Is it okay to break a promise?
A scenario for you. You and a close friend, known by the nickname Moonlight, have made a promise. This promise is serious and both of you fully understand the consequences of it and mutually agree to honour the promise. This promise has a slight but noticable negative impact on both of your lives, but by both keeping it you believe it does more good than bad. Moonlight was the one to suggest the promise.
Many years pass and the friendship between you and Moonlight crumbles and vanishes. You no longer talk to Moonlight and haven't for many years. You have no means to contact them anymore and they have no way to contact you. There is no potential for you and Moonlight to ever get back in touch.
You think about Moonlight a lot and their actions when you were friends and one night you suddenly come to a shocking conclusion. You have strong reason to believe that Moonlight made the promise with malicious intent! You toy with your new thought, analyse it carefully, and finally conclude that you are 90% sure the promise was created with malicious intent by Moonlight.
Is it now acceptable to terminate your promise?
The promise was a vow of silence on a particular sensitive matter. If you break the promise, it would have serious consequences for Moonlight - even though you do not have contact with them, your choice will massively influence their life. You think to yourself: what if I'm wrong? What if it is that 10% and the promise was made in good heart?
Would you break the promise?
If you choose to break the promise you will still have no way to get in contact with Moonlight. Their life will be changed forever and you will have no way to explain your actions to them or find out how their life has changed. In effect, Moonlight is nothing more than a stranger to you now, but they are a stranger who once trusted you deeply. You do not wish to hurt them if they are a good person, but you are finding it hard to maintain the promise because of the continous drain on you over a long time period - it has lowered your quality of life but only by a little, yet significant amount and will continue to affect you for the rest of your days if you do not take action now.
Is it acceptable to end the promise? Would you? Does the 90% chance of malicious intent change anything? What if you were 99% sure? 50% sure? 100% certain? Does that change your answer?
- You have no reason to suspect Moonlight has broken their end of the promise.
- You are reasonably young and in general good health. (basically you are going to live with this for many more decades at a minimum if the promise is kept.)
- Despite the effect on your life, you continue to live a more or less normal life.