Listen, I'm not going to sit here and say that everyone should be having an affair. I don't think that's true. In fact, I think that only when you're faced with all-consuming, undeniable cosmic love should you even consider stepping out of your relationship, and in that case you should really just leave the person you're with to be with the person you want to be with.
But should you do find yourself in a situation in which you're cheating, like we now know was the case with one General David H. Petraeus, here are a few ways to cover your tracks. YOU DIDN'T HEAR THIS FROM ME.
1. Always wrap it up
The quickest way for a person's affair to be revealed is the sudden emergence of a tiny human that wasn't there before. Knock up your mistress or get knocked up, and your sexual encounters will be visible to everyone around.
Same thing goes for contracting an STD. So wear a condom.
2. Like any good relationship, communication is key
If Gen. Petraeus had been more aware of Paula Broadwell's feelings of jealousy towards Jill Kelley, perhaps he could have staved off her threatening emails which were ultimately his undoing. One can almost imagine an alternate universe in which Broadwell and Petraeus sat down for a nice fireside chat, and openly and honestly talked about their concerns within the relationship using “I” statements.
But they didn't, and now look where we are.
3. Don't be famous
I mean, this one is kind of a given. The more famous you are, the more people give a shit about your sex life. Ditto for having access to uber-classified information that, if put in the wrong hands, could jeopardize the safety of the country. If you're that guy, people are going to worry about who you're fucking.
4. Don't fuck someone who's writing a book about you
I mean, honestly? It's too obvious. If you have to cheat, do it with the person that everyone would least expect. Do it with, like, your political rival. Or someone who wrote a take-down piece about you. But the person who you spend all day, every day with at work? Tired.
5. When in doubt, resign and hope for the best
General Petraeus' decision to resign from his job rather than lie about his dalliances doesn't really count as covering up his affair. But it does count as trying to do as much damage control as possible; nothing blows up headlines quite like the revelation that not only did someone cheat, they then lied about it to the American public. The American public.
So, we'll probably find out a bit less regarding Petraeus' specific sexual encounters than we might if he had Bill Clinton-ed his way through it. And really, it's a respectable effort to slink away as quietly as he can.