Confessing a Past Affair

SNeacail

New member
Interesting. Almost seems to add a random element for Richard's criteria in deciding what to do, but I can see the appropriateness of it.

Not sure about randomness. He says nothing unless she calls him out on it for some reason. If she asks, he must fess up, otherwise the only point in telling her would be to relieve himself of his guilt by causing her pain. This is assuming he will actively do whatever is necessary to never repeat it.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
To me that's Richard minimizing impact to avoid personal responsibility for behavior done/not done. That's a different kind of whitewash dissembling than "fortune telling."

Section 1 and 2:

I find it dishonest to hide behind these assertions of "I don't want to hurt my wife" or "I don't want to cause turmoil in the lives of my children". The reason a person doesn't tell the truth is self-preservation, any other asserted motivation gets an eye roll from me. People who live life shielded from its challenges are ill equipped to deal with it when they *are* confronted by difficulty... certainly children. Pretending to be doing other people a favor by lying to them is lying to oneself and not doing anyone any favors.

Further, if it actually *is* true that my partner is incapable of dealing with reality then what the heck am I doing with them? Are they a ward in my care? I was with a woman a few years ago who was an irrational narcissist. When I started dating a woman at work (both women knew I was non-monogamous) I kept any details from my girlfriend which could cause a childish melt-down to myself. I'm sure my girlfriend assumed I was being completely forthcoming with her about this work romance but I was keeping her from the truth because I didn't want to deal with her craziness. I could have claimed that I didn't want to "cause her harm" by telling her the truth, but that would have been bullshit.

So with Richards situation I would ask, "Is his wife really incapable of experiencing adult emotion, and if so, why work so hard to preserve such an association?"

We could perhaps say that an indiscretion is an unfortunate anomaly ... whereas lying about the indiscretion adds up to a pattern. Is untrustworthiness a deep-seated personality defect, and can an untrustworthy person be reformed?

For the sake of this hypothetical I am assuming that we are not talking about a pathological liar and this person has the ability to discern fact from fiction and has the preference for fact/honesty.

Section 1:

If Richard were trustworthy he would abide by the promise of exclusivity which he presumably made with his primary. He made that promise and did not follow through which, by definition, means he is not trustworthy. If he chooses to fess up to his partner he will be "trustworthy" but only in so far as he can be trusted to speak up when he has broken his agreements. While by some definitions that is its own form of trustworthiness, it really seems to skirt the important topic at hand.

He has found himself in surroundings which he is now ill suited for. He has proven unequivocally that he either does not value his agreement of exclusivity as a priority and/or he has proven that he is not capable of abiding by the agreement. In my opinion that is what needs to be the highest priority to address... what does he do with his life now?

In my opinion he should absolutely tell his partner what happened, and not because of any sentiment of honor or trustworthiness, but because he is pretending to lead a life he clearly does not value. They need to have whatever turmoil they have, he needs to be honest about how he views romantic exclusivity, and everyone involved should redesign their associations in a way which actually reflects the reality of their situation. This lying and pretending that he's monogamous is doing no one any favors... including himself and his ability to live a genuine life.
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re (from SNeacail):
"Not sure about randomness. He says nothing unless she calls him out on it for some reason. If she asks, he must fess up, otherwise the only point in telling her would be to relieve himself of his guilt by causing her pain. This is assuming he will actively do whatever is necessary to never repeat it."

Yes; that works.

@ Marcus ... I think you are saying (at least in part) that "the School of Hard Knocks" is something everyone has to attend, and that trying to shield them from it (by lying) only puts off the inevitable.

And I think you're saying that Richard's act of infidelity is at least as much a part of his untrustworthiness as is his failure to confess.

Re:
"Further, if it actually *is* true that my partner is incapable of dealing with reality then what the heck am I doing with them?"

Oh that's a complicated question. I guess the obvious answer is that you help the person get into therapy, rather than running off and marrying them. But, some people will marry a dysfunctionally weak person for this or that reason -- such as other traits the person has that are appealing. But I think you're saying that the kind of weakness we're talking about should be a dealbreaker (or at least a dealdelayer).

