Sunday, September 19, 2010

Public Infidelity - Do You Notify the Spouse?

There was a time when I would have said, "Yes, of course!" RELATED TO THE KISSIN' COUSIN IN NEW MEXICO wrote to Dear Abby:

My cousin "Cecily" has been married for 30 years to a man the entire family thinks is wonderful. So did I, until I spotted him in a restaurant a few weeks ago kissing a woman half his age -- and who was certainly not Cecily.

I feel awful with this knowledge, but feel worse about ruining their marriage.
You're making some assumptions.

One is that their marriage isn't ruined already. If she has demanded monogamy from him (which I believe is right for marriage) as part of the ongoing marital vows, then he is ruining the marriage. However, there is a possibility that she's not providing him with monogamy (she's cheating or refusing him sexually, or breaking other vows), which means she is also ruining the marriage. Or, maybe she doesn't mind him dating other women... or they enjoy these other women together.

You are also assuming that she doesn't know. I mean, this was in public. She may be fine with it (especially as long as other people don't make an issue of it), she may be choosing to ignore it, or she may not know and would be upset to find out.

Whatever the case, expect some backlash to fall on the messenger. Cecily may think she has a wonderful husband, and having someone else imply he's not could upset her.

Dear Abby responded:

How would you feel if Cecily spotted your husband of 30 years canoodling with a young woman in a restaurant?
The writer is not Cecily. Not everyone's marriages are the same. But perhaps this is a good way to break the news. Ask Cecily what she would do if she saw your husband kissing a young woman in a restaurant. Cecily's answer may be revealing.

I would definitely want to know if my wife was seen somewhere kissing another man. But that's me. Maybe Cecily and her husband have no expectation of monogamy from each other, in which case you also have to wonder what other norms they don't keep.

Have you ever been in a situation like this?

1 comment:

  1. curiepoint10:44 AM

    I don't know about this one...

    My personal belief is that silence about a wrong committed is complicity in that wrong. In this case, it's advancing the P-Pass a bit further down the road.

    A friend will always tell the truth, even if it causes hurt feelings, or even an end to a friendship. He doesn't sugar-coat it, he doesn't prevaricate about it, he just tells the truth. If there's a chance that what he saw was out of context or misinterpreted, he will also be willing to admit his fault.

    But if he's right, the truth will eventually be found out, and his silence will go unappreciated.

    It isn't ever easy to do the right thing. But it has to be done.

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