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What is cheating, anyway? And why do people do it? Cheating is ". . .an agreement between two partners to be in a monogamous relationship and one partner violates the agreement and engages in sexual or emotional intimacy with someone outside the relationship." (Melanie Shapiro via Bustle) People cheat on their partners for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, the relationship has grown stale, and you're looking to add spice and zest. Sometimes, your partner grows cold and distant and you need reassurance and affection. And, after many conversations, it seems these issues can't be remedied within the relationship.
Whatever the reason, many times you don't want to end your primary relationship, but you do desire something new, fresh and different. This doesn't mean you don't love your partner, but it may mean you need to do some internal reflection. What is making you stray from him or her? Are you non-monogamous? Regardless of the answer, you step outside the relationship without intending any hurt feelings.
This article will help you cover your tracks and protect the person you love while you investigate your needs.
1. Be Discreet
If you are choosing to step outside the boundaries of your primary relationship, discretion is essential.
The first step part of discretionary behavior is not to start talking about your special friend with your partner. Don't rave about the fantastic new trainer at the gym or the new girl in your office. It's unthoughtful and unkind to talk to your partner about your new interest.
Although you may feel excited and want to talk to someone about this new person in your life, your partner is not that person. Do not even mention your new friend. Nothing good will ever come from that.
Don't call or text when you are at home. Don't call or text on the weekends. Let your special friend know that you want to protect your partner and aren't willing to text in their presence.
Discretion Regarding Communication
A burner phone or a throw-away phone from a retail store may sound like a good idea, but in reality, it may arouse more suspicion than just using your regular phone. While it will be easy for your partner to look at messages to your person of interest, it would look even more suspicious if they were to find an entire phone dedicated to talking to other people. That looks like a big deal.
One tip? Use a different name in your phone for someone you want to talk to but don't want to talk to your partner about. Turn "Jason from the Gym" into "Uncle Frank on mom's side."
Discretion and Public Appearances
Being discreet includes not going out to eat at places where people might know you. If you are both dressed in business attire and you can pass it off as a business lunch, then it might work, but this isn't a good idea to try. People are more aware than you give them credit for. If you must go for drinks, lunch, or dinner, then be sure to do it outside of your town, neighborhood, or where people you know congregate.
Social Media and Keeping Things Quiet
People notice small things. Sending emails and friending each other on social media is a bad idea and will arouse suspicion. If a new person suddenly starts showing up all over your Instagram and Facebook, or in your email, it will be a red flag for your partner. You're better off pretending like they don't exist.
2. Don't Pick Fights
The second secret to not getting caught is to refrain from fighting, nit-picking and blaming the partner that you love.
Often, when a person begins cheating, they feel guilty. Then they look for things to accuse their partner of. Whether it's something as simple as a forgotten chore, or an annoying habit, it's easy to assign blame when you're feeling guilty.
Don't look for reasons to further punish your partner. Don't point an accusing finger, or start blaming them for little things. This behavior will send a red flag to your boyfriend or girlfriend. If you can't emotionally handle your own choices then it's time to assess your behavior—not start a fight with your supportive partner. Be kind to your partner.
Remember, you are the one who is exploring outside of the relationship. Monitor your behavior and feelings. If you can't keep things under control, it may be time to give up the pursuit. Therapy is an excellent option.
3. No Drastic Changes
New relationships can open doors to new behaviors, but be careful not to make any drastic changes.
If you go get your hair dyed and cut, or you decide to grow a beard, or you start working out like crazy, your partner will notice. And while they may also appreciate the changes in you, it is likely to make them suspicious.
Besides not changing your physical appearance, you might consider not changing your usual habits too much. Joining a new gym, listening to different music or showing interest in things that have never interested you before may create some problems.
Sure, your new friend has introduced you to lots of new ideas, music, and maybe even shown you a thing or two in the bedroom. Tread lightly, introducing too much change into your primary relationship will alert your partner that something is different.
Although you may have discovered new hobbies, interests and talents, be careful sharing them in your life. One small change at a time.
4. Buy Gifts for Everyone, Not Just Your Crush
While you might be tempted to give your new friend some sexy lingerie, or a special gift that reminds him of your favorite little restaurant, don't ignore the other person in your life.
It is fun to give thoughtful gifts, and it is equally fun to receive thoughtful gifts. If you consider buying something for your special friend, pause. Consider the person you love, your partner, and think about what they might like.
Is it expensive? Yes, it is. But it will make both of the people happy. You are not trying to wreck your partner's life. You are expanding your horizons. In so doing, you must nurture both relationships.
Send them both a cute card. Get them both a thoughtful gift. Or, don't do it for either of them. If you don't give gifts, then don't give any gifts. If you want to be thoughtful, then be thoughtful to both (or all) of the important and meaningful people in your life.
If you can't afford to nurture both relationships, you can't afford to cheat and should consider why you are seeking excitement outside of your primary relationship.
5. Share Your Time
While you may want to spend all your free time with your new friend, it is imperative that you spend time with your partner as well.
"Working late" may work one or two days a week, but in order to have your cake and eat it too, you must also come home early occasionally and spend time within your primary relationship. It is unfair to all the parties involved, including yourself, if you don't spend time with everyone.
Sure, it's tiring. Of course, you want to focus on your new interest. But the truth is, you owe it to yourself and your partner to remain committed to that relationship. It's fun to play outside the bounds of your relationship, but if you spend all your time away, you'll find yourself on the outs.
It is difficult to split your time between two places. In order for your playtime to work, you must invest time in your primary relationship. No one said it would be easy (or cheap) to cheat, but if you've decided to do it, then you need to share your time.
If your interest in spending time with your primary partner is waning, then it may be time to consider ending the relationship or seeking help in the form of counseling.
6. Honor Your Truth
Yes, cheating is a taboo subject, but the truth is, life happens. It doesn't make you a "bad" person inherently. What makes you a bad person is treating yourself and the people around you badly.
If you choose to step outside your primary relationship to find companionship, comfort, sex, or whatever it is that you are looking for, be honest with yourself about the purpose.
Do Not Cheat With Ill Intent
If you are trying to hurt someone, then you probably will. And chances are, you will also get hurt in the process. If your intention is not to hurt anyone but to have a different experience, then you are more likely to be careful of other people's feelings.
Not everyone will agree that stepping outside your primary relationship is a good idea. People may berate you if they find out. They might get mad. Be honest, at least with yourself, about why you did it.
Face the situations that arise with your integrity in place. Be kind and compassionate to all the people involved. Don't blame or make excuses for your behavior. Instead, own up. Be honest about your own truth.
McGowan, Emma. Here's How 8 Relationship Experts Define Cheating. Bustle.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.