Is honesty the best policy when it will definitely cause hurt and pain to someone else?

She wrote:

Dear Devora,

 

I can’t believe I’m writing to you.

 

I got married very early to the love of my life. We have four beautiful children.

 

A few months ago I started having an affair with an old friend of mine. We have amazing sex, and I feel I am addicted to this forbidden act. Perhaps that is what makes it so exciting.

 

I love my husband, and am still “living” with him. I feel I should tell him, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings. He does not deserve it. Maybe it’s best I don’t say anything. What should I do?

 

Signed,

Sinner

(adultery image via Shutterstock)

Now, before I answer this question, I want to explain why it was so hard for me to respond. Soon after I received the email from “Sinner,” I found myself at the funeral of a close family friend, my father’s best friend, may he rest in peace, and I felt the great loss of a fine upstanding human being. Not only for the fact that my father lost his close friend of over 40 years, but also for the simple reason that such an honest and kind person was being lost to this world. Honesty was a way of life for him — not the default plan. It made me wonder if honesty had really become a thing of the past?

What is it about honesty that makes people on the one hand act so outwardly self righteous while in reality they are just looking for the most personally beneficial path. Where does integrity come from? Is it the picture of my parents’ faces in my mind? Or Is it that annoying voice in my head that many refer to as a conscience? Or perhaps just be a combination of the two…topped with some religious dogma to seal the deal.

It has taken me so long to know how to respond. Every day I feel like I have a different answer for her. Finally, I decided that today is the day, despite my mood (much to the chagrin of our token “Sinner”).

Dear Sinner,

 

I haven’t been able to respond to your question for fear of being judgmental and for not knowing how to answer. I have come to the realization that I cannot tell you what to do. I can only tell you that, surprisingly enough, after you wrote to me I got a similar letter from your own husband telling me that he is cheating on YOU! Now how does that make you feel? Not too great, eh?

 

You can’t have it all. You say you don’t want to hurt your husband’s feelings, but what’s more hurtful than your unfaithfulness? If you are still in a committed relationship, then be committed. A partner is not just for convenience or for a paycheck while shtupping some hot young stud on the side. If you want to have good sex, then get divorced…Oops, that didn’t come out right.

 

Finally, if you are a mom, think about your kids and realize that whether you like it or not, you are their mom and they depend on you to be their Rock of Gibraltar. Let’s see how self-righteous mom explains to little Shaindy when she turns 16 and her hormones are raging that she needs to wear a skirt that covers her knees when all she wants is to rip her clothes off and do little Baruch under the bleachers. Good luck with that one, mom!

 

All in all, I am glad we had this little chat. Be well, oh sinning one, and keep your pants on. Or sell your pants and get a lawyer.

 

Devora

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