the pretty fucked up website

The Not 100% Complete FAQs for the Pretty Fucked Up Person in a Pretty Fucked Up World

In which we face the dreaded reality that cheating does in fact exist....and review our options for dealing with it

Personal Angst
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The first thing we are going to do in reviewing our options is pretend we don't care that much about infidelity really and see if that works for us and we can skip the whole mission to find a better lover thing.

This is the Is It Even Worth It to Try to Find Someone Who Will Be Faithful to Me??? question. It happens to be exactly the question you are asking yourself subconsciously and it is indeed perplexing. So let's explore the ramifications and answer the damn sucker logically.

On the one hand, we have the potential answer NO. Many people answer this question 'no', so let's peer into their lives. Go along with them for a moment and pretend that you too don't care that much about someone you are having sex with having sex with someone else who is not you.

No, I'm not really even going to try to find someone faithful Model #1: The Hillary Clinton Model.

Lots and lots of people tolerate cheating mates for long periods of time. Hillary Clinton is one of them. The Hillary Clinton Model may not work for you, but it works for her. It enables her to remain in a relationship with someone who loves her and is a good dad and writes books and was the President of the United States and all kinds of shit like that and it also prevents her from having to deal with divorce and being single and having gossip columnists call her a lesbian because she can't get a date and so on. This approach has its downsides, the question is whether or not the upsides are better than the downsides. For many people, they clearly are.

Now it's time for you to tote up your own personal scoreboard! This will make the website experience even more interactive for you and isn't that a thrill! Get out a pencil and paper (not a pen because you want to be able to erase your answers when you realize how embarrassing they are) and make a nice little box that says Infidelity Scoreboard. Make some decorations with your pencil around this title such as pretty little flowers or a frighteningly incompetent rendering of the fierce Georgia Bulldogs mascot or something. This will allow you to put off thinking about Heavy Life Issues such as the Heartbreak of Infidelity. Get bored with your drawings after awhile and move on to filling in the scoreboard. Like this: Write the phrase - I could put up with a cheating mate if.... and then fill in your answers. You could put 'if I got like a million dollars out of it.' Or 'if I had precious little youngsters and I did not want them to go through the trauma of divorce.' Or 'if I was really drunk all the time.' Or 'if I had a little something going on the side myself.' And so on.

This is a boring and depressing exercise!! But these are exactly the kind of choices people make in real life all the time, often completely by accident, and our purpose here is to make them on paper, so we won't have to make them accidentally in life later. If you are cool with infidelity in certain circumstances and are clear on your attitude then it's entirely possible that you really don't need to devote an excessive amount of time to trying to avoid it. And if you don't try to avoid it - often times it doesn't show up! How weird is this? Very weird.

But infidelity is like anything else in life, it likes attention. If you pay a lot of attention to it, it will be attracted to you and, if you are very attentive to it, it will eventually want to move in with you. There are complicated scientific reasons why this happens having to do with quantum physics, natural selection, and probability theory. But I am not going to explain any of those now (thank God), the important point is that if you dwell on cheating during a relationship, you run a much higher risk of cheating occuring. If, on the other hand, you have already figured things out and have a plan, then cheating may or may not occur, but who cares you already have a plan and you don't care that much!

In fact, in some cases it may be to your advantage to have an unfaithful spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend. This happens all the time. Sometimes you can extort more money from a cheating mate. Or sometimes the person they are cheating with pays lots of attention to your cheating mate - which is great because then you don't have to. And so on. There is a paradoxical quality to all this. There have been times in my life when I've decided it would be fine with me if the person I had been involved with for a long time slept with someone else - because you know, I really wasn't that into them after so many years. And so of course my long-term mate didn't! Life is tricky that way. Extremely tricky. Which is why we are figuring it out now - before you get married and it gets even more complicated.

All righty - now that you've written down an embarrassing answer to the I could put up with a cheating mate if... question, you need to look at it. If you put 'never, I could never put up with a cheating lover or spouse', you are kidding yourself. You sure as fuck could if it was that or be responsible for the extermination of the entire human species or something. There are always circumstances in which you could if you had to. Don't kid yourself. The point is, though, that you might not like to. This is an important but subtle point in our overall strategy. Securing a faithful lover must become a preference rather than an absolute. If it stays as an absolute the entire strategy will get fucked up and sure enough, you'll bind yourself in a marital or other committed fashion to someone who will cheat on you. This is a scary feature of how the universe works and we want to be very respectful of it. Say to yourself, if it's true, "I would greatly prefer not to hook up with a person who will cheat on me."

