The Brief: Monkey branching is a dating term that refers to when someone is in a relationship but flirts with other people that they might want to date in the future.
Similarly to how a monkey might jump from branch to branch, someone who is “monkey branching” in a relationship jumps from one romantic interest to another. The term usually characterizes someone who is flirting with others while in a monogamous relationship with the plan to eventually leave their partner for another person that they have “on hold” or “on deck.”
While people of all genders can monkey branch, much online discourse suggests that heterosexual women are the main perpetrators of this behavior. This term is often used in misogynistic and incel online communities to blame women for being unfaithful or untrustworthy in relationships.