Shortcuts: “He Calls Escorts While I’m Deployed”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I was looking through the phone records and found various numbers of escort services my husband called one night while he was out drinking. I am out on deployment and am devastated. He says he was blacked out and he doesn’t even remember calling them; his friends said he did it just for fun. Now, my concern is that we have had previous problems with him getting on Craigslist and responding to ads for women seeking men. He even made his own Craigslist ad one night, while I was at work, about giving a massage at midnight. I confronted him every time and he always said that he never went through with anything — that it was all just for the thrill, to see what these girls would say. He confessed to me that he had a problem, and I told him he needed to get help and fix whatever issues he was having. Before we were married, he had a few incidents where I would find him contacting women from back home and saying inappropriate things, acting like I didn’t even exist. Now we are married and trying to work on our trust issues, but he calls escorts when I’m out of town and blames it on the drinking. What do you think I should do? — Deployed and Annoyed

You were naive when you married this man despite having serious trust issues with him, and you’re naive now to believe that he calls escorts simply for the thrill of it — which is bad enough, if you ask me — and doesn’t ever cheat on you. If the man drinks so much he can’t remember making phone calls, what makes you think he can remember NOT sleeping with an escort (or anyone else, for that matter). You need to think seriously about why you’re married to this man — a good therapist could help you figure that out and give you the tools to either MOA or decide how to best move forward in your marriage in a way that supports your well-being.

I was roommates with this guy who treated me with respect. We didn’t see each other a lot because we worked opposite schedules. I was trying to get to know him and then randomly one day he sent me a text saying that he was moving out. When I spent time with him and talked to him, it seemed we connected, so I am wanting to stay in contact with him. He got my phone number when I first moved in, but I have been the one initiating all the text messages, which is how I have remained in contact with him thus far. I am wondering if this will become a friendship or not? What do you think? — Hot for Ex-Roomie

Giving a roommate notice of your move-out by text does not bode well for a potential friendship, sorry. You could probably find more invested pals standing in line at the post office.

I work in a small office environment and everyone is cordial and/or friends. A group of coworkers, including myself, were recently informed that our friend (a coworker) has an alcohol problem. He has received two DUI’s in the last month and really needs help. Today he came into the office hammered. He was slurring his words, yelling over people, trying to type emails (with tons of misspellings), and then, when he went to the bathroom, a coworker found an almost empty bottle of vodka in his desk drawer. He denied drinking, but all signs pointed to yes and we got him on the bus and sent him home (we can only hope he went home). This coworker handles a multi-million dollar budget, interacts with important business clients and has a lot of responsibility. Should we confront him or stay out of it? Should we go to HR anonymously? We are afraid he could hurt himself if he doesn’t get the help he needs, but we just don’t know what to do! — Worried Co-Worker

Beyond the danger he poses to himself, not to mention people on the road if he’s actually driving a car (and I hope that isn’t the case!), if he is coming to work drunk, then that greatly affects not only his own work, but that of the colleagues whose work and focus he is disturbing with his behavior. Absolutely, go to your HR representative and tell him or her what is going on. Trust that this is the best course of action not only as a co-worker, but as a concerned friend. Ignoring this would not do him or you and your office any favors.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Lemongrass says:

    LW 1: get your head out of the sand and get some self respect.

    LW 2: if you are only trying to become friends with your roommate AFTER they move out, that could be the reason why they aren’t responding to your texts. Why would you wait that long? How awkward would that be?

    LW 3: yes, go to hr and call the police if you see him get into a car.

  2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    LW3- I don’t get why this is a question…yes go to HR. What else are you going to do? Sit back and watch him self distruct?

    1. WGGS. I mean, how could there be any question of what to do in this situation? “Gee, co-worker/friend is driving drunk, gets drunk at work. Should I say something to HR?” Why WOULDN’T you say something to HR?!?

      It seems rather obvious to me. But, then again, that *is* what shortcuts are for…

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      I don’t get why ANY of these are questions!!

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Also, how has he not gotten fired? Are your bosses just never around?

    3. I’m not understanding how HR isn’t notified (or just finds out) when you have to rescue someone from the bathroom and put them on a bus… they should have probably called an ambulance first just to make he wouldn’t be a further danger to himself or others. But yeah. tell HR 😉

  3. EricaSwagger says:

    But in all seriousness, LW3:

    You and your co-workers have entered a dangerous “gossip” zone. If each of you had done the right thing up-front — voicing your concerns to HR in an official manner — then each further concern or reported incident would help HR have a stronger case with this guy. This is the exact kind of situation that HR is FOR. UTILIZE THE RESOURCE.

