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AFFAIR by Caitlin Hill

Affair: Do We Want To Know?

If you were going to die today, would you want to know?

If you were going to regret your lunch or lose your wallet or fight with a friend, would you want to know? Do you think it would change anything?

If you knew you were going to die, you may have the best day of your life and feel completely fulfilled and at peace or you may waste the whole day mourning your life and worrying about how to stop your impending end. The same applies to regretting your pasta for lunch: the meatball sub could be just as bad; the wallet could get lost the very next day; you could still fight with your friend because by trying not to cause conflict, they thought you were acting weird around them.

Now, what if we knew something that the other person did not. Would we tell them? What if we only caused them the same frustrations? The same pain, same bad sandwich, lost property or argument? Would we feel confident in our decision or feel like we had actually inflicted pain?

When it comes to the issue of disclosing affairs to friends, the question “do I tell my friend that their husband is cheating” has over two hundred billion views, and as we know relationships take on all forms and people, the question has been asked in many different ways about many different situations with the same problem at its core: Do I tell my friend? It is hard to say, but before you decide, it’s important to understand what the aftermath of an affair is going to feel like for your friend. The aftermath is filled with grief, regret, feelings of loss, and anger, as well as paranoia and trust issues. They may find themselves wondering, “If I knew it was happening or going to happen, could I have stopped it?” We’ll never know.

When it comes to affairs, some people say that you should live by the truth and that if you lose friends and cause pain by telling the truth, so be it, you lived your truth. Others say that it really doesn’t matter how you want to live your life. You should think of your friend. Psychology Today advises asking, “What would my friend want me to do?”[1] It’s possible that they already know or would prefer not to know. Some people aren’t in a situation to leave or simply just know in their hearts that they will stand by their partner through the good times and bad. You can’t control it or judge it because others do not necessarily share your truth. Truths can lead to future joy or future regret, and that is a lot of power to hold and wield in someone else’s relationship. What could happen? They break up: they are happy or sad. They stay together: they are happy or sad. How can you know? Would you want to know how it worked out? If it only caused them pain and no relief, would you regret it just like you regretted that meatball sub?

The most important thing to determine is whether the relationship is safe from physical and sexual violence and emotional abuse, and if it is not or if you are feeling particularly bad about the weight of the knowledge you are carrying, seek help with Lifeline (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) or 1800RESPECT.


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