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Have any of you ever heard of the ‘zip code dating rule?’. Until yesterday, I hadn’t, and in case you were living in the same bubble of blissful ignorance that I was, let me fill you in. The zip code rule states that it’s not cheating if you hook up with someone in a different zip-code. WTF? Not too long ago I returned home to find a friend in tears. Her boyfriend admitted to her that when he was out of town, he slept with someone else. ‘But don’t worry’ he told her, ‘she lives in Texas’.

Oh, ok then.

Apparently they had decided long ago, when they briefly attended colleges in different states, that if they were in separate cities at the time, then it wasn’t cheating. However, they have been living together for over a year now, and are engaged, so my friend assumed the ‘game’ as she called it, was over. Apparently not.

Although he has agreed to stop playing the field, and has promised the Zip Code Rule is a thing of the past, the problem now is that every time he leaves the house she ends up paranoid and in fits of rage when he gets home, because, thanks to the Z.C.R, there is always the thought in her mind that he could be sleeping with women all over Manhattan (which is where they live).

Which got me thinking, can you ever really be in a relationship with someone, if it is understood that whenever you aren’t around they can jump right into bed with somebody, actually anybody else? And, even if you say you’re ok with it now, what happens when one of you tires of the game? Will it be as easy for the other person to stop playing?

Speaking as someone who is in a long distance relationship currently, I can’t imagine how the Zip Code Rule can ever work, especially if it is embraced by one person more than the other. Personally, I find that living in separate cities is hard enough, without adding on the stress of an over-active imagination, where I would constantly be imagining a revolving door of beautiful women rolling through his house.

‘But you would get to do it too’, reminded my friend. Yeah, but would I be doing it because I wanted to, or because I wanted to ‘even the score’ and make sure I wasn’t the one left pining at home alone?. Either way, I can’t find anything pleasant about the scenario.

Another reason why I just don’t understand the Z.C.R is that it makes the lines too blurry after the game is over. Take the case of my friend once again. She thought it was over, he didn’t. Therefore, she wasn’t with anybody else, he was. Does it then become cheating for real?

Something which she never thought of was how she would feel after the fact, and how it would impact on her, when she no longer wanted to participate. How can she just forget about what happened? Or, does she even have a right to be upset, after all she was a willing participant in the game to begin with?.

I think, and I told my friend the same, that if you are even thinking about the need for a cheating loophole in your relationship, that it would just be easier to break up, and save yourself the heartache in the long run. She disagreed, saying that they didn’t need to break up, because they still loved each other, and were exclusive when they were in the same town at the same time.

Then why can’t you be exclusive all the time, regardless of where you live?

Further, if you aren’t even in a long term relationship, and just travel for work occasionally, how is it that you even need the Z.C.R?. If you can’t expect your partner to hold out for a few weeks, without hooking up with a random, surely there is something unhealthy going on in your relationship? Are you even in a relationship, or is it more like just friends with benefits?

The whole idea of a zip code cheating rule sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me. What do you think?

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