“A Bintel Brief,” Forward’s signature advice column, is now a podcast hosted by Ginna Green and Lynn Harris. Listen to the latest episode here (or wherever you get your podcasts), and click here to sign up for a weekly newsletter with stories from the hosts. Need advice? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail message at (201-) 540-9728.
A friend of mine is on a Jewish dating site. He paired up with my cousin’s wife. If they lived in San Francisco and had an open relationship – like some of my friends there – that would be one thing. But it definitely feels.
I am very close to my cousin. Am I telling him his wife is on a Jewish dating site, or am I to assume he knows? Or does it not matter? Or should I keep my mouth shut?
And although my cousin, his wife and my friend are all vaccinated, should COVID play a role in my decision making?
Dear family affair,
There are a few layers in this letter. There’s the super-macro layer of COVID, and then there’s the problem of the apparent female cheating being played out in public, in full view of the world. And then there’s the matter itself – although what’s at stake for this marital relationship, you don’t actually know. Maybe they to do have an open relationship and you just don’t know it.
Honesty is important. Sitting on a secret can corrode a relationship. But we also need to consider privacy, which falls somewhere in between – tied to, superimposed on, or underlying the concepts of secrecy and honesty. So what are we entitled to in the area of privacy? What is having a private life? And when is it okay for someone to take information that another person might have thought of as private and share it with others?
Dealing with this issue means fighting not only against monogamy, sex, and loyalty – and we actually don’t know if any of those things are really going on here. In fact, we don’t know if this is an experience the couple are having together, if it is just a digital flirtation, if the cousin’s wife acts on any of the matches, dates or possibilities – we don’t know exactly what’s going on.
But we know that you feel a sense of obligation and that it is important enough to ask the question to “A Bintel Brief”.
You’re probably not only worried about whether your cousin knows what his wife is doing, but also, since the woman has a public bachelor profile, you’re concerned on behalf of your cousin about what others might think. Maybe we should live in a world where everyone embraces the best of every relationship and every style of relationship. But we are not living in this world right now.
The fact that this is happening publicly is what opens up the opportunity for you to have a conversation, Family Affair.
You didn’t go sneak up and read somebody’s diary. You haven’t overheard a conversation that you shouldn’t have had. You weren’t snooping; you stumbled upon it freely. It is literally public information.
We suggest that you start by talking to the woman. The cousin strength Already know – if it’s their problem or something they’ve agreed on, or if it’s something they’re both passionate about – but we don’t know he does. We know that the woman knows.
Get the facts from the woman first, then decide if you want to pass them on to your cousin.
You have feelings for your cousin; you love him, you want him to be happy. You ask these questions out of love and affection.
You ask us if you’ve seen your cousin’s wife on a Jewish dating site, but it’s far more important than that. Ultimately, at the bottom of that question is: What do we owe people? And do we owe different things to different people? And how do we navigate between what is due, what is not, what is expected, what is not and what we need from others to live in civil society? That’s what really is at the heart of it all.
Tell the woman; respond more once you’ve given them a chance to respond. Keep us posted on how it’s going.
To learn more about our advice at Family Affair, download the latest episode of “A Bintel Brief: The Jewish Advice Podcast” here or on any podcast platform. Send your dilemmas about Jewish-American life, identity, culture, politics, or personal hopes and dreams to email@example.com, or leave a voicemail at (201-) 540-9728.
My friend matched up with my cousin’s wife on a dating app. Am I saying?Source link