If, on the other hand, you look at your answer and go 'well, the truth is, I would probably put up with it in most circumstances and what the hell, I could live with that, lots of people do' then be glad you figured this out now and abort the mission. Because you've got one less thing to worry about it in life and that's great. Lots of people who don't really care that much about infidelity end up with faithful partners. This is bad news and terrifically unfair to the people who do care about it, but the universe often rewards nonchalance in an unfair way. Personally, I like this feature very much when I am nonchalant and I dislike it a great deal when I am not.

The problem for you is that it is much more difficult to become nonchalant when you've been horribly burned by a bad experience. So if you are not nonchalant and your answer to the questionnaire reveals as much - i.e., that you really don't want to put up with unfaithful mates, then acknowledge it. Like this: Take your pencil and erase your answer. Or, if you didn't follow instructions and used a pen, or if the subject has put you in a really bad mood, cross through your answer very vigorously in an angry fashion and then erase it. And then rip up that piece of paper with the stupid drawings into little tiny pieces and throw it in the trash can. (If you are a pyromaniac, you may burn it instead).

Got it? Throw away your answer. Whatever it was, throw it away. Because it doesn't matter anymore. Now you know that you could in fact put up with cheating if you had to, but you don't want to and so you are going to steer your life in the direction you actually want it to go. It's very important that your brain understand that you could make a choice to deal with infidelity. If it doesn't undersand this, it will not be able to make a choice to not deal with it. The human brain is just built so if it doesn't understand the parameters of a situation, it gets fucking lost. And particularly in cases where your poor brain has been fried by bad experience, it will stay fixated on solving that old problem until it either gets solved without intervention (might happen, not likely) or you die. It will hone in on potential cheating partners, stare at them fixedly with blatant curiosity and suspicion until they get the impression that you are greatly attracted to them (which you are) and then boomo! you will find yourself in a whirlwind romance with heartbreak and betrayal once again. This is exactly the pattern we want to cut short!

We want your brain to very explicitly understand that we have solved at least one part of the Infidelity Problem. Which is what the absolute worst case scenario is. And that is - if you had to deal, you could and you would. If you suspect your brain did not figure this out from the previous exercise, then you'll need to repeat it until it does. Do another Infidelity Scoreboard, skip the drawings and write in: I could put up with a Cheating Mate if....I had to. Underline this or otherwise emphasize it while your brain stares dully at these words until they seem like a fact. Then go ahead and rip it up again.

A major burden has just been lifted from your brain's shoulders and that's a good thing. Your brain may still be glaring at me quite suspiciously, not entirely convinced since it doesn't yet know how exactly it is going to deal if it has to - but at least I have very firmly informed it that it will in fact, deal if it has to. Case closed.

Now we move to (gulp) Facing a Bit More Reality until we're done with the horrible thing. Which is the second step in reviewing our options, solving another portion of the Infidelity Problem, and deciding whether the hell it's even worth trying to find a faithful partner.

Which brings us to consider Infidelity Model #2.

No, I'm not really even going to try to find someone faithful Model #2: As long as you cheat by the rules.

A certain number of people give this model a whirl. You could have, for example, the No Publicity Rule. Wherein a mate can cheat so long as its not publicly obvious or where they don't run around talking about it all the fucking time. Or the You Can Cheat, But You Better Not Fucking Bother Me With It Rule. Or the I Will Pretend I Don't Notice As Long As the Bucks Keep Rolling In and the Kids are Taken Care Of Rule. Or the I Never Noticed Rule. Or the As Long as I Am Part of The Totally Hot Threesome with You and that Hot Guy/Chick Rule. Or the Only Within Our Swingers Club Rule. Or the You Can Cheat But Don't Even Begin to Pretend That You're In Love or Some Stupid Shit Like That Because You're Not Fucking Getting a Divorce. Or whatever other kind of rule you might like to establish. It works as well as anything in life ever does, which is sort of okay a lot of the time, really not at all some of the time.

The downside to any kind of rule is that occasionally someone else will get excited and break it. And then you will get very very pissed. This happens with any kind of rule. You already have rules, unbeknownst to yourself, governing all sorts of your other interactions. You might have a "I am Black and You Are White and Therefore You Will Never Ever Refer to Me as a "nigger". I can refer to myself any damn way I please but you can't." And the way this rule will work is that almost all of the time, almost everybody subject to the rule will follow it. And then, every once in a while, someone will break it. And boy oh boy will you be mad. Or the We Do Not Mention My Painful Past Struggles with Drug Addiction in Front Of My Family Rule. Or the We Are Going to Pretend I'm Not Overweight Rule. Or whatever. The point is you have 'em, we all have 'em, we all know other people have them and most of the time we try to honor them. Because we know if we don't, someone will get upset.

