While acceptance of those committing adultery has become more widespread over recent decades, our more relaxed attitudes do not amount to a pardon for any individual who is caught. It's probably fair to say that we understand that adultery happens in the abstract, but if it was our partner that was caught? Well... God help them.
If you decide to cheat on a partner, you are risking many things. Firstly, and most importantly, your relationship.
If you are having an affair because of an unhappy relationship then some might argue that that is understandable. However, two wrongs do not make a right. You are still abusing someone's trust and ensuring that if the relationship does end, it will do so in the worst possible way.
Secondly, you are not going to have your reputation among your family and friends enhanced. I personally know of people who have been shunned by their own families because they have been caught having an affair. And if you have children with your partner, not only are you playing fire with their emotional health, but quite possibly your relationship with them forever more.
Finally, you are creating a past for yourself that you may never escape. When people know that you are a "cheater", then many potential partners will learn of this and be scared away from any involvement with you. Even if your fall was a one-off slip from a path of otherwise total rectitude, you can forever destroy people's trust in you.
Depending on your situation, actually physically committing adultery can be hard. If you're in the kind of job that takes you away from home and watching eyes for days at a time, you might find it relatively easy. If you lead a relatively stay-at-home life, then suddenly absenting yourself for even the odd night here and there can be extraordinarily difficult.
Assuming you don't want to get caught out, then you will have to commit the act somewhere 'safe'. That means somewhere where there is a minimal chance of someone you know happening across you. If the person you are cheating with is single, then they might be able to accommodate you easily enough. Otherwise, you are looking at a potentially dangerous situation like meeting in a hotel room. That means creating a paper trail of evidence. I myself know a person who was caught by means of a hotel receipt left carelessly in a back pocket.
Times can be as much of a problem as places. You need to find a time that fits into your calendar without looking suspicious in itself. If you always go to the pub with the boys on a Friday then it would be feasible to use that as cover for a night away from home on a Friday. If you've never been so much as late home from work, then suddenly disappearing on a night out can look very suspicious indeed.
This is the really tricky part. Depending on the motive of the person you're involved with and your own intentions, you are placing a lot of trust in the other party not to wreck your life. For you, your encounter might just be a sexual thrill - but if the other party has ideas of a future relationship that can spell real danger. It is important, therefore, to be clear in your own mind what you want... and just as important that the other person understands that as well as you do.
- Cover stories
Assuming that you can satisfy the above criteria, you will have to make sure that you have a convincing story to explain your absence from home. That might include such factors as why the other person won't be able to phone you, why your friends and colleagues don't know where you are and even things like mileage on your car. If none of that sounds easy to pull off, that's because it isn't!
Have your say on cheating
Is adultery every acceptable?
If, despite all the warnings, you decide to press ahead and cheat... what can you expect?
Firstly, you're likely to experience a sense of danger and thrill that may have long been gone from your relationship. Things are often at their most exciting when they are new - and this certainly holds true for sexual relationships. The first time you share a kiss (or more) is a moment you simply can't reproduce.
You also know that you are doing something very, very wrong. Like thieves who get 'high' from the danger of doing something wrong, you might find the feeling of stepping outside the boundaries to be intoxicating in itself.
The sex itself will depend - dramatically so - on the chemistry you have with the other person. If your adultery is based in mutual passion rather than your own personal boredom, there will probably be no sex like it. If it's just an anonymous weekend fling, it might be an empty hollow experience for you both.