Infidelity is not something that should be condoned, but it is understood that it's unfortunately a reality of life. People cheat, get cheated on and a lot of times get caught cheating. Therefore, the name of the game is to learn from your mistakes and be a better jump-off.
See, if you choose to walk an adulterous path, you have to be smart about it. Most importantly, you have to stay in pocket. Who knows - maybe if you follow these rules you can go from just a sidepiece to a centerpiece!
The only thing worse than cheating is getting caught cheating, so do your lover a favor and help him or her avoid the drama that comes with getting caught. At the end of the day, it's probably you who will end up alone, so why not make life easier on yourself and your lover by keeping him or her in good standing with his main squeeze?
Besides, if you can't follow the rules, you always have the option of dating someone single...
1. Don't Just Watch 'CSI' - Study It
Evidence is only admissible if it's discovered. So don't be sloppy and leave a trail of betrayal. You might think it's a way to "keep" him/her for good, but being found out can lead to more headache than the person is worth. Clean up everything, including yourself, and dispose of any telltale signs immediately - preferably somewhere far from home.
2. Don't Kiss & Tell
The best secrets are the ones that are actually, you know, kept. As much as you'd like to share your secret life with your close friend(s), the less people that know about your affair, the better. Loose lips sink (relation)ships.
3. No Pictures, Please
Only people in serious relationships need visual souvenirs of a special moment together. Those on the creep need to steer clear of any flashing lights as much as possible - whether you're the cheater or the side piece. The same goes for sex tapes and sexts. Getting caught in the act is one thing; recording it for prosperity is just plain dumb.
4. Social Media is Not Your Friend
You never realize how small the world is until you sign on to Facebook. Chances are you have only a few degrees of separation between yourself and your man/woman's significant other, but try to resist the urge to friend them and snoop in their business. Keep your digital footprints as light as possible.
5. Better Safe Than Sorry
This should go without saying, but using protection is a must - cheater or not. Whether it's an unwanted pregnancy or a STD/STI, if you love your lover, the last thing you want to do is have them explain to their family why they just got booked to appear on Maury.
Public displays of affection are a major no-no. His or her main squeeze may be out of town, but their friends might not. The last thing you need is for them to get caught out there because you wanted to reach out and touch someone that isn't your official partner.
7. Feelings Are Overrated
The only feelings allowed in an affair are the ones that make you feel good, so shelve all talk of forging a deeper connection. As for the L-word, they probably have love for you but you're fooling yourself if you think they're in love.
8. Don't Call Them, They'll Call You... When They Feel Like It
The reason most people get caught cheating is because of a phone call. Either they keep ignoring a call that raises suspicion or their side piece calls and the BF/GF/husband/wife answers. That's why you need to limit contact and understand the boundaries of his/her designated "no-calls-allowed time".
9. Holidays Are Tricky
Any seasoned cheater knows that having to work late is the failsafe excuse for creeping, but that goes out the window when they have a day off. If he/she's been MIA from family throughout the week, the official lover is going to want some quality time while you, the part-time lover, take a backseat. Unless you want to raise suspicion, major holidays and anniversaries should be spent with the main squeeze and side piece appreciation days can be scheduled for a later date.
10. Three's Company; More's a Crowd
Some people just don't know how to quit when they're ahead. If your co-conspirator has managed to juggle you and their main squeeze successfully by following the above rules, there may come a point where they get cocky and try to add a fourth (or more) person into your adulterous mix. It's bad enough you're already splitting their time with someone else; don't allow yourself to get played any further because they want to be greedy!
Are you a side piece? Tell us your rules!
Anslem Samuel is the founder of the award-winning sex and relationship blog Naked With Socks On.