Re:
"In my opinion he should absolutely tell his partner what happened, and not because of any sentiment of honor or trustworthiness, but because he is pretending to lead a life he clearly does not value."

Interesting way of putting it. Richard thinks he wants his blissful as-is life with Barbara, yet on some deep-down level it seems that he really wants something else.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
Interesting way of putting it. Richard thinks he wants his blissful as-is life with Barbara, yet on some deep-down level it seems that he really wants something else.

Is it a deep down feeling once he's had a year long extra-marital affair? To me, it is plainly obvious that he doesn't value the agreement at all and just needs to face reality.
 

bella123456

New member
Interesting topic. My view is that primarily I first need to care for my own emotional well being in order to be in a position to provide care and support to my loved ones.

If I were in a position that required ongoing lies, including omission of truth, I think that would destroy me. If I were destroyed, I could not provide care and love to my family.

Living outside my value system would devastate me. I need to care for myself before I can care for others. I simply couldn't live with myself if I were partaking in a lie that big. I wouldn't even consider it a choice. I would have to confess.
There would be no other feasible option for me.
 

JaneQSmythe

Well-known member
I find this conversation to be interesting. I am terrible at keeping any sort of secrets from anybody - so there is no way that I could let something go on that long without giving something away. (Anyone who cares to can read my "Journey" blog to read about my/our cheating/"almost" cheating experiences).

That being said - I do think that if a transgression is over and done with and lessons learned then telling the "trangressed-upon" person in order to assuage your own guilty feelings is just causing them pain so that you feel better about yourself (assuming that they are not likely to find out through other means).

MrS and I have other agreements about behavior in our marriage (that don't have anything to do with sexual/romantic/emotional "cheating"). I have explicitly told him that if he fucks up and breaks one of those boundaries that, if it is a "one-time" thing that he regrets and vows, to himself, to never repeat - then I DON'T want to know about it. He can bear the burden of his guilt as suitable punishment for breaking his agreement. (If it is an ongoing pattern of behavior, then that is a different story.)
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
JaneQ, your post was particularly interesting because it stated a "two-strikes policy" outright. It struck me how much of a judgment call it can be how much a person can stand to hear versus how much they can stand not hearing ...

I know many responders struggled to sort out the seemingly complex issues in these dilemmas, but bella, you perhaps had the simplest and most adamant way of responding. You simply couldn't live with yourself if you didn't confess.

Marcus, I get that Richard's behavior speaks very loudly about his values and desires as soon as it is examined from a sensible angle. I just know that I've read many poly forum posts over the years where the authors didn't seem to be able to sort themselves out. I would put Richard in that category.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
Marcus, I get that Richard's behavior speaks very loudly about his values and desires as soon as it is examined from a sensible angle. I just know that I've read many poly forum posts over the years where the authors didn't seem to be able to sort themselves out. I would put Richard in that category.

Oh sure! Hearing good advice and being able to follow good advice are two entirely different animals.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
In a word, the happy poly family with a lie at its foundation is a hallucination, a house of cards that will someday topple. It would be better to tear it down now and start over, if that's what it takes to lay a reliably honest foundation.

"Happy" is emotion.

  • He could experience "happy" while being honest.
  • He could experience moments of "unhappy" while still being honest.
  • He could be "happy" being dishonest.
  • He could be "unhappy" being dishonest.

But "a family with honest family members" either has them or doesn't. If he wants "honest" to describe his own character or the character of his monoship/polyship/familyship... I would rephrase that. Blue mine.

In a word, the "honest" poly family with a lie at its foundation is a hallucination, a house of cards that will someday topple. It would be better to tear it down now and start over, if that's what it takes to lay a reliably honest foundation.

Yup. I would put it that if Richard wants to have an honest family? It cannot be an honest family unit if he (one of the family members) isn't doing honest behaviors.

If "honest behavior" is one of his personal values/standards?
  • He could call himself into account.

