Are you familiar with the term micro-cheating, but aren't exactly sure what it means? That’s fair, because like the behavior itself, the definition is kind of murky. It's one of those, "you know it when you see it" type of deals, so when people reveal how they define micro-cheating, it's important to believe them — especially if that person is your partner.
But the idea, according to Australian psychologist and consultant Melanie Schilling, who explained the concept to The Daily Mail Australia, is that micro-cheating is a series of subtle behaviors that indicate a person who is already in a committed relationship is also focusing emotionally or physically on someone else. And, according to Shilling, the litmus test for this is secrecy.
"If you feel you have something to hide — ask yourself why," Shilling told Daily Mail Australia. "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," she said. "However, if they start to conceal their relationship from you or lie to you about it, then start considering the appropriateness of their connection."
Like I said, murky. But to me, micro-cheating falls somewhere on the gaslighting spectrum. Because it's something you can feel is happening, but your partner has plausible deniability. It doesn't fall under the defined criteria of infidelity, but still conjures up some of the same feelings, so it's very possible to feel both betrayed and like you're being unreasonable at the same time, which is maddening. It's actually pretty insidious and, over time, can do real damage to your relationship.
It's still not totally clear, so I looked to see what folks on Reddit were saying about what they consider to be micro-cheating, and their answers were illuminating. Here's what they had to say.