What Is Monkey Branching In Relationships? 35 Signs Your Partner Has A Side Babe

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What Monkey Branching in relationships

Do you feel your partner is distancing themselves from you? Do they spend a lot of time with their “friends” and on their phone? Do you feel your emotional connection is fading away? While your partner may not be cheating in the traditional sense, monkey branching in relationships definitely paves the way for it. 

Let’s explore what this new relationship strategy is and understand the signs your partner is monkey branching.

What is monkey branching in relationships? 

Monkey branching is a brand new term infiltrating the world of dating right now. While there are no actual monkeys involved in this process, it is a metaphor for how someone moves from one relationship to another just like how a monkey swings from one branch to another.

Monkey branching in relationships refers to the process of setting up your next relationship before ending your current relationship with your existing partner. A monkey brancher will start calling, texting, flirting & even dating other individuals they find interesting and attractive while still being in a serious, monogamous and committed relationship with their partner. They like to explore their options and keep things open without completely being committed to any romantic relationship.

Imagine how monkeys use branches to swing around in trees, they grab the first branch and swing to grab the second one before letting go of the first branch. They only release the first branch when their grip on the second one is firm and secure. A person using monkey branching in relationships is highly focused and is always on the look out for a better partner that can help them move forward in the “tree” of life. Hence, even when they may be committed to you, they will look out for new people, flirt with them, seduce and attract them and set up their next relationship, all before letting you go. 

Related: 5 Important Things To Know About Someone Before You Date Them

Both men and women monkey branch as it is human nature to consider the options we have before ourselves. However, it is innately unfair and unethical that can destroy relationships and break hearts. Regardless, it is a way for the monkey brancher to create a safety net where they can start a new relationship with someone if something goes wrong with their current partner.

monkey branching in relationships

5 Signs of monkey branching in relationships

In a monkey branching relationship, the “monkey” or the cheating partner may want to leave the relationship, but ensures they have someone to move on to while still being involved with their current partner. So they move on from one person and relationship or “branch” to the next one without worrying about the consequences. Such behavior is often a sign of insecurity and immaturity. 

Is your partner monkey branching you? Are they seeing someone behind your back? If you are worried that you may be experiencing monkey branching in relationships, then here are some of the changes that you should be aware of –

1. Change in behavior 

Is your partner acting out of character? Do their actions and behaviors look shady? Are they hiding stuff from you? When someone is monkey branching in relationships, then their behavior will change, whether subtly or drastically. But they will not be the same as before. They will change how they treat you and how affectionate and attentive they are to you. They will show less interest in you or even downright refuse to be physically and sexually intimate with you. 

Moreover, they may also start keeping things from you. They will either lie about or distort facts about their whereabouts, who they have been spending time with, what they have been doing etc. They may even change the passwords on their devices, emails and messaging apps & hide texts and phone calls from you. If they start acting shady, then it means they are working on setting up their next partner.

Related: 13 Signs Your Spouse Might Be Cheating On You

2. Change in interest in you

Is your partner still interested in you and your life? Or do they seem less interested in you lately? One of the most basic signs of monkey branching in relationships is that your partner shows less interest in you, your emotions, your accomplishments and your well-being. They don’t care about how your day was or what you have to say. They don’t care about responding to your questions or requests and they feign interest when you talk to them. This can be especially noticeable when your partner used to be attentive and caring before. However, now they are not as affectionate with you as they used to be. 

A person who is monkey branching in a relationship will give you less affection, intimacy and attention. Not only they will withdraw themselves from you, they will also withhold love, attention and sex as they are more interested, involvolved and invested in someone outside your relationship. Contrarily, they may show increased interest in you in order to lower your guard and suspicion. 

3. Change in appearance

Is your partner making efforts to look more physically attractive? Are they trying to spruce up their wardrobe or starting to hit the gym? These can be telltale signs your partner is monkey branching in relationships. If you can notice a sudden noticeable change in their physical appearance, then you need to wake up and smell the coffee.

If your partner is dressing more sharply and being more stylish when they go outside, then it is likely that they are trying to create a positive impression on someone they want to attract. They may also get a new hair cut or dye their hair, get a makeover, carry themselves differently and completely change their physical appearance. While they may seem more attractive to you, their new look is definitely not meant to impress you. Sad, but true.

