Morality of sharing sensitive information (Cheating), to the affairs other spouse

Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 10:17 am
I'd like to hear the moral arguments for telling someone their spouse is cheating.

Basically say A and B are together, and C and D are also together in exclusive relationships, but B and C are having an affair. A finds out.

Should A tell D, or not?

My (current) personal view is that they should not. (I'd like you to formulate your view and tell me however, so don't read on if you are planning on contributing a non-bias view!)

Many people are of the view they should (i.e. on reddit), and also believe that C is apparently intruding on your relationship, you are able to intrude on theirs. This seems reactionary and childish to me.

I don't think that is the case either. Firstly, just because C intrudes on your rights, doesn't mean you should theirs. An eye for an eye is rarely the way to go. Secondly, C never went into a contract with you. It is B, whom the majority of your disappointment and anger should be in - they entered an exclusive relationship with you, it is D who should be angry with C (same reason), so its debatable whether C is even intruding - again it is B with whom you agreed exclusivity.

A and B have a contract together to be exclusive, and C and D share a similar contract. When B and C are together, B is holding in contempt your contract. As is C, in their contract with D.

So, what gives A the right to tell D? C's harm to you seems incidental, as its B who is actually reneging on a deal with you. D is being shafted, but maybe it is not your place to talk - its not your relationship?

Thanks, look forward to your arguments and hopefully a discussion. I'm planning on discussing this with my flatmates as well, but would like to cover several demographics (we're all 20-21 y/o males)
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Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 11:20 am
Are A,B,C and D all friends?


Generally speaking I'd say that A and B need to deal with their own relationship and what happens between C and D is none of their business (as long as B and C have ended the affair).

B has an obligation to A if there is a committed, exclusive relationship that has been explicitly confirmed. Not just A thinking they're in an exclusive, committed relationship.
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 11:43 am
What does morality have to do with it?

If 'C' is screwing my wife (or husband), I am not going to worry about whether I am acting morally toward him. Am I really supposed to worry about his feelings?

You bet I would tell 'D'.
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 11:46 am
They can either all be friends, or all not be friends. I'm looking for a discussion of the moral arguments for both sides, not an ultra-specific scenario walked through. Also, it is 5 or 6 AM here, so I'm not going to re-read my post while i type this reply, but if i didn't make it clear, A and B have already both consented to an exclusive relationship, as have C and D to each other. Hence, it is cheating, and its not A incorrectly analysing their relationship.
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 11:48 am
Because it strips away reactionary emotional responses, which often misguided. I want to further improve my ability to think logically through situations that are difficult, and yet make the right decision. Punishing C and D for C's actions seems to be an emotional reaction to hurt C, and I think I made it clear I wanted to steer away from that both in the title and post.
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 12:05 pm
All's not fair in love and war. So your asking about "morality" in a cheating situation is unanswerable. You should have asked if cheating was moral.

Exclusive means that. If that does not happen, then the "deal" is off. One can either walk away OR lash out and tell everything so there are no secrets among the mutual participants.
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Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 12:23 pm
If A and B are exclusive, then I think B is responsible to A only. A is not (IMNSHO) in a place to tell D.

I do think that if all 4 are friends, then there could be a tweak to my position but if they are in different social circles i.e. no direct connection between A and C/D, then no.
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Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 12:24 pm

that makes sense to me
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Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 12:33 pm
'C' is screwing my wife. Why wouldn't I want to punish 'C'?

As far as 'D', I think the golden rule works well here. If 'D' had found out first, I would have wanted 'D' to tell me. Therefore, I think telling 'D' that her husband is cheating on her is the right thing to do.
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Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 02:07 pm
As stated well in an episode of "Rome" (paraphrasing) until you know with certainty you'd bet your life upon, you must remain silent. If you're wrong, the accusation is enough to cause retribution.

In your example, A is being cheated on by B so to avoid the whole messy 'should A tell D?' simply act on your own victimization which will inform D about his own without telling D directly.
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Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 03:21 pm
If you are trying to do this as an exercise in logic, then you have the following flaws:
Firstly, just because C intrudes on your rights, doesn't mean you should theirs
- rights are subjective, not objective.
- there are many people who argue that you give up your rights when you break the rule on other peoples rights
- there are consequences for everything in life (in one form or another)
- the participants in the affair knew that they could have consequences
- it could be argued that in consenting to the affair, they've given implicit consent to the consequences, should they be found out
- I could go on with many other arguments
- so no, the statement isn't objectively logical

This seems reactionary and childish to me.

Emotional response. There are so many other ways to describe it, including, for comparisons sake only, justice.

Secondly, C never went into a contract with you.
Official contract. Morals are a social contract, generally agreed to by the community.

Further, purely by your argument, there is no contract between the two jilted parties, and therefore any contact between them is acceptable until they form a contract.

Do I need to keep pulling the logic apart? (running out of time, off to work, but I daresay it's all like this)
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 03:30 pm
Just before I go

In business, if that situation were occurring the cheated business would feel very justified in letting the other cheated business know, and the other cheated business would feel grateful. The two cheating businesses would be dumped.

Not quite the same, but as this is only an exercise in logic relating to whether or not telling the other party is justified when contracts are involved...
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