I’ve been having a lot of chats with people on the subject of honesty. For example, I wish The Dragon had been honest with me about whatever it was that was bothering her about our relationship, so we could have tried to fix it, instead of sneaking away into the night like Barney Stinson. I wish I had been able to be honest with myself about how I felt about BBot and how he was disappointing me much earlier, so we could have escaped the long and drawn out ending.

The one big honesty question that comes up though is: Should I tell my SigOth I cheated?**

Now y’all know what I think constitutes cheating, but most people don’t agree. Everyone says you have to tell the person it happened. I’m not so sure.

I did begin on this whole, ultimate honesty is always required–if you love someone you shouldn’t lie, etc. A lot of this came from people trying to let me down gently and me reading too much into it, so I’d say, just TELL me straight out that you don’t like me like that, don’t string me along! Then, also, I had that whole sex-is-sacred-and-can-be-had-only-with-love thing going on. This, coupled with crippling insecurity meant that of course it was unacceptable for anyone to cheat, and then to not tell me would be compounding it horrendously, because you had BETRAYED MY TRUST IN YOU.

Then I went and grew up a bit, heh. I learned that the only person who could heal my insecurity was me–cos no amount of reassurance will stop me from needing more, and if what I have with someone isn’t enough, they’ll leave anyway, so why spoil the time we have together by stressing about it? I realised that sexual fidelity isn’t a big deal for me, so whatever. Sure tell me about it, or not. Just use protection, kay?

Dan Savage, that wonderful man whose columns you should subscribe to if you’re on Google Reader, has a very valid point, one that I have come to see myself.

The reason we tell our SigOths about one night stands is this: we are guilty; we hate ourselves for doing this, usually because we know they would not like that we have done it; and we really want to atone for our error and ease that guilt. But, and it’s a big one, exactly what does telling your beloved partner that you got drunk and hooked up with your ex one night when they were gone achieve? Do you want to leave the SigOth? No. Do you want to do it again? No (If the answer is yes, THEN you have a problem). Not knowing that you slipped up will not hurt the SigOth. Knowing that you did and then having to deal with their own insecurities about you leaving them, when you have no intention of doing so, will traumatise them, and possibly forever destroy their ability to trust you or any other partner, and thus their peace of mind.

Telling someone about a hookup serves one purpose only–to make you feel less guilty–and not very well at that. You can tell yourself you’ve been honest, but then you also know you’ve hurt the person horribly, and you are guilty of a far worse crime. Yes, you can argue that if it hadn’t happened in the first place it would all be moot, but nonetheless, in terms of the pain you cause your partner, telling them is a far worse crime. And yet, they will want you to tell them, because of this ‘sacred covenant of honesty’. Makes no sense to me…

*Hands up people who’ve heard the song.
**Here I mean unplanned, random hookups, one night stands. Not saying that other kinds aren’t fine, but that goes into the whole how-you-define-your-specific-relationship thing.

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