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Cheating: what exactly is micro-cheating?
Frankfurt / Main / Bonn. A secret chat via WhatsApp, saving contacts under a false name in the address book, staying logged in to a partner exchange despite the relationship: All of this is understood as micro-cheating. The term translated means something like: a little cheating. This involves writing intensively with another person who is not the partner via social media and internet platforms. "In the couples therapy practice I mainly notice that micro-cheating flirting is online", explains Bettina Steingass, couples therapist from Frankfurt.
Micro-cheating: Is that cheating?
For many couples, the boundary is fluid and highly individual. "There is no DIN standard for it," explains couple and sex therapist Robert Coordes from the Institute for Relationship Dynamics in Berlin. Steingass is also convinced that many couples have to define their own boundaries: "Every couple perceives cheating differently. When something becomes cheating, it is ultimately the couple who determine," explains the therapist.
So there is no rule of thumb that cheating begins with something physical. “However, there are culturally shaped ideas about what a relationship should look like. The myth of love is one of the oldest and despite micro-cheating, affairs, etc. it is still surprisingly topical, ”explains Steingass.
also read: When competition becomes a problem in love
Cheating: Where does the affair begin? Where does he stop?
The value of exclusivity in a love relationship is still very high. And so most people can agree on the abstract idea that infidelity begins where trust is broken within the couple. According to the experts, however, nothing speaks against occasional flirting. "At first this is just an expression of liveliness and is also a way of relieving tension," explains Coordes. "This is neither a gateway drug nor the path into the dark". A flirtation can, however, damage a very insecure relationship, as this often happens out of dissatisfaction with the relationship.
It is also a question of what a flirtation means emotionally. Therefore, the virtual flirtation can be more binding than a flirtation at the supermarket checkout. "When I stand at the cash register and notice that someone is looking at me and I look back - even if it happens to me often - it is of course easier than sending hot messages of love back and forth," explains Steingass.
Small scams by personal crisis
More important than the question of how or what is the question of why. And the causes for this can be very diverse. Steingass sees the great availability and the many options as a reason for this. This creates the impression: There could be something better somewhere. This is reinforced by social media in particular.
Small scams, however, do not always arise from a dissatisfaction within the relationship. Melanie Mittermaier works as a relationship coach in Bad Aibling and explains: "That can be related to a personal or a professional crisis".
Mittermaier emphasizes that people who hide things from their partner are not necessarily bad people. Often secrecy happened as a kind of diversionary maneuver. Foreign flirting could, for example, occur in connection with a stroke of fate: "This liveliness, which a flirtation transports, then acts as an antidote to death and suffering".
Interesting too: Number of sexual partners: men estimate, women count
Infidelity: Do smartphones seduce you into cheating?
Mittermaier advises reflecting on what you want from the partnership: "Is it my goal to keep my partnership, or is it my goal to find out whether I still want this partnership at all?" Coordes also recommends observing your own actions and looking for your own motives. "That means: At what point do I now seek contact with others?"
One answer to this may be that a partner feels trapped and is looking for an adventure. "And then of course I could also see if I could find adventure in my own relationship," explains Coordes.
If those affected notice a change in their partner, they should communicate and speak openly about their own feelings. Mittermaier advises, however, not to indulge in an indictment. Under certain circumstances, the partner feels controlled and can have the feeling that they have to give an account every time they reach for their smartphone. And that usually fuels alienation even more.
Coordes advises instead asking how your partner is doing while sharing your observations and fears. That can be more specific: “I have the feeling that you are very close to your colleague at the moment. How are you doing with me right now? ". I-messages can defuse the conflict and lead to a respectful and open exchange about one's own feelings.
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