do I need to work with the woman my father had an affair with?

A reader writes:

I am employed by a nonprofit that works with low-income students. I love my job and think my doing it has a positive impact on others. I like my boss and coworkers. We also have an employee who kind of works as an assistant who does data input and organizes our lecture schedules.

We are hiring a new person for that position and our manager sent us a shortlist of people she was considering. She asked us if we had any input/prior interaction with the candidates. The problem is, I do, and I don’t know how to broach it with her.

I don’t think I can work professionally with one of the candidates — let’s call her Cersei. We used to be friends and she was my roommate for a brief time, including when I was hired by this organization — so they know I know her.

However, a few months ago I walked in on Cersei and my father having sex. It turned out that they had been having a full-blown affair for as long as we’d been roommates. Apparently one of the reasons she’d moved in with me was to be closer to him.

I’ve completely cut Cersei out of my life (my father is obviously also complicit, but my mom is staying married to him, so). I don’t really trust myself to interact with her without going all Septa Unella SHAME on her — and now there’s a chance she’s going to be hired into a position I’d have to frequently work with her in.

My questions are these: the manager asked us to tell her if we had any input on the hiring decision. What do I say? Do I have the grounds to say anything? Because I actually think Cersei’s a decent fit for the position but there’s no way in hell I can work with her. If Cersei is hired, how can I work with her? Because I love this job and don’t want Cersei to be the reason I quit.

You can absolutely say something to your manager, and you don’t need to divulge the entire situation (unless you choose to).

If I were considering hiring someone, I’d sure as hell want to know that it was going to make one of my existing employees so uncomfortable that they’d need to quit — and I’d want to know that before I made any hiring decisions, not after.

Sometimes in this situation people feel like there’s something fundamentally unfair about “preventing” someone from getting a job for personal reasons like these. But managers consider interpersonal issues all the time in hiring. It’s not uncommon to take into consideration that there’s tension between a candidate and a current employee, or that they have a bad history, or that something about the relationship might introduce weirdness that your workplace would be better off without. Hell, even when there are no negative emotions in play, relationships can still be relevant — like you might choose not to hire someone onto a small team where their spouse already works, or even their sister-in-law or so forth. We are humans, and relationships matter at work — often deeply matter.

So if your manager is decent, she’ll want to know that you don’t feel you can work with Cersei. What’s more, she’s asking you for your input!

There are a few different ways you can say it, depending on how much you want to disclose.

One option is to say, “Cersei and I had a serious falling out, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable working with her. If you’re seriously considering hiring her, would you talk to me first?” That way, if she doesn’t end up a finalist, you don’t have to get into any details — but if she does, you’ll have flagged that there’s more you want to say before any decisions are made.

Another option is to say, “Cersei did something that really hurt me and members of my family and caused a lot of pain. I’ve had to end all contact with her, and she’s not someone I could comfortably work with.”

If an employee said that to me, that would be all I needed to hear — and doubly so with a fairly low-level position like this one where it’s unlikely that good candidates are scarce.

But if your manager seems to need to hear more, there’s nothing wrong with briefly filling her in, if you’re comfortable doing that. “She had an affair with my father, and apparently moved in with me as a tactic to be closer to him” is and should be damning.

If your manager is willing to hire Cersei after hearing what a major problem it would create for you and why … well, that’s a crappy manager, and I bet it’s not going to happen.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 597 comments… read them below }

  1. Fortitude Jones*

    Another option is to say, “Cersei did something that really hurt me and members of my family and caused a lot of pain. I’ve had to end all contact with her, and she’s not someone I could comfortably work with.”

    I would go with this option – the first one offered is too vague and if I heard that as a hiring manager, I would think it was something petty and would probably not take it seriously. This option lets the hiring manager know the severity of the situation without putting all of everyone’s business out in the street.

    Dang, OP, this is messed up. I’m sorry you’re in this situation, but hopefully, your former friend won’t even be a serious contender.

    1. Lance*

      Yeah, I agree with this; if you’re going to say anything at all, make it meaningful (because what happened very much is meaningful; what a thing for that woman to do). That way, it’s a lot more serious than just ‘I don’t like this person’, where you might be encouraged to try and work things out.