Related: Are You Dating An Emotional Predator? Signs of Narcissists, Sociopaths, And Psychopaths

reasons for monkey branching in relationships

4. Change in communication

Do you barely talk to your partner these days? Has the warmth in communication completely dried up? When your partner is monkey branching in relationships, the communication suffers. Even though you may talk to each other, it is typically about superficial things and it often ends in arguments. You don’t talk about your thoughts and feelings openly, you don’t talk about life and you certainly don’t talk about how you feel about each other. Your partner avoids deep and engaging conversations as they don’t want to maintain or rebuild an emotional connection with you. While they may still spend time with you and be physically close to you, you just don’t talk like you used to. This is one of the undeniable signs of monkey branching in relationships.

They may still call or text you throughout the day when you are apart, but the communication lacks depth and meaning. It is more of a formality now than an effort to know or understand you. When you call or text them, they don’t receive your calls and reply back hours later. They make excuses about being overly busy or tired or may even become defensive when you try to reach out and improve communication. If you are experiencing this with your partner, then sadly it may be due to a monkey branching relationship.

5. Change in relationship dynamics

Do you miss spending time with your significant others? Are they unavailable or busy all the time? When you are in a monkey branching relationship, no matter how many times you ask them out, they always refuse you. Even though you have been patient, it feels frustrating to lose someone you love so dearly and someone who loved you so much. You miss your partner a lot but it seems like they just don’t care. You engage in fewer activities together that build connections between couples. In fact, you barely do anything at all together.

But that’s not all, the very core of your relationship dynamic seems to have changed. While earlier your partner used to make all the efforts to sweep you off your feet, now you are always making every effort to be with your partner. Lately, you feel like you are in a one-sided relationship where you are the one driving the relationship forward with no one else sitting in the car with you. You try harder to make things better, but for some reason it just seems to get worse. You are left feeling alone, lonely and isolated.

Related: 15 Warning Signs You Are Dating An Insecure Man

You feel like you are being exploited and taken advantage of rather than being loved and cared for. Your partner shows no interest in putting any efforts to make things better with you and they are always spending time with people outside the relationship. You keep doing all the hard work, but there is no one to appreciate it. This is definitely one of the signs of monkey branching in relationships.

The fact is, you are not even sure if you can call your partner your “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” anymore. Something has definitely changed.

signs of monkey branching

30 More signs your partner is monkey branching

Apart from the subtle changes in your partner and in your relationship, here are some other common signs of monkey branching in relationships –

1. They lack healthy emotional boundary in the relationship

2. They are barely available for you and tend to ignore you 

3. They spend more time with their “friends” than before

4. They are always on the phone and uncharacteristically seem obsessed with it

5. They are very secretive about their life and always give one-word replies when you ask them

6. They openly flirt with others even when you are around

7. They are still using dating apps and are rather active on it

8. They pursue new hobbies and passions for which they never had any interest earlier

9. They always criticize your behavior and highlight your negative traits to excuse their behavior

10. They accuse you all the time of things that they themselves do and make you feel guilty

11. They project their fears and insecurities onto you

12. You don’t have any common friends or you don’t know any of their “friends”

Related: 8 Signs Your Partner Is Having An Emotional Affair

why do narcissists monkey branch

13. They have low self-esteem, a poor sense of self worth and are highly insecure which promotes validation- and attention-seeking behavior

14. They gaslight you and make you feel like you are crazy everytime you call out their behavior that hint monkey branching in relationships

15. They avoid doing things with you and exclude you from their plans

16. They have several ex partners and had multiple relationships in the past, jumping from one relationship to the other

17. They act indifferent, distant and cold around you

18. They don’t like spending time with your family and friends

19. They accuse you of cheating and being unfaithful

20. They have a new daily routine 

21. They feel you are not good enough for them anymore

22. They refuse to commit to any future plans with you 

23. They don’t necessarily have a strong sense of ethics and morals

24. They started a relationship with you fairly quickly 

Related: What Is Pocketing? 7 Signs Of Being Someone’s Dirty Secret

monkey branching relationships

25. They have never really been single in their adult life and have always been in back-to-back relationships 

26. They talk less about you and more about other people in their life

27. They appreciate other people more than they appreciate you

28. They constantly compare you with other people

29. They blame you for behaviors and actions that you didn’t even do

30. They are not happy nor satisfied in the relationship with you

Can you identify these signs of monkey branching in your relationship?

