2018 has seen a new relationship term go viral on the internet – micro-cheating.
So what exactly is micro-cheating? Psychologist and consultant Melanie Schilling recently described micro-cheating as “a series of seemingly small actions that indicate a person is emotionally or physically focused on someone outside their relationship.”
Examples could be things like reaching out to an ex, flirting with a colleague at work or liking and/or commenting on someone’s social media posts that isn’t your partner.
It’s important to take micro-cheating with a grain of salt though. It’s important to be aware if your partner is acting in ways that present red flags but it’s also crucial that you don’t over analyze everything they’re doing. It could be easy to accuse your partner of micro-cheating with anything they do – sharing inside jokes with someone else or complimenting someone who isn’t you. Plus, it’s completely normal as humans to be attracted to someone else when you’re in a relationship. So if you’re worrying about finding that guy at work attractive, just know that’s perfectly natural!
It’s just about being aware of where the boundary is.
The bestselling author of The State Of Affairs Esther Perel also believes that flirting outside of your monogamous relationship can be healthy as long as it isn’t for the wrong reasons. Esther says that if it’s only harmless fun that doesn’t go any further it can be fine, but if it happens all the time and only for the purpose of self-validation that’s when it becomes an insecurity issue and can cause problems.
Really, it’s about not stressing out too much over the whole micro-cheating discussion, keeping perspective and being able to communicate with your partner where the line is drawn. No good can come out of worrying about everything your partner does and also questioning whether your own innocent actions towards other people could be considered as cheating.
If you do feel your partner is doing something that doesn’t sit right with you, it’s right to talk about it and address it. The important thing is to establish these boundaries sooner rather than later. Having an open dialogue in a relationship is healthy and is ultimately what will help it flourish and thrive.