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Faithfulness as a value: cheating openly is low value, and a red flag

There is certainly a link between both quality and value as a friend/ally, and whether one cheats or not within a relationship.

Many people, especially high-quality people, always respect more a man or woman who takes his "oath of loyalty" seriously after he's entered a committed relationship, and doesn't cheat.

The value of faithfulness is not binary in my system of value, but is measured with different levels, from top to bottom:

  • Does one stay faithful?
  • Does one feel bad about not staying faithful?
  • Does one keep his unfaithfulness hidden (shows respect to his partner)
  • Does one brags about his unfaithfulness (the worst level: I always lose a lot of respect when some idiot come to me bragging about his cheating)

There is a layer of subjectivity here.
Personally, I will always respect more those who stay loyal. After all, nobody forced you to commit. If you didn't want to stay loyal, then it's a sign of strength, power and personal value to demand and keep your freedom. But once you do (implicitly) accept faithfulness, then, it's a good sign of character to keep it.

On the other hand, I also do understand cheating.
And wouldn't take too many points away if he does it "on the hidden", which shows respect to the partner.
Hiding's one's unfaithfulness shows respect for one's partner, and the willingness to protect her honor and reputation.

Open cheating, or bragging, do the opposite instead: they disrespect and dishonor one's partner.
As such, open cheating is a major red flag about one's own character and moral standing.

After all, if you see someone openly cheat, how can you trust your own dealing with them?

I like how Salvatore Gravano, former mafia underboss, puts it:

Cheater: (shows up to the local restaurant with the mistress)
Guy
: (goes to talk to him while the mistress is away) do you love your wife?
Cheater: yes
Guy: do you love me?
Cheater: absolutely
Guy: then I hope you don't love me the way you love your wife

The story seems "too good to be true", but whether it's true or not, it works perfectly as a parable/allegory.
Basically, the moment you see a guy openly cheat on his wife, you immediately have to wonder about him cheating with others as well -including you-.

So, personally, I both value and respect faithfulness -and I've very rarely given it away in my life-, and respect in others, as well as using it as a yardstick to judge and assess other people's character.

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Stef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

UNFAITHFULNESS IS A BAD SIGN IN LEADERS

Open unfaithfulness is especially damaging in leaders.

Teamwork requires values and beliefs in higher pro-social values, including the unity of the team.
Otherwise, without those values, the team reverts to individuals who only pursue "what's in it for me".

That's why it's all the more important that good leaders uphold those moral values and serve as an example for the rest.
Faithfulness is only one value, of course, and it's not (apparently) directly related to the team. But it's related to all the other pro-social values, and it serves as an indicator of other prosocial values as well.

After all, your partner is one of the most important persons in your life.
And a leader can't respect one of the most important persons in his life, how can he respect anyone else?

Why would anyone in the team stay loyal and work for the team, when the leader clearly shows he has little values of his own?

Another good example from Gravano:

Didn't want to use a mobster twice, but when I heard that, it hit me hard, since it's exactly how I'd have felt.

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Stef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I get it and it's very interesting. However, once more I think it's dangerous to admire criminals. I know you have discernment, though. Here is my point:

The "faithfulness" of criminals is selective: you're a dog if you show up at a restaurant with your mistress but racketting the neighbourhood grocery store is all good. Also, we see this big confusion among mobsters: the "Family" vs the "family". That is very interesting. I do believe you can learn from criminals. However, I would not learn ethics from criminals. It's the selective loyalty: "be loyal to me, the Family, your family, but we can destroy the rest of the World".

Apart from this comment, I'd like to answer to your statements. I agree with you. However, some people just don't know any better. So I think it's important to tell people behaving like that what it means and what it does.

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Stef

Linking to this thread,
How Jeff Bezos Handled an Embarrassing Incident Well?

In this incident,

  • Does he stay faithful? No
  • Does he feel bad about not staying faithful?
    Not sure about this. My gut feeling is that he is quite indifferent.
  • Does he keep his unfaithfulness hidden (shows respect to his partner)
    I would say yes. Until someone forced his hand through blackmail.
    But also interesting to weigh "paying the price of keeping it hidden by paying the blackmail" vs "striking back at the blackmail".
    In this case, paying the blackmail is dangerous because it also suggests that you are not willing to own up to your mistakes and do not have the strength to stand up to bullies. These are important traits as a leader and public figure
  • Does he brag about his unfaithfulness (the worst level: I always lose a lot of respect when some idiot come to me bragging about his cheating)
    No, only after being blackmailed. did he decide to make a public statement.

 

In this case, according to biographies, his wife helped him in his early days to build his company and personally support him.
I would say that this is an important consideration in terms of personal values.

At the same time, as an outsider, it is difficult to say what happens behind closed doors.
Even for successful people, it may be possible that the marriage may be growing apart.

