“I’ll tell you why I cheat. I need to. Infidelity makes me remember things. The details that expand to fill my life (my upcoming performance reviews, the aches and pains of training, the recovery of my 401(k) ) and the ones that deaden it (my guilt, my smug self-satisfaction, my fake epiphanies about my progress in this life) — all of that drops away when I look down at the naked spine of an unfamiliar woman, twisting slightly in the late-afternoon sunlight streaming onto the sheets of a Hampton Inn in some nameless suburb.
“This is the most absolute choice I can make. I am there on my own. Against every code, rule, and set of mores I pretend to obey. Against better judgment, against every lesson of hindsight and every shard of wisdom that comes with age, I have no regrets in that moment, because I am naked, or without pants, and I have chosen to be there. I have voted by my presence, declared it, and I feel the blood moving in me again. So it’s the blood. That’s who I am. That’s why men cheat.
“Men don’t cheat because they can. Men cheat because they must, because they need to. This is the male struggle. Need compels us to try again. Because copulation is not in any way about fate. It is not about two individuals destined to meet on some dark night. It’s about random collisions.
“If you cheat, you must believe this much: that fated love is a lie, and monogamous love a deception. If you cheat, these two sentiments are your guiding light. Doesn’t mean you’re incapable of love, doesn’t mean you don’t want what love — or even marriage — can offer. It’s just a paradox. You have what you believe, and it is never the lie. You train your sentiment to fit inside the lie. Your rules fit right inside that sentiment.”