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Correcting Your Behavior Since 2017

The Great Mystery Unlocked: How Infidelity Happens

"We never meant for it to happen. It just happened." That's the account frequently offered when someone has been caught cheating on his or her partner. You see, it isn't as if the cheater planned to be unfaithful. It just happened. It was unintentional, a total accident. Some powerful outside force was at work, taking the poor, unwitting participants unaware.

But let's do a little backward time traveling. Join me, won't you? Did the illicit tryst happen at a library? On a bus? In a coffee shop? At a workplace meeting? During a class at school? The Curmudgeon hazards a guess that none of these were the scene of the crime. With notable, kinky exceptions, the majority of sexual encounters happen in private—someplace where two people can be alone and unobserved. That means that in order for cheating to happen, the participants need to have made a choice to be alone together. And choosing to be alone with someone to whom you're attracted when one or both of you is in a committed relationship is not unlike playing Russian Roulette—with more than one bullet. You've put yourselves in a situation that vastly increases the possibility that something improper can "just happen." And if you've added alcohol or some other morals-compromising substance to the circumstances, you've added another bullet to the chamber.

Participants in such scenarios cannot therefore claim with any legitimacy that their infidelity was accidental. They can't complain that they were victimized by overwhelmingly irresistible feelings of unforeseen lust that turned a perfectly chaste situation into one that led to guilt and regret.

Here is a highly effective method for avoiding infidelity—if that's something you want to avoid. You know to whom you're attracted, yes? If so, you may want to implement a strict policy of not being alone with such individuals in places that are conducive to hanky-panky—for example, rooms with beds . . . or floors . . . or . . . well, let's just leave it at that. You might also decide not to chemically alter your brain to the extent that your morals might be compromised. These are merely suggestions. We're just brainstorming here. But I'm strongly inclined to believe that such policies might at least reduce one's chances of being the hapless victim of those dirty little gremlins who brainwash you, conk you over the head, and trick you into having sex with someone with whom you shouldn't have sex.

It's a pretty simple technique, really, one that can be easily understood when applied to other situations where one desires to circumvent temptation. If you're trying to avoid fattening foods, you don't go wandering around an ice cream shop, later explaining that the triple fudge sundae with twelve toppings just happened. If you're trying to avoid alcohol, you don't grab a seat at the bar of your local pub during happy hour, then struggle to understand how you ended up downing those three scotches. No, if we're smart, we avoid the places where naughty things happen, thereby sparing ourselves many a trying test of our mettle.

And if you choose to reject this sensible practice of avoidance, if you set the stage for trouble by willingly combining motive with opportunity, then you have deliberately purchased a ticket and boarded the train to Cheatsville. Or, to put it more aptly . . . you've made your bed.

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