A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the letter I received from my old beau, Campbell. The burning question many people have asked me since the very day it hit the stands is, "Are you going to call him?" Indeed, in his letter Campbell makes it very clear that he wants to hear from me, and he provided both his home and work number. What he wants to talk about is a mystery to me. Maybe he just wants a friendly chat, catching up and all that. Maybe his motives are more sinister. Alas, I will never know.

For the record, I am not going to call him. If I did, I would feel like I was cheating. Which brings us to a bigger question: Is a phone call cheating? In this case, I would say yes, because it will bring about a chain of events that would ultimately lead to a sexual act that is clearly cheating. Two people don't just bump into each other and fall in the sack. There is a chain of events, and I feel it is my responsibility to break the chain.


Actually Campbell started the chain that leads to the charm of infidelity by leaving me the note. Next, I would call him. He lives out of town but within driving distance. He comes to visit for coffee or lunch. Something innocent. But not so innocent, because who would drive for four hours just to say hello to an old girlfriend? Before you know it we're making hotel reservations under fake names and the cheating has begun. It make take days or weeks for the chain to actually lead to the hotel bed, but if I called him I guarantee that is where it would end.

I have no reason to call. He summed up his life in that note. He's married, working, no kids, moved out of Cincinnati. That is all the information I need. To call him means something is missing in my life that I think will be fulfilled by talking to Campbell. I don't want to have sex with Campbell, so I will not continue the chain he began by taking the next step and picking up the phone.

Every adulterous couple who says it just happened is full of shit. Have you ever said to yourself, "Oh, if I just left the house five minutes sooner I wouldn't be stuck behind this train." The thing is, you didn't know the train would be coming. Leaving the house when you did might have prevented a worse fate, such as an accident. Most of life is unpredictable. Things happen beyond your control. However most actions you take are within your control. You can choose to do things or not do things.

Back in Intro psychology class, I learned about victim-precipitated crime. That's when you place yourself in a situation where a predictable outcome is likely. If you get mugged while walking through a known crime-ridden neighborhood at night swinging a purse with money hanging out, then you might not be asking to be mugged, but you certainly placed yourself in a situation where it would be more likely.

Cheating can be an analogous situation. If I don't place myself in a situation where I am likely to be unfaithful — like a lunch date with Campbell — then the likelihood is nothing is going to happen. Knowing the predictable outcome if we get together, I will not precipitate trouble by making that call. Yes, I could have gotten a couple more columns out of it. But it's better to throw that piece of paper in the trash than be served with divorce papers.