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We search for the small, golden piece of the condom wrapper we bit off and spit across the room before we search the pillows and linen for any scent she may have left behind. Wrap the condom in a toilet paper ribbon and put the wrapper, in it’s entirety, inside the cereal box we threw away a few days ago, and bury that cereal box at the bottom of the garbage. Feel guilty for a few moments, take a piss and dismiss it, and go grab a few laughs with the friends who know you best. This is how the right after begins.
Writing math theorems we were supposed to have memorized on desks three minutes before a test taught us early on how to live with guilt. We minimize it, rationalize, and move on. Shawn Carter told us that we have to learn to live with regret. We do. We send those women home in cabs we won’t pay for, swish around a little mouthwash and kiss our girlfriends, wives, lovers minutes later when they come walking through the door. Then we talk and laugh and smile.
We tell ourselves our dicks won’t always frequent the available abysses, and will find themselves happy with just one. Since very possible, and rarely proven, we tell god that if the last dip into the girl pool goes undiscovered, we’ll stop. But the flesh is weak, isn’t it?
What we aren’t telling ourselves, or maybe we are but doing a poor job convincing ourselves, is what we’re doing when we press send on that text message at 3:15am telling the girl from the bar that we’re bored and massages are free if she can get there before the sun comes up could be the savior of our relationship with the woman we love. Did this mother*cker just say cheating can be the savior of a relationship?
If carefully planned and immaculately executed, what happens after isn’t a four hour conversation about something of no interest to men, but a few laughs with the woman you love most because, thanks to the one you had put the hotel room on her prepaid debit card, you released all your tensions and frustrations and all is now right with the world.
What if, however, cheating opened up your lines of communication? What if you walked in the house and talked to her about what it was that made you cheat? Speaking with a group of coeds from George Mason University not long ago, I took a bold dive into the look of relationships. More and more people are coming to terms with the possibility of their partner cheating, so they make room. They blow the dust off their lines of communication, and remove “affair” from their list of deal breakers.
But those lines aren’t yet fully open, and these small towns I often frequent haven’t evolved as much as they should sexually, so what normally happens after the affair is roughly two weeks of fear that the entire condom wrapper may not have been discarded and the one you love most will find it tucked in the fitted sheet. You spend those two weeks planning exciting adventures out of the house in places the “other woman” knows nothing about, and you promise yourself, for those two weeks, you won’t do it again.
What happens after the cheating is you cheat again.