If "honest behavior" is ALSO a shared standard/agreement for this family?
  • He could call himself into account. He is a family member.
  • Another family member stumbling upon this could also call him into account

(Whether or not this can be worked out or not is a related but separate thing to me. That is a behavior choice belonging the trespassed parties. Their willingness to work with Richard or not. I'm keeping the focus on Richard's behavior here rather than jump ahead. )

In his own conduct? He could make up his mind about his values and then align his behavior to support them. Otherwise he lacks integrity -- he can't say to himself that he values something like (honesty) if in his actions, he doesn't actually DO it.

And that he should have faith that he won't regret doing the right thing in the long run.

Right thing for WHO? Faith in WHAT?

"Regret" is another emotion.
  • He could have regret type sadness having acted in accordance to his values.
  • He could have regret type sadness having NOT acted in accordance to his values.

I know it can sound persnickety but I would put it like this... and I quote just to visually block it off.

"He could have faith that behaving in accordance to his core values will serve him well enough in his life situations"

  • If he is a cheater and totally fine with it when measured against his values -- then he's fine with it. We don't have to share his values or admire them. But he's fine. (Why's he posting then if it is a non-problem for him?)
  • If following his core values with his behavior often leads him to regrets? He could update his values. He has found they are not serving him well.
  • If ignoring his core values and acting in ways that go against them often leads him to regrets? He could stop doing that then and choose actions that DO line up.

I get that thinking out these things could FEEL hard for Richard. But the evaluation is pretty straight up.

Richard is evaluating his behavior that he has (done/not done/is just thinking about doing next). He could ask himself
  • Does it line up with my core values/personal ethics? Yes/no?
  • Does it line up with my agreements with myself? Yes/no?
  • Does it line up with my agreements with other people? Yes/no?

If Richard feels so bad for cheating that he is having a problem with it? People are not flawless -- mistakes in judgement happen. But Richard could do something about his behavior moving forward to bring his actions back into alignment with his core values. How exactly he does that is up to him.

Richard could ask me what I would do to address the problem. (tell, apologize, ask for forgiveness and opportunity to make amends). But I am not Richard. He has to do what Richard chooses to do to address the problem.

Richard is free to make his choices. We are all free to choose. We are not free from the consequences of our choices.

Galagirl
 
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copperhead

New member
Re:"The mistake that defines Richard as untrustworthy is not the affair, but keeping the secret."


We could perhaps say that an indiscretion is an unfortunate anomaly ... whereas lying about the indiscretion adds up to a pattern. Is untrustworthiness a deep-seated personality defect, and can an untrustworthy person be reformed?

If they are motivated and have the right tools to change, then yes, of course. It's another question whether Barbara (in the story) is willing (or should bother) to wait and see the transformation happen.
 

bella123456

New member
There's no strict right or wrong here obviously. It's simply personal.

For me personally, if I ever found this to be part of my make up I would know I've taken a seriously step away from the person I wish to be;

It is ok for me to lie to my lover on some occasions.

If I found myself saying that, I know I'm in trouble internally.
 

InsaneMystic

New member
I freely admit that I simply don't get monogamy, at all... so Barb & Rich, pre-Maddy, are alien for me to start with.


That said, I'd absolutely say tell Barb about it, in both cases. Not informing her about what happened deprives her of the chance to give informed consent to staying in the relationship. That's an absolute no-go, IMO.

And the concept of "sparing her the hurt" seems completely irrelevant to me, and carries codependent connotations right from the start. Going into social contact, especially partner relationships, has to mean everyone accepts the risk of both getting hurt and hurting each other - that's an intrinsic part of the relationship package. I see that as such a basic simple fact of life that my advice to everyone who wishes to fulfill an ideal of "never hurt their partner" must go for 100% absolute strict lifetime celibacy - anything less than that simply will not do to reach that unrealistic goal. If one holds that view, it's a logical necessity for them to accept that they're meant to be alone forever.

In this case specifically, I'd even go so far to say that Barb has a right to get hurt about Rich's year-long secret affair, a right that Rich violates by remaining silent. Refusing to hurt Barb is emotional abuse by condescension (i.e., not treating her as an adult woman who can deal with the social realities of emotional pain), so, as far as I'm concerned, telling her the truth is his ethical duty to her, regardless of whether it hurts her or not. The only point where "don't cause pain" comes into play is by not being a jerk about it (i.e., don't cause unneccesary pain on top of it), but that's on a "duh" level - if Rich were planning to gloat, snark, and call names when coming clean, he'd be a douche not worthy of being protagonist in any ethical thought experiment. :p


TL;DR - honesty trumps all other considerations, because without it, informed consent, and thus, mature, respectful relationships are impossible.
 

