Everyone's Talking About "Micro-Cheating" & They're Super Divided On How To Feel

Has there ever been a time while you were in a committed relationship that you maintained a secret friendship that crossed over into flirting? Nothing overtly unfaithful, just enough over the platonic line that you wouldn't want your partner to know you were having it? If that sounds familiar, you may be considered a "micro-cheater." This relatively new concept has, unsurprisingly, lit up Twitter, and the tweets about micro-cheating show people have some, well, very strong opinions on the subject.

The Twitter uproar all began following a recent article on The Daily Mail Australia, in which Australian psychologist and consultant Melanie Schilling laid out the idea of micro-cheating and how to spot the behavior in your partner. In essence, micro-cheating is a series of tiny actions or behaviors that show someone already in a committed relationship is focused on other person, either physically or emotionally. This can include flirtations on social media or any kind of flirtation that you actively hide from your partner. "If you feel you have something to hide - ask yourself why," Shilling told Daily Mail Australia.

Shilling explained that what separates micro-cheating from innocent friendship or flirtation — as these lines can be blurry — is the secrecy, deception, and intent to hide it from your partner. "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."

While that might seem like a totally reasonable idea at face value, Twitter felt otherwise, and its users’ responses may give you pause.

Some folks on Twitter were immediately on board with the new concept.

Some pointed to the fact that micro-cheating is defined by intent.

Some even pointed out that many folks who were complaining about it may, in fact, have a personal agenda.

But the majority of Twitter responses were... not in favor.

Some pointed to the concept as a sign of insecurity in your partner.

Some thought it was another way that we are discouraging human contact between one another.

Some see being accused of micro-cheating as a form of controlling behavior.

And others went so far as to call it abuse.

And then, there were the folks who just didn't seem to get the idea at all...

...and those who just prefer to cheat the system.

While Twitter seems to have come down largely against the concept, Shilling did offer some more advice to those who support the idea and suspect it may be happening in their own relationship. The issue is that the signs of micro-cheating may be really subtle, so if you just feel like something is off or your partner is keeping secrets, you should trust your gut. “You have intuition for a reason and it tells you when things are not right," Shilling said. "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."

Shilling also says, when you do have the conversation, “the key here is to be objective and rational, rather than subjective and emotional. Slinging empty accusations and insults will get you nowhere." It's important to communicate with your partner, and if there are specific behaviors that you can point to, bring them up and express how those behaviors are making you feel.

But maybe stay away from using the actual word "micro-cheating,” because judging by the reaction this idea was met with on Twitter, it probably isn't going to help your cause.

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