Untrue Love

Are you tired of your relationship? Is there no joy in your joie de vivre, no spring in your step, no rocket in your pocket? Sure, you could tell your significant other how you feel, but that would be hard. You’d end up having to “work” on the relationship. And pointless. Even if you could bring yourself to say, “It’s not you, it’s me,” sooner or later they would figure out that you’re being insincere. Which would only lead to more awkwardness. And who needs that?

What if I told you there was a surefire way to find excitement outside your “stable” relationship that doesn’t involve any difficult confrontations or soul-searching?

Unfortunately, it involves the dreaded C-word. No, not that C-word, sicko. I’m talking about cheating. Sure it’s unethical and immoral, but you’re a well-read, urbane sophisticate. You can manage morally gray situations and get away with deeds beyond the imaginations of ordinary dullards. And aren’t you romantically involved with one of those ordinary dullards? That is why you’re listening to me in the first place.

Becoming a cheater requires gumption. It also requires a battle plan. Normally, I charge $2,000 for my three-day seminar. (Expensive, I know, but I chose a price point just below what Neil Strauss’s master seducer charges for a seminar in Strauss’s book on pickup artists, The Game because — let’s face it — after you complete his seminar, you’ll need to enroll in mine.)

But in this column, I have condensed my lessons into a finely honed brief that will change your life for the better, if not those of the people to whom you have promised to be committed.

Think of it as a “cheat sheet,” because that’s what it is.

RULE #1: GO FORTH AND CHEAT
The prospect of going out and cheating on someone may seem daunting. You may even feel bad. But, as experienced philanderers will tell you, this just means you need to get on with it.

Pour yourself a nice tall glass of courage. You probably prefer to savor a finger of 18-year Macallan with a few drops of water to open up the bouquet over the course of an evening. But consider something a little more adventurous. I recommend Long Island Iced Teas — preferably through a funnel and three feet of surgical tube. Remember, we’re drinking with a purpose here, and that is to totally obliterate your inhibitions. Forget all about the pleasing sensation of warmth and well-being normally brought on by alcohol. You should be aiming for “Ociffer, I have no idea how my car got parked on top of that monument . . .” drunk.

Not only will this help you scare up some courage, but, if (God forbid) you’re ever actually confronted about the act of infidelity, you can say with real conviction, “I have no idea how it happened,” or “I don’t even remember him.”

RULE #2: GET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM
Who says cheating is habitual?

You have an itch that needs to be scratched. Your partner refuses to accurately simulate the “Brazilian tranny” experience you’ve been craving since you saw the May ’97 centerfold of Transformations. If you could just get it out of your system, you would probably go on to a whole lifetime of contented commitment.

Alternately, let’s say you’ve already decided the relationship has no potential. Remember, confrontations are painful and require you to talk about your feelings as a mature and respectful individual. You could come to terms, move on, and remain friends after a reasonable period of time. Though tempting this outcome may be, remember that getting there is HARD WORK. You’re much better off just leaving the May ’97 Transformations under the couch. She’ll find it vacuuming soon enough.

Or just wait until someone anonymously forwards her that M4WWASM ad (Men For Women Who Are Still Men) you took out on Craigslist. She’ll get the message, and even if you’re worried about such a revelation circulating on the Internet and damaging your chances for a federal judgeship, well, the Democrats have to get back in power sometime, right?

RULE #3: USE CHEATING AS A MEANS OF PUNISHING YOUR PARTNER
Is your spouse too tired from chasing the kids or slaving away at the office to knock boots as often as you would like? In this case, cheating might actually save your relationship.

It’s a surprisingly effective way of punishing your partner and sending a firm corrective message. If they even think about not catering to your every whim and want, well, maybe they need a reminder that Alonso will be attending next month’s Actuary-palooza in Vegas that corporate HQ insists you attend.

The key is to drop hints about your lack of fulfillment so that you sound more like a martyr than a cretin. Even if you spill the beans about your avocational quenching of the erotic fire that lay beneath your cool, corporate exterior, they will know something isn’t right. Use their uncertainty against them. Relationships are about the balance of power. If you play your cards right, you can exploit this situation to your favor for years to come.

RULE #4: WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE KIDS
I know waiting until you have kids may seem like a bold move for the budding adulterer, but don’t think of them as rugrats, think of them as insurance. If you do get caught cheating, your spouse will have powerful parental, legal, and financial incentives not to set fire to your clothes, park your plasma on the curb, or change the locks.

See, children come first. It’s in their best interest for parents to stay together. Now, your partner may be too fixated on the problems of your relationship to think of their well-being. At which point, you can throw it in your partner’s face. It’s just like them to be selfish, and OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, WHY WON’T YOU THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

RULE #5: YOUR FRIEND’S ADVICE IS PROBABLY GOOD
Still feeling sheepish about cheating? Go out there and find yourself an enabler. We all have that one person in our lives who at 10 o’clock on a Friday night says, “Hey! I can score an eight-ball from this bartender I know.”

Normally, you recoil in horror at your friend’s lack of judgment, but around 2 a.m., that eight ball could help convince that stripper at Archibald’s to dance around your pole after last call.

One of my friends — a single mom — recently told a group of us that she didn’t want to marry her wonderful boyfriend until she’d slept with a man of a different skin color. “Just take care of that next time you go to New York on a business trip,” a mutual friend advised. “Your boyfriend will never know.”

That’s the kind of friend I’m talking about.

RULE #6: DOES IT INVOLVE SEX? NO? THEN YOU’RE NOT CHEATING!
Jimmy Carter lusted in his heart, and look how he turned out: a one-term president remembered for an inflationary rate higher than his approval numbers.

Take a cue from a far more successful president: Bill Clinton. What’s a little knob slobbin’/ hide the Havana with the intern? Whatever it is, it isn’t sex. Half the country made him a martyr over his defiant and orthodox stand on the definition of sex. To be bipartisan here, this attitude is most succinctly summed up by rising Republican star Arnold Schwarzenegger: “Eating isn’t cheating.”

And if you can get away with parsing that, you sure as hell don’t need to think of any close relationship or intimacy with members of the opposite sex as cheating. Remember, no matter how explicitly sexual and romantic you get, you can always jet back to faithfulness. Think of that instant messaging window as a pixilated prophylactic protecting you from accusations of infidelity.

RULE #7: NEVER REFLECT ON WHAT CAUSE YOU TO CHEAT
This should be fairly self-explanatory. One of the reasons that led you to cheat was your inability to confront your feelings. If anything’s wrong with you, it’s probably your parents’ fault anyway, and therefore beyond repair. Besides, you don’t have to justify your behavior to anyone. What is this, Oprah?

Well, sports fans, that’s the pure crystalline essence of my seminar. Seven simple rules for doing it with the babysitter. Let me know how it works out.

Mollie Ziegler is a writer in Washington.

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