What is micro-cheating and why is everyone so sceptical about it?

12th Jan 18 | Lifestyle

It's apparently all about "covert flirtation".

Young couple looking at coastline, woman sitting on back of car

When it comes to cheating in a relationship, most people don’t think there are many grey areas. But how do you feel about micro-cheating?

This is a term that psychologist and consultant Melanie Schilling has explained to the Daily Mail. For Melanie, micro-cheating is when your partner is emotionally or physically focused on someone else – without actually cheating.

It’s apparently all about “covert flirtation.” So whilst they might not be actually acting on their impulses, they’re still flirting with someone else on the down-low.

She says that this could be small things like sharing private jokes, downplaying the seriousness of the relationship to their partner or entering the other person’s name under a code in your phone. One of the more specific examples of micro-cheating that Melanie lists is commenting heart emojis on someone else’s post.

For Melanie, the difference between a platonic relationship and micro-cheating is secrecy, which she says is a subtle betrayal of your partner. “It’s the secrecy and deception that accompanies the communication that defines it as micro-cheating,” she told the Daily Mail.

Melanie does admit that it’s hard to draw the line between what she sees as friendship and micro-cheating. She recommends that you trust your gut and bring up any worries with your partner rationally, rather than giving in to your emotions.

However, this term has struck a nerve online – for many people it is iffy to say the least. Does this mean that being friends with other people when you’re in a relationship counts as micro-cheating?

Some people have been parodying the definition of micro-cheating.

All jokes aside, many think that it is potentially a very toxic phenomenon.

But of course any kind of secrecy in a relationship or emotionally cheating on your partner has the potential to be hugely damaging, so there are some people who do buy into the definition of micro-cheating.

© Press Association 2018

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