      1. Felicia*

        I like Allison’s advice to keep in vague, but in this case I wonder if it might be helpful to give some details – specifically, the fact that Cersei moved in with LW to be near her father. The fact that she now seems to be repeating this psychotic behavior by applying to work with LW actually speaks to her professional behavior, so this is no longer just a personal issue.
        If Cersei wants to be a lunatic on her time, that’s one thing. If she is going to bring it into the workplace – which she has already done just by applying – then the manager has a right to know.

        1. Oxford Comma*

          I wouldn’t get too in the weeds on this until I had to. Too much detail and now you’re in territory where either you or the person you’re talking to start focusing on a detail rather than the big picture.

            1. MCMonkeyBean*

              Yeah, I hadn’t thought about that and if she’s really a good fit for the the role then hopefully it’s a coincidence–but if the boss is not swayed by the more vague approach it may be worth saying something like “she has a history of manipulating her way into my life to get closer to someone romantically and I am concerned this application may be part of that pattern. ” That really should be a very serious red flag for the boss!!

          1. Hey Nonnie*

            I would also explicitly say that her past behavior demonstrated highly questionable judgment on her part. Regardless of the details, this is something a good manager would want to know, since most jobs require making judgment calls sooner or later.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I think details are only necessary if prompted for them. I would lead with Alison’s specific-but-not-overly-specific scripts.

        3. boo bot*

          I agree that the details aren’t necessary when first bringing it up, but I think Felicia is right that this specific piece of it – that Cersei moved in with LW for the purpose of being closer to her father – is important to say.

          “She had an affair with my father,” is definitely enough that any manager with a reasonable understanding of human behavior would decide to avert the situation, but this was much worse – Cersei used LW on a pretty grand scale in order to facilitate the affair with her father, and under those circumstances, even applying for the job is a red flag (assuming she knows that her former roommate works there).

        4. Mamunia*

          This, all the way. Since Cersei was her roommate while OP was working here, she presumably knows where OP works. That she is applying for a position working closely with OP after all of this, is really inappropriate, boundaries wise. Which, judging from her previous actions, is not unusual behavior for her. As a hiring manager, I’d be concerned about her judgement.

      2. RUKiddingMe*

        Not to derail, but “what a thing for a woman to do?”

        Let’s not forget that OP’s father was the one committing adultery, knew his girlfriend moved in with his daughter in order to be closer to him, and was *just* if not even *more* complicit in the whole thing.

        Maybe not shame just OP’s former friend alone ok?

        Alison, delete me if you must. I had to say it. It’s all I’m going to say though.

        1. Sarah N*

          The father is not applying for a job at the LW’s company, though. If he were, I would imagine it would be just as relevant (if not more so!) for her to mention it to her boss.

        2. Lance*

          To be frank, I’m not even going to try and say the father’s blameless in this; he’s not, by any stretch. But ultimately, the focus of the letter is on Cersei, not him, and she herself bears plenty of blame in this, not least of all (no doubt) knowing the man she was pursuing was married. It wasn’t my best choice of words, I won’t deny that (nor that I’m often bad at choosing my words; I’m still, slowly, trying to work on it), but that particular comment was in regards to her moving in with OP specifically to chase after the father.

          1. Burned Out Supervisor*

            I think there are definitely people who actively seek out married people as partners, both women and men. There are also people who don’t view that person’s marital status as their problem (“I’m not the one cheating, I’m not married!”). The issue, IMO, isn’t about casting the blame solely on the non-married person, but instead asking questions about what those choices say about that person’s character and is this behavior a bellwether for how she will behave in the role? Maybe it says nothing about how she would behave professionally, but, IMO, I would be skeptical about this person’s ethics. In my experience, people who do this kind of stuff (blowing up a family) are generally sketchy people.

        3. Nic*

          True…but on the other hand, we’re not discussing family dynamics here, but OP’s work dynamics. If her father was also applying for this job, then we’d be discussing him too, but he didn’t, so there’s little need to bring him into the situation.

        4. HQetc*

          Just for clarification, because I originally read Lance’s comment the same way: Lance actually said “*that* woman,” not “*a* woman.”

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            Ah! Reading comprehension fail…egg all over my face. In light of this I stand chastened and rebuked. I’d like to blame it on lack of caffeine, but I’ve had three coffees already, so…it’s just me.

                1. RUKiddingMe*

                  Oh yay spring. I’ve been really excited. Even broke out some sandals. Then it started raining…and raining…
                  Seattle man ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        5. President Porpoise*

          This was absolutely fated to derail. Let’s not pretend that this comment wasn’t intended to reignite the old debates we’ve had dozens of times on this site.

