The Side Piece: Why It's Never A Good Idea To Help A Cheater Cheat

We've all been there: that moment when you are attracted to someone who is in a committed relationship with someone else. But, the moment that tries us most is the one when that person offers to hook up with us anyway.

Is it ever okay to be the "other" man or woman? You aren't the one cheating; you aren't the one who has to make up a story about where you were last night. But, does that make it okay?

When my married friend told me she and the boy who lived down the hall from me had not hooked up, but merely spent the night in the same room innocently, I believed her.

She was married and her husband was great; why would she cheat on such a great guy? My neighbor knew she wasn't single, so he wouldn't try anything, right?

The day I realized how naive I had been, I was headed to a party with my neighbor who I had started dating and a friend of his. They started talking about how it was A-okay to hook up with someone who wasn't single.

"If she wasn't doing it with me, she'd be doing it with someone else anyway," my date said.

And, suddenly, I knew. Not only had I been lied to, but also, my friend had cheated on her husband, and the guy I was dating thought it was okay to be the person with whom she cheated.

By his logic, it would be okay to rob a bank because someone else was eventually going to do it anyway. Between myself and her husband, I already knew at least two people who had been hurt by what they had done.

Cheating is a topic close to my heart. I have been cheated on, and members of my family and many of my friends and acquaintances have been cheated on.

I know that when the truth comes out, there is one question we all asked ourselves: Why? Why did this happen to me? Why did this person do this to me?

If the other person hadn't been willing to hook up with someone who was cheating, it never would have happened. The truth is, if nobody were willing to be the "other" man or woman, there would be no cheating.

Even if it isn't directly you who is lying or cheating, if you hook up with someone who is in a relationship, you are harming someone else. You may not know that person, but you could be part of the reason he or she loses everything.

What you are doing might cause a divorce, or maybe it's going to cause a child to lose a parent. When someone you care about finds out that you would do that kind of thing, you could end up losing that someone, too.

Also, if you are hooking up with this person and he or she opens up about the possibility of ending a current relationship for you, how can you ever trust that he or she won't then cheat on you?

Relationships are based on trust, and starting your relationship with someone by lying to someone else is a bad way to go about it.

As cheesy as it may sound, we just need to remember what they teach every third grader -- the golden rule: Treat others the way that you want to be treated.

Unless you can honestly say that it would be okay for someone to be the other man or woman with someone you are in a relationship with, then it's probably not something you should be okay with doing yourself.

Maybe their relationship is falling apart already; maybe this person is just looking for a way to end things, and cheating seems like an easy way out. There are a million excuses to why you became or are thinking about becoming the other person.

But, when all is said and done, you are the one who has to live with your choices and the consequences of those choices.

If you have the desire to cheat, you probably need to examine just what the relationship you are already in means to you. If you care about the person you are with at all, at least have the respect for him or her to break it off before you go there.

Be honest with yourself and with the other person. I think most people would rather be dumped than cheated on any day.