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If your friend was cheating on their partner... Watch

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    Tell the victim
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    Tell the friend it's wrong
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    Keep out of it
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    (Original post by Becca7000)
    If you know it is wrong and do nothing to stop it or cover for the person doing it (someone before said they would do that) then you might as well condone it.
    Just because they're your friend doesn't make it acceptable; you're not a bad friend for letting them know that; hell they probably know it's wrong.
    When did telling the truth turn into gossiping, *****ing, snitching and causing ****? If what you're saying is something they deserve and should know then why is it wrong?
    All valid and interesting questions, Becca, thanks for voicing them.

    Do you think we have a moral obligation that outweighs loyalty to a friend? What to you makes snitching right, specifically? Do you think the truth is more important than social pressure and other virtues? Socrates certainly did and was willing to die for it so I don't think it's any simple matter.
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    (Original post by KingStannis)
    Being mugged is a serious crime. Cheating is socially unfashionable. There's a pretty big gap between the two.

    To be honest, harm only occurs if the other person finds out. So by making yourself feel good by being a justice warrior you're ruining the happiness of two people, whereas leaving it be harms no one by your actions. If you tell the person, you are responsible for the hurt that incurs afterwards (not to mention the betrayal of a friendship) whereas if you don't do anything, either the girl doesn't ever find out and no harm has been incurred, or she does find out independently of you and you are not the cause of the harm, so you are not responsible for it. Basically, if you knowingly intervene, then you, as well as the cheater, are causing suffering to the victim. And you have to take responsibility for that.
    Isn't cheating a serious moral crime if not a legal one? Would you rather your girlfriend of three years or wife and mother of your children had sex behind your back or would you rather be mugged/assaulted? Does the severity of an action just depend on it's legal status?

    Does harm only occur if it is acknowledged? So do you believe that ignorance is bliss? I think the relationship will inevitably crumble and, by the truth being exposed, this is sooner rather than later, allowing less hurt for the victim and more time to move on and find someone that is worthy of them. Do you think a relationship can be truly happy if cheating is involved? One last point, are you responsible for the suffering of the victim or is the cheater? Are you shooting the messenger in this scenario? Perhaps the victim would be grateful at being told - like Wilfred Little above.
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    talk to your friend, start by saying you know its not your relationship but im your friend and im going to be honest and tell you that i think what you're doing is wrong and just explain it to him
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    If the friend told me, I would tell them that it's wrong. Best not to get involved though
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    (Original post by Wilfred Little)
    Not really. It just hasn't affected me enough for me to betray my pal. It hasn't crossed my line (no I wouldn't hide a body for them as you asked). I don't condone cheating in the same way I don't condone lying but we all either do it or turn a blind eye to it a little bit. If it was my sister on the other hand...

    It applies to you as well since you admitted you'd say nothing. Maybe you needed to word your post better as it comes across a bit sexist if I'm honest.



    I didn't say it was wrong, I just said that I wouldn't grass.
    But your friend is betraying her? Doesn't that bother you? If he cares so little for her chances are he'd betray you just as much.
    I said I'd say nothing. I was talking about in my experiences there; should've cleared that up. I know for a fact no one would believe me and that I'd lose friends. Others who would be believed did know though and they didn't say anything.

    How am I being sexist? Reverse every position here and I would still say the same thing; almost every experience I've had with someone cheating has been the girl cheating on the guy.
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    (Original post by macromicro)
    All valid and interesting questions, Becca, thanks for voicing them.

    Do you think we have a moral obligation that outweighs loyalty to a friend? What to you makes snitching right, specifically? Do you think the truth is more important than social pressure and other virtues? Socrates certainly did and was willing to die for it so I don't think it's any simple matter.
    I tend to rant about these things a lot. Yeah to a certain degree. It depends on the situation. I think allowing a friend to do something like that and not say anything makes me a bad friend. They could be doing it for all different reasons and if I didn't try to find out and understand why then they could be being affected by it too.

    I have a good example for this; in my college, a teacher had pet mice. Some of the boys in the year below thought it's be a good idea to pour sulphuric acid on them. I overheard them saying that a teacher had caught them doing something. All of their friends said they wouldn't grass on their mates. If they got away with that then they would've carried on doing similar things (I knew most of them; they weren't nice kids). They were prosecuted but they didn't seem to understand what they did was wrong.

    I do; it doesn't make you popular though. Everyone tells the truth to someone though; if I didn't tell the truth to her then I would've told someone else and I don't agree with talking behind someone's back.
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    (Original post by macromicro)
    I'm starting to question his character now so I feel the friendship is somewhat breaking apart. I'm not comfortable being friends with someone who can so casually destroy a person's life and have no regard for the morality of their actions.
    That's hilariously self-referential.

