A personal moral compass.

With all the recent judgment here – I don’t deserve Leo, it’s always wrong to lie to save someone’s feelings, how dare I play a game with him while I have lingering feelings for another, etcetera – it got me thinking about my moral compass. I don’t think I’m unique in an ability to justify my behaviors and choices. And in some cases, we believe we would never do “that thing” until we find ourselves in a similar situation.

Having a blog is a great way to keep oneself honest, assuming one is honest in the first place.

My Tony posts from a year ago spoke about my unwillingness to engage physically with him if he’s being intimate with his again-wife. Well, as was obvious from my subsequent actions, my need to say goodbye in my way, and my love for him, trumped any moral challenge with being in what at that point amounted to an affair.

I don’t feel remorse for those actions, but I do wish I was stronger and detached myself sooner. However that’s not because it became an affair and how it could have hurt her, but because I knew it wasn’t good for me.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t like my role in a situation that would hurt another woman. I’m not blasé about it. However I think Tony has primary accountability for his actions and his decisions as they relate to his relationship with his wife. I own mine, and if I ever met her and she confronted me with my behavior, I can own them and explain them. I’m reconciled to what I did and why.

Then there’s the choice I made to lie to Leo when he asked when I’d last been intimate with Tony: I have no issue with it whatsoever.

But as I was writing the post and comments, I was keenly aware that Tony also justifies his lies by saying he lies to avoid others hurt. It’s a slippery slope.

This where my world of grey and contextual decision making can drive people bananas if they are black and white.

Here’s how I think about my lie:

To let Leo think there is nothing recent with Tony, and/or that I have no feelings for him and have completely moved on, would be wrong. Given I am still processing that breakup and a part of my heart is still with Tony, it would be disingenuous and unfair.

I think Leo deserves to know I’m not 100% emotionally available yet.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, to tell Leo that Tony and I had the best physical and intellectual chemistry of any man I’ve ever met so far, that I’m still heartbroken at some level, that I’ve been tortured in not being able to fully let him go, that I have to essentially cut off all ties with him because otherwise any contact leads me back to being with him, heart and body?

God, I would never want to hear about that if the tables were turned. How can one expect to compare?

How could I ever explain to Leo that despite all of that with Tony, he couldn’t give me the stability or honesty or commitment that I need? How would it feel to be worry that I’m thinking “hey dude, I’m not as physically or intellectually into you, but you’re honest and stable so I will be with you.”

Killer. It would create an insecurity which doesn’t need to exist. There is soooo much Leo is, that Tony won’t ever be. I believe there are always positives and negatives to each relationship, and the trick is finding the combination that works.

All that to say, I made a judgement call on whether it was a “good” lie, and I believed it to be. Yes, I made a decision based on some assumptions of how Leo felt about me, and I certainly projected how it would feel for me. I’m not saying my decision-making is without fault, but I don’t think it’s as straightforward as saying “Ann you did a bad thing by lying about the date.”


I wrote this post before Leo had his big reveal, but I wanted to publish it anyway as I think it stands on its own. 

Image from the 1960 movie “Never on Sunday” 

12 thoughts on “A personal moral compass.

  1. You’re right this post stands on its own, as do you, when you need to. Your introspective ability(is that a thing) continues to amaze me. Thank-you for sharing these insights into the very attractive mind of ASV. As always, I continue to learn from your story.

  2. One of your newer commenters has been giving you a very hard time, and he fits the profile of a troll. I remember a couple of years ago there was a notorious troller (with a bird avatar) in this blog realm who picked on people talking about affairs, and people would fall into the trap of engaging to no productive end. Not to minimize at all people who have concerns (or were hurt by) affairs, but you don’t need to justify yourself to someone who just judges and spews their anger. However, their anger and provocation are always hard to digest. Especially not a troll. I am glad trolls have been as rare as they have on your blog.

    • Thank you 🙂
      That commenter has shown up as both a man and a woman so who knows what their deal is.
      I remember that troll. She was horrible. I was in her sights for a while.

  3. There’s this old saying from somewhere – let he without sin cast the first stone.
    And the newer one – haters gonna hate.

    Few people would endorse an affair; however, in some cases, there are a variety of underlying details/issue/etc. that make it difficult to pass judgement.

    Either way, I’m glad you’re here and that you’re as honest as you can be. I’ve been following you for 3 years now! Time flies. <3

  4. Sometimes, we have to make a judgment call and sometimes, eh, perhaps the call makes our moral compasses bounce around crazily. End of the day, Ann, we all have to do what we need to do for ourselves and, yeah, at times, by any means necessary.

    We do something that our compass objects to, work through it to whatever conclusion it comes to and then tell ourselves we’re never gonna do that again… and do it again anyway, not because we lack a sense of morality but it’s what we need to do and according to Rule Number One: Look after your own ass first.

    People, well, like Tara said, haters are gonna hate and another famous old saying, “People who live in glass houses should never throw stones.” Bottom line, my friend, it’s your life so handle your business the best way you know how to and if the haters don’t like it, oh, well…

  5. Hi Ann! I haven’t commented on here for a long time, but I have dipped in and out of reading and generally kept abreast of what’s going on with you. Because you’re so honest about what you’re doing, and your thought processes on here, of course you leave yourself open to judgments – it does floor me though how comfortable some people feel passing those judgments! And how some people expect you to be infallible by your own standards, and want to hold you to everything, like because you’ve said something once, or expressed a particular view once, then you can’t ever do something different to that “You said you wouldn’t go back to Tony and then you did!” Well gees, you’re only human!

    From what I see, you think things through very carefully, and you make decisions to the best of your ability based on what you know and/or believe at the time, with the best of intentions, both in terms of what you think is best for you, and best for others. And how can anyone do more than that?

    • I’ve always maintained I’d like to hear whatever people have to say, because I don’t want this to just be a space for cheerleaders (although that is SUPER nice as well). I like when people challenge me, but I will confess it bugs me when it’s not constructive or just judgey. You’re absolutely right, I’m only human, and I believe I should be super honest about what’s what, which also means I fess up when I mess up.
      And thank you for your final comment. I do try to live my life in a defendable way 🙂

  6. And I think this post sums up why most people would advise others to wait until they have moved completely away from their past relationship before beginning another one, so that this “dilemma” isn’t one at all. I don’t believe the new relationship is doomed if you move “too” quickly, as some would suggest but I do think it complicates what should be a mostly idyllic time.

  7. Yup.

    As someone who has found herself surprisingly frequently as the Other Girl, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not, its important to have a moral compass.

    As the dating world gets murkier, as I’ve been devastated by both too much and not enough honesty, I too have decided to just trust myself to do my absolute best, and by blogging… I figure a lot of stuff out. If I can’t write about it… I probably shouldn’t do it.

    Everyone has their opinions. Meh.

    I think you approach is quite fine. 🙂

What do you think?