We Start Paying From The First Instant
Once upon a time, my wife convinced me of something that came as a bit of a shock. I always thought that what she doesn't know won't hurt her. Well, OK, I always knew it was a bad idea for me to 'go off' and do whatever... and that it'd be a very bad for her to find out about it. But I also felt sure that it was just my own little business and ultimately no big deal (and that I'd eventually work it all out and clean up my act someday) - unless and until she found out about it. Then it'd ruin everything and become a really horrible matter. I felt I had to keep everything secret and protect our relationship from her dangerous meddling and destructive overreactions.
Then I got found out, my @$$ kicked, and it seemed that the entire show was over. But I
Fast forward about two or three years' sobriety and recovery....
I was telling my wife something like, "it's really none of your business what I do - it's my own." She then dropped this bomb on me: She told me that the damage of my acting out did not really occur - as I believed - when she found out about it. Rather, all the damage really occurs while I am acting out. Her finding out is really just the heicha timtza. (Suddenly she's a lamdan... go figure).
Anyway, I came to see that even though what she said seemed to me at the time to be just more 'ravings of a scorned woman', she was actually right! There is inescapable residue within me whenever I act out, even partially. Every single little lust I intentionally take into myself has an effect, and there is no escape. Well, at least there ain't no easy way out (Steve Miller band?). I'm gonna pay the piper for every penny I withdraw into the lust account. It will change my attitude towards the other people in my lives, change my relationship with my G-d, alter my sensitivity toward others people's privacy and boundaries and humanity, blind me a bit more to the preciousness of my actions and choices, the meaning of my body, etc., etc...
I can come out of it! But will have to pay the price... Do I want to pay that price? Or do I want to just keep all the good stuff I have inside and reality that I am living? What do I want? That's the only question that matters to me, really. I am an addict and even though I am trying to be a frum yid - concern for what's right and wrong just isn't my index when it comes to lust. I cannot trust my judgment of right and wrong when it comes to lust. It's gotta be all about selfish concerns - like losing my sweet and real connection with Hashem and with all the people in my life. Selfish works for me.
So, if you stuck with this megillah, thanks, and I hope you see my point: That we are forever free to experiment! But we will have to pay the price for straying from truth, from G-d, and from the reality of our relationships in order to do that. And we start paying for it right from the first instant that we begin to stray; getting caught or getting 'into trouble' is only the icing on the cake. There is no cheating when it comes to integrity... at least not any more. (Awwww.... I hate that!)