    Right now, all of you are just huddled in a corner whispering about this guy and trying to fix it under the radar, it seems. Why? Why are you protecting him?

    You have to understand that by not going immediately to HR (or even the police if he’s clearly driving in to work under the influence), you are protecting and enabling him, and potentially endangering yourselves, your business, and everyone he may come in contact with on his way to and from the office.

    He may be your friend, but I assume you were co-workers first, though it really doesn’t matter either way. Stop talking about what to do/how to do it/who to tell. Pass the responsibility along to someone who is trained to handle it.

  4. Yeah, LW2, if you weren’t friends in the house, you’re not gonna be friends after the house. Are you freaking kidding me? Literally as soon as I know that the lease is finalized for the next tenant and all the outstanding bills are paid, I’m unfriending my roommate on facebook and deleting her phone number. No need for her in my life. If I liked her company, I’d live with her.

    1. Sunshine Brite says:

      I agree the friends in the house business. That’s what happened with those I lived with without knowing them well prior. However, my friends I lived with who I was friends with before moving in, in both occasions we just had to get away from each other as roommates to preserve the friendships.

      1. I’ve kept in touch with people I lived with whom I didn’t know before, but certainly not people I barely spoke to while we were roommates. And I certainly didn’t develop crushes on roommates I barely knew either.

  5. Sunshine Brite says:

    LW3: You know you could be fired too for not reporting such behavior, right?

    1. SpaceySteph says:

      1000 times this.

      Also… going through his desk while he’s in the bathroom? Serious violation in conduct. As is the gossiping and the coverup.

      Stop doing basically everything you are doing (except making sure he takes the bus instead of drives, you can keep doing that) and go through the official channels on this. Also, watch your back around your coworkers, their love of gossip does not bode well for any future missteps you might make.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Discussing the fact that a coworker just showed up hammered isn’t exactly the biggest gossip event ever. If a whale all of sudden swam through my office, I’m sure we’d all be like, wow, can you believe that? I don’t see anything wrong with that, nor do I think she should take it as a warning for her future there.

  6. what an odd crop of shortcuts today! lw1 – what? lw2 – what? lw3 – next time, call the police on him.

  7. So I married this shady dude, but I figured, hey, why not? We’ll work on our trust issues later. He’ll come around.

    Oh, and before that, I had this roommate that I want to be BFF’s with. He was cordial when we lived together, but now he doesn’t return my text. When will he want to go out for drinks so I can discuss my shady husband.

    Speaking of drinks, I have this coworker who comes into the office drunk. We snooped in his desk drawers while he was in the bathroom and found an empty bottle of vodka. I even think he had two DUI’s in the last month. I mean, as long as I stay off the road while he’s driving, it’s all good, right? RIGHT?!?

  8. LW3, go to HR pronto. If you had only heard about his DUIs, which presumably did not occur while he was at work, I can see that being a gray area. But his actually coming into work drunk, endangering the reputation of the company by continuing to work while “hammered” is a clear HR violation. If another co-worker or customer felt threatened by his behavior (what if his yelling “over” people became yelling “at” them, or becoming belligerent and threatening?) than you would be helping to create a hostile workplace by not reporting him, putting yourself in danger of being sued.

    Go to HR. You don’t know what’s going to happen to him, and although you clearly care about him enabling his behavior will not only not help him but endanger you and your entire company. Feel free to include information about how great an employee and person he was until his alcoholism got out of control, and the company may let him keep his job if he successfully goes to rehab. No matter the outcome, though, you have to protect yourself and your company. If his behavior is this bad now, imagine how much worse it could get before he completely hits rock bottom?

  9. Liquid Luck says:

    LW2, why do you even want to be friends with a guy you know nothing about? You had, what, a few conversations that weren’t horribly awkward? That is not enough to form a friendship. Ask yourself why you are wasting your time an energy on trying to start a friendship with a guy who clearly has no interest when you could be applying all the same time and energy into the friendships you already have and deepening those. I firmly believe that having a few really close, meaningful friendships is way better than being friendly with everyone you’ve ever met. So invest in other relationships that are (or have the potential to become) important to both people, and you’ll be much happier in the long run.

    And look into some counseling to help build up your self-esteem. You seem focused on the fact that he “respected” you, but that should be standard for every human being. Good people treat others with respect all the time, but it doesn’t mean they want to be everyone’s best friend. You seem to think that being respected by men is a rarity, but it really shouldn’t be if you surround yourself with the right people.

