To me, part of the ethics here depends on what the status of all the relationships are.
For example, if he's "dating" them then that's different from "in a relationship." I think under certain circumstances, the assumption in this day and age is that if you haven't discussed exclusivity, then it's a given that other people are "dating around." There is an onus on each participant to ask whether their sexual partners are involved in any other sexual relationships. Now if these women have asked and he lied, that's very unethical. You have no way to know whether they asked, and I'm not convinced he would be entirely honest if you brought up the topic.
But his questions raise some alarm bells. They reek of secrecy and selfishness. They're manipulative. He's clearly been down this road before and has well-rehearsed responses.
"Why can't you let me worry about that?"
Because by participating, I'm part of it too, and I want to act responsibly. I feel that lying and sneaking is not acting responsibly.
"It won't hurt anybody if they don't find out."
And it will hurt them deeply if they do find out. They could see us together out in public, a mutual friend could spill the beans, or I might feel so guilty that I need to tell them myself.
"If we make each other happy we shouldn't stop seeing each other."
It doesn't make me happy to lie and sneak. If I'm with you, I want to be acknowledged for what I am and not treated like a second-class citizen by being referred to as a "friend" when I'm actually more than that.
"You make me happy, don't I make you happy?"
The only person who can make you happy is yourself. If you're not happy, then a relationship will not make it happen.
What would bother me here is being treated like his dirty little secret. I assume you don't hold hands and cuddle in public, that he treats you like and refers to you as a friend because he doesn't want to lose what he's got going on with the other women. In that situation, I would feel like a second-class citizen and I would not tolerate it.
I have a friend who was in a similar situation. She was in a relationship with someone who felt he could not come out of the closet for professional reasons. His wife and all his other partners knew about her, so things were good on the relationship-honesty front. They would hold hands when walking down the streets, but as soon as he spotted someone he knew, he would drop her hand and put a few inches between them. She got tired of being his dirty little secret and ended the relationship, even though she really liked him and enjoyed his company. In his case, it was fear of losing his job, and not fear of losing a piece of ass, that kept him in the closet, but the effect on her was the same.
Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).
The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 11-11-2011 at 08:38 PM.