Adultery and my responsibility

I have a coworker who has been carrying on an affair at work blatantly to the point where they were caught in the parking lot having sex and were reprimanded. This has been ongoing for almost 4 years. His wife is suspicious and actually came into the property and attacked another woman he was talking with, I guess he was touching her and it set her off. I don’t know how he survived these things, this is a household name and huge corporation. My other coworkers are all pagan and they laughingly refer to his “work wife”, she is pressuring him to leave his family. The problem is his wife calls every time he’s not home on time, she is being shredded by this and I feel terrible for her. So far I’ve just stayed completely out of it but every time his wife calls I just want to tell her, any advice?

Never lie when speaking with her, treat her with kindness and respect, and stay out of the gossip mill.

Every time his wife calls? You must be his personnel secretary or some such. If you value your job do just as 1 ke recommends. Answer questions truthfully and if they get into the affair territory, answer, “I really can’t say.” Mind your business responsibilities and keep out of it, including refraining from discussing any of it with co-workers. It is up to your boss and his wife to handle any of it without your butting in. :thumbsup:

You’re in a hard position, especially if telling might impact whether you get to keep your job or not.

However, as a wife whose husband was engaged in adultery, I certainly wish I had known years sooner, and that somebody had told me if they were aware (as it turns out, nobody knew, because he was hooking up with strangers via the Internet). It’s an awful place to be, where you know something isn’t right, but you can’t be sure. That poor wife must feel like she is going crazy.

A friend of mine was in the same boat, and someone sent her an anonymous letter. She was finally able to put the pieces into place and face her adulterous husband. That anonymous letter gave her what she needed, in order to move on and deal with the situation. Otherwise, like me, she felt she was fighting shadows, because her husband was so deceitful.

Unless you actually see the couple having intercourse or one of them confides in you that they are doing so, you do not have any facts with which to speak to the wife. Anything you do have is called hearsay in law. The courts do not accept hersay except in very limited circumstances (which are irrelevant to this discussion); you might likewise refuse to repeat heresay - as it is gossip.

As to the wife, I would bet good money (and I am not a bettor) that she already has this game pretty well figured out. Most spouses who are living with a cheater have an innate sense when things are going wrong. The information you relate that the wife has attacked someone else would indicte that she is not a naeve wall flower, totally disconnected from what is going on around her. She is choosing to stay in the marriage in spite of her a) suspicions or b) knowledge, and you might be wise to leave that right where it is. If she has in fact attacked another woman there is ample evidence that she is aware at least to some degree what is going on.

The wronged spouse often is living in a world that is more than slightly tilted. They often are exhibiting actions and reactions that would make the pages of a psychology text book; their life psychologically is at best unhealthy. Why they choose to stay in such marriages may or may not be mentally healthy, emotionally healthy, or spiritually healthy. That is not your choice, and unless you are a professional and she comes to you for professional help, it is in short none of your business in terms of going to her and talking. You are most certainly welcome to pray for all the parties, that they may come to do God’s will. Other than that, stay out. Remember that it is often the messenger who gets “shot”, and sometimes not in a euphamistic way.

Great advice OTJM.

It’s sad to see these kinds of situations as they are, IMHO, reflections of Hell. God has been totally rejected and look at the pain that rejection has caused. Imagine an existence like that lasting into eternity. Pray for the offending couple that they experience a conversion of heart.

“Most spouses who are living with a cheater have an innate sense when things are going wrong.
The wronged spouse often is living in a world that is more than slightly tilted. Why they choose to stay in such marriages may or may not be mentally healthy, emotionally healthy, or spiritually healthy.”

Hmmm, no doubt the wife often lives in a world that is slightly tilted, especially since she is aware the marriage is going through a rough patch but is not sure why with no proof in hand. It certainly is crazy-making, alright. What marriage doesn’t go through a rough patch now and again? To jump to the conclusion of adultery every time would certainly end many more marriages that survive the rough times today.

You make a lot of assumptions about betrayed spouses. Sometimes the spouse really has no clue. I sure didn’t. I trusted my spouse with my life. Guess I was too gullible. There was no evidence lying around the house. With the ease of modern technology, it is so easy to be adulterous, I have found out. All you need is a cell phone and lap top.

