Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

If you don't know about it, why does it matter what someone close to you does when not around you, assuming you never find out?

Asked by wundayatta (58525points) December 3rd, 2012

Maybe they like to eat McDonalds, but they are vegetarian around you. Maybe they like to dance the cha-cha, but never dance with you. Maybe they are hard-nosed and competitive business operatives but are nothing but kind and giving around you. Maybe they commit fraud, but are honest and forthright around you. Maybe they have a second family but are who they always seem to be around you.

If you can’t tell the difference, then what is the difference to you? Do you want to know the truth, even if it means it will really change the way you see this person, and may even end the relationship? Or is the relationship the most important thing, even if you don’t know the whole of the person?

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20 Answers

jca's avatar

I think part of really knowing someone means knowing as much about them as possible.

If I were in a relationship with someone, and I found out that when I was not with them they were sneaking off and doing something else, with someone else, or even something simplistic like waking up in the middle of the night and taking long rides or something, I would want to know. Maybe knowing the details would be the difference between wanting to know them better and thinking that there might be reasons I should back out of the relationship.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Your McDonalds reference made me laugh. My boyfriend hates McDonalds so I have always let him believe that I’m not bothered by the fact we never have it. However, I love MacDonalds and treat myself to it about once every six months. He doesn’t know and I have no intention of telling him!!!!! I don’t see a problem with little secrets like that.

Cupcake's avatar

In the Baha’i Writings, we have a quote, “Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.”

For me, it has to do with truthfulness and authenticity. I would feel like I didn’t really know the person. I would wonder what else they hide. A lack of truthfulness puts everything else on shaky ground.

Coloma's avatar

I’m a truth teller and a truth seeker. I also am very easy going but, I don’t look away from or remain friends with those that violate my principals and ethics. This would include manipulative and exploitive people, people that are or choose to stay in abusive relationships, those that exploit animals, those that cannot have a rational discussion about behaviors that are troublesome or disrespectful. I am very loyal to those people and friends that have shown me they are worthy of my loyalty and respect, otherwise, I have zero problem letting people go without a backwards glance.

Otherwise I could care less what others do as long as it is not effecting me, and as long as it is not harmful in the big picture.

zensky's avatar

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still likes you.

What is friendship without honesty, reciprocity?

KNOWITALL's avatar

Unfortunately yes, I would want to know because if you don’t have 100% of the information, you can’t make a well-informed decision. Of course, being 100% honest with anyone is extremely difficult and hard to do. (trust me!)

Like if my husband was eating meals outside the home, then not eating much dinner and I thought he may be getting sick again….wouldn’t it be easier for him to just share that he was eating that late lunch?

zenvelo's avatar

Integrity comes from integration. One ought to consider that integrating all parts of one’s life leads to integrity in all matters. Compartmentalization blocks others from parts of you, and therefore they cannot wholly know you.

So, having a Big Mac or a Philly cheese steak everyone once in a while is not something must run home and proclaim, but if one feels the need to keep it a secret, perhaps you ought ask yourself why? Is it damaging to yourself? Does it show poor judgment? Why do something that is embarrassing for loved one’s to discover?

And, the most private thing people do, masturbate, if one shares that with a partner it can make your sex lives that much more fulfilling.

FutureMemory's avatar

If my SO had a secret online romantic relationship, I wouldn’t be OK with it.

wundayatta's avatar

@zenvelo What if your SO does not approve of masturbation and knowing you do it would make some distance between you and make your sex lives less fulfilling?

Unbroken's avatar

I just learned this. It is impossible to have a truly intimate relationship where you keep secrets from someone.
If it effects them or your relationship with them or if they would be hurt if they ever found out it creates a divide in your intimacy.
Saying that we are all as individuals entitled to privacy and it is ok to keep somethings private.
The distinction can be a fine line but it does exist.

snowberry's avatar

In most areas it wouldn’t matter. In other areas it makes all the difference in the world. Marital fidelity is a big one. I have known quite a few people who’ve caught nasty STD’s because of their partner not caring enough to keep their pants zipped. Talk about selfish!

