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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm writing a story about witnessing a relative only cheating and how the adults chose silence. I always thought they were liars by taking this do-nothing stance. My friend is of the opinion that they were complicit but that lying is a sin of commission and not one of omission. I'm curious, what do you guys think?
 

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Lying can certainly be an act of omission.  If one leaves out pertinent information in order to deceive another, it is a lie and a manipulation.  If adults choose to be silent upon witnessing a relative (a child?) cheating, yes, they are complicit, but they are also lying because they are giving the impression that cheating is all right if one doesn't get caught...which is false.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree with you. I think my friend is taking the concept rather literally by sticking with the idea that lying requires the actual telling of the lie.
 

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My opinion is if anyone is cheating on their partner, it is none of my business.    That is not being being an accomplice.  But by all means, have the busy body say something to the "hurt" party.  I mean divorce or getting the cheater physically hurt doesn't matter to the busy body.  It is not her life. 

I am guessing the busy body saw them actually having sex.  Otherwise it is only an assumption.

No that is not a lie. It is being judgemental.
 

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There is an old song from the 1970s called "Take that look off your face" that's about a woman telling another that her boyfriend/husband is cheating on her. However, the cheated upon woman claims that she already knew and goes on to attack the woman who tells her by claiming that the other woman just wants to see her unhappy.

I've never liked that song. And as a young girl, I always wondered why the cheated upon woman wasn't grateful. After all, the other woman was just trying to help. Meanwhile, older relatives insisted that no, the woman who tells her wasn't trying to help. She was just jealous at the cheated upon woman's relationship.

I never got this. I still don't. I even wrote a rebuttal from the POV of the informer, when we were supposed to write new lyrics for an existing song in a creative writing class I attended. And though I thankfully never found myself in the situation of knowing that someone was cheating on their partner, I did find myself in the situation of people complaining that their partner didn't want them to do this or that or wanted them to change something about themselves and their lives. Most of those partners were controlling and IMO bad for the people they were with. Often it involved books and the partner not liking the books they read or wanting them to get rid of books. And I always said, "Well, if it were me, I know what I'd get rid off and it's not the books."

And like the woman from the song, I inevitably found myself attacked for trying to break up other people's relationships and accused of being "just jealous" that they had relationships and I didn't (I'm happily single). So eventually I learned to keep my mouth shut and decided that everybody has the right to live in a bad relationship, if that's what they want. Because some people don't want the truth, the just want a confirmation that their relationship is wonderful, even though it clearly isn't. Perhaps, as a longtime committed single, I also don't get that some people apparently cannot survive without a relationship.

So nowadays, I only try to counter bad relationships by writing about good relationships in my fiction. I no longer give relationship advice, even if people ask, because most of them don't really want it. And if I suspect someone is cheating on their partner (had this happen in the case of a coworker who was too stupid to delete his browser history), I try as hard as possible not to come across irrefutable evidence, because I don't want to be in that situation. 
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interesting, both sides... The story is based on me seeing a relative coming out of a little dive bar in the middle of the day a town over from ours, with a woman who wasn't his wife, and his tongue down her throat and his hand on her ass. My grandmother warned me never to tell the wife about it. I was around 11 or 12 and could not understand how it was ethical to say nothing. To my knowledge, the wife never knew.
 

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Your reaction to that situation was very similar to my reaction to that "Take that look off your face" song. As children and teens, we usually believe it's the right thing to say something, because we don't yet know that many people prefer comfortable ignorance to the truth, particularly where relationships are concerned.
 

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CoraBuhlert said:
There is an old song from the 1970s called "Take that look off your face" that's about a woman telling another that her boyfriend/husband is cheating on her. However, the cheated upon woman claims that she already knew and goes on to attack the woman who tells her by claiming that the other woman just wants to see her unhappy.

I've never liked that song. And as a young girl, I always wondered why the cheated upon woman wasn't grateful. After all, the other woman was just trying to help. Meanwhile, older relatives insisted that no, the woman who tells her wasn't trying to help. She was just jealous at the cheated upon woman's relationship.

I never got this. I still don't. I even wrote a rebuttal from the POV of the informer, when we were supposed to write new lyrics for an existing song in a creative writing class I attended. And though I thankfully never found myself in the situation of knowing that someone was cheating on their partner, I did find myself in the situation of people complaining that their partner didn't want them to do this or that or wanted them to change something about themselves and their lives. Most of those partners were controlling and IMO bad for the people they were with. Often it involved books and the partner not liking the books they read or wanting them to get rid of books. And I always said, "Well, if it were me, I know what I'd get rid off and it's not the books."

And like the woman from the song, I inevitably found myself attacked for trying to break up other people's relationships and accused of being "just jealous" that they had relationships and I didn't (I'm happily single). So eventually I learned to keep my mouth shut and decided that everybody has the right to live in a bad relationship, if that's what they want. Because some people don't want the truth, the just want a confirmation that their relationship is wonderful, even though it clearly isn't. Perhaps, as a longtime committed single, I also don't get that some people apparently cannot survive without a relationship.

So nowadays, I only try to counter bad relationships by writing about good relationships in my fiction. I no longer give relationship advice, even if people ask, because most of them don't really want it. And if I suspect someone is cheating on their partner (had this happen in the case of a coworker who was too stupid to delete his browser history), I try as hard as possible not to come across irrefutable evidence, because I don't want to be in that situation.
Bryan Adams recorded a song in the early 1990s called Run To You, which had the line, "Wouldn't hurt her if she didn't know." I think a lot of people take that position to justify their silence.