Personally, I will always respect more those who stay loyal. After all, nobody forced you to commit. If you didn't want to stay loyal, then it's a sign of strength, power and personal value to demand and keep your freedom. But once you do (implicitly) accept faithfulness, then, it's a good sign of character to keep it.

I am on the same page as this.
If you didn't want to stay loyal, don't commit, and enforce your own freedom.
If you agree on being faithful, keeping your agreement is a good sign of character.

When you feel like cheating after agreeing to be faithful, it is good to

  1. Re-examine your relationship,
  2. Think about whether you should continue to remain in the relationship,
  3. Whether your values have changed and you prefer freedom

Have a clean break instead of cheating.

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Lucio BuffalmanoStef
  • Does one keep his unfaithfulness hidden (shows respect to his partner)

I get the point from the power dynamics and public image/saving face for you and the cheated side, but from the etical point of view accepting that premise would make it feel as if then many other nasty/questionable things would also be ok as long as they stay "hidden" (making a virtue of your skill and care to cheat/lie better) , and your partner may deserve to know that you are having sex with other people as that may create an STD risk or a pregnancy if you are a women (so the husband/male partner would not jump to believe the children are his children as soon as he see her bellie starting to swell with child)

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Lucio Buffalmano

Matthew: Linking to this thread,
How Jeff Bezos Handled an Embarrassing Incident Well?

I agree with your point of view here, Bezos behaved correctly.

For Bezos, it was more of a case of "he fell in love with someone else". In that case it's different in my opinion, since if your feelings have changed, then it's fair to change. Not doing so would mean betraying yourself -and your partner as well-.
I was more about talking about the type of cheating where the guy still wants to maintain his relationship and acts like all is great, but then keeps on cheating (and potentially telling/bragging to his social circle).

Stef: I get the point from the power dynamics and public image/saving face for you and the cheated side, but from the etical point of view accepting that premise would make it feel as if then many other nasty/questionable things would also be ok as long as they stay "hidden" (making a virtue of your skill and care to cheat/lie better) , and your partner may deserve to know that you are having sex with other people as that may create an STD risk or a pregnancy if you are a women (so the husband/male partner would not jump to believe the children are his children as soon as he see her bellie starting to swell with child)

It's a great point, Stef.

On the other hand, if you "share the news", you might create more pain for simply the sake of honesty.
A girl I was once dating (worringly 🙂 told me once "confessing to cheating is not something you do for your partner, but for yourself" (to empty your conscience). I don't necessarily agree 100%, but it's also a valid point.

I'd say that with "values" there is far more subjectivity than with "what's socially effective", and probably even more subjectivity than with what "mindsets".
Up to a certain point, of course.

Also, I was talking more from the point of view of the man here.
Faithfulness is different for men and women, they (generally) view it differently, and public unfaithfulness is even more damaging for the man than it is for the woman.

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Stef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

To expand on this, there are two ways of showing this value:

  • Not removing value: not parading or bragging about lovers when you're in a relationship
  • Adding value: Elevating, talking well, and showing public appreciation of the official partner

And then there is an interesting in-between:

  • Publicly refusing sexual advances from others 

"Advances" can be open invites to get together and, probably more often, they're also "seduction power moves".
Seduction power moves, such as, when someone seeks sexual attention from others.

I remember the story from a woman I was seeing.

She was sitting with her ex in a group of people when a common friend who worked as a model arrived late.
The model made a big scene in front of everyone explaining how her "modeling job" took so long. Then, after a few of her attention-grabbing plays, she started passing around her phone with her modeling picture.

Her ex-boyfriend got her phone first, and took a long good look at the picture.
Then passed he the phone around to the rest of the group.

When the phone came back to him, he stared once again at the phone before passing it back to the model.

Then my ex got up and called him away, and told him in no uncertain terms that as long as the two of them were together, he wasn't going to behave like that anymore.
I liked her even more after that story: that's the spunky character that doesn't allow others to disrespect her.

Two points:

  1. He was an idiot for getting reprimanded and "taking it" (you can't let your GF pull that power move, in my opinion)
  2. She was right

But of course, his mistake wasn't just after the fact, but before.

The way the "model" behaved was typical histrionic, having to be at the center of the attention and feeling like she's seducing everyone in sight.

The proper way to answer the model's power move was to ignore the phone she passed to him OR to pass the phone around without even looking at the pictures.
The biggest power move?
To "surface" the model's power move:

Model: (passes the phone with her semi-naked pictures)
Him: Why are you giving that to me

and if it continued:

Her: So you can look at it
Him: I don't mean any disrespect, but I don't give a fuck about your bikini pictures

But histrionics are usually more power-aware, so she would have probably said:

Her: pass it around

And he would have replied:

Him: Yeah, last time I checked it's your phone, go ahead and you pass it around

Then she would have thought "wow, didn't I find a high-quality, high-power guy".

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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