The Instigator
countzander
Pro (for)
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The Contender
DT
Con (against)
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0 Points

Romantic infidelity is not necessarily immoral.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/14/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,050 times Debate No: 36693
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
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countzander

Pro

NOTE: If you are interested in taking part in this debate, please say so in the comment section. I will accept the first person who responds, provided he's not a troll.

The claim is that romantic infidelity is not necessarily immoral. Under certain circumstances, there is nothing inherently wrong with cheating on one's partner.

I, the instigator, will provide evidence confirming this claim. The contender will attempt to refute the claim by responding to the presented evidence.

There are many conceptions of morality, so to simplify the discussion, a working definition of "morally good action" will be used: The action must not harm another person, and the action increases the wellbeing of at least one person.

The first round is for acceptance. The second and third rounds are for debate. The fourth round is for closing statements.
DT

Con

I accept this debate battle!!!


Rest assured I'm not a troll.

Debate Round No. 1
countzander

Pro

Two conditions must be met in order for an action to be morally good.

1. The action must not harm another person.
2. The action increases the wellbeing of at least one person.

Infidelity can satisfy both conditions.

First, infidelity does not necessarily harm another person. Infidelity is harmful only when the other person is cognizant of the cheating. As long as the other person is ignorant of the cheating, he will not feel upset and will happily live his life as if there were no cheating. (This is called the Tinkerbell effect, for those unfamiliar with the concept.) In order for infidelity to meet the first condition then, it is necessary for the cheater to keep his partner ignorant of any indiscretion.

Second, infidelity must make at least one person better off. This condition is easily met. The cheater can be better off due to his romantic involvement with two people rather than only one person.

If those conditions are met, then based upon the working definition of morality, no one has been harmed and at least one person is better off.
DT

Con

Relationships are Investments and Infidelity is Deception


Relationships
require temporal, intimate, emotional and financial commitments.

It is equivalent to investing in a bank. It is not expected for the bank to maximize returns,
but in the case of infidelity, there is conflict of interest and breach of trust.


The PRO is
making the argument that investors are not harmed if they are unaware of the wrong
doing.

However, it
is precisely the conflicts of interest which diminish the bank’s ability to fulfill its obligations and causes it to split the dividends unevenly.

Contrary to
PRO’s argument, I shall show that covert infidelity causes MORE harm than
disclosure and it is in fact honest disclosure that brings happiness.


Covert Infidelity Causes More Harm


In the case
of romantic relationships, infidelity forces the offender to divide commitments
when commitments are expected to be exclusive.

This is
harmful since the romantic partner is denied the dedication that is deserved if the relationship is one-to-one.

When the offender divides time, energy and money between lovers, the quality of the relationships
are reduced.


Furthermore,
the offender can never take both relationships simultaneously to the next level
(living together, civil partnership, family, marriage).

At least one person is therefore deprived a fruitful romantic life. Especially in cases when the relationship is deceitfully prolonged, the person was made to wait a period of time when it could have been best spent living a happier life with a more committed lover.



One cannot
bring back time. And when infidelity is covert, the wronged partner loses opportunity to find true happiness. Prolonging it therefore makes it even more harmful.



Honest disclosure brings happiness


Covert
infidelity is nothing but fear of consequences – scorn not only from the
lovers, but also from family and friends.


But disclosing
it opens the opportunity to end the cycle of deceit and let the offender finally commit to the relationship he/she wants to keep.

The betrayed person is given the chance to learn from the experience, to move on and find true happiness elsewhere. This is better than keeping to a relationship with empty promises.



For the
offender, Birthdays, Christmases, Valentines, Anniversaries and all similar moments and occasions will finally be free of emotional and financial anxiety.


But most
importantly, it clears ones conscience.
Debate Round No. 2
countzander

Pro

You have ignored both my presented argument and the working definition of moral behavior. We are assuming that an action is moral if it meets the criteria presented in round one. I have shown how infidelity meets those criteria. You were supposed to have shown that infidelity does not meet those criteria. Instead, you ignored everything I said and gave reasons, independent of our working definition of morality, supporting your position. Please address my original points.

Regardless, I'll respond to your digressive argument.

The bank analogy is false. You don't invest in a bank. You invest in equities, securities, and real estate. You save money in a bank. Investing and saving are not the same thing. Even if they were, the analogy is still false. If you invest your money into a security and the manager mismanages you money but nevertheless increases your capital, you won't care. To your knowledge, there is no corruption. Yeah, you might have less money than you should, but who cares? You'll live your life as if there isn't any corruption. Your ignorance prevent you from being upset.