          As for the substance- I’m with Lance. The fact that this woman used OP to unknowingly facilitate the affair by becoming her roommate makes this egregious beyond the point where the standard “they’re both complicit, so why ate you picking on the woman” argument works, imo.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            “Let’s not pretend that this comment wasn’t intended to reignite the old debates we’ve had dozens of times on this site.”

            Because of course you know my intentions better than I do.

        6. Elizabeth West*

          Oh, absolutely. But Cersei used the OP to get closer to him, and hell to the no. I wouldn’t want to work with her either.

          Also, I kind of feel like GoT names are super appropriate in this one because DRAMA.

    2. Sansa (OP)*

      Hi! Yeah, that’s the option I think I am going to go with. I am actually meeting with the manager later today and will bring it up then. Unfortunately, one of my co-workers who I confided in told me that Cersei is one of the three getting interviews. Fingers crossed that it goes well!

      1. Amber Rose*

        Come back and let us know! I have my fingers and toes crossed that your manager takes your concern seriously.

        And don’t feel weird about bringing it up. You have a right to feel comfortable and safe at work, and it’s pretty normal to bring up these kinds of concerns.

      2. Yvette*

        I love when OPs comment real-time. I hope it works out for you, please keep us updated. I think you are right to go with the slightly more specific version “something that really hurt me” rather than “serious falling out”. Good luck!!

        1. boo bot*

          Yes, “serious falling out” suggests to me that both parties may be at fault, and this situation… is not that.

      3. Don*

        > Unfortunately, one of my co-workers who I confided in told me that Cersei is one of the three getting interviews

        Meaning that one of your other coworkers now knows this story, so if Cersei gets hired she’d be working not just next to you but next to other people who know she had an affair with your married father? Hoo boy. That is… I’m uncomfortable with the idea that a hiring manager should consider such a personal thing (as opposed to adding a team member who would make an existing employee so unhappy) but perhaps that should be a consideration as well? A hire who would come into a situation not just where someone would be unable to work with them but with other new coworkers who’d know the salacious reason why is just a horrible situation.

        1. Sansa (OP)*

          It’s only the one co-worker who knows, and she mostly only knows because we were friends previously and because she let me sleep on her couch while I found somewhere else to live. When I walked in on Cersei and my dad, we only had a few days left on our lease- but I could absolutely not stay there for one more minute.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Wait, you walked in on them in your own apartment?!?!???

            Cersei is next-level tacky and trifling. I am so sorry, OP.

            1. Fortitude Jones*

              Right? This is too much. I wouldn’t want that constant reminder everyday at my job, either.

            2. Sansa (OP)*

              Yeah. I’d gotten in late the night before because I was helping my sister move. I woke up early and went to the bathroom. Cersei’s bedroom has a door directly into the bathroom and it was open- and I saw Cersei and my dad naked in her bed, either in the act or right after it.

              1. Heidi*

                I am dying of second-hand cringe. I also think it’s bad that he wasn’t helping your sister move. It’s not the worst thing he did, obviously, but he’s losing even more points because of it.

                1. boo bot*

                  Especially if, say, the REASON he wasn’t helping is because he knew Sansa would be out of the house helping her sister move and it would be a good time to go see Cersei.

                2. Sansa OP*

                  No, my dad was also helping my sister move. I usually sleep late, so whether he came over late in the night or early in the morning, I don’t know.

              2. Myrin*

                Can I just say, OP, that you’re handling this with a lot of poise and dignity (and even a little bit of dry humour)? What an absolutely awful situation, but so far I commend you for every step you’ve taken!

                1. Sansa OP*

                  Thank you so much! Honestly that means a lot to me. This situation has seriously sucked, but it’s also cemented how resilient I am

              3. tangerineRose*

                I’m so sorry you had to go through this. For her and your father to do this where you lived, with a door open when you could have (and did) walk in any time, it adds an extra level of horrible to the whole thing.

          2. Artemesia*

            Given this fact I would be totally frank and not try to vague it. I would assume in your position that she is again trying to get close to you, perhaps to stick it to you. I would give it the full on factual.

        2. Move Over Thrawn - Florian Munteanu is BIGGER than you!*

          Then Cersei really should have considered how her actions might have affected her future. This is all on her.

          1. Sansa (OP)*

            Thank you! This is the perspective I am trying to have. Also, what was she thinking? That we’d still be friends?

