My Cheat’n Heart

Before leaving on a weekend getaway with her quilting buddies, my wife asked a very important question.

“Are you thinking about cheating?”

My first impulse was flat-out denial.

“That is not something I would consider,” I told her sincerely.

“I didn’t ask if you considered it,” she said, “I asked if you thought about it.”

I had to parse the difference between thinking about something and considering something. Thinking is safely within the bounds of fantasy while considering boldly leaps into the realm of possibility.

“Nope,” I said, “not a thought.”

“Promise you won’t even think about it.”

“I promise.”

“Liar,” she said and moments later her tires were kicking up gravel.

The thing is, I more than thought about it. I more than considered it. I totally resolved to do it. So why did I make a promise I had no intention of keeping?

Which raises another question.  What is the role of a promise?

Promises have a dual role.  One is to ensure trust.  We need to rely on our loved ones and the world in general.  We count on our spouse to love us as well as take out the trash on Tuesday evening.  We trust our family to support us as well as keep their political opinions to themselves on Thanksgiving. We also count on our car to start and the microwave to pop, not burn the popcorn.

But the other role of promises is to maintain the healthy fiction that makes a contented life possible and it is this class of promises that always gets trampled.

Our politicians promise one thing and deliver quite another.  Yet we depend on that lack of trust because most campaign promises are better left unkept than kept. How many times have we thought, Oh my God, I never would have voted for the bum if I knew they would actually do THAT?

In personal relationships, we rely on the annoying acquaintance who promises to keep in touch – to not keep in touch.

And as for parenting, seriously, how many children have actually been grounded for life?

In that sense, we rely on broken promises and the promises that we depend on breaking the most are the ones we make to ourselves.

We resolve to buckle down at work.

We swear we will go to bed early and not stay up to watch late night TV.

We pledge to push away from the table after the first helping and before dessert.

But we never do.

We cheat on ourselves all the time, so why should our spouses expect any more?


Which brings me back to my wife’s question

This all began when she asked me to help her diet. It only made sense since I am retired and she still works.  Which means I do all the cooking therefore my meal choices affect her diet. I had no problem with promising to help her eat sensibly and I followed through – but somewhere along the line (without my knowledge) my willingness to assist evolved into a promise to participate.

And now that she is out of town, she worries I might cheat on a dietary promise I never made.

Like I say I fully intend to cheat on the diet – because I happen to know that she is cheating too. I found where she hides her secret stash of M&M’s and you bet – I am going to help myself.

Author: Almost Iowa

41 thoughts on “My Cheat’n Heart”

  1. I was the first one to bring this temptation into our marriage and then my husband followed suit. At first we only indulged on weekends. Now our dependence has grown to every day of the week. I’m referring to Klondike bars, Gregg. Yup. Dark chocolate for me and milk chocolate for him. We may need an intervention.

  2. This is one of your best posts yet! I’ve never thought about it before, but you’re right: some promises are best not kept, and we’d be terribly unhappy if they were. And sometimes cheating is best ignored. I pretend not to notice that my husband eats potato chips when he’s watching a game alone in our basement family room (he stores them down there, as if that would fool anyone) and he pretends not to notice the bakery bag full of pastries that I stash in the back of the fridge, behind the cauliflower. Ignorance, even when it’s deliberate and false, is bliss!

    1. This weekend we watched the conclusion of Howards End. The crux of the story was I forgive you your trepasses you fogive me mine. Of course their trespasses were more serious but the moral still the same

  3. Everyone knows you don’t cheat at home. Touch those M&Ms, and she’ll know it, because she counted them. Head off to town — preferably one where no one knows you — for your assignation and go for the three-flavor, two-syrups, whipped cream banana split. Or, for the double scoop of gelato, depending on your preference. She’ll know you cheated, but won’t be able to prove it.

    Be sure to pay cash.

      1. That’s quite a cocktail menu. I guess the days of Seagram and Seven are out. I did notice the taproom’s pretty much straight north of Albert Lea, where we used to visit relatives. There’s a story there, too. Albert Lea’s son, Edward, is buried in a Galveston cemetery. There’s a draft in my files about that little bit of history that I’ll get written one of these days.

        1. Northfield is where the Jesse James gang met their demise.

          On another note, the mythical Almost Iowa is based on a ghost town called Moscow, located between Albert Lea and Austin. It got its name from the peat fires that were raging when the first explorers came though. The days clouded by smoke and the night lit by a glowing red horizon reminded them of the burning of Moscow that occurred not long before. Hence the name.

  4. Nice little twist there, Greg. Yes, dietary cheating is part of the joy of life. We do it when the grandson comes over – s’mores, cookies, ice cream, mac & cheese, blueberry pancakes. Yippee! Enjoy.

    1. I am famous around these parts for my blueberry pancakes. (Secret: add oatmeal, it gives the pancakes a hearty taste). Whenever I want to break my diet in plain view, I say, “let’s invite your mom over for breakfast on Sunday.” Works every time.

  5. I don’t like M&M’s. I’d much rather snack on W&W’s, but I have to stand on my head to do so.

    Balance, I have not.

    So I don’t eat them…the furniture, pets, and electronics are safer that way.

  6. I just polished off my afternoon coffee with half a whoopee pie. See, if I only eat half I can pat myself on the back for controlling my chocolate and sugar intake. Now, if I only had a bag of M&M’s I’d only eat a few. 🙂

  7. If she’s like me, my stash of occasional chocolate delights is “hidden” in my sewing room. 😜

  8. “Honey, I found this leftover bag of M&Ms and I thought it would be a good idea to remove that temptation. You know you can count on my support. Love ya!”

  9. Hahahah!! I’m choking on my Cheerios laughing. How is it that when we say, “I’ll be glad to HELP with that”, it becomes OUR mission in life?

    Enjoy the contraband M&M’s, but you better hope your better half hasn’t counted them! Lol.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

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