It's crazy how being in a relationship with a person we don't trust can turn us into a low-rent version of Sherlock Holmes. Micro expressions could be the key to figuring out if your man is cheating. The only problem? They are almost impossible to detect. But you can find them -- I certainly did.
On the surface, my ex-boyfriend was a dream. He was the kind of guy your dad would clap on the shoulder upon meeting, liking him instantly. He made my mom giggle like a schoolgirl. And my mom? So not the giggly type. Even my girlfriends were in his thrall. Me? Well, for the first year we were together, I just felt so lucky that this charismatic, secure, hunky dude picked me that I never thought to second guess his intentions.
A year into our relationship, once I was on steady ground in terms of his feelings for me (or so I thought), I began noticing things. It was nothing major, not one thing I could point to, but the mood around us changed. We were living together at the time, and there were days when it felt like I was sleeping with a stranger. Eye contact isn't for everyone, sure, but my guy treated every warm smile I tossed his way like it was something awkward -- he wouldn't look me in the eye. When he did manage to, he'd chew his lip and cock his head, and sometimes he'd sniff. It was strange. It had me worried.
I got the unsettling feeling that he was wearing a mask. We would eat dinner and I'd look up to find him frowning. Was it something I'd done? I'd ask him what was wrong and he'd blink rapidly almost like there was something stuck in his eye. "Nothing, I'm fine," he'd say.
I'm a pretty open person, and I don't think I gave him any reason to be fearful around me -- but that's how he was acting. I tried talking to him about it, but not in a direct way. Most of the time I came across sounding like an insecure girl, and I hated being made to feel that way. His weird behavior around me only made that feeling worse.
It was the blinking that actually did us in. No, I don't have insane, blinking standards or anything. I just noticed it more and more. "Hey, how was your day?" I'd ask. "Oh, boring," he'd say, blinking like he was trying to send me a code. I actually suggested he go to the eye doctor -- I though he had legitimately overly-dry eyes. Because I'm an idiot.
One night when he got home and darted straight off to bed, I sat down and opened my computer. I took a breath and typed: "Boyfriend blinks rapidly when I ask him questions." I'm embarrassed that I did it, but not embarrassed with the results.
The crazy-girlfriend Google search led me to the term "micro expressions." If you aren't familiar, micro expressions are the tiny flickers the face makes that indicate a person is uncomfortable or stressed out. The big way of spotting them? Look for asymmetrical movements, like a quick twitch of the lip. Another big reveal: the eyes. Blinking more than usual? Very common -- and very telling.
If you want a guy to confess that he's been sleeping with a married friend of yours for the entire duration of your relationship, wake him out of a dead sleep and start yelling at him about micro expressions. It worked a treat. The bottled-up fear that something was wrong certainly didn't hurt either.
Since then (in addition to licking my wounds) I've been fascinated by body language. There's the obvious stuff, and then the deeper stuff like micro expressions that tell so much more about us than we even realize. Are they just feelings? Are these micro expressions real? Celebrity life coach and micro expression expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams told us:
Yes very much so. Are they easy to misinterpret. Again, yes very much so. Micro expressions are one aspect of recognising emotions but the whole body transmits thoughts, desires, fears, emotions, and intent sometimes without the accompanying micro expression.
Bottom line: Even when you can't spot a micro expression, when your gut tells you something's up, trust what it's telling you.
Have you ever caught someone in a lie?
Image via pinkypills/Corbis