Is it wrong to cheat if no one finds out?

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RudeGoldbergMachine
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14 Jul 2013, 6:36 am

I have a problem: I'm hugely attracted to my partner's brother in law.

I'm pretty sure he feels the same. I know most people would say it's still wrong to do anything with him, because I'm not in an open relationship and especially since he's family. But I'm looking at this from a rational/practical point of view: If we do something that's fun, and we're careful that no one else ever finds out, what is the down side? Who is hurt by that? And if no one is hurt, why is it wrong?

Yes I know there's always the chance however slight someone could find out, but erring toward the assumption that wouldn't happen, then why shouldn't I do it?

(I don't want to leave my partner and have a relationship with him. We're just attracted to each other and it would probably be a one-time or short-term deal.)



MR_BOGAN
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14 Jul 2013, 7:02 am

:hmph:

Of course it is wrong.

How would you feel if he cheated on you?

Also could you live with yourself knowing you cheated on him? Sounds like you don't care really and can justify your actions.


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Last edited by MR_BOGAN on 14 Jul 2013, 7:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

benh72
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14 Jul 2013, 7:04 am

If I were you, I would talk to my partner before I did anything else.
You may think you could get away with cheating - and even if no one else finds out that is still what it is - but if you have any conscience and real love for your partner you just would not be willing to do that to your relationship.

Even if it was just one time, are you willing to keep a secret that will create a rift in your relationship with your partner, just for the chance for you to have a one night stand with your partner's brother in law?

A real loving relationship would not be one that you would take such a risk in; at least if you respected your partner and valued their feelings.

There is nothing wrong with being attracted to someone else than your partner, or even to fantasise about them, but to be willing to take the next step and act on it is wrong in anyone's book.

You will poison your relationship if you act on this, or if you continue to obsess about it without discussing it, so in my mind you have two options.
Discuss it, have it out in the open and accept the consequences, or break up with your partner and do what you want.

You simply can't maintain a loving and honest relationship if you don't resolve this conflict (even if it is only in your head), so deal with it and move on, lest it ruin your chance of future happiness.



JanuaryMan
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14 Jul 2013, 7:08 am

You're not looking at it from a rational point of view, but instead trying to find a rational justification for something you want badly that you know to be wrong.

What you do is your business, but there's no use in pretending what you're doing is okay because it's what you want.
As BOGAN pointed out, you might not appreciate this sort of thing happening to you. What if you never found out but there were suspicions your husband was cheating? Because he never said he was, and you can't prove it does that make it okay? No. Exactly the same thing here.



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14 Jul 2013, 7:25 am

I think about this sort of thing quite a bit, and have also been tempted to do 'the wrong thing'. If no-one ever finds out, then there really is no difference whether or not you do it, as long as there is no baby or disease as a result.
The things to consider :
-the moral dilemma...
Are you sure both of you are completely comfortable to do this, and not likely to be feeling guilty later? I am talking about within your own selves, as this is presuming that no-one will ever find out.

-The risk of repeat....
If you do it once, like it, and get away with it, then do you really think that you won't get tempted to do it again? I can assure you that if the chemistry is good, then it is like a drug, and extremely difficult to resist, and to hide in each other's company. One or both of you may get an involuntary response to each other's presence, in front of someone who knows you well enough to know what they are witnessing, e.g. your partner.

-the consequences of getting caught.....
I am sure that you are going to minimize this before you do anything - a very human thing to do, but take a good hard look at the consequences first. Your partner will feel foolish, betrayed, hurt, stunned, confused about what he did wrong, and then very very angry. I don't know if he will forgive you or not, but you indicated your relationship is not open, so this means he will suffer for your choice. Think of how everyone else will feel, how they will see you, and how stupid you will feel yourself. You will be hurting or embarrassing everyone you care about just for a little harmless fun.
Now think again about the chances of getting caught. You are sure you won't be. Are you REALLY sure? Will either one of you ever talk in your sleep? Ever get drunk and let it slip? Ever get mad and in the heat of a fight, say something you shouldn't? Ever forget to keep up the pretense?
It's not like over time the hurt you cause from being found out will ever go away. It's like the sword of Damacles - it will hang over your head for the rest of your life.
People are very observant. It does not take much for some of them to be tipped off. A look, a smile, a feeling.

It's really not a good idea. But it's also nothing new. Relationships get ripped up over someone cheating every day of the week.
Good luck with that.



benh72
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14 Jul 2013, 7:34 am

It's not just the cheating that's the problem, it's the dishonesty.
A healthy relationship has no room for dishonesty like that, and once you start being dishonest, whether it's lying about stupid things, cheating, or drinking, smoking or taking drugs, it opens up a rift in the relationship.

Relationships can be salvaged if one or both of you do the wrong thing, but if you are not willing to be honest with your partner they will see you as untrustworthy and not respectable.
No relationship worth having can be salvaged from that, and if you did manage to survive, the magic of your relationship would be gone, and you'd both just be going through the motions together.

