Social Question

furious_rose's avatar

Is "withholding information" the same as lying? Is it worse?

Asked by furious_rose (356points) March 2nd, 2019

If you are seeing someone casually for over five years, and they don’t tell you that they got engaged to someone else, is that the same as lying? Or is it just “withholding information,” and not lying outright?

Do they have any moral obligation to tell you?

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24 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

If “casually” any indications of progression into intimacy, it’s sly and sneaky. If it’s as friends, then what kind of friend doesn’t tell you they’re engaged?

After five years big news is shared. If it’s not, you can count on the fact that the intent is shady.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It’s a variant.

What is a ‘moral obligation’? There is no such thing. A ‘more obligation’ is what the ‘victims’ apply to the other person.

NO he had no moral obligation, unless you and he were already engaged. I think you, perhaps, had unreal expectations.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@canidmajor hit the nail on the head.

seawulf575's avatar

I’ll go with @canidmajor. It sounds to me like you are basically in a “friends with benefits” situation. In that case, for the other person to not tell you he (or she) is serious with someone else, that is deceptive. They are using you as a booty call. Now, if all you want out of the relationship is sex, enjoy. If being involved with someone that is involved with someone else bothers you, break it off.

LadyMarissa's avatar

My Mom called that a “white lie”. She said white lies weren’t as bad as a lie; however, it was still a lie!!! I see it as less than truthful rather than a lie.

Since you were seeing them “casually”, I don’t think that they have a “moral” obligation to tell you of their engagement; however, I would wonder WHY they failed to disclose it!!! Any chance that you take the friendship to be more serious than they do or they feel that you take it more serious??? Does the person they’re engaged to know about your casual friendship/relationship???

IMHO, until you’re in a committed relationship, they owe you NO explanations for their life!!!

chyna's avatar

Good video @ragingloli. It says it perfectly.

JLeslie's avatar

When was the engagement? When they were 19 and you both are 50 now? It seems to me something like engagement would come up while dating for so long. If he was engaged during these specific five years then yes, that’s a lie, and a huge red flag.

Most of the time I classify witholding information the same as lying, but it really fronds in all the variables. If a husband says he’s going to happy hour with some coworkers and omits that his exgirlfriend was there too, that’s a lie. If a husband doesn’t bother to tell you he went to lunch with a female coworker where there truly is nothing but work or food going on, and just as easily who could tell you it not, that’s not a lie.

If someone is asked something directly and they don’t tell the whole truth, purposely omitting some parts, that’s a lie, as much a lie as a telling lie.

My MIL purposely omits information and she thinks that makes her holy, and it’s a joke in my opinion.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There’s too much wiggle room in the word casually.

jca2's avatar

I think it depends on the current relationship. When you say “seeing someone casually” does that mean weekends together hanging out and all that goes with it but not a commitment? Does that mean an occasional night together but nothing else? If it was weekends together hanging out and no mention of another person, my feelings would be hurt. Whether or not someone wants to say I’m too sensitive, that’s a matter of opinion.

kritiper's avatar

Both are as bad as the other.

MrGrimm888's avatar

In my book, omissions are lies. No difference.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It depends on the situation. Lying is not always wrong, either. And some omissions are just fine, too.

However, it sounds like your casual friend is playing you in some way. I don’t know the parameters of your relationship, so only you can decide how serious this “omission” is.

filmfann's avatar

Before I answer, I need more information.
Are they still engaged, or did this happen years ago, and they broke it off?

LostInParadise's avatar

It is lying. It is withholding information that should have been given.

jca2's avatar

I would think if the two people (the OP, if that’s who we’re talking about and her friend) were seeing each other romantically even if it was casual, the topic of whether each is in another relationship probably came up for discussion.

Zaku's avatar

I have always been upset that many people lump withholding information in with the word “lying”.

To me they’ve always been two separate categories.

Lying to me is intentionally saying something that is untrue with the purpose of misleading someone.

So not saying something is not lying. Also, saying something inaccurate without meaning to mislead someone is not lying.

I think withholding information is something else. And it implies that someone has an obligation to inform another person about something, which may or may not be something there is a clear agreement about.

Whether one is bad or worse than the other I think entirely depends on what it is, and what the situation is (especially what the agreements were).

Withholding information can be insidious in that if someone is leery of talking to someone else about something, they may just avoid saying so until past the point where it’s reasonable, and then when it gets discovered or revealed it can be a big shocking mess. But I still wouldn’t use the word “lied” unless the person said something that was inaccurate. Misled, maybe. Misled in a terrible unreasonable awful upsetting selfish way, maybe. But maybe not “lying” per se.

kritiper's avatar

I think if a person is withholding information, they are most likely doing so to deceive someone, or to avoid certain consequences. So there is pain of some sort involved, and the person being pained is someone else. Hence, the result is the same as a lie.
Sure, I could withhold the fact that the sky was green and that wouldn’t hurt anyone. But what would be the point of withholding that type of harmless information??

jca2's avatar

@Zaku: I would agree with you except that I can think of an exception to your examples given: Let’s say my boss says to me, “Since your child’s school doesn’t start until 8:30, I’ll let your work day start at 9:30” and my daughter’s school day starts at 7:30. Am I lying by not correcting him?

Zaku's avatar

@jca2 Well, I still wouldn’t use the word “lying” because you are not saying anything. It just seems like the wrong word to use, as I think a lie means when you actually say something untrue on purpose. A lie would be if you confirmed her day started at 8:30.

You’d just be not correcting a mistaken idea your boss had about your schedule, or possibly “misleading by not correcting” them. Someone might or might not consider that some sort of immoral, but I don’t think “lying” is an accurate word for it.

furious_rose's avatar

@filmfann – I’m not quite sure when the engagement occurred, but they are getting married in August.

I little back story (which is probably going to complicate things) . . .

Chris (the guy who is getting married) was my best friend/professional mentor for five years. During that time, he got involved with Alicia, and she never knew about me but I knew about her.

I did some digging on the internet and I found their engagement announcement on a wedding planning site.

When I told him “congrats on the engagement,” he seemed shocked and nervous.

I don’t think he was planning on ever telling me about the engagement.

In fact, I think he would have gotten married and not told me about that, either.

It’s impossible to know, because he refuses to talk to me now.

Just a very strange situation all around.

Oh well, ”NEXT IN LINE!

chyna's avatar

So you knew he was dating her and you continued dating him? And now you are mad that they are engaged?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can’t fathom how you could date someone “casually” for five years. Have you had other relationships within these 5 years? Were you under a moral obligation to tell him about them? Or are you guys just “friend’s with benefits,” and nothing more? Do you plan to continue to be FWB after they get married?
I don’t understand why it’s even important. You were casual friends. That’s all.

ragingloli's avatar

“I go to bed with all my friends.” – Gustav H.

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