Yesterday a friend asked me the craziest question ever. Well to be fair, the question wasn’t crazy so much as the fact that it was asked of me of all people.
She asked me “how do I not cheat?”
It’s a fair enough question, one that I’m sure many people ask on many occasions. But it’s so completely beyond my scope that she probably would have had better luck asking an elephant.
See the amazing and wonderful thing about me is that I’ve never really had to try not to cheat. And that’s not because I’m such a wonderful, virtuous human being beyond all reproach and immune to physical desire. I mean, I am all of those things but that’s not the reason. The reason I’ve never had to worry about cheating is because when I was younger if I wanted to cheat I just did it and now that I’m older I shun monogamy like it’s pleather shoes. Like any classic underachiever I avoid situations in which I think I might fail, so to prevent myself from cheating I stay out of situations where cheating is a consideration. If you aren’t exclusive, you can’t cheat no matter what you do. There you go – problem solved.
If there’s one thing I know about life it’s this: the flesh is weak, man. It is weak. Whether we’re single or in a relationship we have desires. And our bodies want us to act on those desires. It’s what it was born to do. But in order for us to not cheat we have to stop our bodies from getting what they want. And that is hard as shit.
As far as I’m concerned, fidelity is like tipping over a Coke machine. You push and you push and you push and each time it falls back. But one of those times you push the shit is going to topple over. That’s it. So when it comes to cheating, we can resist the urge time and time again but one of those days we are going to slip and fall on some dick. We just can’t help it.
But that doesn’t help my friend, so I promised her I’d give her question a chew and come back to her. And here we are.
There are plenty of people in the world who have never cheated and believe they never will. They don’t worry about it because they’re so firm in their resolve not to ever be that person. They’re better than that so they won’t ever cheat. And if they’re ever tempted, all they do is remember how much they love their partners, how hurt they would be if they slipped up and that washes away any urge they might have to stray.
Hot toasted titty for those people, but for mere mortals such as my friend (and myself) it’s a little more difficult.
So how do you not cheat? Don’t think about it. If you’re anything like me, the longer you think about cheating the closer you get to coming up with a rationalization that will let you sleep at night. You think and think and think and sooner or later you’ll come up with a way to feel okay about cheating. A reason why you’re entitled to do it. So don’t think about it. Just put it out of your mind.
Then you get your house in order. Discontent breeds resentment and resentment breeds spitefulness and if there’s a better way than cheating to act out your spitefulness I’m sure I don’t know what it is. So you make yourself happy in your relationship. Letting go of petty grievances, getting shit off your chest, doing what you can to get what you need from your partner, all of that is like puttying the cracks in your relationship so no outsider can worm her way in. That’s step one.
And lead yourself not into temptation. You stay out of situations that are conducive to cheating. You don’t get involved in dirty text conversations, you don’t stand too close to anyone. You make sure you’re never alone in a room with any man but your own and you don’t look at anyone too hard. Just don’t let yourself want anything and you don’t feel deprived. I guess.
And sometimes after all of that, all it really comes down to is white-knuckled fidelity. When the urge is there, the opportunity is there, when you know you can do it and never get caught, when all you can do is just clench your teeth and wait for it to pass. You distract yourself, you pray for strength, you go to sleep. You sublimate with food or smoking or cigarettes. You find a thread and you hang the fuck on for dear life because you don’t want to be a cheater and the one you love doesn’t deserve to be cheated on. You grit your teeth and you just refuse.
Here’s what I know about not cheating. It is hard. It just is. And the only way to not cheat is to just not cheat.
But what say you guys? Do you struggle with not cheating like my friend and I do or is it easy for you to stay faithful? What do you do to stay on course when you’re tempted to stray? Help my friend out in the comments.