Bellatrix's avatar

My concern would be why they feel they have to keep secrets from me? Are they ashamed of the thing they are doing? Do they think I will disapprove? Is it doing them (and/or potentially me) harm? Are they scared of my reaction? Feeling they have to hide things from me suggests we have either control and/or trust and honesty issues as a couple.

I don’t care about silly things like my partner wanting to eat Maccas occasionally or him wanting to participate in some sort of hobby I am not in to. For the superficial stuff, I should be sucking it up because it really isn’t up to or about me. If I can’t do that, I need to figure out why and we need to look at why he felt he had to lie to me. Perhaps I overreact to things he wants to do and this makes him feel he has to take the easy road and lie or perhaps he has underlying issues from his past that make him feel he has to lie. Perhaps a previous girlfriend who was jealous of him spending time doing anything without her.

If it’s something significant he is hiding- then similarly we as a couple have honesty and trust issues and we need to deal with them.

wundayatta's avatar

If knowledge of it disturbs you, but the actual fact of it doesn’t harm you, is the harm real?

zenvelo's avatar

@wundayatta If such a fundamental view of a sexual preference occurred, they have a lot more to work on than secrets. I purposely chose masturbation as a possible secret because it is such a common yet harmless act. And if your sex partner has a different view of things like that, your sex life is being repressed in a basic way. That is something that needs open and honest discussion.

wundayatta's avatar

@zenvelo Open and honest discussion can be enormously frustrating, and on issues like these, doesn’t often get you anywhere. There are places where compromise or mutual benefit is not possible. Sometimes it threatens the entire relationship. And for what? An idea.

Ideas are enormously powerful, yet their power is often unrelated to the facts. We see that in politics all the time. But it also plays a big role in personal relationships. We need to conform to the myth of the relationship or people get very unhappy. A lot is at stake. Reality doesn’t seem to matter as much as appearance matters. Yet everyone wants reality and appearance to be the same. They need to believe in the relationship between appearance and reality, or else they think their world will fall apart.

It doesn’t, of course. There is precious little relationship between appearance and reality on a quantum level. Indeed, if there is a relationship, it might go the opposite of the way we think it goes: reality is what we think it is, rather than what we see is based on reality.

Complex stuff.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well if I don’t know it, I can’t care about it. However, if they were a close friend and someone else was like ‘yeah, that dude is like the best stripper at Glitter Lounge’ and I didn’t know that, I’d be like, ‘what?’ I mean c’mon.

Unbroken's avatar

Ideas are what make us special. If you can’t accept your partners in a way that divides the the relationship that is a clear message that you can no longer complete each other in a meaningful way.
Many people do choose to go this route rather then being open and accepting or moving on. Some don’t even want to risk testing the other partner. That shows lack of faith and a life based on pretense which you alluded to in the bottom paragraph.
If you want a life based on the superfical, the apparent, in supposedly your ultimate relationship it is the individuals choice but it means both are forced to seek fulfillment outside of the partnership.
Not saying that it always completely shuts down the relationship it just gets progressively narrower.

augustlan's avatar

I couldn’t agree more with @zenvelo. Basically, feeling the need to hide something from a friend or partner indicates that there is something about that relationship that is not right for you. This is not to say that you aren’t entitled to privacy, but that’s not the same as keeping significant information secret.

Take the big one – infidelity – for example. If one is not happy in a monogamous relationship and feels the need to be with multiple partners, one should not be in a monogamous relationship in the first place. If one chooses to be in such a relationship anyway, they are either going to deprive themselves of what they feel they need (multiple partners), or deprive their partner of what they feel they need (monogamy and trust). Either way, it’s not good. Better to be honest, with yourself and others, and take your lumps.

zensky's avatar

Thanks @glacial – loves nailing stuff.

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