Turning a blind eye to cheating is immoral
By Janis McMath, Senior Columnist
Many people seem to think turning a blind eye to cheating is the moral or proper thing to do. Lately I have noticed many memes and other forms of social media expressing this opinion. It’s “not our business,” as we say. Well, I’m here to say that it is 100 percent our business to expose cheaters.
Cheating is a nasty act that is extremely harmful, intentionally or not. There is no reason to do this in a relationship one chooses to enter (and can easily leave) aside from being selfish or vindictive—so by not exposing cheaters, one is enabling these types of behaviours.
The reasons people argue why they shouldn’t intervene or expose cheaters include mantras like “You don’t want to break the heart of the person being cheated on.” Or, “It’s not your business to intervene in someone’s private life; they are entitled to their privacy.” And finally, “It’s not our place to decide what is the best for that relationship.” To refute the first point about breaking someone’s heart—it is a necessary heartbreak. I understand why people don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but it in this case it is unavoidable.
If the roles were reversed in this situation, wouldn’t someone want to know that they were being cheated on? Doesn’t everyone want the opportunity to move on from their shitty partner or mend a relationship that obviously isn’t healthy? Are there really people who would not want to know that their partner was betraying their trust? Are there people who want to be lied to?
Everyone’s relationship goal should be to have a healthy partnership—not one that is full of lies. A person who is dating a cheater is someone who is in an unhealthy relationship, and long, drawn-out, unhealthy relationships are much more damaging than a nasty breakup. If you don’t tell someone they are being cheated on, then you are potentially contributing to much more lasting damage to their mental health than you’d cause by simply exposing a cheating partner.
The second argument made is that it’s their private life and they’re entitled to their privacy. Cheaters are not entitled to their privacy. Would you say that murderers are entitled to their freedom as well? When someone is doing something that is putting other people at risk of being harmed, we are justified in our attempts to stop their actions (as long as we are respectful about it). They lose their right to the courtesy of privacy because of the harmful way they are acting—the same way violent murderers lose their right to roam freely because of the hazard they are to a peaceful society. Why are so many people so quick to defend the “privacy” of a guilty person?
Addressing the last argument about it not being our place, I think that it is definitely our place to decide what is best. If someone in a relationship (that they willingly entered) betrays the trust of a person they promised to honour, then yes, it is entirely justified to intervene in this situation. You are contributing to the humiliation of the person being cheated on if you choose to be a bystander instead of stepping in. You are enabling the cheater by turning a blind eye. It may be an unfortunate situation, but you know this information now and you cannot act in any “neutral” way. There is no way to exit this situation morally ambiguous—either you support the guilty cheater or you support the hopelessly unaware person being cheated on.
Your kindergarten teacher said it once and I’ll say it again: Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Would you want to be cheated on? You might not want to be involved but, thanks to your knowledge, you are. Thus, you should act the way you would want someone to act if you were the unfortunate person being cheated on.
Imagine living in a world where everyone exposed cheaters! Relationships would be a lot easier and it would be much harder for unhealthy, deception-filled relationships to waste people’s time. Doesn’t everyone want that?