Sometimes the spouse, especially if t brought up Catholic, truly believe that marriage is for life, no matter what (btw, the Catholic Church doesn’t consider adultery reasonable grounds for dissolving a marriage, as I am finding out during this hellish annulment process I have subjected myself to). Sometimes the betrayed spouse hopes that the problem can be fixed especially since there are children. Sometimes that does happen, when the adulterous spouse realizes the damage and hurt caused to the entire family.

But for sure the problem won’t go away if everyone turns a blind eye. That is often how evil is allowed to flourish, is it not? Adultery is evil, because it has the potential to destroy families and devastate children.

**“They often are exhibiting actions and reactions that would make the pages of a psychology text book; their life psychologically is at best unhealthy.” **

Actually, that describes the adulterous spouse very well, much better than the betrayed spouse. So why is the victim being blamed for the actions of her adulterous spouse here? She didn’t force him to have sex with his co-worker. Btw, office affairs are the leading type of adultery because temptation is in the room next door for most of the waking day.

I would stay out of it…I don’t know why she stays with her husband (the wife) but, that’s none of our business…but, I would tell your boss that I wouldn’t be lying for him. I have know assistants (not sure of your role to him) who lie all the time for their bosses…and it’s like…why??

Your job shouldn’t require you to lie for him, about his shenanigans. I probably would consider looking for another job, because I personally couldn’t work directly for a boss who is having sex with coworkers in the parking lot. Yikes. I would have no respect for the guy, but that is also your call.

From a Catholic perspective, I would not lie for him, but I would not get into anything personal with his wife.

Whatta mess people make their lives, you know? Sorry you find yourself in the middle.:frowning: So sad!!

It may be that you had no clue, that this came out suddenly and you were completely caught off-guard. I don’t know your circumstances, and don’t presume to speak to absolutely all cases.

However, if you have read the chain of posts, you will find that the wronged spouse in the case at hand is clearly aware that things are seriously amiss. I practiced divorce law for 12 years, so I hahve a bit more experience than you are aware of. I worked closely with psychologists when I could, to help my clients through the process. And I have not yet met a psychologist who has been involved with those expierncing the trauma of a cheating spouse whe doesn’t back up my experience that most wronged spouses sense that something is amiss, and many will do all they can to live in denial of what others can plainly see. I do not suggest you did; only that many others do.

I do not suggest that marriage is not permanent or that it should not be, nor do I suggest that people - wronged spouses included - should not work on keeping a marriage together. Some marriages do survive an adulterous affair, and I would not doubt that if people worked harder at it and had a greater committment to permanency, that some marriages that end in divorce over adultery could have survived also.

Ignoring the signs of an affair is one way of self-preservation; however, it is not an effective one. A wronged spouse who senses the affair and won’t admit it squarely and deal with it - e.g. counseling - is not going to listen to the adulterer’s co-worker who comes warning, because the wronged spouse is already in deep denial; they use the denial as their means of coping and will see the co-worker as a threat to their means of coping. I have seen it repeatedly; it is not like it is a rare phenomenon.

My advice remains the same: unless you as co-worker have facts - you have caught them in pari delicto - all you have is hearsay. Volunteering presumptions, suspicions, and rumors is likely to elicit the response from the wronged spouse that you are part of the problem, not the solution. The co-worker needs to stay out of it unless and until the wronged spouse comes to them asking specifically if there is an affair going on; and then the co-worker had better be really careful as to what they say and how they say it. Until then, they are simply using a big spoon to stir a pot that is (most likely) already at full boil.

I didn’t “blame” the victim for the actions of the adulterous spouse. Read what I said again. This post started with an observer wondering if they should go to the wronged spouse and “tattle”. Nothing in my post says anything about blame. You have given no details of what happened to you, and you seem to presume that you would have had a different result if someone had only told youthat your spouse was cheating. That may or may not be, but I maintain that people reporting affairs to the wronged spouse are going to find in almost all cases that their injection of themselves into the matter is going to be at best ineffective, and may cause repercussions to themselves for doing so.

“Most spouses who are living with a cheater have an innate sense when things are going wrong.
The wronged spouse often is living in a world that is more than slightly tilted. Why they choose to stay in such marriages may or may not be mentally healthy, emotionally healthy, or spiritually healthy.”

While I don’t think this is the most tactful statement on the boards, I do agree with what I believe to be the core message. That a betrayed spouse may consciously or unconsciously “not know” that their husband or wife is having an affair. This is not necessarily a bad thing, not necessarily a case of living in a tilted world. Sometimes it is pure self-preservation and self-protection. You deal with the horror the best you can. And, sometimes, God lets you not know until you are strong enough to deal with it.