The fact you thought enough about it enough to post on here and not retract it indicates your relationship is doomed regardless.
I think you should tell your partner, then if everyone agrees, sleep with your brother in law, and live with the consequences.
You'll have the rest of your life to regret it, but you'll never wonder what could have happened.

Don't expect your partner to be happy about it though, or to have your relationship survive.



RudeGoldbergMachine
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14 Jul 2013, 7:39 am

The risk of repeat and the idea that something could be given away and arouse hurtful suspicions because of shared looks etc. are interesting points that I will think about.

However, I'm not sold on the rationalization/justification argument, or that I know it would be wrong. I DON'T know it would be wrong which is why I'm questioning whether it is. I know it's against social mores. But does that mean it's wrong? As far as how I would feel if my partner cheated on me-- sh***y, but if I had no idea it happened, I wouldn't feel any way about it. My imagining of how I feel about him cheating is by definition predicated on the idea of me finding out, if that makes any sense.

As for how I would live with myself... why would I not be able to live with myself if I decided I didn't consider it unethical? In spite of the risks, what if it did happen just once or a few times and we hid it well and it didn't harm my relationship? Like I said before, if it doesn't hurt anyone, then why is it wrong, and if it's not rationally wrong why would the secret bother me or make me feel guilty?

I know it might sound like I'm being disingenuous and looking for justifications but I'm really not. I'm being frank. I don't easily accept ideas just because other people say so, I prefer to think it over logically, and normative ethics are something that really befuddle me.



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14 Jul 2013, 8:09 am

RudeGoldbergMachine wrote:
I prefer to think it over logically


You say you are going to cheat. How is that not wrong?
Is it wrong to steal, kill..etc commit a crime. If you get away with the crime is it ok?

Like I know it is human nature for no person to think they are a bad person. Like all criminals have actually a good opinion of themselves and usually justify their behavour.

It's hard for me to understand you. To me you don't no the meaning of right and wrong.


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RudeGoldbergMachine
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14 Jul 2013, 8:19 am

MR_BOGAN wrote:
RudeGoldbergMachine wrote:
I prefer to think it over logically


You say you are going to cheat. How is that not wrong?
Is it wrong to steal, kill..etc commit a crime. If you get away with the crime is it ok?

Like I know it is human nature for no person to think they are a bad person. Like all criminals have actually a good opinion of themselves and usually justify their behavour.

It's hard for me to understand you. To me you don't no the meaning of right and wrong.


You make it sound like there's something absolute about cheating being wrong. You're right, I don't understand that.

To me wrong things are things that hurt people. Killing someone, assaulting or abusing someone, etc. Regardless of if you get away with it. As far as stealing I would steal from someone who wouldn't be hurt by it, i.e. people who have more than their share of wealth, but I would not take just for taking from someone who needed it, because that would hurt them. I don't think I am amoral or some kind of sociopath.

I just feel like there needs to be a reason why something is wrong rather than just saying "it's wrong because it is"... I think that's the kind of argument people use against homosexuality, premarital sex, swearing, drugs etc. All things I am fine with. So in this case I want to know what reasons why it would be wrong, so how it hurts someone, if there are any.

Yes it's something I want... so are lots of things like cigarettes and TV shows and sex in general. I don't see how that means its amoral/immoral to pursue it if it doesn't hurt someone else :/



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14 Jul 2013, 8:31 am

I really can't help you there.

But my advice to you is to be in an open relationship. Then you can get what you want.
Like this is something you really want. Being with one person doesn't sound natural for you, I think you will keep having this problem.


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14 Jul 2013, 8:46 am

RudeGoldbergMachine wrote:
I have a problem: I'm hugely attracted to my partner's brother in law.

I'm pretty sure he feels the same. I know most people would say it's still wrong to do anything with him, because I'm not in an open relationship and especially since he's family. But I'm looking at this from a rational/practical point of view: If we do something that's fun, and we're careful that no one else ever finds out, what is the down side? Who is hurt by that? And if no one is hurt, why is it wrong?

Yes I know there's always the chance however slight someone could find out, but erring toward the assumption that wouldn't happen, then why shouldn't I do it?

(I don't want to leave my partner and have a relationship with him. We're just attracted to each other and it would probably be a one-time or short-term deal.)


People that take on several people at once either need to be incredibly honest and have excellent time management skills, or be a really comfortable with lying and choose gullible people.

There is no in between on this without disaster and fall out happening.


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14 Jul 2013, 8:50 am

In my opinion, it's even more wrong if no one ever finds out. When you're in a relationship with someone, you've made a commitment, spoken or otherwise, to the person you're with. To violate that commitment is a violation of trust at the highest level and is, in my opinion, inexcusable under any circumstances. Whether or not the other party finds out is irrelevant. We all have different sets of morals, but in my case I try not to do anything that I wouldn't be comfortable sharing with those closest to me.

