Is your partner micro-cheating on you?  Are you micro-cheating?  Micro-cheating is “when someone cheats on a partner, but just a little bit”.  It’s small things that make you mad, but not enough to break up.  Does your husband hug all your friends when they meet?  Is your girlfriend constantly sending selfies to your best friend?  That’s micro-cheating.  Therapists used to call them emotional affairs.  Today you could call them social media affairs.

What are the signs?

Micro-cheating pushes the boundaries of infidelity.  None of the interactions are physical, but damaging to a relationship all the same. Is he reconnecting with old lovers on Facebook?  Do you suspect she’s pouring her heart out to an online “friend”?  Have you renamed a coworker so your partner won’t know who you are texting?  All are signs of a micro-affair.   Why?  Because these kind of interactions revolve around deception.  And secrecy and deception are relationship killers. “When one betrays a partner’s trust there are always emotional consequences for the partner’s well-being and the integrity of the relationship,” says Ty Tashiro, psychologist and author of “The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love”. This is especially true for women.  Studies have found that most men think an affair doesn’t happen without sex. However, women will say emotional involvement with another person equals cheating.

What can you do about it?

It’s all about boundaries.  In a healthy relationship both partners know the line-and when they’ve crossed it.  Dating expert Melanie Schilling suggests, “Be specific about the behaviors that you have observed, explain how they made you feel and ask for what you want. Allowing micro-cheating to continue can set up a relationship pattern that undermines you and enables your partner to have their cake and eat it too,” Schilling said. “By allowing this, you are effectively saying ‘It’s ok to flirt with him/her, I’m happy to take second place and I don’t really matter. Over time, this can erode your self-esteem and set you up to be the ‘victim’ in your relationship.”  If you are the one hiding your digital activity, ask yourself why.  Are you unhappy?  What need is the online “friend” fulfilling that your real life partner is not?  Then talk to them about it.  Before you cross the line.

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