Have you been cheating on your partner without even realising it?
You could be a micro-cheater. A new word has made it into the dating lexicon to describe all the tiny ways by which you can be unfaithful.
Australian Psychologist and consultant, Melanie Schilling, explained to FEMAIL what exactly micro-cheating entails – and how to spot a cheater.
Melanie explained that micro-cheating is a series of seemingly small actions that indicate a person is emotionally or physically focused on someone outside of the relationship.
‘You might be engaging in micro-cheating if you secretly connect with another person on social media, if you share private jokes, if you downplay the seriousness of your relationship to your partner or if you enter their name under a code in your phone,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘These are all signs that you are conducting a “covert flirtation” and keeping it from your partner. If you feel you have something to hide – ask yourself why.’
The easiest way to tell if you or your partner are micro-cheating on someone is if they are keeping things a secret.
Melanie said that the act of micro-cheating is a subtle betrayal and it needs ‘secrecy to fuel its fire’.
‘Other things you should look out for are if your partner is having private conversations or online chats that he/she quickly shuts down when you enter the room or if they are reaching out to an ex to mark an anniversary or other significant shared, intimate event,’ Melanie elaborated.
‘Perhaps they are offering compliments to other guys/girls that they don’t say to you, or maybe they meet up with someone of the opposite sex under the guise of a business meeting, when you discover no business was actually done.’
Although the lines between micro-cheating and friendship may seem as if they blur, Melanie said there are ways that you can easily differentiate the two.
‘It’s the secrecy and deception that accompanies the communication that defines it as micro-cheating,’ she said.
‘Your partner may have a perfectly platonic relationship with a friend and they may be up-front and open about talking to them and seeing them. This should not ring alarm bells.
‘However, if they start to conceal their relationship from you or lie to you about it, then start considering the appropriateness of their connection.’
It may be difficult to determine what crosses the line but Melanie recommends that you trust your gut.
‘You have intuition for a reason and it tells you when things are not right. If things don’t add up, if you catch your partner in a lie, if they are behaving in an uncharacteristic way, bring it up.
‘They key here is to be objective and rational, rather than subjective and emotional. Slinging empty accusations and insults will get you nowhere.’
Melanie also told FEMAIL that you need to be specific about the behaviours that you have observed and explain how they made you feel.
‘For example say: “When you spent an hour on the phone to your ex during our date-night dinner I felt left-out and pretty useless. I’d prefer it if you focused on me during our special nights together”.
‘Or you could say: “When you add all the heart emojis in her/his post comments it makes me feel like she/he is your partner, rather than me.
Next time, it would be great if you could reserve the online love for me”.’