I am very bad at lying. In my defence I am completely inept at a number of things and, although I'm not saying I never lie, it tends to simply dig a deeper hole. As lying is one of the fundamental principles of successful cheating, basic competency is a prerequisite.
I've only cheated once, some years back when the end of one relationship spilled over into the beginning of another. I had the new guy in my apartment as the old one turned up announcing his presence on the intercom. The dilemma was to get one guy out and the other in without paths crossing. I cleverly constructed an elaborate lie in order to have the new boyfriend leave, instructed each one to go a different way and held my breath.
At least one of them must have seen right through me as he changed his route and came face to face with the other - and as they were work colleagues it confirmed what each had suspected. I was going through a "rough around the edges" phase at the time and both men were large, rather intimidating, and sporting old school tats and bad attitudes.
The resulting showdown in the car park of my upscale apartment building became known among my friends as Alien vs. Predator.
Perhaps the lesson here is not to cheat, but if you're going to do so, there are a number of ways to get caught. Here are my top tips.
1. Too much information
Instead of being deliberately vague and avoiding the truth, give long and complicated excuses to explain your absence or any other discrepancies that have come to light. Offering up huge amounts of detail that you will never be able to remember or repeat under cross examination is a great way to arouse or confirm suspicion.
Giving implausible excuses comes under this category also. For example, if you are allergic to all types of exercise, casually mention you are going for a run and then return several hours later, perhaps in evening wear.
2. Come home reeking of perfume or aftershave
This is so simple and works best when repeated. Women in particular have a very good sense of smell and may even be able to identify the particular scent your secret squeeze favours.
The mobile phone is the most reliable and effective way to get caught cheating. Just ask Tiger Woods.
Firstly, never use a PIN number to access the phone. Then invent some ingenious code names for secret partners such as "Goddess" or "Love Bunny". Taking some dodgy selfies or happy couple pics and leaving them alongside the family beach snaps is also fairly effective.
An unexplained second phone or being very secretive around calls and texting works well too, as do late night text alerts or sounds of muffled conversations from the bathroom.
4. Give your spouse an STD
Who doesn't love surprises? This is one gift of love that will guarantee the game's up.
5. Make suspicious purchases
For this to work, you need to also leave a paper trail. When you purchase items such as flowers, jewellery and lingerie that are not intended for your partner, scatter the receipts about. Using a joint account or credit card for these special gifts will also help you get busted sooner.
6. Take a sudden interest in how you look
New clothes, a new hairstyle or an out of character gym membership, when combined with any of the above are an excellent way to alert your partner that you may have a bit on the side. Other changes in your appearance such as cryptic looking tattoos or for that matter visible scratches on your back are likely to have a similar result.
7. Own up
Finally, the guaranteed way to get caught cheating is to own up and tell your partner what an arse you are, make a decision one way or another and put everyone out of their misery.
I'm sure there are countless more ways to get caught cheating and probably enough stories floating around for an "idiots guide" of some sort. Of course if you don't want to get caught cheating you could just reverse the above, but what's the fun in that?