Hax Philes: The firm philanderer

From the June 6 chat:

My best friend and I work at the same large law firm (hundreds of lawyers). She and her husband, who have two small kids, are in closely related fields of specialization. The gossip around the firm is that he cheats. Often. At work. I’ve never witnessed anything specific myself, nor have I spoken directly with anyone who has. But it isn’t vague: Lawyer X, on date Y, saw Husband with Paralegal Z, as they emerged rumpled from a boardroom late at night, from which all kinds of unmistakable sounds had been heard.

Normally I would consider this kind of third-hand stuff too unreliable, but there’s been so much of it that it’s hard to brush off. People from other firms bring up Husband’s name in conversation, unprompted, to ask if I know him, and they follow that with, “he’s been sleeping with someone at our firm.” It’s hurting her career that a) she is married to such an obvious cheater, and b) she seems totally oblivious (whether or not she actually is) even though a lot of the cheating happens in her own workplace. Some people at work can’t even look her in the eye anymore.

I feel torn. On the one hand, I would very much want to know about these rumors, if they were about my spouse. On the other, if I end up telling her it could destroy our friendship. Agh…help.

Here’s the original response in the chat. Another suggestion was:

This is what HR is for. Go to them, state your concerns, and let them follow up with the husband. If this is the talk of the office, he won’t pin it on you for going to them, and surely your firm does not want this situation to be occurring– it’s rife with possibility for harassment lawsuits!

This post seems to invite follow-ups and counterarguments, so have at it in the comments.

» See all Hax Philes discussions    

 

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers.
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Anne Midgette · June 5