Social Question

iamthemob's avatar

If your significant other cheated on you, would you want to know?

Asked by iamthemob (17147points) August 30th, 2010

Think CAREFULLY – the question is broad, and covers nearly every situation…so would you want to know when you were nine months pregnant? If not, would you ever want to find out? Assume that it was a one time thing, a complete mistake, and it would never happen again…would you want to know then, and why or why not? If you want to know, is it because you want to forgive if possible? If not, what if you are married, with children, and lots of property all tied up together? Would that make a difference?

Thanks!

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82 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

There’s never a better time to know but I would want to know so that I can take appropriate action and not be in the dark longer than necessary.

iamthemob's avatar

But what if you never found out? Would your life be better or worse for not knowing?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob Life might be better but there is no way to know that, actually.

deni's avatar

I would want to know immediately. Exactly what @Simone_De_Beauvoir said. If I had a partner who would cheat on me and never tell me, I think that would have to be a sign of a problem somewhere in the relationship. So I don’t see how it could really be a good thing.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I would want to know. I would want to protect myself from any STDs he may or may not have acquired while cheating. I would also want to know in case it’s something that is going to have further repercussions on our marriage (such as he isn’t happy in our marriage or he gets the girl pregnant).

trailsillustrated's avatar

only if he spent money on her

iamthemob's avatar

@deni
But people make stupid mistakes in situations where they are completely happy. At times, I think it’s irresponsible to actually tell your partner that you had an affair – you made the mistakes, you get to deal with the guilt, and you get to protect the other person from having to deal with the fallout in some cases may be the best policy.

bippee's avatar

If it was a one time occurrence? No, I would never want to find out. What purpose would it serve me now?

iamthemob's avatar

@trailsillustrated
I don’t know if you’re serious about the pay thing, but I love the answer either way – if you are serious, what difference does that make?

muppetish's avatar

I would rather know immediately. It’s the same with any big thing in a relationship. If they got fired from their job, I’d want to know. If their mother passed away, I’d want to know. If they found out they are terminally ill, I’d want to know. I don’t want to be in a relationship that lacks open communication.

ucme's avatar

This renders void the fragile theory which says, what we don’t know can’t harm us. I’d want to know, end of.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Yes. I want to know. Period.

iamthemob's avatar

@muppetish
I see what you’re saying…but your examples are all events that would inevitably be discovered. Also, they may all be without fault on the part of the other person. If there was an opportunity not to know, would you still want to? What’s the benefit?

janbb's avatar

I’m really not sure.

iamthemob's avatar

@ucme

I’m not sure what you’re referring to when you say “This renders void the fragile theory which says, what we don’t know can’t harm us.” If this assumes that I’m claiming that by not knowing you would be guaranteed that you wouldn’t be hurt in some way because of it…

But I am arguing that there are situations where finding out may do more harm than good…and I’d be curious as to what benefit people would see in knowing in those situations.

iamthemob's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie

For what reason? And in any situation?

I’ll throw out another terrible hypothetical – you’re suffering from terminal cancer, and you’re basically days from death. You’re partner, emotionally distraught, sleeps with someone and is devastated by it.

Would anyone want to know in that situation? And how can you be sure?

Randy's avatar

I want to know ASAP! I mean, if the lady I’m with doesn’t respect or care enough for me to NOT fuck some other dude, than I obviously made a mistake in choosing her as my mate and I need to remedy the circumstance as soon as possible.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@iamthemob because I’ve been cheated on. And in retrospect, I’d prefer to just know right from the start. Problems should be dealt with, not brushed under the rug.

I would want to know under any circumstances… but no one can know “for sure” what they would do in any situation where death is knocking on our door until we get there.

iamthemob's avatar

@Randy

So inevitably, you think the information would lead to separation?

trailsillustrated's avatar

@iamthemob cause it’s mine! all mine! I’d be very pissed. Oh and Id be sorta mad about the other too

iamthemob's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie

Thanks! I also asked this question because I wonder what kind of responsibility the cheater has to the other person to make sure they are affected as little as possible. Personally, I know that if I cheated while my partner was on the deathbed, I wouldn’t want to confess…in so many ways, it’s selfish to relieve yourself of that guilt.

