By Chelsea Ritschel

Micro-cheating may not be physical cheating, but it certainly stresses the borders of a committed relationship. My interview with Yahoo News UK explains how this spark can quickly become a raging fire. #mircocheating #YahooNewsUK

Chelsea writes, “Have you ever had a flirtatious exchange with a co-worker or classmate, but decided to keep the conversation a secret from your significant other?

Or perhaps you used the fire emoji with someone other than your significant other’s Instagram post – simply because you thought they looked good.

Well, according to dating expert Melanie Schilling, who spoke to HuffPost Australia, this type of behaviour isn’t as innocent as you may think.

The behaviour actually makes you guilty of something Schilling refers to as “micro-cheating,” or as she defines it, “a series of seemingly small actions that indicate a person is emotionally or physically focused on someone outside their relationship.”

If this sounds a bit extreme – we agree. So how do you know if you are encouraging or engaging in micro-cheating?

According to Schilling, you might be engaging in micro-cheating if “You secretly connect with another guy/girl on social media; if you share private jokes; if you downplay the seriousness of your relationship to another guy/girl; or if you enter their name under a code in your phone.”

So basically all human interaction with members of the opposite sex outside of your relationship.

While Schilling does make some interesting points to back up her claim, like it all comes down to intention, we can’t help but express doubt over her belief that if you share private jokes or connect with another guy/girl on social media it “is a subtle betrayal.”

And, if you don’t nip this behaviour in the bud, Schilling warns “You are effectively saying ‘It’s okay to flirt with him/her, I’m happy to take second place and I don’t really matter.”

We asked relationship expert Susan Winter if she agrees with these claims – and it turns out she does – but believes it all comes down to intention and context.

Winter told The Independent: “Although micro-cheating may not be physical cheating, it’s certainly testing the borders of emotional cheating. Flirting is flirting. And flirting is the act of fanning a spark that can easily spread to a flame.””

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