I know that was my case. I was married to an excellent liar, but there were still inconsistencies that would bother me. And then he would “explain” them away. But when the scales dropped from my eyes, I was in a position to move safely, quickly, and strongly out of the situation in which I had been in for many years. And then I could see what some others had seen in bits and pieces over the years – but I also am sure that had I been forced to know what was going on earlier, it would have been a disaster for me and my children.

As others have said, it would still be my recommendation not to lie, certainly not to cover for him, but to make no accusations or put yourself in the middle of it. Even a direct question, “is my husband having an affair,” can be met with “I’m sorry, I just don’t know.” Which is true.

Tact has its place; so does plain spoken truth. Upon finding out what I used to do, people would ask me what it was like. My example was to describe it thus: take a glass carboy (those 5 gallon jugs of water that used to be made of glass) and drop a ping pong ball into it; and before the ball hit the bottom, shake it side to side violently; that was a good description of my clients’ mental state - bouncing off the walls without ever touching the floor.

Granted that by the point I saw them, they were often in an advanced state of mental and emotional chaos; I have had the opportunity to observe people repeatedly who were in the situation of a marriage going awry because of a philandering spouse and I am struck by how often people simply do not confront what is before them: repeated behavior (most particularly time absence from the home) that simply did not add up; explanations that did not ring true (most people are not capable liars, and the easiest tell-tale is eye contact avoidance), the list goes on and on.

My comment about avoiding eye contact is one that many people could not articulate, but one they pick up on almost immediately. The lie can be confronted; and it is amazing when it gets to adultery how many won’t confront.

I do not suggest that failure to confront is a moral evil; it is not. Fear does strange things to us; a marriage is most likely the largest commitment anyone makes and it is not a committment made and then forgotten; it is lived daily. When something is threatening that committment and the stability the committment should give, all too many people fail to confront; they begin to live in a world of hoping, wishing, avoiding, and all the reactions we have that lead us to not deal with our world falling apart. And that leads to living in a world of psychological turmoil, in order to not deal with the psychological turmoil that confrontation can and most often will lead to. It is seeking out what seems to be the lesser evil in terms of stress, pain and anxiety. Living in a world of truth is often not pleasant, but it is certainly healthier than the alternative.

refuse to lie for him, and tell him (privately) of your policy. I assume you have already pursued the route of going through channels to complain about breaches in company policy. When his wife calls asking where he is, simply say “I can’t say.” That is the literal truth. Of course, as a Christian, you will not be discussing this situation with anyone else at work, so their reaction and opinions do not arise, except insofar as communication required to assure adherence to corporate rules and regs.

if he is a direct report and his activities directly impinge on your own area of responsibility you do have a duty to confront him on that basis.

And I have not yet met a psychologist who has been involved with those expierncing the trauma of a cheating spouse whe doesn’t back up my experience that most wronged spouses sense that something is amiss,

Well, of course something is amiss. But since when is marriage always smooth sailing? It never is, even in the best of them. You always want to believe the best of the person you chose as a spouse, so it is incredibly shattering to find out they are not who you think they are. And yes, shock and denial come into play, because it is the death of a marriage. Even psychologists and family therapists have experienced these same emotions when facing adultery in their personal lives.

When you’re not sure what is amiss, and you have NO proof whatsoever, and your spouse still continues with the "I love you"s and the flowers and the dinners, and other gaslighting techniques, then you can be accused of making false accusations if you confront him. Perhaps I was married to a pathological liar; none of our closest friends and families knew about his secret life either. It wasn’t until I found proof of infidelity that the puzzle pieces fell into place. Never in a million years did I think my ex was capable of his actions (no garden variety affairs, but much worse…but since you were a divorce lawyer, you would have seen it all).

In any case, in the original situation on this thread, there seems to be a lot of covering up for the boss. It seems unethical that such behavior is tolerated, and says something about the company culture where the original poster is working. I would be searching for a job elsewhere, because my personal conscience would be compromised.

It may well be that your spouse was a pathological liar; and you may want to look further at that issue in regards to your annulment process. May God be with you in that process; it is not easy, and often takes you back to where you don’t want to go.