Randy's avatar

@iamthemob No doubt! It’s not a jealously thing as much as it’s a respect thing. If she want’s to be with someone else, then she can be. I’m not going to try make her stay if she doesn’t want to and because I’m a monogamous individual, I’d expect her to be as well. If she’s not, than we have a problem and basically won’t work out anyways.

chyna's avatar

If you are cheating while your S/O is on his death bed then you are indeed a very low individual.

iamthemob's avatar

@Randy

What if you have kids with this person though? What if she’s the primary caregiver and it’s pretty sure that she’d get custody…and her only financial option after divorce would be to move out of the country?

ucme's avatar

@iamthemob Look, the way I see it is this. If I am indeed being cheated on, then it’s more than likely going to end in tears somewhere down the line anyway. Far better knowing sooner rather than later. Otherwise you run the risk of cutting a rather pathetic forlorn little figure. Now we can’t have that, under any circumstances.

isuppose's avatar

I would want to know so I could break up with him. 0 tolerance for that kind of thing.

iamthemob's avatar

@chyna

Why? I bet it happens more often than you think. It’s an emotionally devastating experience for everyone…I don’t think there’s an automatic moral horror associated with someone, truly in anguish, mistaking physical comfort as a way to make that pain go away…

trailsillustrated's avatar

I have children and property and all that. I’d look the other way probably, but if he was spending lots on it I would be very mad, feeling like it’s taking away from me and my children. If it was just a fling or a one time thing, I would certainly get over it. just my thinking cause I sometimes wonder the same thing myself

Randy's avatar

@iamthemob Than I have that she cheated on me to help me out in the custody case. If that doesn’t work than I suppose I’ll see my children when I can. Something would have to be worked out where I could see them. Summers maybe. Of course this is hypothetical as I don’t have children so maybe if I did, my answer would change. For right now, that’s the deal.

iamthemob's avatar

@isuppose

Again, what if it’s not just the two of you involved in making that decision? If you can see a situation where you might forgive the person, would you want to know then if knowing made no other difference?

isuppose's avatar

@iamthemob I’ll put it this way: If I did, for whatever reason, stay in the relationship, I would not be happy.

chyna's avatar

@iamthemob Because I find it totally disrepectful to be cheating when someone is dying. When are you finding the time to have sex with someone when you should be with your loved one as you will only have a short time left with them. After he dies, you have a lifetime to screw everyone you want to.

CMaz's avatar

No. And I hope I never find out. They, being run over by a bus.

iamthemob's avatar

@isuppose

I don’t think anyone would be happy – maybe eventually, but not right away, that’s for sure. So…why would you want to know if that would be the result?

I’ll say, I would want to know if it was something that was going to keep on happening – and those are the cases where you’re probably going to find out in the end. But about these instances of devastating stupidity? I’d be pissed, in fact, if I was told, on a lot of levels. The reason why cheaters confess is often because they feel guilty and want to come clean so they can be in an honest relationship. You know what though? You don’t get to be in an honest relationship, then…you gave that up. You keep the guilt and don’t shove the bad on me because you have all the emotional weight as long as I’m in the dark. Because in certain situations, ignorance is bliss…and if I never find out that I was lied to and die thinking I had a perfect relationship…well…didn’t I?

iamthemob's avatar

@chyna

Again, the cheater is in pain too. There could be a time when he was able to do it – if the other spouse is out on meds for some days on end. People in tremendous pain don’t think rationally all the time. The go, often, to the most basic comforts. And the cheater could very well close his eyes and imagine he or she was with the dying spouse one last time.

No justification for the behavior…but people do some horrible things in times of desparation – and they’re not necessarily horrible people. How they deal with the consequences is what matters, right?

chyna's avatar

What is an “instance of devastating stupidity”? He tripped and his dick fell into her va jayjay? No, it was planned at some point, so that isn’t a get out of jail card either.

CMaz's avatar

That happen to me the other day.

@chyna talk dirty to me some more. ;-)

chyna's avatar

Shakes head at @ChazMaz

iamthemob's avatar

@chyna
See my post above – stupidity motivated by a need to escape from a devastating situation. Again, not a justification of the behavior, but it’s something that seems profoundly human to me.

chyna's avatar

@iamthemob You seem to be wanting to find a situation in which the behavior can be justified. You won’t hear it from me.

iamthemob's avatar

@chyna

Again – I said this is not about justifying the behavior. It’s about whether you would really want to know, beyond doubt, that this had happened in a situation like this.

I don’t think that I would want to know about this. I think I’d rather concentrate on passing. I think it would be utterly selfish for my partner to unload this on me then. I’m curious if, in this situation, people would really still want to know about the adultery. I just think there are various times that the information does you no good.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yes, I’d want to know. More importantly, I’d like to know why, even if it was just a one-nighter he’d never see again. Sex is such an important part of a relationship to me, never mind potential diseases or knocking someone up. It’s a fundamental part of your relationship’s existence and it has ripple effects into other parts of the relationship.

