Originally Posted by AggieSez
So it sounds like, when it comes to outness, what you value most are privacy, family harmony, and also avoiding social awkwardness and ostracism. Correct? These values are all totally fine.
However, relationships involve other people. Do your personal values also include fairness and egalitarianism? If so, then your preference to be closeted about your nonprimary relationships, at least in some contexts, can get ethically thorny if your nonprimary partner values acknowledgment of your shared relationship as an expression of respect.
So: If your closeting is not negotiable, and if you also believe other people matter as much as you do (and thus, that what your nonprimary partner wants in your shared relationship is as important as what you want in that relationship), how do you reconcile that, ethically?
That the thing about values and ethics: these concepts are meant to guide or choices in tough situations, not easy ones. I'm finding in that often when we examine how we actually make choices and behave in relationships points out that our functional values and ethics often are not quite what we believe or assume they are. Or that we're falling short of our ethics in some important ways. Which we all do, but how honest are we about that?
The thing is that usually people know what the deal is when they get involved in a relationship. It seems to me that it is perfectly reasonable (and ethical) to say to someone this is what I/we can offer when you first get involved in a relationship. If it is clearly stated and understood that this will be a 'secondary' relationship, or that the relationship will not be openly acknowledged within the wider family I don't see the problem with that. It is then up to the other person to decide if they want to get involved on those terms. People don't necessarily see a non-primary relationship as settling for second best, some people actively choose it.
Of course it is true that things evolve, relationships can deepen and needs can change but I think it would be unfair (and unethical) to pressure a partner for more involvement, more openness or whatever when it was understood and accepted from the very beginning that for whatever reason this relationship would have some limits.