An Affair to Forget

What to do when an affair puts your work affairs in jeopardy, and what telling the truth and a frat house circle jerk have in common.

Q: Several months ago I had an affair with a married man. I know it was a bad idea, but it was great while it lasted — which wasn’t long. Trouble was, I fell in love. Then he said he wanted to end it because he was deeply in love with his wife and had come to realize how much he was hurting her. I could totally respect that, so I agreed to break it off. To my surprise, I learned he’d actually broken things off with me so that he might more easily pursue an extra-marital affair with another woman we work with to whom I had introduced him. I have done a pretty good job of putting the whole thing behind me and have since gotten a promotion.


Recently, he needed me for a reference to apply for a promotion himself and he e-mailed me the recommendation form. One of the questions is “Do you believe this person acts in an ethical manner?” I certainly don’t think he acted in an ethical manner with his wife or with me, but that is not related to his job is it? I don’t want to recommend this loser for anything, but I also don’t want my refusal to come back to bite me. What should I do? — L.


A: Wow, this guy is a triple dose of douche: a cheater, a liar and a moronic businessman, all piled into one big shit sandwich. Too bad he didn’t reveal all his foul facets before you became involved. Perhaps that would have dulled his appeal.


So, how do you make sure this quagmire doesn’t further jeopardize your career? Yes, I said further jeopardize, because I’m sure as you’re well aware, you’ve taken on a professional risk by letting a married colleague dip his pen into your inkwell. Hopefully you’ve learned your lesson.


Okay, lecture over. When it comes to this guy and jobs of any kind, your involvement is up. So treat his request like you have the affair – put it past you. Pretend you never saw the e-mail. If he’s such a colossal idiot that he brings it up again, tell him you don’t feel comfortable giving a habitual liar a recommendation for anything except a good therapist. I’m not sure how this could come back to bite you, seeing as his reputation is just as much – and possibly more, depending on how things go with your successor – at stake as yours.


Finally, as we roll into a new year, try to refrain from boning anybody else who happens to be married. Affairs almost always wind up like bad plastic surgery: ugly, painful, dangerous and entirely regrettable. (Guess the lecture wasn’t over after all.)


Q: Recently, I found out by word-of-mouth that a friend of mine’s live-in boyfriend cheated on her – maybe even more than once. I’ve seen them canoodling in the past, so the rumor appears to be true. What’s worse is the girl he cheated with is friends with the victim. And honestly, as a person very much concerned with people’s respect for each other, I really do see her as a victim in this. I drunkenly texted her the awful news once after discussing it with a friend, and luckily, it never went through. Once sober, the friend I’d talked to about it suggested I mind my own business. I agreed, but I can’t get it out of my head, especially when I see anyone involved in person. The victim and I aren’t so much friends anymore as mere acquaintances (for unrelated reasons), but I still think she deserves the truth – doesn’t everyone? — Drama Magnet


A: Take that failed text as a sign to sit on your thumbs and bite your tongue. Sooner or later – and probably sooner, judging by what you’ve described of this gossipy grapevine – the cheatee will find out about her boyfriend’s extracurricular activities, if she hasn’t already. And while you may “really” see her as the victim, what you can’t see is the guts of their relationship. For all you know, she morphs into a vengeful harpy who treats him like her personal piñata behind closed doors.


Does everyone deserve the truth? In theory, maybe, but how and when to deliver it can be more slippery than a frat house circle jerk. Think about the collective damage that would ensue if men really told their wives or girlfriends the truth when they ask, “Do these jeans make me look fat?” Or, in turn, if those wives and girlfriends moaned, “Oh, yes, give it to me, you averaged-sized stud” in the throes of passion? But there are always shades of gray and differing circumstances. If this girl was a good friend and you had solid evidence of something going on, then my advice would be to speak up. But she’s not and you don’t. So make a resolution for 2010 to lay off the drunk texting before you find yourself attracting any more unnecessary drama that what already comes with this crowd.

1 Comment »

  1. Drunk texts, commonly referred to as drexts, are a widespread problem – for the senders and receivers. There should be a setting on your phone for “drunk,” right next to silent or vibrate, that turns off texting capabilities and only dials out to cabs.

    Comment by Kerri — January 27, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

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