Micro-cheating: Are you unknowingly being unfaithful?

A man and woman kiss each other at sunset
Image caption What counts as "micro-cheating" is not necessarily black and white

Have you ever private-messaged someone online and kept it from your partner?

According to an Australian psychologist, a range of actions, including having a secret online conversation and leaving heart emojis on a friend's Facebook post, might be seen as micro-cheating.

Melanie Schilling told Huffington Post Australia that it comes down to "seemingly small actions that indicate a person is emotionally or physically focused on someone outside their relationship".

You may also like:

Further examples she gave include saving someone in your phone contacts under a different name, reaching out to an ex-partner to mark a significant event, and sharing private jokes.

But these examples divided social media, with some people defending the term, while others called it abusive.

'You better believe that's micro-cheating'

Some people on social media saw the funny side and made light of the variety of examples given, presumably wondering where to draw the line.

Radio 1 DJ Greg James suggested the definition of micro-cheating was so broad you might be guilty of it right now.

Others were less convinced by some of the specific examples given, with one user saying that communicating with an ex-partner was not necessarily problematic.

But some people disagreed, with one person suggesting that reminiscing with an ex is "dodgy", and another claiming that keeping up a relationship with an ex is "disrespectful".

And Dureen felt the issue was not quite as black and white as it might first appear.

Red flag

Dan Savage, author of a syndicated relationship advice column in the United States, took to Twitter to criticise the term, warning that in his experience it was indicative of "controlling" partners.

He said that if your partner tells you that you are micro-cheating, it should be seen as a "red flag" in a relationship, adding: "You know who regards these sorts of behaviours as cheating? Abusers."

While some people were also uncomfortable with the term, one person suggested that people take a step back rather than try to apply "micro-cheating" to every kind of relationship.

By Tom Gerken, UGC & Social News

More on this story