But every once in a while, someone will want to make someone else pretty damn upset and they will get excited and break a rule. If you have a rule and people are breaking it frequently, you don't have a rule. If you have a 'no cursing in the house' rule as you are raising kids and people are cursing, then you don't really have a rule. What you have is a 'go ahead and break me because I like to get upset, it reassures me that I am alive and people are around me' situation. Lots of people have this situation because they do in fact like to get upset and be reassured. But it's not a rule.

The key to enforcing a rule is that when it is broken, you must pretend it never happened. If someone says the forbidden thing, you ignore it like a motherfucker. Freeze it out. Deny it with silence and lack of reaction. Pretend away with deadly lack of response. This works and it's what makes a rule a rule. No matter how upset a rule violation makes you, in fact the more upset it makes you, the more important it is to pretend it never happened. Rules enforced this way get followed - even against long odds.

This applies to Infidelity Rules as well. It may seem silly to bring this up, but in fact it's vitally important. The reason it is vitally important is that as a person who has been a victim of cheating you will be desperately tempted to make up a 'Go Ahead and Break Me, I Like to Get Upset' Rule. You will think you are making a very firm NO CHEATING rule when in fact you are posting a sign that says 'I Strongly Encourage Violations Because I Like to Get Upset'. It's a good thing you are looking at this website now, because it is really embarrassing and humiliating, not to mention confusing, when you later figure out you were actually encouraging violations. It will bum you out no end. And we want to spare you all that.

The reason you will be so strongly tempted to post a 'Go Ahead And Violate Me' sign is because you actually are upset. You are upset about the previous cheating experiences, you're not finished being upset and you don't want to quit until you're done. So you will encourage people to make you upset because you didn't get your fair, legitimate share of upsetness earlier. Perfectly natural. But not really in your long-term interests.

So we go back to our initial concept of making peace with rules. If you make a rule, whether it is a No Cheating or a Cheating Must Take Place Within These Parameters rule, you run the risk of it being broken occasionally. In fact, it will be broken occasionally. You have your choice of being really mad and hurt or ignoring it. You can get really mad and hurt and continue the relationship - thus risking future violations. Or you can get really mad and hurt and end the relationship, thus short-circuiting the possibility of future violations.

You can ignore it with astonishing coldness and continue the relationship. In which case it will be difficult for the rule-breaking cheater to break the rule again. Because as long as they're in the deep freeze, they didn't really finish the process of breaking the rule the first time, which makes it hard to properly start on a second time. In most cases, most of the time, your typical cheater will want to wait until the freeze thaws before embarking on a new adventure. Right around the time you forgive them, they are able to start the build-up to the next cheating episode. This means, essentially, you have to remain in a permanent state of freezing suspicion and distrust. If you can swing that, and you're willing to, you can exercise this option.

Or you can ignore the violation and end the relationship. This is essentially the Dealing by Refusing to Deal Strategy and it works like any other strategy, which is okay if it suits your purposes, not so okay if it doesn't.

Paradoxically - if you want to avoid the dilemmas involved in the rule-making process, you are going to have to not make a rule against infidelity! Sounds crazy I know. Which is why you pay me the big bucks. To explain things to you that violate intuitive common sense in favor of strictly adhering to logical common sense. It is inherently logical, and even inevitable, that the presence of a rule at some point demands that it be broken or what the fuck is the point of making it in the first place?!

No one makes a 'no throwing pizza in the kitchen where the slices stick to the ceiling' rule - unless by some bizarre chance someone actually decides to engage in this behavior repeatedly. The chances are quite good that you personally have never made a rule about not throwing pizza in the kitchen where the slices stick to the ceiling - and yet, I'll bet you've managed to navigate life without a single instance of major trouble in this regard! It is often the things we don't make rules about that leave us in blissful peace, completely unaware of the dangers we don't have to protect ourselves against. This is exactly where you'd like to be in regards to cheating lovers but you're not. Someone has caused you major trouble in this regard so you will be oh sooooo tempted to make a rule. This is perfectly logical and you can do this and follow the structure above.

Or you can forge ahead to the next step in the magical plan, bypassing rules and their inherent dangers, as you move subtly yet gracefully towards Advanced Relationship Management, experts only. Your call.


All right, so first I face the fact that I can deal with that goddamn cheating issue if I have to and then I face the fact that I can deal with it by means of rules if I want to but what I really want to do is find out how I don't have to deal with it at all! Is that the next step or is there still more of that fucking reality to deal with? Will this damn reality thing ever end?




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