When most people think of affairs, they picture a spontaneous, passionate tryst. It’s true that an affair may have moments like this―it may even start like this, in fact―but for an affair to continue, it needs to be built on a solid foundation like a regular relationship. That foundation will most likely need to include rules.
As odd as it may seem for such a rule-breaking activity as having an affair, rules are actually very important for it. The rules will vary from person to person, but there are often rules for selecting a partner, rules to be followed during the affair, and even rules for ending it. Not following the rules can lead to all kinds of problems that you really don’t need.
Rules for Choosing a Partner in an Affair
The rules for choosing an adulterous partner start pretty simply, and they’re rules you only need to establish with yourself. First of all, do not have an affair with a relative or close friend of your spouse. Besides being really low, your affair will likely end before their relationship with your spouse does, and then you’ll be in trouble if they start to talk.
It’s probably best not to have an affair with a coworker, either—office secrets never last long. You might have rules about not having long distance relationships, or not dating anyone too close. Your rules should probably exclude mental patients, prison inmates, and telemarketers from your dating pool too, but beyond that you should be okay.
Rules during the Affair
These rules have the greatest variance and they should be agreed upon, at least in principle, by both you and your cheating partner. Some rules will be logistical, like “Never call after four” or “Always delete my emails.” Others may be common sense like “Don’t answer your phone ‘Hello Thunderstud, when are we going to have sex again?’”
A lot of rules established in an affair are to protect secrecy, such as the aforementioned logistical rules. Other rules about secrecy might involve not sharing certain bits of personal information or never wearing perfume or cologne on dates. There are also rules designed to protect the families of the couple; things like not mentioning their kids by name or not talking about their spouses.
Sexual Rules of Affairs
First and foremost, there have to be sexual rules in place to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The rule may be to use protection every time or it might be to get tested before the affair and share results—always a romantic moment in any relationship. Any affair without this rule is not just a bad idea—it could be deadly.
Other sexual rules may be more fun. Sometimes an affair is based entirely on a particular kink or fetish that people don’t enjoy in their marriage. In a case like this, maybe your rule would be that you always call your partner “Daddy” in private or always wear a collar when together or something. A safe word is another sexual rule best established early when an affair has BDSM overtones.
Some other sexual rules might involve particular quirks and preferences. Maybe a particular position or act is off limits because it’s uncomfortable, or maybe because you’re “saving” that one for your spouse. Some affairs even include rules about how often you can have sexual dates in relation to non-sexual ones.
Rules for Ending Affairs
Believe it or not, the best affairs usually establish rules for an ending early. Affairs that don’t have an exit strategy have a tendency to end with angry phone calls to spouses or pet rabbits boiling in pots.
Sitting down to talk about how to end an affair early on is rather like sitting down to talk about a prenuptial agreement right after you propose to someone. It’s an awkward conversation at best, and an angry deal-breaking one at worst.
Rules for ending an affair might be based on a preset time, such as saying the affair will end at the end of the year. There might be a “nuclear submarine rule” in which both of you have to turn your key at the same time to terminate the relationship. A rule can also be as vague as “If this relationship ever becomes more work than fun, we’ll cut it off.”
Nobody likes rules, and if you’re having an affair, you’re breaking at least one rule by definition. Still, rules can add a certain order and normalcy to the chaos that an affair can bring to your life, and sometimes that’s necessary.
Whether it’s a rule for selecting a partner, a rule for communicating with your partner, a rule for having sex with your partner, or a rule for ending the relationship with your partner altogether, a rule might be the only thing standing between you and a guest spot on a daytime talk show.