PSA: If You’re Going to Cheat, Do It Right

Nov 30, 2011 • Lessons

Eliot Spitzer and wife Silda during a press conference after his indiscretions were discovered.

Cheating isn’t a noble thing. But if you have to do it, you’re going to do it right. That’s where we come in.

First, ask yourself: is the affair a supplement or are you looking for a way out? It’s essential that you face the root of this question. If you’re looking for a way out, buck up and end the relationship. No one should have to deal with the hurtful discovery of an affair. It’s not fair to anyone to be caught in your cowardly mess. Just admit that it isn’t working and address the dissolution of the relationship with care and maturity.

If the affair is just a supplement — for whatever reason, be it sex, an ego stroke, an adrenaline rush, emotional comfort — choose your lover wisely. Emotions can quickly hijack an interaction, however clear-cut it may be, and you need to know the person who is sharing this explosive secret isn’t going to turn around and destroy your life when you remind him or her that you’re not planning on leaving your primary relationship.

The standard rule is to pick someone in a similar position as you, or at least someone who has as much to lose as you do. You’re trusting this person with your life — literally — so don’t make any errors in judgment here. They could cost you dearly.

Protect your primary relationship. He or she must never want for anything. You must not be absent or distracted. Texting in bed, late-night phonecalls, excessive “meetings” on weekends or after work are not appropriate. Start paying attention to details. Stray hairs, texting (watch those texts) or IMing — you don’t think they matter. Independently, they don’t. But add one drop of doubt, and all the little details will come crashing down in an avalanche of fail.

You must take care not to be seen in public. The humiliation of discovery by mutual friends only adds insult to injury. This is also why you don’t tell your friends. Any of them. You must also consider what you say to a lover. Never disparage your primary relationship. You’re the cheating bastard, not them. Remember that.

This is all psychological and emotional protection.

There is also physical protection to consider: do not have unsafe sex. It’s not just your body and health on the line here — keep that in mind. And don’t get yourself or anyone else pregnant.

If it looks easy, you’re doing it wrong. A successful affair leaves no trace — it requires the precision of a surgeon and strategy of a well-seasoned general. You’re going to have to get really good at thinking on your feet and become obsessive about details.

Still want to do it? All right, your call. But we warned you this was no cake-walk.

Photo by My Eye Sees.