So if I’m in an intimate relationship with a guy who’s leaving it to go get sex from others, I want to know what’s up with that. Is he discovering he’s not monogamous? Is he angry and was acting out? Does he not want to be with me anymore and this is his way of breaking up with me? I want to know.

iamthemob's avatar

@aprilsimnel

That I can see applying in pretty much any infidelity scenario. Again, for simplicity sake, I try to factor out disease/pregnancy issues…but your response seems, if I’m reading this right, to be that you want the knowledge to see if there’s something that you need to work on together to fix what may be broken?

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yeah. And if it’s broken beyond repair, then so that I can let him go.

I’ve never cheated in my relationships, but I recognize that I’m human, too. If I had the urge to cheat happening in my own life, I’d want to examine myself as well to see why I’d want to do that to my partner. What specific need(s) related to the dynamic between my partner and I am I not getting met?

I think sometimes, too, people think that a romantic relationship should meet all emotional needs and it doesn’t – because they aren’t supposed to! – and they get mixed up, and they cheat, and it’s a mess.

Austinlad's avatar

Would I want to know? Yes, no, maybe. Would it make a different? Same answer. Too hypothetical. It would depend on many factors.

Scooby's avatar

I found out! so that was the end of that!! :-/

iamthemob's avatar

@Austinlad

I agree that there are a lot of things to consider – but many think that they would want to know in any situation…

tinyfaery's avatar

Absolutely, yes.

GladysMensch's avatar

I absolutely wanted to know when I was dating. Now that I’ve been married for so long I not only don’t want to know, I’ve instructed the wife to not tell me if she ever does cheat. I would have to leave or throw her out if I knew, and I couldn’t live with her or myself if I let her stay. I wouldn’t lose just our relationship, but I’d also lose the current relationship with my daughters. I’m fine as long as she treats me and the kids well. Ignorance is bliss.

whitenoise's avatar

My wife and I discussed this when we were in the beginning of our relationship.

It depends… but first of all (to be clear): we promised to never cheat on one another.

With that in mind: if one of us would end up being stupid and cheating on the other, we agreed to not necessarily tell the other, especially if it were a one-off stupidity thing and had no relevance to our own relationship.

The reason for it is that we feel that most often confessing is a merely a way to share the guilt and look for forgiveness. Neither of us would want to be in pain because of the other’s mess-up. It would just be two feeling bad instead of one. We would most likely not leave each other anyway, unless there were something wrong in our own relationship.

That being said… yes I would want to know, if it stems from failure of our own relationship or if it would be a recurring thing.

I hope it makes sense.

iamthemob's avatar

@whitenoise

Perfect sense. Do you remember being more inclined to want that information or was your feeling the same before you were married or had invested a lot in the relationship?

Allie's avatar

Yes. If not for the sake of killing him, then for my health.

iamthemob's avatar

@Allie

Assume that there’s no health concern – and that you’re not really gonna murder him. Why would you want to know? What your s/o is someone that you’re deeply in love with?

iamthemob's avatar

@BoBo1946

So why would you want to know in any situation? There are a few situations, I think, that really will just hurt you if you know. And if you never find out, have you lost anything?

iamthemob's avatar

ALL -

What would happen if you saw a good friend’s significant other out with someone else, obviously cheating? Would you make the person fess up? If they refused, would you tell? ABC’s “What Would You Do” ran this experiment trying to figure out what would happen in that very situation

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob You seem to think that if one never finds out about their partner’s indiscretion that no harm has been done but it’s like this: harm has been done because one of us is now living a lie..I don’t know about many people but I, for one, simply can not live in honesty with my partner if I am hiding something…and I don’t think many people can..so it will gnaw at their soul, their spirit and I know that that kind of darkness will cast a shadow on the relationship one way or another because when you’re really in love with someone, even though you’re separate people, in many ways you’re existentially connected, you’re soulmates and his struggles are mine and vice versa. I’ve had partners break my trust, it drove them mad, it wasn’t cheating but still – I knew something was wrong and it bothered me even if they didn’t want to tell me. When you cheat and you don’t say anything, you’re not escaping the fact that you will know about it, you will remember it, you can’t have the same authenticity to your relationship. If I saw a good friend’s SO with another, I would tell my friend.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

I don’t necessarily think anything. I do, however, imagine there are situations where the other person keeping it to themselves is better. I also do think that the fact they had to relieve themselves of the burden to me isn’t to make me feel better – it’s to make themselves feel better. And I don’t think that’s fair. It may be the best thing in the end…revealing…but I don’t think it is all the time, in every scenario. Although I think it may come out most of the time, there is nothing to say that there are people who WOULD be able to hide the fact that it happened.

