Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Would You Want To Know?

Imagine the scene; you and a friend are at a favorite hang out for coffee. You are enjoying reconnecting and sharing with one of your favorite people. Conversations hops all over the place and eventually drifts into pleasant random thoughts about dreams, spirituality, and eventually, relationships. After a peaceful lull in talking, you friend looks at you with a faint smile and says:

"Let me ask you a question. Pretend a friend you know fairly well knows a secret about your spouse: five years ago they cheated on you. You spouse has worked it all through - they are sorry, ended things with the other person long ago, and now fully committed to you and your marriage. And your relationship currently is happy and the best it's ever been. Would you want to know? About the affair that is. Would you want that person to tell you, knowing the pain and damage that could result?"

What would you say?


Moxymama said...

Wow. My automatic assumption would be that she knew something about my spouse and it wasn't just a hypothetical. I honestly don't know what I'd say. Just going on first impressions I'd probably want to know.

Coach Dueck said...

I believe in total honesty, so yeah, I would want to know. I would want my spouse to tell me. I believe it would come out eventually, and I think it would be best if my spouse confessed it to me instead of me hearing it from someone else. I think that would be more damaging to the relationship. I am not trying to downplay it though. It would be VERY hard to work through that.I would be absolutely crushed. But it would crush me even further that it wasn't confessed right away.

That is a very tough question though, cause part of me would not want to know because I am scared what my reaction would be.

But I stick with my first answer, I really believe it will be easier to forgive and work through if I heard it from my spouse.

RLE said...

I'm with Lindsay - if that had happened with my spouse I would want that friend to greatly encourage them to tell, not decide to tell me themselves. Though it would hurt tremendously and require time and trust to heal the relationship, I would rather hear it first hand then second.
Did this happen to someone you know?

Mark said...

RLE: It happens all the time. I don't know someone directly, but I know of someone who went through this exact situation. They chose not to know.

Personally, I would want the person to tell me. Better to have one's world torn apart (and possibly one's marriage and family) then live a lie . . . that being said I wouldn't make that decision for anyone except myself.

Would you want to know every thought/action your spouse has ever done that might feel like a betrayal to you? My guess is most of us would have some boundaries with that. Of course for the cheater, they will have their own issues to deal with if they don't confess. I think the question is a very interesting dilemma!

Lifelines said...

I think I would want to know about it...and hear about it from my spouse, not someone else. Chances are, it would come out somehow in the long run...probably from another person, and THEN how would I or my spouse feel? Either way, it would be REALLY painful, though.

Mark said...

Yes, it would be extremely painful. I have heard people say that they have experienced the loss of their parents, the death of a child, and their spouse cheating on them. Betrayal by one's spouse is apparently far and above the other losses.

Dayna said...

ok. this isn't really about my opinion or what i would do, but i'm honestly a lil confused. how does one choose not to know? i'm imagining sitting at starbuck's with a girlfriend and she says "dayna. i know something (about your husband) that you may or may not want to know. should i tell you?"

ok. even if i say no, i still know there is something. right? even if she leaves (about your husband) part out, there would still be this big thing looming over me, right?

ignorance/peace/secrecy is shattered even without the details, isn't it?

Mark said...

Hey Dayna, perhaps I was too ambiguous in my story. If your friend asks you that question, it's possible that they know a secret about your spouse . . . but on the other hand maybe they are just asking. For instance I love asking people these kind of "ethical dilemma" questions. The important part is actually "would you want a friend to tell if you if they knew your spouse cheated on you (and now everything seemed really great in your marriage)? Thanks for letting me clarify that.

BTW, I posed this question to my small group last night. If your small group/care group is getting boring, why not shake it up a little bit by asking such a question? It certainly wasn't a boring conversation for our group!

Anonymous said...

My spouse did cheat on me. Two years later, my spouse is completely committed to our marriage, and we are in the best place we ever had been.

But I wish I didn't know. Two years later, I think about it much less often, but when I do, the pain still hits me just as fresh. And I still feel sick to my stomach every time I hear a love song.

Mark said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for your honest contribution to our discussion. I have heard that it can take several years to heal from an affair. May God bless you with continued healing and peace (not to mention a great marriage).