As a parent, where does your allegiance lie? If your son or daughter were cheating, would you tell the spouse, someone you love as your own, or would your allegiance lie with your child.
In other words, which is more important, family allegiance or doing the right thing?
I wouldn't lie, and I'd tell my child that I wouldn't lie; but I sure wouldn't tell the spouse either. This had nothing to do with anyone cheating, but I've been the grown child who got no support from a parent who sided with the other spouse over things my parent had no knowledge of, other than what the spouse said. I vowed that I'd never be that parent (unless, of course, it turned out my child had committed some horrible, violent, crime or was abusing his/her child; which I hope, and don't think, will never happen). With the exception of those two things I mentioned, I wouldn't take the side of someone else over my own child.
I absolutely abhor taking the liberty of going behind someone's back, presenting what may not even be an accurate version of what's going on (or at least what doesn't include some reasons for what's going on), and attempting to involve oneself in the business of someone who doesn't have a chance to present information his/her own way and/or to defend him/herself. I'd tell my son or daughter my concerns, and I may even voice my disapproval - but to his/her face, and that would be the extent of it.
I once read that genuine love for a person must include respect, and if respect of that person isn't there then the love isn't what it ought to be. Not respecting one's own kids enough to stay out of their personal business, no matter how difficult or frustrating that may be, is essentially a betrayal as far as I'm concerned. I see "the right thing" as not protecting a pervert or a violent criminal and/or child abuser; but other than that, I see butting into another adult's personal business as far from "the right thing". It's not about family allegiance. It's about unconditional love but also respect for the other person, as a person - even if it doesn't necessarily include respect for whatever he's doing.
The right thing is minding your own business after you have a calm discussion with the child. And I do mean child.
Having said that, if you also love the spouse, tell the child that you are going to tell if they don't.
This is probably terrible advice.
I definitely wouldn't tell. Never.
But I will try to find out why is my daughter doing such a thing, and to support her. I will tell her that cheating is worst in a marriage and encourage her to do the right thing.
Yet sometimes in life is not easy to do the right thing. What is the right thing? From her point of view it might be very different than it is from mine. Will I do good if interfere in their family?
I always tell myself the old saying "the road to hell is covered with good intentions".
One may be able to make the decision by answering this question: What Will Be Accomplished By "Telling"???? Telling the other spouse will certainly cause him/her an amount of pain that is like no other. Is that the "right thing"? A parent's job is to help guide their children in making the right decisions and choices in life; but parents also have to understand that adult children have to live their own life. In life we all make mistakes. The parent needs to be a parent; not a tattletale! Telling does not solve the problem. Telling will only selfishly ease the parent's guilt of knowing. Family Allegiance? YES!! That spouse IS a part of the family! A parent's loyalty involves helping to keep the peace among family members. Perhaps the parent should help find a solution to the problem; not become the problem.
This is a difficult question and I guess it depends on the characters of the people involved. Sometimes people cheat and later they don't want to. In those cases you might find that the partners might not even want to know about it if it is over
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