Phy

Member
Isn't there a fundamental problem with this 'giving perspective' in general you are asking for here, Kevin?

Everyone will answer according to his/her personal moral code, but just like Jane put it, my personal moral code wouldn't let me keep an affair for such a long time to myself. I couldn't live with it and most certainly I would never act the way Richard does. The fact that he has been able to live with it for over a year in both scenarios tells me, that he is such a person and the fact that he ended up in a situation where he had to lie to a partner on such a scale shows me, that he will be able to continue doing so in the future. This isn't a problem of monogamous or polyamorous for me. It is just a problem of personal ways of dealing with and leading their life.

My solution to both scenarios? Tell Barbara truth! I wouldn't want to be in such a partnership with a person who had the nerves to lie to me for such a long time, especially in the second one, where Barbara was trying hard to come to terms with a fake 'reality' for his sake. Both, Richard and Magdlyn are doing her horribly wrong by smiling and lying and 'protecting' her. For me it is just protecting themselves.
 

FullofLove1052

New member
Sticking with my original thoughts that I erased. He should tell. If he was man enough to cheat, then he should be man enough to own up to it, take responsibility, and be prepared to deal with the repercussions. It is a gamble, but one has to be accountable for whatever they do. Subconsciously, he knew it was wrong because he was hiding it and doing his dirt behind his wife's back. Hiding behind protecting the family/children/Barbie Doll's feelings from the fallout is a cop out. And as far as Madison? She is no better. She enabled a cheater and participated in the affair. I would have no respect for a woman who had been sleeping with my husband behind my back and smiling in my face.

Was he thinking about his wife's feelings when he was carrying on a year long extramarital affair? Was he thinking about how the infidelity would cause issues with the familial structure? He was caught up in chasing that dopamine and getting a high from his behaviour. Was he thinking about her when he was lying to her? Yes, unloading on her would cause her hurt, but her being blissfully unaware of the truth is unhealthy for their relationship. By keeping quiet, he is saving his own arse. The marriage is being sustained on a lie, and there is no consent from the wife. Who is to say it will not happen again? Temptation weakened him the first time around, and if the issues that caused him to seek something extra are unresolved, he might very well do it again.

Truthfully, he should have told her when it was an emotional affair or even when he suspected that it might turn into something. I have always told my husband that if he were to cheat, I would respect him more for owning up to it than letting me find out by accident, hiding it to save his own skin, or claiming that he is protecting me. I do not need to be protected from my own emotions and feelings, so I guess I have no tolerance for that mentality.
 
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london

Banned
You know, I find it fascinating that when given a scenario like this, people swear honesty is the only way to go, yet when I'm honest, people say I should weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of honesty and I'll more than likely find my honesty isn't ethical. They even get annoyed when they've asked me for my opinion and I give it.

Anyway, I don't think that telling your partner about an affair that is over is always the most ethical thing. It very often is, but the harm caused by telling (especially when done purely to alleviate guilt) is sometimes greater than the harm caused by not saying anything. This only applies if the affair is over.

I think people often conflate their desire to punish the cheater (and have them lose their home/family/relationship/friends/job) with what is "best" for the betrayed. What would be the greatest punishment for the cheater isn't always what is best for the betrayed
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Additional Responses -- 1 of 2

In my original post (and as InsaneMystic has reminded us), my "feature concern" was that genuine consent takes basic knowledge for granted -- and that genuine consent is considered an absolute must in responsible non-monogamy. By withholding a crucial fact about what he wanted her to consent to, Richard was making it impossible for Barbara to consent for reals, thus undermining the "responsible" part of responsible non-monogamy (or even responsible monogamy in Dilemma #1), and putting himself (deeper than ever) into the realm of behavioral immorality.

