Cheating Is Stupid

I started writing A Dating Guide for Married Men after I was asked out on a date with someone I thought was single but wasn’t. Not only was he not single, he didn’t bother to tell me until I showed up on the date and deduced it for myself. Something about continuing to use plural pronouns and not having a mouse in his pocket. When confronted with the question of marital status—and why a woman should have to ask that little question is beyond me—he admitted it.

Then I got to thinking about all the stupid things he had done that could easily have led to his wife catching him in an affair. That was bit that upset me the most because the one thing I find more unforgivable than cheating is cheating poorly. Others disagree. For example, according to Tracy Schorn in Five Stupid Things Cheaters Say and How to Respond, it is the excuse for the actions that is inexcusable just as much as the infidelity itself.

I felt the same way when my children lied to me when they were little. I could easily forgive the broken vase, the staying out late, or the missing money, but when they came back with an excuse of “It was his fault” or “I couldn’t get a ride home” or “The dog ate it,” especially when it was so obviously untrue, I’d lose my cool.

No, I am not suggesting everyone go out and become better liars. I am simply suggesting if you can’t man up and take ownership for your actions, you should learn to at least make the lie challenging. Spend at least some time thinking about what will happen when you get caught. Eventually, you will, and come up with at least a semi-plausible response. Better yet, if you must cheat, cheat like a pro. Avoid taking your girlfriend to the same places you take your wife. Avoid paying for dates with the very same credit card that she pays every month. Put some thought into a cover story for why you are away from home so often. Make it at least a challenge to catch you in the act.

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