I agree with you that covering up for the boss has no place in the world of ethics; on the other hand, it is questionable if it is “being tolerated” if one is in no position to change it. Changing jobs may not be immediately a possiblity; but staying out of the gossip room other co-workers often create is one way of removing oneself from the issue. I have no problem telling the boss that there will be no coverup; but I would also add that I have no intention of being a crusader intent on rooting out the enemy. Most of the time, with the exception of a secretary or receptionist, there is no need to say anything other than that the boss is not immediately available, and he doesn’t check in with you as to his whereabouts.

God bless on your journey. It is not all dark days.

this is good advice, from the standpoint of the OP’s question.

Pray, consult confessor/spiritual director then charitably tell the coworker…we have this duty as Christians.

I don’t recall that I suggested that anyone jump to any conclusions. I do suggest that when stories don’t make sense, when facts don’t add up, when you have that “in the gut” feeling that something is seriously amiss, that there is evidence afoot of just that - something is seriously amiss. I have met, and have dealt with, a few pathological liars. Most liars are not pathological; in fact very few are. And most non-pathological liars are simply not good at lying. When the stories don’t add up, then an outside observer has to wonder how dense the one being lied to is, and whether that denseness is truly a natural disposition or whether it is the result of psychological self-protection. Most people don’t want to address and deal with bad news; if the bad news is bad enough, threatening enough, many will simply choose to “ignore” it.

And further, most people are not slightly tilted when going through a rough patch. They get slightly tilted when it is well beyond a rough patch. Dealing with what is potentially a marriage-ending activity is not a rought patch; it is far, far worse than that.

No, I do not make assumptions. I was a divorce lawyer for 12 years. I have a whole lot of facts, not assumptions. I am sorry that this happened to you; it is not something I would wish on anyone. But the comments I make are from all together too much history and observation.

And nothing in my comments would indicate otherwise. Some people, very few, do make it through an episode of adultery and manage to put the marriage back on its feet. Most don’t. I am not judging either side in the issue; simply commenting on reality.

And you think I haven’t figured that part out? If anyone is turning a blind eye, it would appear to be the vicitm (and I am not convinced they ahve doen so). I am suggesting that anyone from the outside who wishes to wade in may find that their comments are far, far from welcome, and may find the victim turning on them physically, emotionally, and in ways that can be dangerous to the “reporter”.

I didn’t blame the victim; you need to re-read what I said without the overlay of what happened to you. The OP wants to wade into the middle of what they have precious little clue about, in terms of the dynamics that go on between the spouses and within the victim. The victim is reacting to others in a way that would tell anyone with any common sense, they need to stay out of the fracas. There is an old phrase which has great weight - fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Well meaning intentions does not mean that the action - telling the spouse - is advisable.

I have not suggested that anyone forced anyone. I am suggesting that the victim may be in serious psychological straights at this point due to the adultery and more than likely does not need the “help” of someone putting their two cents into the fracas.

There is a reason for the old phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” - and that is that messengers have a tendency to get shot. Why? Because the messenger thinks the victim doesn’t get it, and they are going to “help out”. What they find out is that the victim did get it, and is doing all they can to stay mentally and emotionaly from drowning in one of the biggest crises of their life; and they see you as pushing them under water.

I can tell you I know I was a little tilted when I found out and confronted my ex. It was very hard for me because I was in a very abusive marriage like 40 years worth. There are so many things you have to deal with. My children are all on their own and married with their own. And yes you go thru many steps denial all that. I got into councleing right away and had the best one I could imagine. She had delt with battered women for 25 years so it helped. The lies and deciet was really a harsh thing. and him moving in with someon else before I even filed for seperation and it was not even the one he had had an affair with for 5 years before that. He married her 2 days after the divorce was final. And yes I am catholic and I did beleive that marriage was forever I said my marriage vows and ment them and tried to keep my family together. I had a lot of threats from him and calling my youngest daughters husband and threatening if I got the house he would come up here and kill me and burn it down so I had a lot of things to deal with. Trying to keep the out side from not shaking like a tree and the inside from not dieing. Now it all seems like a bad dream 6 years later. I avoid him when him and his wife comes up here and do not attend things that they are at. Simple as that I have the rest of the time to be with my children grandchildren and great grandchildren. It keeps the peace and that is all I want now. He wants the childern to think of her as their step mother and laugh at him and tell him she is only his wife they have a mother. I know what I felt on the inside but I cannot tell you how I kept up the false outside but did. It was not a single one time affair he confessed in a public place to our oldest daughter where both of us worked at the time. and he has blamed every one from his parents is sister my attory our children my parents the real estate company everyone but himself.

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