Weighed in the balance (in that original post) was the probable (not absolutely certain) emotional damage to Barbara (and thence to everyone else in the story including the kids). In a nutshell, "genuine consent or peace in the home" were the two things that Richard had to choose between.

However, additional (larger?) issues have come to light as the thread has developed since then:

  • One is the idea that dishonesty per se is simply so repugnant and/or objectionable in any situation that Richard should switch to the honest path regardless of his need for (seeming) consent, and regardless of his fear of any of the potential consequences.
  • Another (particularly interesting) point (that Marcus made, and if I'm explaining it right) is that by not coming clean, Richard is failing to live the life that he really wants to live. What he really wants is to continue a life with Barbara only if she can accept/forgive the fact that he cheated on her for a year. If she can't, then he wants to set her free to pursue her own values which may be divergent from his.
So what does Richard really want? If he didn't want to break the monogamous covenant, he wouldn't have cheated, right? On the other hand, if he wanted to break free of the monogamous covenant (or at least shift to a different partner), surely he wouldn't have severed (in Dilemma #1) an affair into which he'd invested a year of his life? On the third hand, conducting an affair is essentially rolling the dice on the chance of getting caught, and getting caught definitely would have put his marriage at risk. So at the very least, he wanted to gamble on the possibility of a divorce.

I think my original perception was that Richard changed his mind about what he wanted. Using Dilemma #1 as an example, he traveled through several significant relationship periods in his life:

  • middle school, where he wanted Madison,
  • high school, where he wanted Barbara,
  • marriage, where he bound himself to wanting Barbara,
  • an affair, where he either wanted both Barbara and Madison but failed to think of a good way to try to obtain both, or where he vacillated between which woman he wanted,
  • termination of the affair, where he wanted to lose Madison rather than continue to risk losing Barbara,
  • aftermath of the affair, where he wanted things to return to their pre-affair state, but then realized that one way or another, that past was now lost to him.
One could argue that people don't really change their minds so many times about such fundamental things, and I don't know the outcome of that argument. I'm just admitting that "Richard of the Changing Minds" was the Richard I originally envisioned when I started this thread. I think most of us would agree that an awful lot of people at least *think* they are changing their minds (about some very big issues) over the years.

Re (from GalaGirl):
"In a word, the *honest* poly family with a lie at its foundation is a hallucination, a house of cards that will someday topple. It would be better to tear it down now and start over, if that's what it takes to lay a reliably honest foundation."

That makes sense and is an acceptable way to rephrase.

Re:
"He could have faith that behaving in accordance to *his* core values will serve *him* well enough in his life situations."

Also makes sense and is an acceptable way to rephrase.

But let me ask: Is it fair to say that an honest life is a fundamentally happy life? not that every moment is sparkles and rainbows, but that every moment is undergirded with the assurance that one is adhering to a system of values that makes sense. A type of self-esteem, if you will. Sure Richard could have a value system that placed honesty second to other values, but wouldn't such a compromised system (somewhat) undermine the value of his happiness? At the very least, it would limit him to a less-honest kind of happiness, wouldn't it?

Re:
"Why's he posting then if it is a non-problem for him?"

Well he may or may not be posting; that part of the story is optional. But it's definitely a problem for him. He is struggling to decide whether to 'fess up (to Barb). The narrative ends before we get to the part where he is done making that decision (using whatever criteria he may settle upon). We have opportunity to state what advice we'd give him, what we'd do if it was (somehow) us in his shoes, and/or what he should be thinking about in order to make the right decision (such as basing it on consistent values of his own).

If for some reason he decides (or had decided) that it was okay for him to cheat in the first place, then it might make sense for him to continue to keep it a secret from Barbara -- unless he also realizes it's time to ask himself if perhaps he'd actually *want* to rock the boat. Maybe rocking the boat would be healthier for him as well as for the rest of the family.

I think it is most likely that he is having a hard time deciding how to prioritize his values at this point. His value system is in a state of flux. Is keeping the peace more important, or is facilitating a more genuine life for all concerned more important? He hasn't been able to decide that quite yet.