Something I don't see often IRL or in fiction is a scene where two people are magnetically attracted to each other, are both married (or committed) to someone else, have the time and opportunity to cheat on their spouse, yet walk away, remaining true to their respective spouses. Yet another song comes to mind, What Might Have Been by Little Texas. The two would be cheaters turned and walked away.

You have a lot to work with. My only hint of giving advice here is work with only one POV, the one doing the cheating or considering it. I'd like to know what is going on in the head of the main character in question.

For those reading this post, here is a video of the song, Take That Look Off Your Face. I have it on a CD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtxPMvafqbE
 

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Hi Cora and Kelli.
As children,  we just ignored the adult behavior.    I know several of us that saw more than we should have.  We didn't think it was our business plus none of us went through the boyfriend/girlfriend stuff in junior high and high school.    We already knew how adults behaved so we skipped the kid stuff.
Oh, we might say to each other, did you see so and so with such and such.

Though it probably helped that our mothers were honest with us.  We heard all the gossip too.

Now on Cora's statement,  I think I can give the reason.    Why did the woman (teller) want in my bedroom?   

Later in life, my now ex sort of cheated on me. We were still living together at the time.  I was mad at the girl because she was cheating on her boyfriend.   
With no outside intervention,  he did break up with her. 

 

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Dactyl said:
Something I don't see often IRL or in fiction is a scene where two people are magnetically attracted to each other, are both married (or committed) to someone else, have the time and opportunity to cheat on their spouse, yet walk away, remaining true to their respective spouses. Yet another song comes to mind, What Might Have Been by Little Texas. The two would be cheaters turned and walked away.
There's a great old film that tells exactly that story - "Brief Encounter" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037558/?ref_=nv_sr_2).
 

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Kali.Amanda said:
I'm writing a story about witnessing a relative only cheating and how the adults chose silence. I always thought they were liars by taking this do-nothing stance. My friend is of the opinion that they were complicit but that lying is a sin of commission and not one of omission. I'm curious, what do you guys think?
It's not a lie until you are asked for the truth.

Its information withheld. Plain and simple.
 

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Note, I was born in 1966 to a mom that taught us never judge others and always speak our minds.  Also unless someone was getting physically hurt, stay out of others business.
I am sure that some of my relatives if they saw or even suspected cheating,  they would run and tattle and gossip because they were taught that it is not right and they should make it their business.
 

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I agree with your friend. I think that lying is active. Staying silent isn't lying, in the strictest sense of the word.

But there is a slight difference in what the second poster said and staying completely silent. If you tell somebody something, and leave out pertinent details, and you KNOW that by leaving out these details the other person would assume something erroneous, that's a grey area. Still not lying, but more grey than actually keeping your mouth shut. Same thing when you say something that is misconstrued, and you know that it is, and you don't correct it. Again, a grey area, but still not lying.

Lying is lying, and omission is omission, in my opinion. Two different animals.

IMHO.
 

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starkllr said:
There's a great old film that tells exactly that story - "Brief Encounter" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037558/?ref_=nv_sr_2).
Agreed. It's also a Noel Coward play, and was directed by David "Lawrence of Arabia" Lean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am writing the story from the point of view of the kid (as an adult) at the man's funeral. What I don't know yet, is whether the wife ever knew. As I never had the conversation with the relative (the cheater or the wife), not sure which way I am going and letting it work itself out with the characters I create for it. IRL I have seen infidelity but both parties have been aware. I don't agree with some decisions but as these are not my relationships, I let people live their lives in any way they choose.
 

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Kali.Amanda said:
I am writing the story from the point of view of the kid (as an adult) at the man's funeral. What I don't know yet, is whether the wife ever knew. As I never had the conversation with the relative (the cheater or the wife), not sure which way I am going and letting it work itself out with the characters I create for it. IRL I have seen infidelity but both parties have been aware. I don't agree with some decisions but as these are not my relationships, I let people live their lives in any way they choose.
Why is this so important to you? Did the couple stay married? You keep defining what your relative did as cheating. Now I am not defending your relative but what you saw was a kiss. Now had you seen them go into or come out of a no tell motel, that would have been cheating.
Since you want to write about this, are the relatives still alive? If yes, then do not write it.
Here are some hugs.
 

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What answers are you hoping to get from this thread?
 

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I would have to put a theoretical on this. What if I saw my sister's husband cheating on her with someone else. No hypothetical, I knew they were "cheating" with a capital F. Would I be wrong to tell her? What if it was only kissing? Does that mean I shouldn't tell her? *tosses bear trap into room and retreats to watch bloodshed*
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
cinisajoy said:
Why is this so important to you? Did the couple stay married? You keep defining what your relative did as cheating. Now I am not defending your relative but what you saw was a kiss. Now had you seen them go into or come out of a no tell motel, that would have been cheating.
Since you want to write about this, are the relatives still alive? If yes, then do not write it.
Here are some hugs.
I am writing an anthology of stories about the aftermath of infidelity (my anti-romance). As for the relative, he was cheating. In fact, he even had another family -- he was even having an affair with his first wife. My grandmother swore me to total silence. He passed last year and his wife shortly after that. It isn't important as much as it is an interesting topic (IMO) and maybe a fun topic to explore in story form.
 

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Ok then write that story.
 
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