Is monkey branching cheating?

Monkey branching in relationships is a form of cheating where someone cheats (mostly emotionally) on their existing partner with their intended future partner. Although someone may argue that technically it is not cheating, in reality, it is a subtle variation of infidelity where the monkey brancher is on the look out for their next victim. They trick their current partner into believing that they are committed to them while keeping their eyes and attention on the new person. Their every step is calculated and intentional and they have the perfect exit plan in place for when their existing relationship goes down the drain. 

Monkey branching in relationships is primarily a backup plan where the person keeps their dating options open. But can this be counted as cheating? Absolutely! Planning your next move even before any problem arises in your current committed relationship is active cheating. It is a form of infidelity and it is highly despicable, damaging, manipulative and disrespectful.

And what’s worse, the monkey brancher not only cheats on their existing partner but also on their intended future partner as well. In most cases, the other person, who is not the partner, is left unaware of the cheater’s current relationship.

Related: Why Infidelity Is Good For Your Relationship

Why does someone monkey branch?

Narcissists Monkey Branch

One of the primary reasons for monkey branching in relationships is to avoid the pain and challenges of being alone between relationships. The monkey brancher creates a backup plan to smoothen the heartbreak on ending one relationship and easily transitioning into the next one. Having another date waiting around the corner helps them move on faster and ensure that they have someone to take care of them, love them and give them attention, affection and validation. But why do narcissists monkey branch? In some cases, a narcissistic monkey brancher may have multiple options lined up for them and finally pick the one they find most viable and useful. This is the reason why narcissists monkey branch the most in relationships. 

According to Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Expert and bestselling author Kim Saeed, “At the core of it, narcissists monkey branch because they get the best of both worlds. They have a committed, dedicated partner (you) while still feeling free to explore their other options.” Narcissists are never satisfied or grateful for what they have as they constantly seek more. Hence, they never fail to have a ‘Plan B’ and have someone lined up to be their next narcissistic supply in case their existing relationship fails. 

Related: 5 Red Flags And Blind Spots When Dating A Narcissist

According to Kim, monkey branching in relationships also helps to –

  • Boost the narcissist’s ego and inflated sense of self
  • Find a new narcissistic supply
  • Feel wanted and important
  • Have a sense of “winning” after breaking up from their current partner 

However, someone may also monkey branch as they are not happy or satisfied in their present romantic relationship. But due to complicated relationship dynamics they are unable to break it up or move on, yet have a burning desire to experience something new. Hence, they start flirting with other people but feel afraid to be honest with their actual romantic partner. Monkey branching in relationships can also happen when someone is being taken for granted by their partner and they are curious about how other people treat them.

Focus on moving ahead

 signs your partner is monkey branching

If you can relate to these signs of monkey branching in relationships, then it can certainly feel hurtful and devastating. Being cheated upon by the person you love can be heartbreaking and traumatizing. However, narcissists don’t care about relationships or people who care about them. The only thing that matters to them is feeding their inflated ego, boosting their feeble self-esteem and looking for new sources for their narcissistic supply. 

This is why it is crucial that you move on from a relationship with a narcissist and focus on building a healthy relationship with yourself. Focus on healing yourself from emotional wounds and give yourself the attention you seek from your partner. While this healing journey is going to be challenging, in the end it will be more than worth it. 

On any given day, being happy with yourself is a better option than being in a relationship with someone who has other options lined up for them.

Related: 7 Ways To Make Your Partner Realize Your Worth


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is Monkey branching cheating?

Yes, it is a form of cheating in romantic relationships. While technically it may not be considered infidelity, a person who is monkey branching is not committed to the relationship nor faithful to their current partner. They are emotionally involved with two or multiple people at the same time.

Will your ex come back after monkey branching?

It depends. But most monkey branching exes tend to come back as such relationships are typically superficial and don’t last for a long time. Your ex may want to come back to you to fulfill their emotional and physical needs. However, the main reason is that they need their narcissistic supply. 

Is monkey branching a form of rebound?

No. A rebound is typically different from monkey branching as someone gets involved in a rebound relationship after they have broken up and moved on from their previous relationship. This is typically a way to cope with the emotional pain of a breakup. Monkey-branching is someone planning their next relationship while being in their current relationship.

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