You say that love cannot be divided. This also is false. It is possible to love two people equally without loving one less than the other. Parents with multiple children love each child equally. Children love both of their parents equally. People love both of their eyes equally. Love most certainly can be divided.
Commitment is different since it cannot be divided without being diminished. But the point is still flawed. As long as the other person is ignorant of the infidelity, she will not be upset. If she believes that her partner is giving 100%, she'll live her life as if he's giving his 100%. It doesn't matter whether he's actually doing it.
Think of it this way. If a doctor said you have cancer, would you be upset? Probably. But what if he was lying and you didn't know? Would you still be upset? Yes, because you would think you have cancer. Whether you actually have cancer is irrelevant. It only matter whether you believe you have cancer.

You say that dishonest relationship cannot be taken to the next level. What if both relationship are exactly where all parties want them to be?

Honest disclosure doesn't necessarily bring happiness. If the cheater is honest, he could lose both partners. If he lies, he may be able to keep both, at least until he can end one relationship on his own terms.
DT

Con

You said - You have ignored both my presented argument and the working definition of moral behavior. We are assuming that an action is moral if it meets the criteria presented in round one.


I never ignored your arguments.

You said that any moral good does not cause harm.


So I replied – people spend time and money in relationships. And serious
relationships are like investments. Some people expect something out of it
eventually; like marriage or living together.

But you can’t marry two people. You can only marry one.

So here’s how it goes down -

  • One person is denied a fruitful outcome despite the time and money
    they put into the relationship. Savings all gone! Money on dates, vacations, and
    gifts all for waste!!!

  • Cheating is unfair since one is making a full investment but the
    other is just taking advantage. You put 100%, but the other puts only 10%.
    Applies to money and sex!!!

  • Time is precious! A girl spent her 20s and 30s on a cheater. She
    wakes up, she’s 40 and no one wants her!!!

All of these cause HARM.

In a similar fashion, when you invest in a bank and the bank tells you lies and
takes away your money, you are obviously harmed regardless of whether you are aware
of it or not.

Your definition of what is morally good is irrelevant.

You already lost this debate because you failed to make a similar ad-hoc definition for what constitutes harm. There many kinds of harm and its obviously not limited to feelings.




You said - It is possible to love two people equally without loving one less than the other. Parents with multiple children love each child equally. Children love both of their parents equally. People love both of their eyes equally. Love most certainly can be divided. Commitment is different since it cannot be divided without being diminished. But the point is still flawed. As long as the other person is ignorant of the infidelity, she will not be upset.


I never talked about love. I was talking about time and money.

Think about it this way – you paid a whore a thousand bucks. She handcuffed you in bed, and tells you to wait while she undress in the bathroom. But she bailed out, and you are unaware.

You may not be upset but unknown to you, you were already conned.

And that is some major harm!


You said - Think of it this way. If a doctor said you have cancer, would you be upset? Probably.
But what if he was lying and you didn't know? Would you still be upset? Yes, because you would think you have cancer. Whether you actually have cancer is irrelevant. It only matter whether you believe you have cancer.



Harm is not about being upset.

In your example, the doctor lied to a patient. Because of this lie, the patient is now making decisions that affects not only his life but also of others.

So instead of spending his money on prostitutes, bucket lists and everything to make his short life worthwhile, he spends them for more check-ups with the lame a$$ doctor.

Double major harm!


You said - What if both relationships are exactly where all parties want them to be?


You were talking about infidelity (covert) in general. So let’s talk about relationships in general.

And in many relationships, some people want to go to the next level.

Cheaters can’t bring things to the next level so what do you say to the girl who wasted her 20’s and 30’s on him, her virginity and all her savings?




You said infidelity makes at least one person better off. The cheater can be better off due to his romantic involvement with two people rather than only one person.

In addition, you said - Honest disclosure doesn't necessarily bring happiness. If the cheater is honest, he could lose both partners. If he lies, he may be able to keep both, at least until he can end one relationship on his own terms.


You confused well-being with pleasure.

Your cheater is better off in terms of pleasure but I said – his conscious is not clear and he has to spend more money on two instead of one.

His moral and financial well-being are in wreck!



In conclusion, you don’t satisfy your own definition of what is morally good despite given the advantage of having to define it arbitrarily.



