Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Honesty is such a lonely word*

I've been having a lot of chats with people on the subject of honesty. For example, I wish The Dragon had been honest with me about whatever it was that was bothering her about our relationship, so we could have tried to fix it, instead of sneaking away into the night like Barney Stinson. I wish I had been able to be honest with myself about how I felt about BBot and how he was disappointing me much earlier, so we could have escaped the long and drawn out ending.

The one big honesty question that comes up though is: Should I tell my SigOth I cheated?**

Now y'all know what I think constitutes cheating, but most people don't agree. Everyone says you have to tell the person it happened. I'm not so sure.

I did begin on this whole, ultimate honesty is always required--if you love someone you shouldn't lie, etc. A lot of this came from people trying to let me down gently and me reading too much into it, so I'd say, just TELL me straight out that you don't like me like that, don't string me along! Then, also, I had that whole sex-is-sacred-and-can-be-had-only-with-love thing going on. This, coupled with crippling insecurity meant that of course it was unacceptable for anyone to cheat, and then to not tell me would be compounding it horrendously, because you had BETRAYED MY TRUST IN YOU.

Then I went and grew up a bit, heh. I learned that the only person who could heal my insecurity was me--cos no amount of reassurance will stop me from needing more, and if what I have with someone isn't enough, they'll leave anyway, so why spoil the time we have together by stressing about it? I realised that sexual fidelity isn't a big deal for me, so whatever. Sure tell me about it, or not. Just use protection, kay?

Dan Savage, that wonderful man whose columns you should subscribe to if you're on Google Reader, has a very valid point, one that I have come to see myself.

The reason we tell our SigOths about one night stands is this: we are guilty; we hate ourselves for doing this, usually because we know they would not like that we have done it; and we really want to atone for our error and ease that guilt. But, and it's a big one, exactly what does telling your beloved partner that you got drunk and hooked up with your ex one night when they were gone achieve? Do you want to leave the SigOth? No. Do you want to do it again? No (If the answer is yes, THEN you have a problem). Not knowing that you slipped up will not hurt the SigOth. Knowing that you did and then having to deal with their own insecurities about you leaving them, when you have no intention of doing so, will traumatise them, and possibly forever destroy their ability to trust you or any other partner, and thus their peace of mind.

Telling someone about a hookup serves one purpose only--to make you feel less guilty--and not very well at that. You can tell yourself you've been honest, but then you also know you've hurt the person horribly, and you are guilty of a far worse crime. Yes, you can argue that if it hadn't happened in the first place it would all be moot, but nonetheless, in terms of the pain you cause your partner, telling them is a far worse crime. And yet, they will want you to tell them, because of this 'sacred covenant of honesty'. Makes no sense to me...

*Hands up people who've heard the song.
**Here I mean unplanned, random hookups, one night stands. Not saying that other kinds aren't fine, but that goes into the whole how-you-define-your-specific-relationship thing.


  1. Hahn, this is my take on it too: if one-night stand, moment-of-weakness type thing better not to tell. Serves no purpose. However, if I found out, I'd be pissed. Basically, I'd be pissed whether I was told or not - in my head, I understand how a person might slip up, but in my heart I don't and it would definitely keep bugging me throughout the relationship. So moral of the story is - don't cheat.

  2. haan. i should note that heh i've never been cheated on...cept by friends if you get my drift,s o i don't know. though BBot's whole only-another-girl-can-make-me-happy bit was v traumatic. I just don't know if it would feel the same if it were sex.

  3. Very few people are secure enough to be unbothered about a sexual infidelity. Though couples have moved beyond it; I wouldn't say it's definitely grounds for breaking up but it would not be something I could wave off easily. That said, I'm not sure why it's made a bigger deal of than emotional infidelity... that's another topic in itself.

  4. true dat. well lets see what life throws at me =)must see if i can actually handle polyamorous relationship, as opposed to wheeeee three boys.

  5. My husband and I were discussing this, a few months back. He said he'd rather know, and I said, id rather not. Unless he wanted out. just saying it out loud felt good. I really wouldn't want to know.

    But the thing is, doesn't the fact that you DID slip up mean something? I understand it, i guess, on some level but even at my drunkest best and with general flirting, I tend to keep the lines. and also, I really find the- I was drunk- excuse so unbearably lame.

    I guess what i am asking is, doesn't the fact that you slipped mean anything? That there you are unhappy/ in / or i don't know, something! other than weakness in character. and so isn't best to say it and figure it out? I totally get the ease-my-guilt as quick as possible thing but not saying it, i feel, will just make it some kinda repeat/loop process. My friend, told me, you do it once, then it doesn't matter. Its all the same from then. :/

    I feel this is different for both sets, the married and the dating. Which is fairly lame cos commitment has to be mean the same thing but married takes it up a notch is my take.

    AND ALL THIS is about sex. Not the emotions bit. Il end up ranting more. :/

  6. haan so that's the thing. people are weak. we slip up. also, in my case, i dont think sex with someone else is a bad/negative/betraying thing. soooo maybe its just a paradigm difference?

  7. "Telling someone about a hookup serves one purpose only--to make you feel less guilty--and not very well at that."

    See, I am the sort of person who likes to work with full information. So no matter how wonderful a relationship I think Im in, I wanna hear the truth and make my own judgement of what led upto the cheating. It may be unbearable horniness, it may be I wanna keep this for now and try my luck with that too kinda attitude. But I wanna be the judge of that. And depending on what I believe to be the truth, I will make my next move.
    I don’t care to ignore the facts so that I can harbour a few delusions.
    Unless, my partner explicitly states that he would rather not know, I plan to dish out the truth to him, no matter how bitter, for me or for him.

  8. @pipedream, welcome! yes, that's something i understand too. i guess my pint is that most of the people who want to tell aren't doing so to give thier partner the knowledge to make a choice to leave them. as in everyone who tells expects to be forgiven.

  9. Excellent! So what does your SigOth prefer? And wt dyu plan to do?

  10. heh no SigOths in my life at the mo, and I'm kinda loving it! I think policy depends on the person. One of the guys I know, if i were in a relationship with him it would be tell cos he feels the same way as i do about fidelity. With the ex it was no hookups allowed cos he felt more traditionally about fidelity...but if i had cheated, i would not have told unless it was cheating that would make me leave him.