Friday, 14 September 2012

To Tell Or Not To Tell

I may not have enjoyed the movie Sex and the City 2 but there was one interesting moral dilemma which caught my attention.

Carrie, married, meets an ex-boyfriend for dinner and ends up kissing him.  They break off the kiss immediately and retreat to separate hotels.  She then has to decide whether or not to tell her husband what happened.

This is an interesting situation and one I used to believe was cut and dry.  Of course Carrie has to tell her husband.  That's honesty which is good for relationships, right?

What changed my mind was an episode of Dharma and Greg.  (Again, proof I watch way too much TV.)  There had been an arc for a few episodes where Dharma realized she was having feelings for the tutor helping her get her GED (played by Kevin Sorbo, and who wouldn't have feelings in that case .... getting distracted, focusing back on issue.)

Surprisingly, the one person to pick this up was Greg's mother, Kitty.  And she handled it by taking aside Dharma and speaking to her privately.  (A nice bit of character growth for a woman who was often cast as the sitcom's villain.)  She forces Dharma to admit there is more between them than just a student-teacher relationship and when a tearful Dharma says that she's about to go and tell Greg, Kitty stops her.  Her words have stuck with me ever since:  You want to tell Greg to make yourself feel better but you're going to make him feel horrible.  Break it off and send this tutor far away and then keep it to yourself to avoid hurting him.  That's what love is about.

Since then, I've thought about the almost-affair differently.  When it comes to actual intercourse, then telling is a must.  But a kiss, a flirty email or dinner ... if the potential cheating relationship is nipped in the bud then the would-be cheater should consider it a wake-up call but telling does seem more like a way to make the cheater feel better at the expense of their spouse.

What do you think?  Is honesty always the best policy?  We've been having some technical difficulties with comments but email your answers to jennifermackintosh@pastthemirror.com.  I'd love to hear what you all think.

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