• The worst thing that can happen when cheating is a pregnancy
Whether you call it infidelity, cheating, unfaithfulness or adultery, the tendency among some married persons to betray their spouses just won't go away. We see it among our friends, relatives, workmates and business partners.
Two months ago, this column proposed that society considers polyamory. In that article, polyamory was described as a practice where individuals engage in multiple romantic relationships with more than one consenting partner. The key aspect of polyamory is that all the partners inside that relationship are aware of each other's existence.
A woman, for example, might have three husbands, with all of them agreeing on a schedule for spending time with their wife. The husbands, in turn, could also be married to other women. The rationale behind polyamory is that relationships should be out in the open among all the parties, with clearly laid out rules of conduct.
Polyamory remains controversial because it goes against religious teachings against adultery. People wishing to get involved in romance outside their marriages must, therefore, continue doing it secretly. The consequences of being caught are severe as recent crimes of passion have shown, some of which resulted in the loss of lives.
Media columnist Edgar Wabwire believes that having multiple sexual partners is bound to cause problems. "If you as a generous man decide to add a well from where you'll be quenching your thirst, just get to know that the aftermath of your actions may be suicidal!" Wabwire warns.
Seeing the severe consequences of cheating in a marriage, those doing it must be careful not to get caught. Here follows a compilation of ways some get away with eating the forbidden fruit.
The first step is to understand the behaviour of cheating spouses. The behaviour includes constantly being away from home, a decline in emotional intimacy, hiding communication devices such as phones and computers, frequent chatting on electronic devices, unexplained expenses, and defensiveness when questioned on the behaviour. Obviously, the key to avoiding detection is to act as normally as possible.
Dr Robert Weiss, a sexologist and psychotherapist, listed several signs of cheating in Psychology Today magazine. The signs include a spouse changing his or her appearance, being unreachable, emotional withdrawal, forgetting crucial dates (children's birthdays, school dates, anniversaries, family events), and outright hostility in the relationship.
The individual may mumble something about being unreachable due to lack of mobile network coverage, that the phone had run out of charge, or say the call was unexpected. Weiss emphasises that not everyone with these characteristics is cheating. Regardless of the reasons, these are not good signs for a relationship.
James* (not his real name) was preparing for bed when his smartphone rang. Looking at the screen, he saw it was a girl with whom he had a fling. He quickly rejected the call because his wife was in the bedroom. The caller persisted with the calls, forcing James to switch off his phone, but not before his wife wondered loudly about the unusual timing.
If you are already in a relationship, tell your new catch about your circumstances to avoid awkward situations. Agree on the times when you can talk or chat freely. If your new love still insists on calling while you are at home, temporarily block the person or switch off your phone.
Don't introduce your side fling to your social circles. Your friends and workmates must never know about your affair. If they do, it is just a matter of time before word gets to your spouse. Besides, introducing your side flame to friends puts them in a dilemma over whether to keep quiet or say something to your spouse.
Use protection to prevent unintended pregnancies. The worst thing that can happen when cheating is a pregnancy. Hiding a relationship is complicated enough, but a child cannot stay hidden. When you have a child with someone outside your marriage, that person becomes part of your life forever.
BLEND IT WITH WORK
Blend your secret affair with your schedule. After work or weekend meetings will eventually draw suspicion, especially if your spouse knows your work routine. The better way of spending time with your new lover is to hide it within your schedule. If your work is field-based, arrange to meet your lover in the field within working hours, making sure to get home on time. Further cheating opportunities come when taking the car to the garage, going to the salon or going shopping.
If you are travelling outside your usual workstation for more than several days, take advantage of it by leaving home a day earlier or returning a day later to spend time with your secret love. Your spouse is unlikely to ever ask your workmates about the exact dates of your out-of-town trips. Whenever you can, create an excuse to get a day off from work, but your spouse should not know about it. You'll leave the house as usual and return at the expected time, having spent the day with your other lover.
Keep up with your responsibilities at home. Prepare a budget so that you don't spend too much money on your crush. Remember birthdays, anniversaries, school dates and family events. It takes a lot of effort to keep track of everything at home while making time for your secret lover. Special days, such as Christmas, should strictly be spent with family.
As tempting as it is, don't take pictures and videos whenever you are with your side lover. Such images tend to leak out. You may, in a moment of drunkenness, accidentally send out the images to people you did not intend to. Your device may one day be in the hands of a repair technician, who may then share the images with colleagues.
Carry out most of the communication with your affair partner when outside. Erase all traces of your communication by the time you get home. Avoid saving your secret lovers' contacts with names that arouse suspicion.
As suggested by these tips, it takes a lot of meticulous effort to sustain a secret affair. Not everybody thinks cheating on their spouses is worth the trouble. Just about 25 per cent of married men and 20 per cent of married women will engage in an extra-marital affairs during their marriages. This is according to the National Library for Medicine in a report published in 2013.