Love may be free, but affairs rarely are. On top of the moral and ethical issues that come with cheating on your mate, the costs associated with secret affairs can accumulate quickly. Here are some of the extra expenses you might consider before deciding to engage in a surreptitious romance.
Dating sites like Ashley Madison help wanna-be adulterers connect -- for a price. On the low end, an introductory membership starts around $50. Plus, there are also cancellation fees and a $20 membership initiation. For women seeking men, full membership on Ashley Madison is free. However, proceed with caution -- AshleyMadison.com was hacked in 2015, with 32 million members' personal information released.
Since your passion-fueled gifting is meant to show your lover how much you care even when you're away from them, it can get pricey, fast. Classic jewelry can start at $50 to $100, and even low-cost trinkets have a way of adding up. Once someone is accustomed to receiving tokens of affection, it's a difficult habit to break.
There's often some guilt involved when cheating on your partner, or at least fear of being caught -- both of which motivate gift purchases. Buying something from each "business trip" like jewelry or other mementos is not only a telltale sign that something could be off, it also cuts into your bottom-line budget. Small trinkets may cost only $10 or $20, but depending on how many "trips" you're taking, they can add up.
Many people will have duplicate phones and iPads, in order to preserve secrecy and minimize the risk of getting caught. Since you can't exactly add these devices to the family plan, it means paying full price for a separate contract. An extra phone can cost several hundred dollars a year.
A sense of breaking taboo adds to the attraction of adultery, and hotels are the classic meeting spot for quick get-togethers even if your lover has their own place. A few hotel rooms a month can have a significant impact on your expenses, especially if you spring for someplace decent to set the mood. A nice bed-and-breakfast can easily top $200.
Stray scents, makeup, and hairs are all pitfalls to avoid when trying to maintain a secret affair. This leads to dry cleaning, ideally from a place not too close to home. You'll want to tip the cleaners generously to ensure their loyalty. On the low end, dry cleaning can be a few dollars each for simple cotton items, and upward of $10 for difficult materials like silk.
Your clandestine meeting spot may be in the next town over, but it's still likely to be a bar or a restaurant. Since time with your lover can be all about indulgence, the focus tends to be on creating the best experience rather than counting pennies. The tab at a favorite bar or restaurant can easily run into the $50 range.
So-called "business trips" can't seem to come up often enough when you have someone to escape with. Unfortunately, with phony business trips, even if you get away with the deception, you're likely not actually doing anything work-related that might lead to a promotion or a raise. You may be taking time off from earning in order to spend, and using up vacation time to boot.
Ripped a shirt off in the heat of the moment? Stained a shirt collar with lipstick? Spilled ketchup on a white dress "in a board meeting?" It's not just clothes that can need replacement; jewelry and other personal items can also be lost while sneaking around.
If you are cheating, there's probably something wrong. Maybe the problem blows over or maybe you decide to stick it out, but many cheaters end up getting caught and divorced. Aside from being emotionally taxing, divorce is an expensive process that will not be made any cheaper if your spouse caught you cheating. The price of a divorce can easily be in the thousands or even the millions, depending on your tax bracket.