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Seen At 11: Experts Say 'Micro-Cheating' Could Be As Harmful As A Full-Fledged Affair

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There are many ways to deceive a spouse: physically, emotionally, and financially.

Now, a new form of betrayal has been added to the list -- it's called 'micro-cheating.'

The subtle deception could be just as harmful as a full-fledged affair.

"Micro-cheating refers to a small series of actions that don't quite meet the definition for cheating," psychologist, Dr. Barbara Greenberg explained.

Frequent confiding in someone outside of a marriage might be considered micro-cheating.

The micro-cheater might rationalize this as just talking to a friend, but Greenberg said it's actually a very intimate act.

"The difference between friendship and micro-cheating is friendships are not usually kept secret, but when you're talking to somebody and keeping it secret, that starts to meet the definition of micro-cheating," Greenberg said.

Other examples of micro-cheating include calling or texting a friend for information or advice on an issue that could easily be found online, giving an attractive waitress or waiter an excessively large tip, or purposefully neglecting to mention a significant other in a conversation so as to appear single.

"There's two different ways to look at it. On the one hand, a person might be engaging in what I like to call 'safe excitement.' Sometimes the primary relationship gets a little routine, or they may simply be testing the waters to see if other people still find them attractive," Greenberg said.

Either way.

"To a person who is micro-cheating, sit down and think, what purpose is micro-cheating serving you? Are you unhappy in your current relationship or is this just a temporary indiscretion?" Greenberg said.

If you think you're being micro-cheated on, experts say it's best to address it early, before the relationship progresses even more.


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