On Friday night R and I saw the latest Noah Baumbach movie, WHILE WE’RE YOUNG. It’s a funny/interesting/depressing/uplifting/way-too-true story, if you’re interested in that sort of thing, but the reason I’m writing about it today is because it prompted a conversation about cheating, specifically – who would you tell on if they cheated?
Without giving anything away, there is a moment of infidelity in the movie, and then someone tells on someone else. That’s enough to launch us into this post.
I didn’t realize until thinking about that scenario that I have a very specific answer to the question, “if _______ cheated, would you tell on them?” And my answer changes significantly from person to person. Here they are (terrified as I am to share them…):
- If one of my best friends/family members cheated, would I tell their husbands/bfs/gfs? NO
- My loyalty is to my friend, and if he/she isn’t ready to be honest, I would not go against that.
- If one of my best friend’s husbands/bfs/gfs cheated on them, would I tell them? YES, OR I WOULD INSIST THAT THE CHEATER TELL
- Again, my loyalty is to my friend, and I would never want him/her to say, “you knew and didn’t tell me?!”
- If I caught the significant other of a random acquaintance cheating, would I tell anyone? PROBABLY NOT UNLESS IT WAS SO OUT IN THE OPEN THAT IT WAS WORTH SAYING, “WE ALL KNOW. CUT IT OUT/DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.”
- This feels like it falls under, “none of my business” territory, unless someone is making it everyone’s business because it is just so blatant. In that case it feels like a civic duty to say something, probably to the cheater first.
- If I was being cheated on, would I want one of my best friends/family members or an acquaintance to tell me? I DON’T KNOW…
- I still don’t know. On the one hand I wouldn’t want to be made to feel a fool, and it would hurt that a loved one kept something from me. On the other hand, if it is one indiscretion and not a full-blown affair, my life might be better if I never know. This is a tough one to think about, so I hope that I never have to think about it for real.
I wonder what The Ethicists would say about this topic, but I should probably be more concerned with where my friends/family members and the people who see me walk my dog all hours of the day stand.
What’s your take, theoretically or if you’ve lived it? And how hard was it for you to answer the questions?