Do you consider yourself to be a moral and ethical person? As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes, this question can be more complicated to answer than it should be. It seems like a simple enough question, but anyone who sees the answer as simple clearly doesn’t have enough life experience to understand the complexity. What is moral and ethical to me is not necessarily what others might consider to be moral and ethical. That being said, there are several things in a relationship that are universal. The most important being that as long as there is a mutual understanding of boundaries, all you have to do is stay inbounds.
Without having a conversation about what is OK and what is not OK, you are essentially trying to navigate new territory without a map. Sure, it may sound fun, but it can also be dangerous. Talking about boundaries and what is acceptable might not be quick, but it is an easy way to eliminate problems before they arise. It all comes down to good communication. Being open and honest with your significant other and drawing the lines where they need to be drawn. If this is not a conversation that you are able to have, there are bigger concerns you need to worry about. A lot of this boils down to mutual respect and trust.
Mostly, it is about not being selfish or inconsiderate. You are not the only person that matters in the relationship so you need to consider how your choices will affect them as well. If you think that you are going to be in a situation that might cause concerns or could potentially look bad, it is important that there is open and honest communication. If you have to ask, chances are good that it will become an issue. Head the problems off. Why not? A little communication can prevent a whole host of problems. Plus, if they have to ask, you are not doing your part to ensure that the relationship is strong and mutual.
I know we are all told to avoid making assumptions. Assuming the worst is a problem that we have all suffered at one point in time or another. I have yet to meet anyone that was immune to jumping to conclusions. This is especially problematic when it has to do with something sensitive or emotional. Fight or flight is useful, but it doesn’t always come in at the most helpful or useful times. When communication is lacking, all people are left with their best guesses and assumptions. If you don’t communicate, you are just as guilty of initiating assumptions and suspicions as they are of making them.
I am not talking about surprises for birthdays, special events, or other things that are similar. You don’t have to tell them exactly what is going on or go into specific details in order to have good communication. It helps, but there is nothing wrong with good surprises. I am talking about being around questionable people or putting yourself in a questionable situation that might cause distrust or resentment. Some examples might be communicating with or being around an ex-relationship partner, or going to an event without them that is not conducive to a good relationship. Does your current partner know what is going on? Is it something that might make them uncomfortable?
If you have to ask yourself these questions, you might as well assume yes because it is clearly something that hasn’t been discussed or agreed upon. Have a sit down conversation with your partner. Ask them what they are OK with and what makes them uncomfortable. Don’t hide things or mislead them. If you have to lie to or deceive them, you are better off asking why you are in that relationship in the first place. What is the point of being romantically involved with someone you have no intention of being open or honest with? Have those talks. It is better for everyone involved. It is better that they learn from you rather than someone else or making an incorrect conclusion.
- Think long and hard about what you consider moral and ethical.
- Never assume they understand without having discussed it.
- Have a conversation about boundaries and what is acceptable.
- Be respectful and understanding of their needs.
- There is a big difference between a good surprise and a lie.