    1. findingtheearth says:

      My question is, how does she know he respected her? If they barely interacted, he could be a total jerkface, but she would have no idea.

      1. Liquid Luck says:

        Yeah, I don’t know that he did necessarily, but I thought the fact that that was the only thing she said about him was telling. It’s odd that she pointed it out like it was a distinction rather than a default setting.

      2. SpaceySteph says:

        Maybe her previous roommate used to watch her get undressed through a hole in the wall?

        Honestly when I read someone saying “he respected me” I can only imagine how shitty the last person was that this is somehow remarkable.

      3. Liquid Luck says:

        “Honestly when I read someone saying “he respected me” I can only imagine how shitty the last person was that this is somehow remarkable.”

        This is what I was thinking, but you worded it much better. It’s like she doesn’t expect men to respect her, so it’s super-special when they do. Which is kind of sad, really, and I hope she gets some help so she can lose that mindset.

  10. Liquid Luck says:

    LW3, I agree with everyone else about going to HR. It’s a no-brainer–your co-workers behavior puts your company in jeopardy, and HR exists to deal with liabilities like him, If you need a personal reason, then think about the fact that you might also be held responsible by your company if they learn that you had this information about how he behaved while in the office and didn’t report him.

    If you ever find out that he’s driving (even if he seems sober), it’s worth reporting to the police or the DMV. If he really has had multiple DUIs, his license was likely revoked. If not, the fact that he gets so drunk before he goes to work signals that it probably should be. Both reports can be done anonymously if you don’t want to get too involved, but reporting him may save lives.

    And LW3, go straight to counseling. Immediately. Marrying this guy was a mistake, but you don’t have to live with it for the rest of your life. You can get out and start over, and one day you can be happy in a relationship with someone who respects you. At least respect yourself enough to believe that.

  11. Sometimes these shortcuts are all like, “Dear Wendy, I am pointing a loaded pistol at my head, but I’m concerned that if i pull the trigger, I might be killed. What do you think i should do?” I find my response is often, “Well, if you don’t know the answer to that question, maybe the gene pool needs a bit of tidying up.” It speaks to Wendy’s compassion that she finds a respectful way to respond to these letters.

    Sorry, BGM, if I stole your thunder there.

  12. See the counsellor and run like hell. If he’s not seeing this for the huge ass problem it is and blowing it off like he went 4 wheeling without a helmet or something he is not going to change. ESPECIALLY since his friends are backing him up. He will not change. Most guys like this don’t, for the record, but they especially don’t when they don’t even see it’s a big deal. Leave him. Immediately. I’d be deathly curious to know if he is also military. No I don’t think all military men are sexual fuck ups. However, the military generally frowns on this in a formal manner, but INformally encourages it in a boys will be boys kind of bullshit manner. :-/

  13. LW3, you really shouldn’t need to ask this question. Of course you report to HR that a co-worker is coming in drunk. Honestly, I’m not sure why you’d even do it anonymously because it’s such a no-brainer.

  14. I am so curious why “I was roommates with this guy who treated me with respect” is the first sentence of Letter 2. Is it like “I liked him because I’ve literally never met a guy who treated me with respect before” (which might explain why she hasn’t read the signs that he’s not interested), “I will fall in love with any guy who isn’t a complete asshole” (again, explains the deep interest in someone she apparently never got to know), or “He used to treat me with respect and now he doesn’t seem to care that I exist,” which, if she recognized his disinterest why is she still texting him?

    So many questions.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Good insight!

    2. Totally agree with this!

  15. findingtheearth says:

    LW3- As he got the DUIs- he probably is in some sort of treatment or conditions of release and should not be drinking. Yes, let HR know, but honestly, if it happens again, call the police. This guy needs help.

    LW2- I don’t even know what to say. Why would you want to be friends with someone you barely know and have only interacted with via text? Unless he is Jude Law, I would just let it go.

    LW1- You stayed with someone who had a history of breaking your trust. Obviously, he knows he can take advantage of you and your deployment. Go talk to your JAG lawyer about what it takes for a divorce.

  16. ReginaRey says:

    LW#1 – I mean, I’m guessing you already realize on some level or another that marrying this man was ill-advised. That said, he’s shown you time and again that he has no interest in changing his pattern of behavior. I mean, this isn”t quite the same as “I married this great guy and then he started reaching out to women years later…can we fix our relationship?” This is “I should never have married this unfaithful person to begin with…can I fix our relationship?” The answer to the first is “maybe,” while the answer to the second is, “Why do you want to fix it?” Seriously, LW, if you’re going to go to therapy at all, it should be to discover why you were OK with marrying someone you didn’t trust and who had already shown you who he really was up front.