About telling the friend…one of the easiest way to ruin a friendship is to interfere with their relationships. There are so many factors that come into play you don’t know whether it’s going to do more harm than good (unless you do…there are people where we can accurately predict their behavior). Did you watch the ABC show? I know there was at least one woman who wouldn’t tell her friend – at the time, the friend had just found out she was pregnant, and was so happy.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob Well this is where I disagree: I disagree that to tell is to ONLY relieve oneself of guilt, it is to clear the air, to start anew, to take off the secrecy from the relationship, to begin to solve whatever problem. I know some people disagree, I have a friend, she cheated, never told her partner and it’s been years, they’re happy, she’s happy, I keep mum but wonder how she can be so unconcerned. If this is a good friend of mine, they would never mind me telling them – it’s not interfering, imo, and I’d expect the same of them. I’d make no extrapolation to them other than what I saw – my friends know to come to me for advice on their relationship, as far as that’s concerned, I know what I’m doing.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

Ah! You’re right…I did say that in a way where it seems I’m saying that the only reason is to relieve their burden. Of course, there are multiple motivations. I may have unconsciously wanted to push the point about the selfish motives of disclosure…I feel like most discussions I hear advocate the “come clean always” approach and consider it dishonest and immoral to hide infidelity from the other person. Rarely do I hear people criticizing the disclosure if it’s done without a consideration of what knowing will do to the other person (there are plenty of people who really, really shouldn’t be told news of this nature), So I’m with you on that front. Sorry about the confusion.

actuallery's avatar

Unless a person is answering about their own partner, it IS too broad an answer to a Question. “If your partner cheated but still wanted to stay with you, would you allow it?” might be a better question.

cheaters usually have a “valid” reason
– their partner is always working and too tired to be romantic when that person is at home.
– they have Bi-Polar and extra curricular activities are part of the disorder
– their partner no longer wants to do “you know what” so that person has to find “love” elsewhere
– their partner is away for too long on business trips
– their marriage or relationship no longer has the excitement it once had, when they first met
– the partner got inebriated and was taken advantage of by a workmate at a Christmas party that they just happened to forget to tell their partner was on

OR they are just human and sometimes it just happens. Not me but other people.

iamthemob's avatar

@actuallery
Are you referring to the thread question? If so, I’m not sure how your question is less broad (or even why it needs to be limited).

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’d want to know so I could get myself checked for STD’s and also because I don’t believe anyone who says stuff like, “it was a mistake”, “it won’t ever happen again”, “it didn’t mean anything”, “I was drunk”, whatever. I love my current partner so much and I wouldn’t want to break up with him overnight but if he was capable of cheating on me then I don’t think I’d ever trust his love for me again, I’d always feel humiliated, disrespected and threatened by his lack of self control, lack of esteem for me.

iamthemob's avatar

@Neizvestnaya

Sure, but this whole thing assumes there are no STD/pregnancy issues (of course, if the person is worried that they might have been exposed, they either have to (1) avoid sexual contact with you for the six months necessary to run the battery of appropriate tests, or (2) tell you so you know the risk). Again, that also assumes that you’re having unprotected sex with your significant other…which to be honest, I kind of don’t really believe in (trust issues there).

And sure, you have to figure out whether you’re going to forgive him…and in those cases, you have the higher moral ground. But in the end, if you can’t get over it (assuming that the apology is honest and sincere), then that’s on you (the general you). I don’t know if I’d be able to recover from that kind of betrayal in certain situations…and that disappoints me.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@iamthemob: I once had a lover cheat on me and I wanted to forgive them, I really wanted to keep the relationship and thought the cheating wasn’t a serious thing in their instance but I couldn’t make good on it. Since then I’ve wondered why would I feel it’s moral or necessary for me to forgive someone who would cheat on me, gamble all I have pledged to them on a whim? Fuck em, I’d rather turn my attention to someone much more deserving and reciprocal.