    It could be that you destroy her life. What if she's so distraught she commits suicide? What if she'd prefer not to know? Who are you to make those decisions for her and for him?
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    (Original post by Becca7000)
    Some of the boys in the year below thought it's be a good idea to pour sulphuric acid on them=
    There's a pretty obvious difference between an act of criminal violence and breaking a friend's confidence.
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    (Original post by macromicro)
    Perhaps the victim would be grateful at being told - like Wilfred Little above.
    And what if she's not? What if she commits suicide because of it?
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    It could be that you destroy her life. What if she's so distraught she commits suicide? What if she'd prefer not to know? Who are you to make those decisions for her and for him?
    The cheater destroyed her life, I would have only brought her attention to it. I think it's difficult to shoot the messenger in your example. And as I said, would this not be sound based on utilitarianism?

    (Original post by young_guns)
    And what if she's not? What if she commits suicide because of it?
    Then the burden of responsibility is on the cheater.
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    There's a pretty obvious difference between an act of criminal violence and breaking a friend's confidence.
    What is the difference in ethical terms? I refer you to my previous post:

    (Original post by macromicro)
    Is it [different] though? In the eyes of the law, certainly, but I question why the legality of an action should alter your response to it but not the ethics of the action? Personally I would rather be mugged and assaulted than cheated on and I don't think that would be an uncommon view, though I accept it's entirely subjective. I suppose the difference, as you say, is that a relationship is private and personal and shared, whereas a mugging or assault is none of those things. The problem is that this doesn't change the ethics of the respective situations - in both cases there is a horrible injustice occurring. Our response it seems is that if it's private this injustice ought to also remain private whereas if it is public, interference is more acceptable, though you will still most likely be labelled a snitch. This also brings into question domestic abuse, which is both private and public, in that sense.

    If everyone in a relationship were asked if they would like to be notified if their partner was cheating, do you think the majority would say yes? Is it okay to interfere on the basis of utilitarianism? I may upset some on the way who prefer the bliss of ignorance than the misery of truth, but perhaps on average most would be appreciative? Perhaps in the long-term those who were originally upset may also come to realise they were glad to be told?
    I don't believe it is valid to point only to the law as if it is an objective criterion against which we judge our day-to-day ethical dilemmas.
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    (Original post by KingStannis)
    Being mugged is a serious crime. Cheating is socially unfashionable. There's a pretty big gap between the two.

    To be honest, harm only occurs if the other person finds out. So by making yourself feel good by being a justice warrior you're ruining the happiness of two people, whereas leaving it be harms no one by your actions. If you tell the person, you are responsible for the hurt that incurs afterwards (not to mention the betrayal of a friendship) whereas if you don't do anything, either the girl doesn't ever find out and no harm has been incurred, or she does find out independently of you and you are not the cause of the harm, so you are not responsible for it. Basically, if you knowingly intervene, then you, as well as the cheater, are causing suffering to the victim. And you have to take responsibility for that.
    And this is what makes it a difficult decision.

    However it's not just the fact that you are precipitating a crisis that may never have come to light otherwise, that is the problem.

    She may have strong views about fidelity, may be contemplating marriage, having children and quite rightly complain to you in the future that she would never have gone ahead, had she known what he was like.

    She may contract an STD - which may stop her ever having children. Perhaps you should let her know the risk she is running? Infidelity is not a victimless crime, necessarily, just because she doesn't know.

    Many years ago I was approached by someone to have an extra marital affair. I refused and stopped being friends. The partner is probably still wondering why I stopped going to their house.

    I didn't tell the partner but.... I wonder now. I think perhaps I was wrong.
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    There's a pretty obvious difference between an act of criminal violence and breaking a friend's confidence.
    I know that. I was asked if I ever thought 'snitching' was the right thing to do. In this case then yes, it would have been. And I don't consider it an act of criminal violence, I think it's disgusting and cruel. It being illegal or not doesn't change the immorality of it.
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    (Original post by macromicro)
    And as I said, would this not be sound based on utilitarianism?
    Based on that comment, I suspect you don't really understand utilitarianism

    Then the burden of responsibility is on the cheater.
    The fact you would be okay with her committing suicide simply if it permitted you to gratify your urge to intervene is astounding. It would be your fault; from the view of causation, but for your act in telling her, she would not have committed suicide. Your intervention was the proximate cause

    Your views are infinitely elastic and the scenario you've proffered keeps changing every time someone offers you advice you do so that it will accomodate what you want us to tell you, which is that it's okay for you to do this.

    I'm beginning to suspect more and more that you are a deeply manipulative and possibly sociopathic person. I have very grave doubts about your motives in this matter, I think you are probably quite an unethical person and this is actually about wanting to wield power. You seem to show no concern whatsoever for the actual effect this will have on their lives.

