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Specifics: The two characters are both nice people and in relationships that just aren't working out and they meet and are attracted but decide not to do anything because it's wrong but then end up getting together and eventually married with a kid. Is everyone going to hate them because they cheated? I don't want them to be 100% good or bad which is why I made them make some questionable decisions but is this too much? Thanks :) (also this is my first time using this site so I'm not sure if it's the right place to ask this kind of question - If anyone knows another site where this would be better to post please let me know)

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closed as off-topic by Zxyrra, Xandar The Zenon, Hohmannfan, Mołot, SRM Dec 25 '16 at 19:03

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome! I'm sure if written well enough people won't care if they cheat - just make it believable and relatable. This specific site is for constructing worlds - the locations, physics, magic/technology, events, culture, and general setting - but the Writers SE is the best place to go for plot help. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Dec 25 '16 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I agree with @Zxyrra $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Dec 25 '16 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ Their exes might hate them. $\endgroup$ – EvilSnack Dec 25 '16 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ Entirely depends on the audience. If they're indoctrinated with the "sex outside of marriage is a horrible sin" meme, they won't approve. If not, not. And FWIW, most of my married friends are on second or third marriages. Many of the rest are still young. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Dec 25 '16 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf: +1 for referring to religious traditions as "memes." $\endgroup$ – Steve-O Dec 26 '16 at 4:48
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Generally this site covers the building of fictional worlds for stories, games, etc. We don't focus on plots for stories. But I think the question you asked is within the scope of worldbuilding.

In a way, socities exist to perpetuate themselves and people is the way they do it. You could call it the selfish meme. A family group allows the raising of children, which tends to be difficult for single parents. So societies are protective of families. A parent who abandons offspring will be ostracized. That can be through unwritten rules or through written laws.

Parent-child-relationships are also important for the passing of property through inheritage. For various reasons which go to far for this post, much property is held by males. But males are 9 months removed from the birth of the heir. They have to rely on the "virtue" of "their" women to know if they are really passing their genes on. Another reason why society is hard on unfaithful spouses.

So have the two characters in your story entered into a permanent relationship with their old partners, or what passes for one? If so, society will get angry that they abandoned their promise. At the very least, "decent" society will see them as unfaithful. At worst, the second relationship could be seen as serial polygamy, and children as bastards born out of wedlock.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well done for finding Worldbuilding potential in the question. I wonder if it should be called an unselfish meme, because it forces people to be unselfish. They might find is a selfish imposition on their freedom, but doing things for the good of society often is. Plus one. $\endgroup$ – a4android Dec 26 '16 at 11:57
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Yes, you can have cheating as the main theme of a popular story. Please refer to "The Bridges of Madison County" where the heroine cheats with a wandering photographer. This was a hit book and movie.

If I get the details wrong, I apologize in advance. I hated this story for personal reason. But I sat through the movie with someone who loved it.

The whole story is framed by the children clearing out their dead mother's things and discovering her journal of the affair.

You have to build sympathy for the main character. She is bored and forced to take care of a farm house. Finding true love covers her cheating because she doesn't love her husband. I recall that she was Italian and he rescued her from Italy during World War II. Now she lives in a little farm house with a man who saved her life. She is grateful to him, and had gotten pregnant with several children. Presumably they are his children. The character portrayed in the story could have cheated previously but that is not suggested. Once a cheater, always a cheater.

She worries about neighbours catching her cheating. She is pretty callous to how her husband would feel if he found out.

The artist is a romantic man, a stranger who will be gone in a while. This appeals to the main audience of this story. It is a romance novel that crossed over to general fiction. Women loved it. Men were slightly put off by the cheating and by the way women loved a story about a cheating wife.

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