Allie's avatar

@iamthemob Yes, I’d still want to know. If he’s cheated then it should be up to me, not him, whether or not I want to keep seeing him. And there definitely is a health concern. If he’s fucked some other person and then came home to sleep with me, I could very well get anything that that other person has. And ok, so I might not kill him, but I’d give him a earful, that’s for sure. After that, whether we stay together or not would depend on all kinds of circumstances. Best case scenario: he’s (and I’m) healthy, he cheated once, he never ever ever does it again, and he regains my trust. And quite honestly, I still don’t know even then if I’d stick with someone like that.

iamthemob's avatar

HA! @Allie. An earful would be definitely deserved.

SuperMouse's avatar

Yes I would want to know.

kheredia's avatar

In this particular situation, no, I would not want to find out. If it was a mistake and he knows it, I would be better off living my life as if nothing happened. Plus, why should I give him the pleasure of releasing his guilt just so he could feel better with himself? After cheating on his wife, he deserves to carry this burden by himself and let his wife live a happy life. Knowing your husband cheated on you would only make you miserable and I, personally, would probably end my marriage.

Aethelwine's avatar

On my death bed? No. Any other time, yes. People fuck up when they are at their lowest. I can forgive that. (just once)

I don’t want to live a lie.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I understand people cheat for all kinds of reasons so I will say if my SO did cheat on me then I hope it would be because he fell in love and wanted to leave me to be with that person instead. If it was just cheating like some whim on the side then I’d take it terribly, especially if he’d done for that person anything he’d not done for me, not tried already for me.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Knowing certainly explains a lot of tension in a relationship that couldn’t really be defined without knowing. Knowing, however, brings a certain sorrow with it that cannot be shaken. Regardless of the circumstances, part of your heart dies, and a certain amount of joy leaves you. The air gets sucked out of the room. No matter what the resolution, the landscape is forever altered.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@BarnacleBill: That’s exactly what it feels like, yes. Much lurve for the bittersweet truth.

le_inferno's avatar

Um, absolutely. I don’t care when the timing is. I deserve to know who I’m really sharing my life with. I will not stand being lied to or deceived. If I’m in a relationship with someone, I expect honesty. Am I with an honest, faithful man, or am I with a cheater who betrayed me? It makes all the difference in the world.

Akua's avatar

Im married and if my husband cheated and it’s a one time thing and he know’s it wont happen again, I don’t want nor do I need to know. If I accidentally found out – let’s say the girl was vindictive and called and told me, I would forgive my husband. The answer would be the same if I was pregnant or not. The only time I would want to know is if he was seeing her more than once over days, months or years. Then I would leave him because it’s not just a one time sex thing it’s an emotional thing and he has developed feelings for her. That I couldn’t bear.

iamthemob's avatar

@Akua

I’m actually surprised that this is the first time that your specific example of finding out has been brought up! Thanks for the addition – I wonder what other people think about the situation where the person didn’t tell them because of the above, knowing that it would just hurt the spouse, and then the person found out later?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@iamthemob Having an affair and coming clean about it is better in my opinion than having one and hiding it. To me, keeping a secret like that is lying by omission. If I find out from another source, the situation will be a lot worse than if my husband just came clean and admitted it to me right away.

Akua's avatar

Thanks @iamthemob for the feedback. @Seaofclouds – I see what you are trying to say but most of the time it’s been proven that when someone comes ‘clean’ about a one time indescretion, they do it to ease their own guilt and it does very little to their partner except hurt them. Like I said if it’s just a one time thing, I’d rather not know because then I would have trust issues and it might kill my self-esteem. If it was one time, you did it because you were drunk or whatever, I can let it go. But if it’s an on-going thing, I want to know. Immediately. And then I’m leaving.

le_inferno's avatar

@Akua They do it to ease their own guilt and it does very little to their partner except hurt them.

Honesty is hardly selfish. It shows respect for your partner. Yeah, it may hurt you to know, but that is the repercussion for his actions. Hurting you. He deserves those consequences. And you deserve to know who you’re dealing with.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Akua I get what you are saying as well. I’d just rather know right away before finding out due to some other reason (getting the other woman pregnant, coming up with a STD, someone else telling me). At least if any of those things come up, I’d be somewhat prepared for it.

Akua's avatar

@Seaofclouds yes the STD and pregnancy thing is a good point but my hubby is such a hypochondriac and I know him too well, he’d never touch a woman unless he was wearing a condom. LOL. He’s almost (scratch “almost”) phobic about condoms.

nynyrealty's avatar

The question bodes pause for reflection on the relationship. A main concern is what “issues” are there in a relationship that requires another party to seek physical solace outside of one’s home? However, what if the hypothetical relationship had non-traditional boundaries? What is the definition of “cheating” in this sense?

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