Uncheat His Cheatin' Heart, and Other Options

HE SIGNS OF trouble are all too familiar to legions of wronged women: that strange shade of lipstick on his shirt; the call that he has to work late again; the whiff in his clothes of perfume that is not your scent. How dire! You should probably write this fellow off and just get on with your life. Single women do live longer than their hitched counterparts, you know.

Oh, you're still here. OK, for those of you who insist upon making lemonade out of your lemon of a relationship, let's review your remaining options.

The Logical Approach

Men are supremely logical creatures. The problem-solving gene perched on every man's Y chromosome waves furiously for your attention. Give it a puzzle, and it will gleefully set about to find a solution.

All you need to do is sit your man down right in front of you, and unemotionally state that his cheating behavior is a thorny problem that you can't sort out. His primal need to fix what's broken will completely override his impulse to deny everything. Please note that you have just received an implicit confession—so useful for possible future divorce proceedings. Options, not diamonds, are a girl's best friend.

Take notes as he lays out the blueprint you require to keep him from ever cheating on you again. Isn't he a silly creature? But he's smiling, and that's because his puzzle-busting gene is busy fulfilling its prime directive. You might as well have opened a box of 8,000 loose parts for a new gas grill. Pat yourself on the back, for you are brilliant.

Blackmail Is Free

At least for you it is. If you've discovered the identity of the Other Woman, commence blackmail immediately. You can always use the extra stream of income. Not only will Ms. Hussy soon get the boot—because of your implementation of the anti-cheating blueprint obtained via The Logical Approach—but she also will be making regular deposits into your bank account for some time to come. Talk about lemonade. This is a lemonade daiquiri, darling.

The Emotional Appeal

Unfortunately, most of us are not wired for logic when it comes to matters of the heart. Therefore, you are well within your rights to go whole hog on the emotional roller coaster. When confronting your cad, feel free to cry, shout, laugh maniacally, plead, threaten, etc.

There is only one ground rule you must stick to during your righteous tirade: Look Your Very Best. At a minimum that means waterproof mascara and a hairdo so perfect it could qualify for sainthood. The best of you will also remember to dress in one of your most flattering outfits, and step into the ring freshly manicured. Sharpened blood-red nails are dynamite for the firestorm that is you.

Or, simply pretend to fall apart at the seams. Better yet, actually do fall apart and require lots of expensive medical attention. This guilt-ridden strain on your mate's wallet will keep him around for months, possibly even a year or two, as you begin to see light at the end of the tunnel and launch an affair with your therapist. Now who's feeding at the Naughty Nosebag? Which leads directly to your last and best option:

Turnabout is Fair Play

Why is a blazer always a fashion "Yes"? Because it's a classic. Just so is the turning of the tables in a rocky relationship. Why should you be sitting at home, hoping against hope, or swearing that you'll get his shirts whiter next time? Gussy yourself up this instant and head for a Ladies Night. Or sign up with one of those discreet online dating services, never forgetting to subtract 10 pounds and at least as many years. You and your catch can work out the math later, over lemonade martinis.