Debate Round No. 3
countzander

Pro

Closing. Okay, you didn't ignore it. But you failed to understand it. A wasted investment is not equivalent to being hurt. If the person investing in the cheater doesn't know better, then the investor will still be happy. It doesn't matter whether the outcome is less-than-optimal. It doesn't matter whether the relationship can be taken to the "next level"; the topic is infidelity, not poor matches. It matters only whether the infidelity is exposed. There is no harm done until the other person is cognizant of the infidelity.
As long as the the cheater keeps his partner ignorant, everyone is happy. The cheater is happy because he has more than one person and the other two people are happy because they're in what thy think is a meaningful relationship. That's all that matters. If, however, the infidelity is exposed, then it becomes immoral because then it DOES hurt the other person. But unless that happens, there's nothing immoral about infidelity. No one becomes upset, and at least one person is better off.

The assumption of the debate is that if it can be shown that infidelity harms no one and makes at least one person better off, then infidelity is not necessarily immoral. I think I have successfully demonstrated this.

Everyone should vote and leave comments.
DT

Con

My key argument is – Infidelity causes financial harm

In relationships,
people make personal decisions that affect the rest of their lives. And this is
the reason why we invest time and money into it.

These are examples of decisions people make for the sake of relationships -

  • Leave one’s home
  • Prioritize a loved one over your family and friends
  • Share burdens and problems
  • Give up your virginity
  • Financially support each other
  • Give up a career

In short, people in relationships give up their time, aspirations, finances and their own freedom in exchange for commitment and dedication.

But when there is cheating and is not disclosed, people are being deceived into making long-term
decisions and financial commitments they may not want to make if they were aware of the cheating.

In today’s society, time and money are valuable. And when you spend them in an unproductive relationship, it is no better than throwing time and money into the drain.

And if it doesn’t hurt you emotionally, it hurts you financially.

Because money that should have been invested or as payment for bills and debt are instead
wasted into a douche bag that is taking you for a ride.

The fact that is this is kept hidden and prolonged makes cheating even more financially harmful.

Harm does not require knowledge, and this is evident in the example of the run-away whore
and lame-a$$ doctor.

Cutting your limbs is a form of harm and it remains true even if you were given a heavy dose of anesthesia that prevented you to feel anything.



My 2nd argument is – Infidelity shatters the moral and financial well-being of the cheater


Unless they
are psychopathic, some cheaters will feel ill-at-ease, remorseful, and burdened
with a heavy conscience.

Since the cheater also has to go out with two instead of one, his financial burden is
also heavier.



In summary


When it
came to harm, the PRO has centered his argument towards emotional hurt and
being upset.

When it came to well-being, the PRO only considered pleasure as the main criteria.

However, as I have shown, hurt can also come in the form of financial harm, and that while
the cheater maximizes his pleasure, his moral and financial well-being are in
wreck.

In closing, PRO has a narrow definition for hurt and well-being and failed to meet his own
criteria for what is morally good.

Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by DT 3 years ago
DT
To Hikarijon, debate is about having fun, and sometimes, having debates like this are more fun ;)
Posted by hikarijon 3 years ago
hikarijon
erm, guys. you are still debating within the confines of an imagined framework, after all it is not illegal. it is only immoral if you imagine that it is, if someone tells you (when you are a child) that the cookie you have just been given is the most important thing in life and it should never be un-guarded then you will start to believe it, if somone takes a bite out of your cookie then you a devastated....its just a cookie. If your partner is cheating, they are only working within that framework...at the end of the day if they like someone else...dont be in a relationship...if relationships did not exist then there would be no cheating, but everyone would have a healthy sex life :) if you imagine something as important then it becomes the over important cookie. look at it this way, we have (as a society) made it wrong for a man or a woman to deny their feelings....people die over this stuff because they are conditioned to beleive how important it is...love does not kill, love is a human creation, love does not bruise or destroy cells....it is the name given to a complex feeling that we have not got to the bottom of yet. I know people that would rather stay in a dead end job with no prospects for the rest of their miserable life because they were raised to beleive that playing safe and never trying to acheive something is the best way to live because their fathers and mothers and grandparents did that....its jus the way it is, if we constantly accept these un-written, non existent moral rules then we are bound by them only by our imagination.
Posted by DT 3 years ago
DT
I accept this challenge!
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
Condoms are very effective and regular std tests would proactively prevent ay disease transfer. My objection to your position would be the psychological damage. This is a weak position tho unless there is an monogamous agreement in the relationship.
Posted by countzander 3 years ago
countzander
What if the mistress/John has an STD?
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
given your definition of morality this is an automatic win for you. If your partner never learns of the infidelity there is obviously no harm.
No votes have been placed for this debate.