Does Talking To My Ex Make Me A "Micr0-Cheater"?

Kasandra Brabaw

I have a bit of an unusual relationship with my ex. Not only are we best friends (and flatmates), but we make it a point to go out to dinner every year in July to celebrate the anniversary of our breakup (or "breakup-iversary," as we call it). I like to think that having such a deep and meaningful friendship with an ex-girlfriend makes me quirky, but according to several articles that came out this week, it actually makes me a cheater.

The trouble started with a Daily Mail article, in which a psychologist defines "micro-cheating." It's essentially what it sounds like: tiny actions that seem insignificant, but could actually mean that your partner isn't all-in on your relationship, or is emotionally invested in someone else.

While it seems like a legitimate problem from this basic definition, some examples of what constitutes micro-cheating are honestly ridiculous.

Do you share inside jokes with someone who isn't your partner? Then you're a micro-cheater. Did you confide your feelings in someone else before you talked to your partner about them? That's micro-cheating. Did you tell someone who isn't your partner that they look amazing? Micro-cheating.

And the micro-cheat that's apparently damning to my relationship with my current partner: sharing special memories with an ex.

So, is micro-cheating a real thing? Kind of, says Megan Flemming, PhD, a sex and relationship therapist in New York City, but it's nothing new and definitely not something you should suddenly start worrying about.

"Cheating has been going on since the beginning of time, I don't see why we need to give it a different name now," Flemming says. And, actually, she's not convinced that what many people are calling micro-cheating constitutes cheating at all.

Micro-cheating by any other name is an "emotional affair," a term that experts have been using for years and for which there's no strict definition, because only you and your partner can decide what crosses the line. So these very specific examples that have been making the rounds on the internet — and often just sound like the definition of being a good friend — are total BS. And rolling them into an ever-expanding subset of cheating will never make sense for every relationship.