Let us make no mistake: The bare bones of what Richard is contemplating is whether it's okay for him to lie to his wife. Knowing that's what he's contemplating should perhaps shake him to the core, and perhaps there should be no question whatsoever -- nothing to contemplate. He could of course talk to a therapist to try to get himself into a better headspace ...

[continued below]
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Additional Responses -- 2 of 2

[continued from above]

Re (from InsaneMystic):
"Going into social contact, especially partner relationships, has to mean everyone accepts the risk of both getting hurt and hurting each other -- that's an intrinsic part of the relationship package."

Agreed -- with the understanding that this is about as extreme as that package can get. We're way beyond leaving the toilet seat up here; if Richard tells her the truth, he'll be exposing Barbara to the full inferno of knowing that her husband cheated on her (for a year no less). Most people will agree that relationship pain doesn't get much worse than that. So if Richard comes clean, he'd better be sure that he (along with Barbara) accepts *all* of the risks that partner relationships entail. (I mean that's how I see it at any rate.)

So Barbara's likely (prospective) reactions (to Richard's would-be confession) would include deepest of hurt and hottest of anger. And you're right InsaneMystic, she has the right to feel that way, because that's consistent with how an affair like Richard's and Madison's would affect her. Unless/until Richard starts telling the truth, Barbara is being bamboozled into a sedate state of mind, totally inconsistent with what she should be feeling based on what Richard and Madison have (secretly) done to her. She deserves to have her own reaction to the actual state of things, and Richard (and Madison) deserve to be exposed to that reaction.

Re:
"Refusing to hurt Barb is emotional abuse by condescension ..."

Interesting way to put it and I can't easily slime my way out of agreement. Richard is essentially assuming the role of knowing what's best for Barbara. That's actually kind of a parental role. Not very appropriate for a marriage between two adults.

@ Phy ... I'm not 100% sure if I'm understanding what you're saying, but the general idea seems to be that if Richard is the type of man who'd cheat on his wife for a year, why wouldn't he also be the type who'd continue to lie to her about it after the fact? Is there any point in trying to convince him to start being honest?

The answer, as I see it, depends somewhat on whether a given person's moral code can change over time. Obviously Richard was willing to lie about the affair while it was ongoing, but once the affair was over, then the narrative I provided had Richard developing second thoughts about whether he should maintain his lie. It's at that point that perhaps you and I begin to have some chance of reasoning with him about the importance of telling the truth. Or, if we suppose that (by some impossible realignment of reality) we could be in Richard's shoes at the end point of the narration, then it was my thought that we could consider ourselves to be in a state of re-thinking things: a state where we might decide we ought to be honest even if it's "just" being honest about the past.

Re (from FullofLove1052):
"Was he thinking about his wife's feelings when he was carrying on a year-long extramarital affair?"

In my mind, in the original post, I think my answer would have been yes, he was -- at least on and off.

Re:
"Was he thinking about how the infidelity would cause issues with the familial structure?"

In my mind, in the original post, I think my answer would have been yes, he was -- increasingly so as the months rolled by. I saw that as one of the reasons why he decided (in Dilemma #1) to end it with Madison.

Re:
"He was caught up in chasing that dopamine and getting a high from his behaviour."

I agree, although I also supposed he had additional motivations that complexified the situation. I thought of it as being a very emotional affair, far from just being a physical affair.

Re:
"Was he thinking about her when he was lying to her?"

I think mostly no. He was more thinking about how much the idea of confessing to her frightened him. Now at the very end of the narrative, when he started thinking about coming clean, then I imagine he was beginning to think about her a little more. By that time, he wasn't hesitating so much out of fear for himself, as he was fear of how it would affect her and the kids. Doesn't mean he was finally arriving at a place of moral rectitude, but perhaps his thoughts and motives were improving a little.

At least that's how I was picturing things when I first composed the original post.

Re:
"Truthfully, he should have told her when it was an emotional affair or even when he suspected that it might turn into something. Keeping quiet did him no favours."

I totally agree.

Re (from london):
"I think people often conflate their desire to punish the cheater (and have them lose their home/family/relationship/friends/job) with what is 'best' for the betrayed. What would be the greatest punishment for the cheater isn't always what is best for the betrayed."