You say that there are things that are clearly wrong such as abusing someone....how is cheating not a form of emotional abuse? And I could go to the store right now, steal a couple packs of cigarettes, and probably get away with it without any trouble. I doubt anyone would ever notice that they're missing, so does that make the crime excusable? No, it's still just as wrong regardless.

Now with all that said, the fact that you're making this post tells me that you probably need to work things out with your partner, since it indicates to me that there may be significant problems developing there that need to be resolved sooner rather than later.



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14 Jul 2013, 8:59 am

RudeGoldbergMachine wrote:
The risk of repeat and the idea that something could be given away and arouse hurtful suspicions because of shared looks etc. are interesting points that I will think about.

However, I'm not sold on the rationalization/justification argument, or that I know it would be wrong. I DON'T know it would be wrong which is why I'm questioning whether it is. I know it's against social mores. But does that mean it's wrong? As far as how I would feel if my partner cheated on me-- sh***y, but if I had no idea it happened, I wouldn't feel any way about it. My imagining of how I feel about him cheating is by definition predicated on the idea of me finding out, if that makes any sense.

As for how I would live with myself... why would I not be able to live with myself if I decided I didn't consider it unethical? In spite of the risks, what if it did happen just once or a few times and we hid it well and it didn't harm my relationship? Like I said before, if it doesn't hurt anyone, then why is it wrong, and if it's not rationally wrong why would the secret bother me or make me feel guilty?

I know it might sound like I'm being disingenuous and looking for justifications but I'm really not. I'm being frank. I don't easily accept ideas just because other people say so, I prefer to think it over logically, and normative ethics are something that really befuddle me.


I still say it's a dumb risk.

But, having said that, I do understand what you are saying about the ethics of it. Personally, I know if I did it, my husband would never know, and I would not have a guilt issue with it. But I would never be stupid enough to do it with someone we both knew well. I don't care about hurting my husband per se, but he would kill someone if he knew, and I also could not live with the disappointment my Dad would feel in me. Too heavy a price for me, no matter how small the risk.

If you believe in God, then there is the soul to worry about, which I suspect you don't. The real basis for a lot of moral behaviour is religious belief, and the consequences after you die. Guilt is also tied in with that. Society probably created these foundations to help keep people from hurting each other.
If you don't believe in any of that, then it is just a matter of risk-reward, and consequences for you.
If you don't feel anything for the principle of monogamy, don't have a sense of 'honour' about who you are, and are just about getting what you can out of life as long as you can get away with it, then assess the risk, and make your choice.
It really sound to me that you are disconnected from your partner. You seem to not feel love for them, otherwise you would not be thinking about doing this.
If you care for them yet you do this, then you are either foolish for not understanding the risk vs consequence, or arrogant in thinking that you can surely get away with it.

Strangely enough, my husband wants an open marriage and often tells me he wants me to try someone else if I want to. He won't touch another woman without my permission, and I have thought about it, but I just don't trust him. I wouldn't put it past him to use this 'openness' to test my loyalty, even though he insists this is not the case. I just don't believe him. (with good reason) It feels like a trap. Plus I really don't know how I would feel about him with another woman. I suspect I wouldn't care, but the disease/pregnancy risk is a problem would not be worth it.
I think if I wandered, he would see it as permission to do whatever he wanted, and I get enough trouble from him - I don't need more.



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14 Jul 2013, 9:36 am

@OP: It isn't cheating unless you are married. Are you married?



ChromaticRaven
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14 Jul 2013, 9:37 am

What would Forrest Gump do/say?

(Hint: "Stupid is as stupid does")


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RudeGoldbergMachine
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14 Jul 2013, 10:41 am

@BlackSabre7 thank you for your thoughts; I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to reply. You are right that I have no kind of spiritual belief-- I'm about as atheist as you can get and haven't a religious bone in my body, say what you will. I do think that this minority position is part of what has conditioned me to be willing to think outside social norms and question popular ethics. I do think what you say about risk versus reward is legitimate; perhaps I need to, as you say, be less arrogant and evaluate the ratio more closely. I do have a degree of mind-blindness, which can affect my decision-making, but I don't really think it probable that that is playing much of a role in this scenario. So I don't know.

@Fnord no we are not married, but we are engaged to be married next spring. We've been together over a year and are very serious and (at least formally) committed/monogamous. I do not want to lose the relationship and regardless of what some have suggested, I love him very much and do not want to hurt him. I just want to fulfill my own desires in as many ways as I can without likely hurting him/breaking up, if that makes any sense. Why do you say it's only cheating if we're married?

Also I do want to add that I am perceiving in this thread a tendency I sometimes have to come off as very abrasive, based on the feedback I've received from people I know in person. This is not intentional (unless I'm talking to an ill-informed conservative person or someone who prefers Voyager over DS9 or TNG.) I tend to state my opinion very bluntly, in what I feel is logical rather than rhetorical terms, and sometimes this brings me accross as aggressive, especially in text, but that is not my intention or additidue. I don't mind offending people but I do not want to aggravate or promote anger with them. I am a nice person if you can put up with me long enough to know me :lol: