4 updates from letter-writers (the cheating boss, the strong-arming of a promotion, and more)

Here are four updates from people who had their letters answered here recently.

1. My friend tried to strong-arm her way into a promotion

Well, as you may have guessed, Sansa did not get the promotion she was seeking. The managers involved didn’t explain their thinking to her, or give her any indication that strong-arming your way into a job is not great for your career. She ended up leaving the company soon after they filled the position she wanted. She did get a job she really likes in a related field and is doing quite well for herself.

One amusing side note: A few months after her strong-arming strategy failed, I saw that she was leading a salary negotiation workshop at an industry conference. That made me chuckle a bit.

2. My boss enlists me in hiding his multiple affairs from his wife (first update here)

My former boss was fired. His wife outed a fourth woman for sleeping with him, same as the others. She works here. Having an affair with a subordinate and the multiple yelling matches with the other three women here at the office was enough to get him fired. The fourth woman was married (unlike the other three) and her husband filed for divorce after she was outed. She took job somewhere else but left amicably and was not fired like my former boss was. At least two of the women his wife was suing are settling with her to avoid it going to trial. The yelling matches he was having made it clear she wasn’t using the lawsuits as a bargaining chip and would not drop them in exchange for stuff from him.

Now that both he and the woman from here that he was having an affair with are gone, things have calmed down. No one has mentioned the affair in weeks and everything here is boring again. I don’t mind the lack of gossip and am still enjoying my new job and great colleagues. I got a small bonus at my yearly review because my boss was so happy with my work. I love my new colleagues and they have been nothing but welcoming to me.

(Also there was speculation in the comments in my first update about whether his wife outed the escort for her affair or being an escort. The answer is both. I don’t agree with her actions but I empathize with how much pain the affairs have caused her.)

3. Should I give this recruiter a third chance? (#4 at the link)

Talk about a fast update, I actually had an interview arranged by another lady agency who was very pleasant, a gob on a stick, but very professional in her approach. That was on Tuesday and I received a job offer which I accepted yesterday. So I’m now in the rather delicious situation of having a job and being able to reply to the bad agency with this information a mere two days later. I loved reading the replies and now have the decision of writing a short “k thx bai” email or a more pointed one. Thanks for the advice.

4. What to tell my employee about another employee who’s underperforming

There’s not much to tell on this front. Ford was let go; Arthur didn’t really bring it up any more. Arthur has continued to be a strong performer and has not had any of the issues that I was worried about with regard to his own performance/status at the company. I didn’t have to address anything other than giving regular coaching and “performance check-ins” which are largely positive.

I understand Arthur still keeps up with Ford who has been working as a bartender–far from our industry. I don’t believe their personal relationship impacts Arthur’s professional life much, if at all.

I’ve since moved on to another client team, so I no longer manage Arthur.

{ 236 comments… read them below }

    1. Edina Monsoon*

      Gob is an unpleasant word for mouth so basically loud, talks without you being able to get a word in etc.

      1. Runner*

        Suddenly “gob-smacked” and “gobstoppers” have meaning I never realized I was even missing.

          1. Not Australian*

            That can also be ‘gos’ or ‘goz’ depending on where you live. [Useless Fact of the Day.]

      2. Jemima Bond*

        See also “to gob off”’ meaning to speak at length and possibly indiscreetly/aggressively, as in “I told her she couldn’t do that and now she’s gobbing off to anyone who’ll listen that I’m unfair.”

      1. Persephone*

        The first time I heard that used at school, I died a little inside. Insert horrified gif here.

      2. Feotakahari*

        This is the exact opposite of worksafe, but look up “Laurie’s Bogan Ghost Story” if you want to learn a lot more terms like that.

  1. K.*

    #3: what is a gob on a stick? Does that mean she was chatty?

    #2: I think the last go-round I said I didn’t agree with the wife’s actions but I was glad your work life had settled down, and I stand by that. Glad you’re so happy in your new role and that your work life is much more free of drama!

    1. Suzy Q*

      I agreed with the wife’s actions because all the women knew about each other and knew he was married. He was a scumbag of major proportions, and they were all part of it. Actions have consequences.

      1. Chriama*

        Yeah, I’m not feeling a need to take the moral high ground against the first wife either. She went after her husband and the people who he cheated on her with who knew he was married. If you have an affair with someone who you know is married, you’re an accessory to an immoral act. The fact that you’re not the one betraying their spouse is not a strong argument.

        1. Elfie*

          Hard disagree. I know lots of people will agree with you, but to me, cheating is not (always and immediately) immoral. Life isn’t always black and white.

      2. K.*

        I disagreed because she involved more than just the people who were involved in the affairs – she emailed dossiers of his behavior to his coworkers. If I were one of those coworkers, I’d be mad at both of them for involving me in their very messy marital drama when I’m just trying to do my work and go home. I don’t know what messiness my coworkers have in their personal lives, if any, and I prefer it that way.

        And I staunchly disagree with outing the sex worker because I don’t think that sex work should be stigmatized, but it is, so she may have ruined that woman’s life – a woman who, at the end of the day, was doing a job. She and the husband had a business relationship at the core. It’s not the escort’s fault that the woman’s husband chose to pay her for sex.

        1. Engineer Girl*

          “Doing a job” that could potentially harm an innocent third party. In this case, it did cause harm to another.
          I can’t get on board with protecting someone that does that.

                1. dawbs*

                  like, R&D people for the tobacco industry (or insert a few other other industries here). Anyone who works for big tobacco, including the farmers?
                  the guy who works the counter at the payday loan place?
                  People who work at factory farms?

                  What sort of protections do we take from them?
                  Do we make them all unemployable?

                  This becomes a pretty lousy road to go down, pretty quickly, IMO

                2. Engineer Girl*

                  The wife outed the sex worker. I’m pretty sure that it’s obvious that the jobs you listed are also out in the open.

                3. dawbs*

                  I’m not sure it is.
                  I have friends who don’t advertise they’re in big pharma.
                  I have known tobacco farmers who don’t admit to that being their crop unless they must.
                  And, really, I’ve witnessed people who work at payday loan places being treated as pariahs.

          1. A sex worker*

            It’s not the responsibility of sex workers to ensure their clients aren’t violating their relationship agreements. In the vast majority of situations it would be a huge professional overstep to ask a client if his wife is okay with him being there, because it is ultimately none of your business as a service provider.

            Most sex workers are just trying to make a living in a capitalist world that may offer few or no other viable options. It’d be great if everyone had the financial means to demand clients share info about their relationships and choose only to see clients who weren’t in a monogamous relationship, but that isn’t a reality for 99% of sex workers. Moral high ground doesn’t pay the rent or feed the kids.

            Sex workers are one of the most stigmatized, marginalized, and criminalized groups. Outing a sex worker can literally ruin their life. It’s extremely messed up to think that this is okay, or to believe that a sex worker who is trying to make a living should be held equally responsible for their client’s choice to violate his relationship agreement, particularly when clients almost always have greater social and economic power.

            No other service provider would be held responsible for a client’s failure to keep his commitments, so don’t hold sex workers to that standard.

            1. Academic Addie*

              > No other service provider would be held responsible for a client’s failure to keep his commitments, > so don’t hold sex workers to that standard.


              Very good comment.

            2. stk*

              That is a really good point there. How any sex workers COULD vet their clients for breaking commitments is a mystery to me anyway. There is no way you could guarantee your clients were telling you the truth/providing accurate information even if you did try to vet them that way. Ultimately that responsibility has GOT to lie with the client.

            3. Candi*

              Please don’t make capitalist cracks when discussing the sale of sex. The purchasing and sale of sexual favors has existed through all cultures and economic systems throughout known history. What varies is how legal it was, how sacred it was, and whether the (usually) woman was considered still eligible for marriage after working such a job. (No, really, a couple tribes here and there viewed such experience as a good thing for the marriage.) Many times it very much has been about making a living, sometimes in societies where a woman had few options outside of the home, other times just another career option if she didn’t want to stay home.

              As for this specific escort, it sounds like she got hit by the nuclear blast the wife let loose. The wife (understandably from some perspectives) went scorched earth on the situation.

              1. A sex worker*

                I don’t understand what you’re getting at here.

                Yes, sex work has always existed and will always exist. But right now it largely exists under capitalism and that context is extremely relevant when discussing sex work.

                Capitalism is coercive and the vast majority of people have to work in order to survive. The lack of a robust social safety net means that few people have the luxury of being able to only do work that 100% conforms to their values. A tiny minority of sex workers do their work just for the fun and have the financial means to not work if they choose. The overwhelming majority of sex workers are doing it to make a living, just like the overwhelming majority of all workers.

                A different economic system would offer a different range of options.

                1. Candi*

                  Prostitution has existed for all of known history. It probably started slightly south of first assigning goods and services value in prehistoric times, and someone realized they could offer goods for a service.

                  In the Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient work often considered the first example of great literature, Enkidu is calmed down from his wild man ways by bedding Shamhat, a sacred prostitute. African tribes in some locations had sacred prostitutes who were considered vital to the health of the village. There were prostitutes of all levels in the Soviet Union -a decidedly non-capitalist environment.

                  Sex slaves of various levels have also existed since slavery was a thing, whether raiders steal the people for themselves, or for sale to others.

                  As long as people are willing to pay money for sex, there will be those willing to sell. And there will be those willing to exploit those sales for their own gain. The systems in place don’t matter unless they’re actively hunting down prostitutes, madames, and pimps. And with the population of the world having doubled since the 1970s, there’s more people than ever to buy and sell.

                  A mindless, soulless system -whether economic, governmental, religious- is only as good as the humans who run and maintain it. That’s true through all eras. Blaming the system risks absolving those who corrupt it of individual blame. Blaming capitalism absolves the robber barons who exploit it, just as blaming communism absolves those who warped it.

          2. Koko*

            I think the more salient point for me is just that it was her job, but that sex workers tend to be very marginalized people, with little money and next to no social capital, and limited opportunities for supporting themselves beyond sex work. Criticizing her for not turning away a potential paying client because he’s married just seems to be heaping a whole lot of responsibility onto the person with the least power in the situation. It may have been the least unsavory of all the unsavory options she had.

  2. OP#4 Originally*

    It means someone who talks a lot “Gobby” and they do it an awful lot “on a stick”. It’s a good term for someone who talks endlessly without being rude about them. There’s another phrase, “you just want the moon on a stick” which has a similar meaning – that not only do you want the moon, but you want it on a stick as well.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve had that second one used on me, by a British person who was taking the piss. I replied back in a rather cheeky manner that of course I did and we had a good laugh. :)

    2. Gen*

      I’m confused about how calling someone gobby isn’t being rude about them? I mean it’s not a top tier swear word and some people will own in like others don’t mind being called a b-word but it’s definitely an insult.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I’m guessing it’s a social subgroup thing, as to whether it lands as blabbermouth or chatterbox.

      2. Blue Anne*

        I really don’t think it’s rude… here in America I’d call someone a chatterbox, back in Scotland I might call them gobby, neither is particularly mean.

        1. Liz T*

          Yeah but saying, “that lady recruiter was a chatterbox” is a little weird, right? How is that relevant here?

      3. Purple snowdrop*

        Gobby can be affectionate. Gob in a stick is highly rude IMO, especially talking about a work contact, and I doubt you’d ever hear it used about a man.

        (Northern UK for context)

        1. Jenna*

          Southern UK, would also agree that it’s a rude thing to say, especially about someone you only know in a professional context.

      4. Candi*

        The couple times I’ve run across it in books, it was being used as an affectionate term for a woman who was a wonderful sweet person who just talked a lot about everything -but a lot of that chatter was trying to make other characters feel comfortable and see to their needs.

        Although the fact it was used only for the yakkity female characters does provide data points for Purple’s point.

  3. Oxford Common Sense*

    OP 4- sounds like it all turned out right in the end. Treat yourself to a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.

  4. Antilles*

    #1: One amusing side note: A few months after her strong-arming strategy failed, I saw that she was leading a salary negotiation workshop at an industry conference. That made me chuckle a bit.
    This is why you should always take any advice you get with a grain of salt and check it against your own instincts/other sources. All because someone’s posting on a website, writing a book, or speaking at a conference doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re an expert at it. In fact, given that leading a workshop at a conference can sometimes be an enormous hassle, it’s entirely possible that Sansa got the responsibility exclusively because nobody else wanted it.

    1. H.C.*

      True, but I’ll also give Sansa the benefit of the doubt that she learned a lesson from her botched attempt at negotiating a promotion, and maybe even successfully negotiated her salary for the new job. But it’s still amusing in LW #4’s context.

      1. Runner*

        Right. There is also the reality that not all negotiations are a success. Failure is one of the risks of taking a chance/putting yourself out there/daring to at least try. That’s aside from Sansa’s specific situation. But I’d expect many people with success stories can also tell you what didn’t work or where they even failed spectacularly.

      2. Kuznetsov*

        We don’t know it was a botched attempt, though, because she DID eventually get a new job. The cream rises to the top, etc.

        1. H.C.*

          but per the original letter, Sansa’s original intent was to use to a NewJob1 offer to try to finagle a promotion from her then-CurrentJob (even go so far as to as to decline NewJob1 to further persuade then-CurrentJob to promote her.) It was only after she was passed over for the promotion that she quit & looked for NewJob2 described in this update.

    2. Mazzy*

      I know! Why the heck would you volunteer to lead a workshop on something you’re bad at? Is it “fake it to you make it” mumbo jumbo, where the person thinks something will become true if they say it out loud in front of people?

  5. sonia*

    #2 – Do you guys live in an “alienation of affection” state? I guess that’s how they’re being sued for having an affair?

    1. JamieS*

      That was my thought too. Although even if that’s not the case they probably didn’t want to even risk it being heard by an outside party for fear of their reputations.

      On a side note, from a common sense perspective and assuming they live in an alienation state, if they cheating spouse is unfaithful with multiple people it’s a hard pill for me to swallow that any of them were directly and specifically personally responsible for the break up of the marriage. To me, that would have to mean the marriage would be intact had that specific person not come into their lives which can’t be true if there were multiple people. Then again I’m not a lawyer so maybe the actual legal application is different.

      1. sonia*

        yup yup. Your reasoning is why Illinois recently decided to stop being an “alienation of affection” state, I believe.

      2. zsuzsanna*

        IANAL either but I just don’t get this “alienation of affection” thing. First – the women he had affairs with had no affection for the wife, so what’s to alienate? And it’s pretty patronizing (and oddly protective of cheating spouse) to basically accuse them of “stealing” his love or sexual attention, like he has no say in it. He’s not a purebred dog on a leash in the yard, and they scooped him up and drove him away. The guy’s obviously a big jerk, but given the way his ex-wife is behaving, sounds like she’s no picnic either.

        1. Andy*

          it was kind of a safety net for when wives could be left penniless and without the ability to own property

        2. Kate 2*

          It’s not about the affair women having affection for the wife, it’s that the wife has been alienated from her husband’s affection by these women getting in the way, getting between them, so to speak.

        3. Lili*

          IANAL either, but “alienation of affection” doesn’t just extend to affairs–I think I remember reading about someone who sued a meddling mother-in-law whose actions led to the breakup of a marriage in North Carolina.

        4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          It predates no-fault divorce and was mostly created to protect women who lost all economic support during a divorce. It’s now pretty rare in the United States because there are other mechanisms for protecting the more economically vulnerable party.

        5. Candi*

          They go back to when the only jobs most women officially had outside the home were before marriage and low-level. Once married, devotion to house, husband, and kids was expected. Such a cultural environment meant a woman who’d been out of the workforce would have low to no skills, no professional network, and be essentially destitute if cut loose from the marriage. (This kind of nonsense is why women marched.)

          Such circumstances led to a specific federal law for the military. If a woman is married to a soldier/etc. for more then X period of time (10 years last I checked), she gets up to 50% of his pay/retirement until she hits 75 or remarries. One of the precipitators of this were $*(&# who would dump older wives and then marry younger, prettier, often foreign women. (Another reason culture needed/needs to change -by subtlety or kicking in the tail as required.)

      3. Trout 'Waver*

        Yeah. AoA cases are really hard to win. As the OP noted in the previous update, they’re usually used as leverage in divorce or custody. Apparently not in this case though.

  6. Layla*

    I don’t have sympathy with the wife for ‘outing’ the escort at all. She’s effectively erased that woman’s ability to find other jobs, potentially exposed her to criminal charges and ruined her reputation.

    Does she know whether the ‘escort’ was trafficked? There consensually? Whether she has children to support, or a violent pimp who might beat her if her earnings are reduced?

    I’m pretty disgusted that she thought it was ok to ruin that woman’s life actually.

    1. Say what, now?*

      It’s not ideal behavior for sure, but I don’t have a terribly large amount of sympathy for the married coworker. She very likely knew that the boss was married. Also knew that a relationship with her boss would be unprofessional, potentially a fire-able offense (depending on office policy). And was cavalier with her own marriage… so in the end when things caught up with her it wasn’t as though she couldn’t have seen the end coming. It was the kind of poor judgment that we would be saying should have her terminated as, say, choosing to use company resources for a side business over a long term.

      I think it sounds like she landed on her feet in the professional sense, anyway since OP writes “She took job somewhere else but left amicably and was not fired…”

      1. Layla*

        Oh, not talking about the other women who knew he was married. I disagree with the wife’s actions there but I understand it. I think it’s unlikely that the escort knew he was married, and even if she did, I really don’t think she’s to blame.

        1. argus*

          The OP states that the emails/texts made clear that all women knew he was married.

          I don’t think she’s to blame for the guy’s actions. I do think that incurring a wife’s wrath is an occupational hazard if you’re an escort.

        2. Say what, now?*

          Oh, the escort. I don’t think that you have to worry about her professionally. People who want to pay for sex outside of marriage probably won’t be bothered that she has had clients who have been married pay her for her services. If anything they’re probably shaking their heads going “You idiot. You paid her with the joint credit card, didn’t you?” (Blaming the husband for not being able to cover his tracks well enough.)

          1. Anlina*

            Being outed as a sex worker can be incredibly dangerous and damaging.

            Not everyone wants to be a sex worker forever or does sex work exclusively – many sex workers also have a straight job or go to school, both of which could be jeopardized by being outed. Relationships with family and friends, and custody of children can also be damaged.

            Conversely, with clients, most sex workers carefully guard their personal information. Clients knowing your real name, your home address, or real phone number increases your risk of violence, stalking, blackmail and other dangerous behaviour.

            You’re right that clients won’t care that a sex worker sees married clients but that’s not what being outed means.

            1. Say what, now?*

              I was being facetious, imagining that her clients would just think of the husband as an idiot for allowing this to happen to him. But you’re right that it could impact other jobs as well.

            2. Noobtastic*

              Yeah, outing her as a party to adultery is one thing. Outing her as a sex-worker is different. It’s setting her up for some actual danger.

              I do not blame the wife for outing all the adulterers. For a long time, I have thought “We need to stop this cultural idea of ‘don’t make a scene,’ or ‘don’t make people uncomfortable’ or ‘don’t tell the neighborhood when someone treats you badly,’ because this only works in favor of the people behaving badly. They know they can act with impunity, because people won’t make a scene, won’t draw attention, won’t warn other people about their behavior. By outing the husband as a scum-bag, and the women with whom he cheated, she is basically saying, “Do not trust these people.” For a while, at least, other people are less likely to get sucked into bad situations with these people, because they will know that they are not to be trusted. Because she made the scene.

              At the same time, people who are already in a dangerous situation (and sex work is dangerous) should not be pushed into a more dangerous situation. If the wife had not knows she was an escort, but just another adulterer, I’d have not problem with it. But outing her as an escort leaves a really bad taste in my mouth, because now, a vulnerable person is more vulnerable than before. Unlike the single women who KNEW what was up and chose to do it anyway, the escort was doing her job, almost certainly under pressure, and probably did not want to be with this scumbag, anyway.

              And she’ll have a really hard time finding non-sex-work in the area.

      2. Noobtastic*

        Actually, I have a feeling that the ex-boss, being her superior, might have exerted some pressure on her. There is a REASON you don’t have sex with your subordinates. The imbalance of power makes it really difficult, or even impossible, for the subordinate to refuse your advances.

        It’s possible that the reason the fourth woman was able to leave amicably, and not be fired, was because the company did not want her to sue for sexual harassment or a sexually hostile workplace, which allowed him to pressure her for sex.

        There’s definitely more to it that we know, but frankly, the man has revealed himself to be such an absolute scum-bag that I would not at all put it past him to use his rank to pressure a married woman for sex, especially if she tried to refused based on her married status, and he came back with “Do me, or I’ll make sure you are fired with cause, and you and your husband will be broke and without insurance.”

    2. Mike C.*

      It’s little more than lashing out in revenge using outdated laws that treat spouses as property.

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        Although Alienation of Affection laws were originally much more problematic, current interpretations treat spouses of either gender interchangeably. I don’t care for the laws, but they current interpretations don’t treat spouses as property. IANAL, though.

    3. sunny-dee*

      The prostitute is a prostitute. The wife isn’t ruining her reputation — that is what she is. It’s not the (wronged!) wife’s job to pretend the the hooker is not, in fact, trading sex for money.

      I’m pretty disgusted that the prostitute thought it was okay to ruin another woman’s life by sleeping with her husband and risk exposing her unknowlingly to STDs.

        1. Mike C.*

          I mean seriously –

          1. Completely ignore the circumstances that lead to the vast majority of sex work,
          2. Ignored that whole bit about human trafficking,
          3. Dehumanize this person by saying they are no more than their current profession,
          4. Presume she has STIs, and is responsible if the husband passes them on,
          5. Presume that this woman wasn’t being coerced into prostitution by a pimp,
          6. Presume that the wife’s life is now completely ruined and she can never move on and,
          7. You completely remove all agency from cheating husband.

          Did I miss anything?

          1. Diamond Minx*

            I just have to point out that not all sex workers are trafficked or coerced into the profession. Many of them happily choose the profession as it pays very well and provides extremely flexible working hours.

            I definitely agree that shaming a sex worker with the assumption that she’s “dirty” or has STI’s is horrible. As far as I know, statistically speaking, someone is more likely to get an STI from a non sex worker lover.

            1. Noobtastic*

              This is more likely in an area where sex work is legal, though. Sex work is generally safer in Nevada, or Amsterdam than in places where it has to be underground.

              In a place where sex work is just considered another job, then people who actually enjoy sex, and feel a vocation can safely get into it. But in most places, the danger outweigh any pleasure one might get in getting paid for something they enjoy doing, anyway. Even if it’s only the danger of getting arrested.

              Although, I have to say, I now have an overwhelming urge to watch “The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.”

              1. Anlina*

                Most sex workers are not trafficked or coerced into the profession, both in places where it’s illegal and places where it’s not.

                Most sex workers don’t choose sex work because they love sex – I’m sure anyone who has turned a hobby into a job can understand how that can strip the fun out of it. But that’s very different from choosing to do sex work because it offers the most benefits out of the range of available options. Flexible hours, high hourly pay, and control over your own business are important motivators to every sex worker that I know.

          2. Trout 'Waver*

            The latest Freakonomics book had an interesting chapter where they recounted that the majority of sex work is done by people turning a couple tricks on the side and not by ‘professional’ prostitutes. It is the original gig economy. Kinda interesting, but it speaks to your point number 3.

          3. Geoffrey B*

            8. Presume that husband sleeping with the escort was the cause of a marriage breakdown rather than a symptom.

            IME, cheating is usually a symptom of deeper issues, and the husband’s track record has made it pretty clear that he was going to cheat with *somebody*.

          4. Candi*


            Heck, even if she’s a free agent (removing 2 and 5), the rest still applies.

            Plus 8) Risk of stalking. Even Nevada, Amsterdam, et. all., use stage names for a REASON.

      1. Annie*

        As Layla pointed out above, you have no idea what the escort’s situation is and I neither think it’s our place to judge her here nor is it helpful for the purpose of this conversation. The husband/boss is the one who paid for this woman’s services, he was the one who risked both his wife’s and his own exposure to STDs, and he was the one who is in the wrong here.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I’m pretty disgusted that the husband thought it was okay to ruin his wife’s life by sleeping with multiple women and risk exposing her unknowingly to STDs.

        There, I fixed it for you.

        1. Layla*

          I’m disgusted with the husband for sleeping around and endangering his wife.

          I’m also disgusted with the wife for ruining the life of a person who is, for all she knows, a coerced, underage, trafficked, drug addicted, pimped, victim of child abuse. Google trafficking and sex work. While the 13 year old age of entry is a myth, the average age is 19 and 44% are underage (figures from the Polaris project).

          For all the wife knows, she’s revictimising her husband’s rape victim.

          There. Fixed it for you.

          1. Esme Squalor*

            And even if she hasn’t been trafficked, outing her could potentially tank her family relationships and ruin any career she might have outside of sex work. It’s not her responsibility as a sex worker to make sure none of her clients are breaking marriage vows. That’s so unrealistic; would you expect a dancer at a strip club to demand proof a client is unmarried or a notarized letter from his wife saying it’s OK for him to be there if he is? That’s not their job. If some of a sex worker’s clients are cheating scumbags, that’s all on them.

            1. Trout 'Waver*

              And, if the client is married, it’s not on the sex worker to make sure client’s partner isn’t OK with it. Not all happy marriages are perfectly monogamous.

            2. Indie*

              It’s also not the wife’s job to vet, sort out or protect the escorts life. If the escort owes the wife nothing, then the reverse is also true

          2. Anlina*

            Polaris Project’s statistics are unreliable and unsupported by evidence or real data.

            The idea that 44% of sex workers are underage is absurd. It literally makes no sense if you know anything about sex work.

          3. The Other Katie*

            Even if she isn’t any of the above – and many sex workers are not – the wife still put her at risk by outing her. There’s no legal protection for sex workers as a class. She could be fired from her day job, evicted, ostracised by friends and family, and even potentially be at risk of physical violence, all for doing a job someone paid her to do and being caught in the crossfire of a failing marriage. It’s not OK.

        2. Candi*

          Right. Blame the guy who went and looked the escort up, made a deal with her, shared a hotel room and bed for the activities, etc. Not the women. He initiated the whole freaking mess.

        1. Layla*

          Acknowledging the reality of sex trafficking, pimps and drugs does not devalue the reality of consensual, adult sex work. I doubt the wife bothered to look into the situation.

          1. sunny-dee*

            Why is it her responsibility to look into the situation of every hooker and coworker her husband was banging and fathering children with behind her back?

            1. Courtney*

              And why is it the escort’s responsibility to investigate the marital status of every man she has sex with? (Hint:It’s not.)

            2. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

              The sex worker was providing a service that the husband paid for. She isn’t his lover and isn’t his friend. This is a business transaction and it isn’t on her to pry into the lives of customers. Oh, and it is on the husband to use proper protection against STIs since the condom is still the only effective method

              1. Noobtastic*

                Actually, not doing it at all is pretty effective, too.

                But that’s on the husband, as well.

                Personally, my take on this is that the two single women, who knew he was married, are guilty of adultery, and the escort was doing a job, and not “having an affair.” If it actually was an affair, then he wouldn’t have paid her for the time. He would have treated her exactly like his other lovers (including gifts, but not actual pay!), so I don’t think of her as an adulterer, like I do the other two mistresses. The fourth woman was his subordinate, at work, and with his history, I deeply suspect she was not his “mistress” so much as his victim of sexual harassment and power plays.

                All of which, of course, boils down to the “husband” being an absolute sleaze. Now, whether the wife responded well is up for debate (and what a debate!), but those who say she deserved the husband’s treatment, because right now, after being treated badly, she’s not behaving as an angel, are victim-blaming, and retro-actively blaming her for “causing” the ill-treatment, because AFTER the ill-treatment, she retaliates. You can’t know she was an awful wife. She might have been wonderful. All we really know about their marriage before the blow-up is that He Was A SLEEZE.

        2. Layla*

          You can be sex positive, and sex worker positive, without believing in the fiction that every escort is Brooke Magnanti.

        3. Mazzy*

          Outside of the situation that the person was coerced into the trade, it’s not unreasonable to have a less than favorable view of that type of, um, work. Honestly, what type of attitude do you think people should have?

          1. Anlina*

            People should recognize that sex work is work, that people decide to do given a range of imperfect options, and that transactional sex is no worse than any other kind of consensual sex. That sex workers are people and that stigma is harmful.

          2. DArcy*

            Yeah. In my book, the wife forfeits all sympathy for outing the sex worker. Going after the other women is justified, but a sex worker is a professional doing a job; her moral liability, so to speak, is zero.

            1. Noobtastic*

              “all” sympathy? That one thing counteracts all the damage done to her? You have no sympathy for her, anymore?

              That’s kind of sad. I think there’s room for nuance.

      3. zsuzsanna*

        But… the prostitute didn’t “ruin” the woman’s life. The husband who broke a commitment to his wife and went to said prostitute, did. This idea that it’s women’s collective job to civilize men and control their sexual urges, put the breaks on sex, dress in a way that doesn’t “distract’ men or boys – that’s what leads to where we are now, with Harvey Weinstein getting away with what he did, and the story moving on to blame those who didn’t “out” him. Let’s keep the blame where it belongs here.

        1. sunny-dee*

          I think all of you missed that I was replying to someone who said 1) that the wife ruined the prostitute’s life and 2) she was disgusted by the wife.

          The husband is HORRIBLE. Frankly, the women have an affair with a married man are also horrible (though it’s a diffused horribleness, whereas the husband’s is a focused horribleness). The wife may or may not be a good person, but it is absolutely insane to me to blame the wife for being mad at the prostitute.

          1. sin nombre*

            Can’t speak for everyone else, but I absolutely did not miss that, and it changes my opinion of your frankly bigoted comment not one iota.

        2. Ann O.*

          Harvey Weinstein hasn’t gotten away with anything. He’s kicked out of the company and the associated guilds and business associations. His reputation is in tatters, and he’s apparently being investigated for sexual assault. It’s not (at least yet) the fullness of what he deserves, but it’s not nothing either.

          I agree with the rest of your point about the story moving on.

          1. Noobtastic*

            I think they meant he had gotten away with it for years. He’s only now facing consequences, but for a long time, he did get away with it.

      4. Specialk9*

        Heads up that these days people are far more likely to judge YOU for saying things like this, than to judge a sex worker. Many illegal and non-specialized sex workers don’t have great options in life, but you can always find a way to be kind and compassionate rather than judgmental and dehumanizing.

        1. Layla*

          None of that was supposed to be dehumanising or judgemental. It was entirely the opposite. I’m all for consensual, non exploitative sex work. That doesn’t change the reality that the other kinds of sex work exist, and that the wife exposed this person to possible lifelong stigma for her husband’s betrayal and indiscretion.

          I’m only judging the wife. Even in the event that the escort was of age and consenting, there is a huge moral difference between a person doing a job for money (who likely knew nothing about his private life) and knowingly having an affair with a married man.

              1. sunny-dee*

                My point was that you shouldn’t have been judging the wife for blaming the prostitute’s reputation or being angry and hurt.

                1. Candi*

                  Emotional reactions are neither logical nor rational. The wife is entitled to feel all the feels she wants.

                  What people are objecting to is that: 1) women are vulnerable by default; 2) sex workers are also vulnerable; 3) the wife completely outed the escort top to bottom without taking this vulnerability into consideration.

                  Even if the escort is a free agent, she will probably have to move to get away from the social stigma and harassment and worse she will now face. Uproot her life, start over elsewhere. If she has a second job that’s a primary source of income, her employment there will likely be affected, and the results hard to explain in interviews.

                  If she’s bound to someone, it’s worse -and could bring harm to others if her pimp decides to have a conniption rather or in addition to moving her to another city. Such violence done is a lose-lose-lose for everyone, including the ideal of a law-abiding, forward-thinking society.

      5. Library HR*

        Obviously we don’t know the context here but a large number of “prostitutes” are not doing so by choice and see zero dollars of the money they “earn.”

      6. Sylvan*

        Did you mean to reply to another comment? The one you replied to raised the possibility that someone may have been a victim of sex trafficking.

      7. The Expendable Redshirt*

        I’ve worked with many professional escorts in my day. (These people all worked through an agency). A registered companion will take darn good care of their health. Protected sex is a must, and the staff undergo regular doctor’s exams.

        If anyone picked up on that Firefly reference, you get brownie points.

            1. Noobtastic*

              How can you shame me, in front of new people?

              Did anyone ever wonder if that meant he thought it was ok to shame a spouse in front of old friends? Ick.

    4. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I’m having a hard time judging the wife for her actions considering she also had her life ruined and was dealing with some pretty serious medical issues while her husband was out screwing around.

      1. SystemsLady*

        That’s not an excuse to ruin the “other woman”‘s life – the idea that you should and deserve to is a cultural trope I think we need to make efforts to reduce.

        (Am I judging her as a person for lashing out? Not necessarily. But I am certainly judging anybody who tells her “you go girl!”, not that I get the impression you would.)

        1. Specialk9*

          Exactly. This idea that the ‘other woman’ is at fault, when it’s the husband who took vows and then broke them? Disgusting and sexist.

          (I have the same opinions about other gender configurations, but this version is both culturally ubiquitous and toxic re gender.)

          1. sunny-dee*

            Except the wife ALSO (and rightly) blamed the husband. The other women aren’t innocent, just because the husband is more guilty.

            1. Noobtastic*

              Yeah. IF she blamed the women, ONLY, then I’d be absolutely disgusted at the wife. The fact that she blamed all of them makes her very sympathetic to me.

            2. Mike C.*

              The only person who violated their marriage vows was the husband. He is the only person to blame, and going after the other women is little more than petty revenge.

        2. Caro in the UK*

          I agree. Having something horrible happen to you does not give you an excuse to be horrible to innocent parties. And yes, I consider the escort an innocent party in this.

          1. Noobtastic*

            What if the escort was not being paid by the husband? What if the escort is a part-time job, and she also has “regular” work, and maybe they met when he hired her for a gig, but they continued the relationship as an actual affair, without him paying her for it.

            I don’t think of her as an adulterer, or blame her, if it was actually just doing her job, and getting paid for the sex, but if he stopped paying her, and the sex continued, then that does rather change things, doesn’t it?

            1. The Other Katie*

              “What if the escort is a part-time job, and she also has “regular” work, and maybe they met when he hired her for a gig, but they continued the relationship as an actual affair, without him paying her for it.”

              Honestly? This doesn’t happen nearly as often as the movies make it out. I mean, think about it. If you’re a lawyer and someone hired you to do some lawyering, would you then continue to act as a lawyer for that person for free when your retainer ran out? You would not. Most sex workers don’t either, for a variety of reasons.

          2. Agnes*

            If someone sells stolen goods, are they an innocent party because they didn’t do the original crime?

        3. Delphine*

          Aside from the sex worker (who is innocent here and only doing the job), if the other women knew he was married and were comfortable having an affair with him, they share a bit of the responsibility. The person taking the vows is the cheater, but if you have a relationship with that person while you know that it has the potential to deeply hurt the person’s spouse…you’re not innocent.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            I agree with this. If you knowingly and willingly hook up with someone who is otherwise committed, you are actively harming another person.

            I’m not saying I agree with all of the wife’s actions, but I also am not going to judge her for them. She had heart surgery and then found out her husband was cheating with multiple women and had a baby with one of them.

            1. Elfie*

              No, no you’re not actively harming another person if you’re having an affair with a married person. It’s just not that black-and-white, and I say that as someone who has been cheated on. You probably are, in a lot of circumstances, but who knows what goes on behind closed doors. Now that I’m married, it’s up to me to keep those vows, if they mean anything to me, not the rest of the world to do it for me. And if my husband ever cheated on me, I would blame him, not the other person, because it’s just not their responsibility. Would I hate them? Probably, I don’t know what I’d feel (because I trust my husband implicitly, and if I ever found out he had cheated on me my whole worldview would be shaken), but I couldn’t hold them responsible if he just couldn’t keep it in his pants.

          2. Mike C.*

            Nope, they didn’t make any marriage vows. If the husband didn’t sleep around this wouldn’t have been an issue.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        This. I don’t think it’s particularly wise to reason “If I have an affair with this married person, their spouse will definitely be really cool about it, and definitely not publicly out the affair in a way that I would find awkward. Their actions will instead be filtered through considering how to be personally fair to me and not complicate my life.”

        If people get into affairs for emotional reasons that have little to do with considering the big picture of moral ethics in the universe, they shouldn’t be surprised that the cheated on are lashing out from a similar starting point.

    5. argus*

      That’s an interesting perspective. I think that the reputations of the women who were not escorts probably took the biggest hit, though.

    6. Dawn*

      The only thing that gets me is, she’s lashing out at the other women, but her husband is the one that broke the marriage. These women may or may not have great moral character, but they also owed the wife nothing. And that doesn’t even take into account what he said to them, they probably thought she was some horrible monster and he was just some poor victim in a loveless marriage. All the blame needs to be put at his feet, he’s the one that messed up. I’m glad she left him, and did it loudly and publicly because he deserved it, but the other women didn’t need the legal troubles.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        She did blame him, she just didn’t stop there. And I believe that we do have a broad “first do no harm” guideline in our dealings with other people (even if they are out of sight), which includes not actively aiding and abetting other people who are harming them.

        This goes for covering up your friend’s embezzlement, too, even if you don’t work for their company and so it’s not like you made Ferris Corp any promises.

        1. Kismet*

          Yeah, this is what I don’t get about the whole “the other women who knew he was married didn’t do her any harm, they don’t owe her anything!” line of reasoning. That’s not a line we accept for any other immoral act. I get that people are trying to swing the pendulum back from blaming only the Other Woman, but I don’t think the right option is then the other extreme. If you know you’re sleeping with someone who is married, and you are not actually certain the spouse is okay with it (and no, his word doesn’t count, come on), then yes, you share some of the blame. Not all, not even most, but some, for deciding that your own jollies mattered more than emotional harm to another person.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            Seriously this.

            And I find it odd that people think the wife should have treated the escort different from the multitude of other women her husband was cheating with. Put yourself in her shoes. How would you feel if you went through heart surgery and then learned all the things she learned? Would you stop and think “gee, maybe I shouldn’t blame this sex worker who was just doing her job?” I’m guessing not.

            It’s easy for us to sit here outside the situation and say that we wouldn’t have done what she did, but I don’t think it’s right for us to judge so harshly someone who was so egregiously wronged for her reactions.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              Yes, this is an extreme version of ethical considerations that are easy to work out in the abstract being far harder when they are really happening with real people. And one of the people is you.

              The Good Place did the trolley problem just last night. Way harder when you aren’t just writing a brief essay about what you would do in this hypothetical, and your reasoning.

              In the hypothetical, I think she should have treated the escort differently. (Though I take the point upthread that being outed is a known risk of sex work.) But I’m also not surprised that in the heat of post-surgical exhaustion and rage, she didn’t cross all the ethics Ts perfectly.

            2. Paul*

              I can’t think of an exact analog, but I agree. It’s like…this is an act you *know* is harmful to another person. Sure you never swore fidelity to them, but you’re still directly participating in an act that you know is hurting someone. Expecting that someone *not* to blame you is really weird to me.

              I lean towards always defaulting to thinking the other person didn’t know, I think, but if you know they did, you have every right to be pissed as hell.

      2. seejay*

        So while I can agree that people sometimes are in bad marriages and start new relationships with others while still in them and sometimes the other person on the other end of the the affair doesn’t owe the cheated on spouse anything if they hear that he/she is a horrible loveless monster, there’s a way to conduct a relationship in this way that doesn’t make it an explodey drama-filled mess.

        My best friend’s dad was in a horrible abusive loveless marriage and wound up having an affair as a result. His girlfriend found out not long after that he was married. She could have stayed with him and kept everything hidden while he stayed living with his wife and let it escalate into a huge blow up (like the above description). Instead, she laid out the conditions on the table in order to protect herself: if you want a relationship with me and you mean it, leave your wife and we’ll work things out. He moved out that week, filed for divorce a few months later, married his gf and they’ve been together since.

        In short, if the person is still living with their spouse and telling the person their cheating with a bunch of excuses but does nothing to change it, buyer beware. He/she is probably in the “relationship” for the ya-yas and is flim-flamming their way through others and has no intention of changing the status quo. If they really mean something and want more out of it, the person that gets involved with them should do something to protect themselves from potential fallout if everything goes pear-shaped.

  7. Say what, now?*

    OP #3, this is an amazing turn of events. But I would hold off on the curt response to the bad recruiter since you never know when they might be able to hook you up with a choice position.

    1. Specialk9*

      Exactly. You already gave one
      (in my mind inappropriately) huffy curt email. I’d go uber gracious and let them find the lesson learned themselves.

  8. CBH*

    OP1 – it sounds like things worked out for the best.

    Quick question – I am curious if Arya ever confronted Sansa about being used in negotiations? I would have been furious if I was Arya.

    1. OP1*

      Nope, Arya never did confront Sansa. In the end, Arya felt badly about how Sansa had been treated by the company, and didn’t want to make things harder for her.

      1. Say what, now?*

        I get that Arya feels badly that the company discriminated against Sansa (at least pay-wise), but man she’s a better person than I am. It wasn’t her fault that payroll was what it was. Meanwhile, Sansa just trashed her personal recommendation power at the other company. Totally disregarded that it would make Arya look unprofessional… I would have told Sansa off. +100,000 to Arya for her compassion.

        1. CBH*

          You said exactly what I was thinking. I think Sansa was looking at everything as 1 issue, but in reality it was at least 2 (pay and position). Two wrongs don’t make a right. If I remember correctly the company did give Sansa a raise. It must be challenging for a company to suddenly rearrange their budget for a huge payroll increase. I think if Sansa had stayed longer could have been done at an annual review and additional benefits in the interm. No it wasn’t right for the company to discriminate against Sansa, but maybe it wasn’t a discrimination issue – maybe Sansa’s work was only that of a lower salary and Sansa complained in such a way to make it appear to be discrimination (ie the counterpart could have been a superb superstar despite Sansa’s work being way above average). We don’t know the company’s side of the story. Secondly Sansa owes Arya a huge apology. Arya’s now got to rebuild her reputation with her former company and current company. Sansa also destroyed a potential network contact, trust and friendship. Honestly if I were Arya I would of, as professionally as possible, told Sansa her actions were way off. It is funny that Sansa is suddenly conducting salary negocition workshops. Wouldn’t it be funny if Arya showed up to the workshop? I’m sure if Sansa was willing to pull such actions once to get what she wants, despite a workshop leadership, her reputation will proceed her. Thank you for answering OP. Keep us posted if anything comes about

  9. Multiple Emails*

    #1. So Sansa, who is good at her job and has shown to be a successful designing entrepreneur on the side, has repeatedly been passed over for promotion, and has been paid less than others, because she is female and the others are male? This situation reads more like classic gender discrimination with the bonus of Sansa being demonized because she dared to be ambitious.

    1. Delphine*

      AAM addressed this in her response to the original letter. Sansa may have had legitimate complaints, but she shot herself in the foot when she tried to get a promotion the way she did.

    2. Myrin*

      There were huge threads about this very topic in the comment section of the original letter, I don’t think it’d be fruitful in any way to rehash that here.

    3. Esme Squalor*

      It’s very possible there were issues of gender discrimination at play here, but that doesn’t change that Sansa behaved with a total lack of professionalism here. Even if started out with completely valid issues, she severely lost the higher ground by behaving how she did.

      1. Alice*

        It’s not a see-saw, where the company gets the higher ground as a result of Sansa diving down the hill. I hope that she behaves more judiciously in her new job, but I really hope that OP’s company takes a look at their approach to pay equity. After all, OP said that when Sansa brought up the disparity between her salary and that of a male coworker, with similar experience, in the same role, they gave her a small bump but not parity.
        Actually, now I’m starting to wonder — if mentorship and coaching at this organization happened to be focused on men, not women, then it’s even less surprising that Sansa went off the rails. No evidence of that, of course, and one shouldn’t need coaching to figure out that Sansa’s approach was over the top, but she’s inexperienced and will probably learn. I hope she thrives at her new organization and gains the maturity to realize that she should apologize to Arya.

    4. WeevilWobble*

      The only thing she has to apologize for is her behavior toward Arya. And even then I doubt she intended to turn it down when she asked for the rec. Focusing on her own business while working part time probably seemed like a great idea, at the time. But when it became reality she realized the hit she’d take.

      The business behaved very poorly and Sansa felt she could throw caution to the wind because she had fall back plans.

      Now she has a good gig and the company still has inexperienced Fergus.

      1. Candi*

        Except Sansa tanked her backup plans and turned down the offer before going back and insisting she get the promotion.

        If she was equivalent across the board to male workers and not getting parity, there’s ways to handle it without making your name mud (in that aspect) at two companies. (‘Mud’ because you cause EEOC ‘trouble’ by insisting on the law being followed is a different matter.) Escalating through HR, and to an EEOC complaint if necessary, was a viable next move. Instead, she burned huge amounts of political capital on an approach that makes her look scattershot and having a lack of common sense. Worse, those optics then give the company something to “justify” their bias.

    5. Katherine*

      Do we know how the OP knows Sansa/whether she knows for sure that Sansa is so good? Because if “the person who makes more than me isn’t more qualified” and “Fergus isn’t as qualified as I am” are just coming from Sansa, I wouldn’t take them as gospel truth.

  10. WeevilWobble*

    It’s too bad that marraige didn’t work out. They seem to be a perfect match of horrible people.

    1. AKchic*

      I don’t think so.

      On one side you have a wife who was, by all accounts, faithful and devoted to her husband. She had medical issues that did result in HEART SURGERY.
      How did her husband repay her for the temerity of having medical issues to the point of open heart surgery?
      He cheated on her with at minimum, four women and fathered a child with one of them. He had no shame and didn’t even bother hiding it from her well enough so she could gather the information to collect a whole dossier to file lawsuits against the mistresses (as her legal right is in that state).
      She went scorched earth because I’m sure that he was bad-mouthing her to each of these “ladies” he was horizontally dancing with. He was using marital funds (because I’m sure that the cost of wooing all of these ladies was eating into the budget of their mutual home/bills budget, thus some of HER salary was going towards the gifts, hotel costs, restaurant costs and CHILD SUPPORT).
      And had she kept quiet for the benefit of these “classy ladies” (who all knew about her), then he would have bad-mouthed her during the divorce. How he heroically nursed her back to health and what did he get in return? A divorce for no reason! She’s ungrateful, that one!
      No – she outed him because she had no reason to keep his infidelity a secret. She also did a favor to anyone else thinking of becoming Mrs. Cheater. He’ll make you a Mrs, but he won’t make you his Only. You’ll just be the one he keeps at home while he shtupps every other strumpet that will fall for his song and dance. Hope each and every woman who sleeps with this cad has a punch card for the nearest STD clinic, because they are probably going to need it. And no, that’s not a condemnation of sex work, that’s just a fact. I can guarantee that he was rawdogging the pregnant girlfriend because once she was pregnant, why bother with protection? Do you *really* trust the word of a guy who has blatantly been cheating on his medically fragile wife for over a year with 4 (or more) women? I don’t.

      I don’t blame the (soon-to-be-ex) wife one bit. Was she dramatic? Yes. Was she messy? Yes. Did she drive her point deep into the hearts of everyone who had a hand in embarrassing her, risking her health, sanity, financial-wellbeing, and dignity? Yes.
      That woman deserves this. Those mistresses deserve to squirm, and ultimately, the “husband” should be the one feeling every single ounce of shame, pain, embarrassment and any other negative consequence he can be feeling because he is the one who started all of this.

      1. McWhadden*

        Anyone who brings co-workers into her mess or outs sex workers is just plain a bad person.

        The only person who made a vow to her was her husband. That she wants to destroy all of these lives even women just doing their job is because she’s terrible.

      2. WeevilWobble*

        Health problems don’t excuse being awful. The husband is reaponsible for his own behavior.
        That’s it.

        She wants to out and embarrass the women he cheated with? Fine. She wants to SUE them based on an antiquated concept barred in most civilized places? That’s ridiculous. None of them caused the husband’s alienated affections. He strayed on his own.

        And then the escort? That’s when you know this is truly a vile woman.

        1. AKchic*

          They benefitted from her salary (because the original letter did state that she made her own money, and it was good money if I recall). He paid for hotels, gifts, an escort, plus strip clubs, not to mention child support (and probably medical support) for one mistress and their putative child – all while she was receiving serious medical treatment and working and being a devoted wife.

          Do you not think that this woman deserves that money back? They knew about her. They knew there was no way he could have lavished that much money on them without it coming from somewhere. Sorry, but if he has a house and bills to pay plus a sick, working wife – just where does money come from? Are they so naïve as to think that it sprouts from the very ground he walks on? Perhaps the undies he leaves on the floor?
          We all know Mr. Cheater doesn’t have the money any longer. His mistresses have either consumed (edible) the money or are wearing it (gifts). The (soon-to-be) Mrs. might as well get what she can back if she can prove that he spent some of her hard-earned money on them. It’s not like SHE benefited from his gadding about.

          1. WeevilWobble*

            Yes, this woman does not deserve money from these women. Obviously. Most states don’t allow alienation of affections claims because they are insane.

            They thought his money came from his job. Where he worked. Which is how this story came out.

            He is the one who should pay her back. And it was pretty short-sighted to make sure he got fired if she thinks she deserves that money back. Not that I think that part was wrong. But it’s between those two. That’s it. Naming and shaminh escorts just trying to live their lives and get by makes this woman not remotely sympathetic.

            Money on strippers wasn’t spent on his girlfriends so I don’t even understand that point. You think he took his girlfriends to strip clubs?

            Are you seriously suggesting his child doesn’t deserve child support? What did the child do?

            1. Candi*

              The child support, legally, comes from the non-custodial parent and their finances, assests, etc.

              He has no legal right to use his wife’s finances to support that child unless she specifically gave permission. Lawyers prefer to have that kind of permission in writing for a reason.

              If he can prove, via perponderance of the evidence or whatever the civil standard is in his state, that only his money went to the child, that’s different manner.

              It’s long been considered epically bad manners to openly use your wife’s money to visit brothels and prostitutes, or pay for your mistress, even in patriarchal cultures. A Victorian man married to a wealthy woman or one with a healthy income legally had control of her finances, until the laws changed -but even then, using more then a basic allowance at the local brothel was frowned on.

          2. Barelyprofessional*

            I 100% agree. If you blow up someone’s life be prepared for yours to get blown up. When you cross the boundaries of basic decency I don’t think the person you’ve participated in hurting owes you anything. Also the idea that somehow if you aren’t married to someone you have no obligation to not be a jerk to them is weird.

        2. Decloaking lawya*

          She wants to SUE them based on an antiquated concept barred in most civilized places? That’s ridiculous.

          It’s not ridiculous if the statute still exists in the place where she lives, regardless of whether you deem it “civilized” (which is quite the racist term).

      3. Kismet*

        Yeah, this. The idea that the wife needs to just be silent and not “out” either her cheating husband or the other women involved (who, let’s remember, all knew he had a wife, so they’re all partly culpable here) is really disgusting. It’s another variant on “good women don’t rock the boat” – she should just quietly divorce him and not let it get “messy” or she’s somehow a horrible person.

        He made it messy. She’s making sure he gets at least some well-deserved backlash for what he did.

        1. SarahM*

          She didn’t just out them. She is suing them, which is insane. And she publicly outted a sex worker, who was just doing a job. Oh, and out co-workers in the middle.

          Yes he made it messy. Not an escort.

          She is terrible.

          1. WeevilWobble*

            My computer auto-filled SarahM, which is a different handle elsewhere. I’m Weevil not trying to pull a fast one or anything. Sorry.

          2. Traffic_Spiral*

            She’s not being terrible, she’s just giving them a bit of their own medicine. They didn’t care if their actions hurt her – she’s not obligated to care if her actions hurt them. After all, she never made any vows to those women, did she?

    2. Noobtastic*

      When my nephew was being bullied at school, he told me, “The teachers only see the person who hits back. They never notice the person who hits first.”

      The wife was treated HORRIBLY, and because she retaliated, you believe that she deserved the initial bad treatment, and that surely she was a horrible, abusive monster wife, and the poor, put upon husband was only going to FOUR different women for relief from being married to this horrible person. Horrible. Your word.

      You know, she may have been a horrible wife. That doesn’t alter the fact that he was an absolute sleaze-bag who mistreated her, and that we ABSOLUTELY KNOW FOR SURE. Your theory that she was a horrible person is just conjecture based on the way she finally responded after who-knows-how-many-years of this kind of abuse? Including cheating on her, endangering her, and spending her money, while she was under the knife for heart surgery!

      1. Someone Else Needs The Wood*

        This is the best comment Ive read on this letter and has a lot of truth to it. The amount of slander towards the wife and sympathy towards the sex worker is mind numbing. Two wrongs don’t make a right but the mental gymnastics in these comments is ridiculous. The wife was wronged. Outting the sex worker was also wrong however to say that the wife is 100% the villain is ridiculous.

  11. Winger*

    Re #1, I am genuinely curious how an entry level employee who displays this level of judgment would end up getting asked to speak about salary negotiation in her industry.

    1. McWhadden*

      Sounds like she’s no longer an entry level employee since she’s “doing quite well for herself.” And who knows what her negotiation was like for her current job.

    2. Decloaking lawya*

      The answer is that contrary to the conventional wisdom on this blog, gumption can produce results. She didn’t get her promotion, but her side business and her ambition got her noticed elsewhere.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Eh. Maybe. Maybe not. It’s really, really easy to speak at conferences and it often doesn’t take any actual expertise, especially on something like that topic.

        1. Candi*

          I remember a story I read once (here? elsewhere?) where the new kid at a nonprofit was at their first job out of undergrad. They had a boss who was going to do a presentation at a conference, and newbie helped them prepare it.

          Boss had a family emergency. The non-profit was short staffed, and it wasn’t something they felt comfortable letting a volunteer do.

          The kid got the job. And while they didn’t knock it out of the park, they did receive lots of good words on how well they did.

          So, it happens.

  12. Interviewer*

    I get so excited when I see a post with multiple updates! I love finding out how things ended up. Is it just me?

    1. offonaLARK*

      I agree, though I love long-update-single-posts too. Especially ones that turn out well… or crazy. <3

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I love them.

      In part for the emerging themes, like both “I am struggling with outside problem but concealing it perfectly at work” and “I am struggling with outside problem and figure surely my manager has noticed” can be wrong.

    3. Boötes*

      Me too! I’d love to hear back about Michelle (who changed at lunch, often looking sufficiently different on return to cause confusion) and from Deborah (the bookkeeper with Kafkaesque dealings between the bank and business). I’m hoping Michelle can largely keep doing what she’s doing and Deborah’s manager realizes the error of her ways.

  13. Re: Cheating Boss*

    I went out with a guy who I had known for a year or two. I had heard that he was going through a divorce. When we talked for the first time, he told me that he was divorced. Six months later, after he had introduced me to his family, he told me that he was legally married but that they had been living separately and seeing other people for about a decade. I ended the relationship on the spot. I didn’t want to be involved with someone who was married and had been dishonest about it.

    But he kept calling. He would ask to talk one last time. I’d arrange to meet up with him and then he’d cancel at the last minute. It was no fun.

    It was hard to avoid him because we were in a small community and had a lot of friends in common. He kept trying to spend time with me. I talked to him a few more times. Then I moved far away.

    When I was back in town, I saw him. I sort of gave things the benefit of the doubt because it seemed like he was being honest about his relationship status. There were some surrounding circumstances that made it understandable. It was then that I noticed that his wife’s things were definitely in the house and he had been telling me they all belonged to him and that he had feminine taste! I think she really did have her own place and didn’t live there full time, but who knows. I still feel disgusted and embarrassed. I went back home and stopped returning his phone calls. I cut off contact with most of our mutual friends as well. They hadn’t been very nice to me the whole time, including before he and I started seeing each other. I was glad to get away from some of them; there were other issues there.

    I’m not sure how much this relates to the cheating boss story, but some people are really good at lying and convincing people to get into that kind of situation. I haven’t dated anyone since. I think I’ll have to start asking for proof of marital status on the first date. Not really. But it has reminded me that “friends first” is a good approach.

  14. Barelyprofessional*

    I cannot get behind the argument that in a situation of infidelity only your spouse should be reproached. Your spouse took a vow so the betrayal is more intimate and weighted but if you cheat with a married person you have broken the implicit do not deliberately hurt people rule in society which, well, makes you a jerk. It’s not a betrayal of intimate trust but it’s knowingly doing something that will hurt someone and you should be prepared to face the consequences. People freak out when others cut in line in front of them because that breaks the societal expectation of basic decency and fairness so not sure why infidelity would be different. And, unfortunately the same applies to the sex worker. If you perform a job for someone that you know they are both hiding from their partner and has repercussions for the partner be prepared for repercussions in your own life. In essence if you make someone’s life miserable be ready for yours to get nasty too.

    1. Traffic_Spiral*

      Yeah, or at least you don’t get to whine when the person you hurt doesn’t particularly mind hurting you back. You were the one that decided on the “not my spouse, not my problem” rule, and well, guess who isn’t your spouse?

    2. PlainJane*

      Well said. When you choose to be party to something unethical, that makes you at least somewhat unethical yourself, and you shouldn’t be surprised when the situation blows up in your face.

  15. Corrosion Guy*

    I think gob-on-a-stick is a derogatory slang term for skinny woman (also mouth on a stick), and I was surprised to see it here. Combined with the phrase “lady agency” it looked to me like it was very inappropriate.

    1. Jenna*

      Yeah, I saw someone above equate it to moon on a stick – those idioms really aren’t related at all and gob on a stick is definitely not complimentary.

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