::SPOILER ALERT:: If you haven’t read The Girl on the Train and absolutely hate spoilers, even indirect ones, don’t read this post. I still love you and I’ll see you next time. And I’m sorry I kind of already gave something away in the title of this post – yes, the plot line includes a murder.

I just finished reading The Girl on the Train, the latest in the onslaught of female-centric murder mystery novels that are being pumped out thanks to the success of Gone Girl. I almost didn’t read it; the thought of giving in to what is quickly becoming a clichΓ©d literary subgenre (it even has “Girl” in the title) was almost enough to dissuade me.

But who am I kidding, really? When I find something I like, I go with it – HARD CORE. I finished Gone Girl in less than a weekend, and even though I couldn’t trust anything Mr. E said or did for at least a week afterward (I have a hard time separating fantasy and reality, as noted in my first grade report card), I couldn’t wait to get my hands on more. The Girl on the Train met the same speedy fate.

I almost called in sick to work so I could finish it.

So let’s talk about Anna and Tom. The mistress who actually got the guy to leave his wife and start a real, full-fledged life with her instead. We’re going to pretend that this is an example of a typical affair-turned-marriage, instead of a ::SPOILER ALERT:: psychopathic man pulling the wool over yet another woman’s eyes. What could possibly go wrong? I’ll tell you what – and I can speak from personal experience.

I had an affair once. With cookie dough.

I don’t mean to trivialize adultery; it’s a destructive force that inevitably leaves at least one party in a shambles. But the mechanics behind it – the triggers and the thrills and the guilt and the guts of it – can be easily applied to any situation where one is trying to stay on one track by completely eliminating all other options.

I think I’m about to unintentionally and indirectly posit that monogamy/marriage isn’t realistic, but let’s just skim over that little nugget.

When Anna and Tom started off, the sheer adrenaline of the affair – the sneaking away, the knowledge that he wanted her so badly that he was willing to risk his marriage just to be with her – was enough to get the two of them all kinds of worked up. Tearing each others’ clothes off, ripping into each other. It was the stuff of legend.

Who – after depriving yourself of it for so long, being “good” with your diet, staying “on track” – hasn’t felt the exact same way about a batch of cookie dough? Or a stack of Oreos? Or a ginormous slice of cheesecake? It’s positively intoxicating, the feeling of the cold ice cream melting on your tongue and sliding down your throat. The gooey smack of the cookie dough. The cloyingly sweet yet somehow savory snap of the familiar black cookie sandwiched around that cream filling.

Cellophane ripping sounds an awful like the tearing of cloth and thread in that context.

But what happens when the cookie dough moves in?

For Anna and Tom, once they’d settled into a life together – acknowledged that this was their new life, they were going to do it for realsies, out in the open for all the world to see, the baby and the dirty laundry and the whole gamut – things started to…chill.

The excitement wore off. There was no longer any need to hide their love, to steal away into the night under the cloak of their lies. They could be – and were – together all the time.

It took the fun out of it.

Guess what? The same goes for cookie dough. And Oreos. And chips and ice cream and cake and whatever else you think you shouldn’t have. As soon as you truly have it, believe that you can have it any time you want it, all you have to do is go to the store or take it out of the pantry, the novelty will wear off quicker than lipstick on Bernie Sanders’ lips (I say that because the man is constantly licking his lips. I can’t not notice it now.)

Now, there is one caveat – junk food is designed to cause an addiction. It’s engineered with the right ratio of fat, salt, and sugar to get you hooked and keep you coming back for more. Unlike the man you left your cozy little life for, junk food will not eventually get old and out of shape and stop trying so hard to impress you. It’s like the vampire of addiction – it stays young and hot forever and wants nothing more than to suck you dry.

That’s where listening to your body comes into play. Yes, have the cookie dough if you really want it. But if it makes you feel like crap, wane off for Pete’s sake. Your body will intervene when the vampire sucks too hard. Pay attention.

So, that being said, give yourself a break when you want to make some hot love to cookie dough. Tell yourself it’s OKAY to eat it. I guarantee that if that is your genuine mindset, you won’t want it as much. It’s human nature to crave what we think we can’t have. So tell yourself you can have cookie dough or Oreos or whatever your vice is whenever you want, and see what happens.

It’ll at least stop shaving its legs after a while. And no one wants to eat hairy cookie dough.

Often, anyway.