From the forums:
At the very beginning of my relationship with Phil, I found out that he was cheating on me with a FWB he’d had for months before we began dating. We had it out, broke up, and after much deliberation, reconciled a few months later. When I told Dan that I had gotten back together with Phil, he was infuriated — he said that I was crazy to trust a cheater and that I would get my heart broken again — and it was Ana who told him to calm down and be a supportive friend. Dan later acknowledged that his own strong feelings against cheating drove him to such disappointment and anger with me.
Fast forward to today — Phil and I are happily married and Dan and Ana live together, and though we’re not as close as we once were, we keep in touch and socialize regularly. I have been unhappy in my current job, and since we work in the same field, Dan invited me to apply at his place of business because he said it was a great place to work. I did two rounds of interviews and now I’m waiting to hear back — according to sources in the know, there is a good chance I will get the job.
However, last night I spoke with a mutual friend of Dan’s and mine who told me that Dan is having an affair with one of his co-workers — someone whom I’d be required to work very closely with if I were to be offered and accept this job. Our friend was very distraught at having been asked to lie for Dan (who needed an alibi for the evening), especially since, like the rest of our group, he adores Ana. My feelings of shock and disappointment even surprised me, given that Dan and I aren’t really best friends anymore. I feel so sad for Ana, who has been part of my life for several years — she attended my bridal shower and I am now remembering with serious regret having said to her that I hoped she’d be next. Apparently, this affair has been going on for a short while (because “the spark has gone out” with Ana, and he’s afraid because he knows she’s expecting an engagement), but Dan feels that he’s in love with his co-worker who is pressuring him to make a choice. He has been fighting mercilessly with Ana, who suspects his infidelity, and then walking out of the house to meet with his coworker and leaving Ana to feel abandoned and wonder if she’s crazy. Apparently, he ended the discussion with our friend by saying that he’s going to stay with Ana because she’s the safe choice and that he’ll just wait for things to fizzle out with his co-worker (which I doubt will happen, since she pursued him knowing that he lived with his girlfriend).
I am now regretting my decision to apply for the job with his company — I don’t want to be in this hotbed of personal issues, especially since everyone in the company knows that he and I are friends. There is a strong possibility that this will still be going on and coming to a boiling point by the time I begin working there (if I am hired). I am also seriously debating telling Ana what is going on so that she doesn’t end up marrying him without knowing what kind of person he is, contracting an STD or being drawn any further into this fake life he’s creating with her. I can’t believe that this is the same person I grew up with and once thought I loved.
What do I do about this job, and what do I do about Ana? At this point, I don’t even know if I want to continue a friendship with Dan, but I also don’t want to expose our mutual friend as the secret-teller, since he swore me to secrecy. — Mad at Dan
Woah, simmer down now. You’re basing a whole hell of a lot on what basically amounts to gossip. You really don’t know how much, if any, of what your mutual friend told you is the truth. What if he has some or most of the details messed up? What if he flat-out lied to you? What if Dan lied to him/ didn’t tell the whole truth? What if this mutual friend is in love with Ana and trying to mess up their relationship? Is there any chance this mutual friend is after the same job you’ve applied for and trying to dissuade you from accepting the position if it were offered to you?
Even if everything is true and Dan is, in fact, cheating on Ana with his co-worker, I would not let that keep you from accepting a job that could potentially be a great fit for you (although you have to be the judge about HOW potentially great it could be vs. how miserable you are currently). Don’t let someone else’s personal problems, which really don’t have that much, if anything, to do with you, keep you from pursuing a happier career life for yourself. That’s just nuts. You don’t know how long this drama will last or how it will play out. And, frankly, it’s really not any of your business. Aside from the fact that Dan is an old friend and his girlfriend is someone you are fond of, this scandal has zero to do with you. And you should keep it that way.
What you should NOT to, besides turn down a job because of someone else’s personal issues, is tell Ana the gossip you heard. For all you know, she’s already aware of what’s going on. Maybe, like you and Phil, she and Dan will get through this cheating and still manage to have a happy relationship together. Maybe they’ll even get married. And will their marriage be of lesser value because they had some infidelity issues early on? Is yours? Probably not. You might even argue that you’re closer because you worked together to overcome some challenges in your relationship.
Give Dan and Ana the chance to figure this out on their own, without you meddling in. Maybe they will work through it like you did. And maybe they won’t. Maybe Dan calling Ana a ‘safe choice’ was something he felt in the moment and shared with someone he thought he could trust. Maybe it doesn’t really mean that much. People say stuff all the time about how they feel in a particular moment that doesn’t represent how they feel on a day-to-day basis. Maybe he’s in lust with this co-worker and it’s clouding his judgment. Maybe he will come to his senses and realize Ana is for him. Or maybe he’ll realize she isn’t and give her the courtesy of letting her go before he marries her.
But it’s not your problem and it’s not your place to butt in.
If you are offered a job at Dan’s place of business and you have to work with this woman he’s allegedly having an affair with, be professional. Treat her like you’d treat any other colleague. Because you don’t know the whole story. You don’t even know most of it. All you know is what you heard second-hand from someone who may or may not have ulterior motives of his own (because, really, what kind of friend goes blabbing such a personal story like the one Dan shared, and what kind of friend is he to you to put you in such a awkward position when all you want is a better job?).
In the mean time, lay off on the regular socializing with Dan and Ana until this either blows over or you have some more direct information that can better inform your behavior and the kind of boundaries that would be appropriate to set with Dan. Don’t go asking Dan about all this; let him come to you if he wants. And if he doesn’t, try to move on. If Dan wanted your input, he would talk to you directly.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.