Let me first start by stating that I do not think that monogamy is natural. While it is a choice, no matter how intelligent we are, we are still mammals.

With that being said, and as someone who practices and prefers monogamy when it comes to love, if you agree to be faithful and committed to a relationship, it’s best that you remain a man or woman of your word.

But things do happen.

For some, cheating doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a relationship. Many people choose to overcome the hurdle of infidelity and work to rebuild trust in their mate. But for those of you who are considering stepping out on your mate—because honestly, cheating takes place well before any sexual contact in most cases—here are some things to consider.

1) Understand why you are entertaining the idea of cheating.

No matter the reason, infidelity is often rooted in selfishness and a lack of fulfillment. Before engaging in any sexual and/or emotional habits of betrayal, it’s best to think about what it is that you aren’t currently getting from your partner. No, people usually do not think before they cheat, but that doesn’t absolve the practice of being a conscious decision.

2) Really consider what’s at risk.

I’m not going to lie, sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side. You may have a sh**ty mate for a partner who simply doesn’t appreciate you. It may be tough to leave, but you still should leave and you know it. Hell, you may just be together simply for the history, relationship status and/or children. Or, you can have a wonderful mate who loves, cherishes and adores you to no end, but you are simply tempted. Either way, consider the risks of your infidelity. Even if you do not get caught, your mate will certainly notice a switch in your behavior.

3) Understand that other people’s feelings are at risk.

One of the most selfish things a person can do is bring an innocent person’s feelings into their mess. Yes, there are some folks who happily earn the title of “homewrecker.” But usually, a person is either tricked into thinking that you’re going to leave your mate to be with them, or simply have no idea that they’re the side piece. Having a rough period in your relationship doesn’t absolve you of responsibility for someone else’s feelings, and neither does being “honest” about your situation.

Cheating is never the way to go, and it’s always best to completely end a situation before starting a new one, even if it is only for sex. Your mate doesn’t deserve such a betrayal, and the one who you are sleeping with doesn’t deserve it either—no matter how much they might accept having part of you. And you don’t deserve the stress it causes either.