they log. Sometimes folks seek out sexual “encounters”. In some way shape or form they will seek out the attention of people that coax that interest out of them.

Since roleplay is such a huge part of this virtual space, so comes the opportunities to roleplay as families and with virtual partners. While many keep it online and make no plans to take it offline, more often than not there are genuine feelings that are developed. So, unless this is something that you’ve openly discussed with your real-life partner and they’re comfortable with, welcome to the world of micro cheating.

Micro cheating isn’t fully recognized as cheating as much as it is this grey area between being faithful and not….and a tempting stepping stone for many to take it to a dangerous level. It can lead to texting, sexting, inappropriate calls and video chats, or even that ultimate form of betrayal: meeting in person. But, the most dangerous part of it all, honestly, can be the fantasy of falling in love and truly believe that it’s real.

Now, believe me when I say I wholly support the possibility of genuinely finding your perfect other half in Second Life. Just like dating offline, you never know when you will come across someone that you fully click with and decide to explore those feelings with. However, JUST LIKE REAL LIFE, if you start that venture in a shaky situation, it’s probably not going to end well.

Micro cheating in Second Life often can lead to or involve very unhealthy behaviors, such as a partner who is possessive (to the point where they do not respect that you already have a S/O), neglecting the relationship you should be focusing on instead, or even interfering with your social life and free time. I have witnessed many a person fall head first into a virtual relationship that managed to nearly drown in record speed.

In the end, we’re all adults here and can “play” this “game” any way we choose- but in the end, micro cheating in Second Life is a surefire way to create a destructive path to nothing worthwhile.


Bria Oceanside

ZoHa Blogger/Social Media