    Further interaction with sociopaths rarely yields anything worthwhile, and so I will discuss it no further with you; it's clear you don't care what's right, you're going to do what you're going to do anyway.
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    (Original post by macromicro)
    Which option would you choose?

    My friend is currently cheating on his girlfriend of three years. He has had at least two one night stands, as well as other things. My housemate thinks "it's not our place to say anything". If your friend is cheating, whose place is it to tell them that they're acting immorally except for a friend? Isn't that the definition of a friend - to open things up for you; to be honest? Are you truly friends if you cannot say difficult things to one another? I'm starting to wonder whether I even enjoy his company now because I think cheating reflects poorly on one's fundamental character. It doesn't sit well with me to say anything to the poor girl but, equally, it's uncomfortable that I'm aware; I feel hypocritical. I'm sure some of the responses in this thread will be flippant and relegate this thread to melodrama, but those people do not understand the deep and stubborn scars that cheating can have on someone in a long-term relationship. It can trouble them for many years after and cause serious trust issues and feelings of paranoia, inadequacy, low self-worth and depression.

    If you believe it is wrong to tell the girl, can I ask you to give detailed reasoning as to why it is wrong? I often hear lines such as "it's not your relationship" or "it's not your place" or "mind your own business" but never any reasoning behind this. Why is it morally wrong to put the girl out of her misery and save her more upset than to look the other way for your own sake? I'm not going to tell the girl but I feel I'm doing that more for my own good than hers; I ultimately think it's selfish not to tell her, and this troubles me.
    If they've been together 3 years, aren't you her friend too? I'd tell him to tell her. Or that if he doesn't you will...
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    (Original post by Bobbi!)
    If they've been together 3 years, aren't you her friend too? I'd tell him to tell her. Or that if he doesn't you will...
    How is it his place to intervene?

    What if she commits suicide because of it?

    And you do realise that it guarantees that he will lose the guy as a friend, and if the girl decides to say with the guy, he will lose the girl as a friend.

    It is pompous, desperate and selfish to intervene in someone else's relationship like that
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    Then it won't be his fault. Or the friends.

    I just think that if they've been together that long won't their friends be both of their friends and you should be able to trust friends even if not your partner..
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    Based on that comment, I suspect you don't really understand utilitarianism
    Well the marker of my dissertation would disagree, but thank you for yet another assumption and personal attack.

    (Original post by young_guns)
    It would be your fault; from the view of causation, but for your act in telling her, she would not have committed suicide. Your intervention was the proximate cause.
    No, it would be the cheaters fault; ultimately the burden of responsibility is on him. Let me counter your example with another: A policeman sees a man shoplifting. The shoplifter pleads with the policeman to let him off since he is poor and only hungry. The policeman sympathises with the man but decides to stick to his moral principles and not bend the law for anyone. Upon hearing this, the thief threatens the policeman that he will harm others in prison and the blood will be on him. The policeman arrests him anyway and the thief indeed wrecks havoc in the prison. The policeman was the "proximate cause" and had a choice. This example is actually more generous than the situation I am in because you are assuming the very extreme and unlikely outcome of suicide. Either way, the messenger ought not to be shot. Also, if we are going to continue your unlikely example, we also have to consider possibilities such as the girl committing suicide later on when she finds out years later but may not have if I told her earlier.

    (Original post by young_guns)
    Your views are infinitely elastic and the scenario you've proffered keeps changing every time someone offers you advice you do so that it will accomodate what you want us to tell you, which is that it's okay for you to do this.
    I'm not asking for advice. I'm listening to people's opinions on ethics and trying to reason what the best action is. You seem intent on trying to force the idea that I have an ulterior motive, which is very odd indeed.

    (Original post by young_guns)
    I'm beginning to suspect more and more that you are a deeply manipulative and possibly sociopathic person. I have very grave doubts about your motives in this matter, I think you are probably quite an unethical person and this is actually about wanting to wield power. You seem to show no concern whatsoever for the actual effect this will have on their lives.
    Okay, I think you need to calm down and, again, stop using personal attacks. From your first post you have been extremely hostile and angry and strangely emotionally invested in this topic. Every action I take I try and reason the underpinning morality of it; to judge me as unethical is unfounded and based on speculation and a misreading of my posts which have been fair and well-reasoned. You have fixated on the idea that the girl will commit suicide despite the fact that the odds are heavily in favour of her being appreciative. I have refuted your extreme examples in a sensible manner and without any of the nasty insult you have used so I think it would be best if you look yourself in the mirror before calling me unethical and sociopathic. I would never talk to someone as you have to me.

    (Original post by young_guns)
    Further interaction with sociopaths rarely yields anything worthwhile, and so I will discuss it no further with you; it's clear you don't care what's right, you're going to do what you're going to do anyway.
    My only concern is what is right and good.
 
 
 
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