Yeah, that's kind of my mindset (which is probably one of the reasons why I voted the way I did).
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
But let me ask: Is it fair to say that an honest life is a fundamentally happy life? not that every moment is sparkles and rainbows, but that every moment is undergirded with the assurance that one is adhering to a system of values that makes sense. A type of self-esteem, if you will.

To a person that does live according to their values? And honesty is one of them? Probably yes -- living an honest life ups their odds for experiencing that life as pleasant enough, happy enough.

Sure Richard could have a value system that placed honesty second to other values, but wouldn't such a compromised system (somewhat) undermine the value of his happiness? At the very least, it would limit him to a less-honest kind of happiness, wouldn't it?

Yes. If he doesn't practice honest behaviors, he could still experience happiness. But not likely to experience (honesty + happiness) together if he doesn't do honest behaviors. But does Richard care?

Put it another way... Richard does not value chocolate. He lives in a less than chocolate-y world. He is limited to experiencing non-chocolate happiness. Richard could go "So what? No great loss to me! I am happy enough. I don't care for chocolate."

Galagirl
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I suppose that makes sense. "Honesty combined with happiness" isn't necessarily the kind of happiness that appeals (the most) to Richard's tastes. It's possible he could live comfortably with his "Little White Lie." (Technically, at the end of the OP narrative, he is actually still in the process of trying to decide how much honesty matters to him. You and I have opportunity to suggest a "best" decision for him, but of course in the end he'll have to make that call for himself.)

With the thread slowing down, I thought it'd be interesting to count the votes (yea/nay):

Dilemma #1:
  • Confess: 9 ... bella123456, FullofLove1052, GalaGirl, InfinitePossibility, InsaneMystic, Kernow, LovingRadiance, Marcus, Phy
  • Uncertain: 1 ... bookbug
  • Don't confess: 7 ... copperhead, graviton, Inyourendo, JaneQSmythe, kdt26417, london, SNeacail
Dilemma #2:
  • Confess: 10 ... bella123456, copperhead, FullofLove1052, GalaGirl, InfinitePossibility, InsaneMystic, Kernow, LovingRadiance, Marcus, Phy
  • Uncertain: 2 ... bookbug, SNeacail
  • Don't confess: 5 ... graviton, Inyourendo, JaneQSmythe, kdt26417, london
The above tallies are generalizations, based on my understanding of what everyone said, may have qualifiers, be mere advice for Richard that he can heed or discard, teeter on both sides of the fence before basically resolving, combine with "he should also do this," and could change based on details that weren't given in the original narrative. Also I use "uncertain" to denote any kind of vote that can't ultimately be weighted mostly just "yea" or "nay." Uncertain could mean ambivalent, "It purely depends," etc.

I apologize if I misinterpreted anyone's votes; just let me know if I did and I'll make a correction. Basically, though, it looks like most of the weight falls on the "confess" side of the scale.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
The mistake that defines Richard untrustworthy is not the affair, but keeping the secret. Making a mistake, even a prolonged one is not what defines people. It's waht you do after you realize you've made a mistake. In this case Richard is lying and leading Barbara to live a lie. And Madison is in it too. So how they handled the crisis is what defines them untrustworthy.
THIS

It is ok for me to lie to my lover on some occasions.

If I found myself saying that, I know I'm in trouble internally.
THIS

And-I agree with Marcus and Galagirl.

There was a time, when I believed that it was selfish to confess if something was done and over with. Not that it was ok to lie in the first place, but that it was compounding it to use the other person as your "priest".

HOWEVER; that was before I had an affair, got pregnant, aborted the baby in an effort to keep the affair secret, had complications that made it necessary for my husband to take me to the E.R. AND for my life, required me to confess the pregnancy in front of him so that they could treat me.
Before watching the destruction of the lies on my WHOLE FAMILY.

Yeah-anytime you fuck up, that's a fuck up. Lying about it-is fuck up #2.

If at any point I feel like I can make excuses for lying to a partner-about anything; ***and lies of omission are still lies***, Then I know there is a MUCH MUCH bigger problem with me that needs immediate attention.
 
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