  17. LW 3-why is everyone so eager to shield addicts from the consequences of their actions?? This guy came to work drunk! He should be fired!! At any other job if an employee showed up intoxicated they would not be welcome back. He’s obviously in pretty deep if he’s drinking before work, he needs to feel the consequences of what his drinking is doing to his life, not have some well meaning coworkers run around cleaning up his mess.

  18. Well, I’d say LW 1, you should probably divorce him. Or get into counseling.
    Or just start doing the same things back to him and see how he likes it.
    I’d probably just leave. You obviously are more committed to the relationship than he is.

  19. Bittergaymark says:

    LW 1, 2, and 3: Wow. Just wow… Really? Are this many people actually this dang clueless? Bah! No wonder my generation rags on twentysomethings… What’s next? “Gee, Wendy. I often feel hungry midday… Should I eat lunch?”

    Oh, the humanity…

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Did all the LWs tell you they were in their twenties? I don’t remember seeing that in the letters.

    2. GatorGirl says:

      I’m failing to see where they identified their ages…is my computer not loading a couple sentences?

    3. Agreed, but a person of any age can act this foolishly.

      1. kerrycontrary says:

        Yup, How many letters have we gotten from women in their 40s, 50s, or even 60s? A lot.

    4. Wendy, I feel this pressure in my bladder… should I go to the restroom or just wait it out until I pee myself? I kinda like the pants I’m wearing, so I would prefer not to get them all gross… does it matter if I am in public or not?? What if I’m already not wearing clean underwear???

      So many hard decisions!! HELP ME 😉

  20. Bittergaymark says:

    Oh, c’mon! If ANY of those LWs was a day over 28, I’d be absolutely stunned and amazed… You really can tell this by the tone and language alone…

  21. LW 1: I think it’s time to get a divorce. This guy has repeatedly shown you that he has no respect for you or your relationship. Some things can be fixed, but a complete and utter lack of respect cannot. And, the last thing you need to be worried about while you’re deployed is whether your husband is banging call girls or having random Craigslist encounters while you’re gone. MOA. There are better guys out there.

    LW 2: If you wanted a relationship with this guy – romantic or friendship – you probably should have moved on that while you were, you know, living together and talking. It’s not gonna happen. Quit text stalking this guy and go find people to befriend who actually talk to you. They’re out there, too, I promise.

    LW 3: You gotta go to HR. And, in doing so, you’re probably doing your co-worker a favor. If 2 DUIs in a month (!) don’t make him reconsider his lifestyle, perhaps the realization that his drinking is influencing what sounds like a pretty good career will. Something’s got to give here and your silence isn’t going to help him at all.

  22. LW3, in addition to what other people have said, I know at least in the legal field, many (if not most or all) state bar associations have someone who can provide assistance to lawyers with substance abuse or mental health issues. Your letter doesn’t say what type of industry you work in (although i’m assuming business of some sort) but perhaps there is similar assistance in your industry.

    Also, think about it as if you were a supervisor. Would you want your million-dollar accounts jeopardized by someone with a drinking problem? How would you feel about employees knowing but who did little to nothing?

  23. kerrycontrary says:

    LW3, yes you should go to HR if one of your coworkers shows up drunk. In fact, I’m surprised that he didn’t get fired on the spot. Was his boss not around that day? Plus, in many companies you are required to notify your company within 48 hours if you have been arrested/charged with something. Maybe you don’t work in this type of industry. But nonetheless, go to HR. I can’t imagine having someone come in drunk or high!

  24. Ah, yes. Facepalm Friday again.

    Poor Wendy. I bet she gets a lot more of these than she shares here.

  25. I’m upset I came to these so late (I’m training a coworker on the phones this week) 🙁 What, what, WHAT is happening in all these letters (& okay, I’m mostly referencing the third one).

    I bet this is some kind of weird, informal office environment—NOT that informal office environments mean it’s totally cool to show up drunk, but the vibe I’m getting is that everyone (LW calls him her “friend” before “coworker”) is real close & maybe working in theeee… entertainment industry? Just a guess. But regardless! It’s not okay for this dude to not only ~show up~ at work drunk, but continue drinking throughout the day. There’s no guesswork here; he has a fucking problem.

    Anyway. LW1: WWS. It was terribly…naive? to marry this man when so many red flags were present already. Either leave him or get counseling (WWS, basically)

    LW2: I agree with ebstarr above…it sounds like your heart is latching on simply because he seemed like not an asshole. Not an asshole ≠ interested in you.

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