            1. Works in IT*

              Probably that you would still be asleep and your father left. Which makes me wonder how they would have gotten him out of the apartment if you’d not seen them and started going about your day in the apartment common areas.

            2. BadWolf*

              It’s wacky on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (well, I think it is still bad on the tv show, actually). Not going to work out in real life.

            3. Move Over Thrawn - Florian Munteanu is BIGGER than you!*

              This reminds me so much of the movie Poison Ivy.

              1. Jen S. 2.0*

                That movie was some hilarious trash. Possibly some of Drew Barrymore’s finest work.

      4. ChimericalOne*

        Good luck! Please do your best to be clear & firm while remaining calm & matter-of-fact — I know how hard it can be to hold your ground sometimes. They might push on you a little to see how serious you are, so consider whether you’re willing to be explicit (Alison’s language is really good & nails the two important points succinctly) if they press for details, and it’s worth considering whether you do want to add something along the lines that you no longer consider her to be an ethical person.

        I hope you are able to make them understand.

      5. animaniactoo*

        If you have any lingering doubts about “would be a decent fit for the position”, think about this: Would it really benefit your org to have somebody who is so lacking in ethical boundaries that they would deliberately move in with the not-in-the-know daughter of their lover in order to facilitate their affair?

        I mention this as an outlook because people who are willing to cross one ethical boundary are usually not reluctant to cross it in another place when it benefits them. So if anyone does need more information, you can say that, you don’t want to violate the privacy of anyone involved unless they really need to know, but that it was a purposeful choice on Cersei’s part which consciously violated serious ethical boundaries.

        1. ragazza*

          I was just going to say this. One the one hand, I don’t want to judge people on their personal life choices, but I would definitely be concerned about this kind of behavior and how it might affect professional decisions.

        2. Sansa (OP)*

          Thank you for talking about this perspective. We work with vulnerable people and it’s not like I trust her to be a halfway decent person anymore.

          I used to think she was kind and a good person who wanted to help people. Wow but she has a shitty way of going about that.

          1. Harper the Other One*

            If you work with vulnerable populations, this is extra reason to bring it up. You could consider adding a line to what you say about “given what happened, I’m very concerned about her breaching boundaries with our clients.”

            1. AKchic*


              She’s not a kind and good person. She’s a manipulative person who puts on a kind and good act in order to get what she wants. That is not the type of person you want working with vulnerable people.

              On top of all that, she applied for a job where you work. Either you haven’t left the company since you two were roommates (so she knew you’d be there), or this is a highly suspect coincidence… unless she is still talking to your father (which, given the givens, is still a likelihood). The whole thing doesn’t pass the sniff test to me.

              1. Cg1254*

                I’m not certain why OP states Cersei moved in with the intention of continuing an affair/staring one. It is a poor thing to do but does not mean Cersei is some manipulative near-criminal mastermind

                1. Sansa*

                  Hi, OP here. I stated it because that’s one of the things Cersei told me I’m the aftermath of the affair. It’s one of the things that hurt me a lot and I wanted to give a bit of context to the situation. Then again, I’m the writer & the one who has had to deal with this, so what seems important to me might not seem as such to others! I hope that clarifies.

        3. Batgirl*

          I think the ethical slant is absolutely going to matter to a hiring manager. If hiring managers are going to swerve someone who is rude to the receptionist then yeah they are probably going to pass on ‘treats their roommate and living situation like garbage to the point of trauma’ – esp when it’s an existing employee!

        4. CmdrShepard4ever*

          I have to disagree with this point, while I am sure there are people who have no qualms about crossing any ethical boundaries, I think there are also plenty of people who might cheat and cross ethical lines personally, but they behave very respectfully and are great employees professionally.

          But I agree with Alison that in this situation the company should not hire that person because of the trouble it would cause OP.

          1. Anna*

            I think in this particular context, if shows a lack of consideration for people, even people Cersei claims are friends. That probably would translate over into interpersonal relationships in the office.

          2. HQetc*

            Maybe (for me the jury is out on the question) but in this case specifically, Cersei applied for a job *where the OP works.* (I am assuming she knows the OP works there, given they were living together for part of the time she’s been at this job). I think if Cersei was one of those people capable of being a great, ethical employee she would have passed this job by.

            1. Sansa OP*

              She actually drove me to one of my training sessions for this job! This is a garbage situation

              1. Autumnheart*

                It’s like Single White Female meets Electra complex. What the hell is she trying to do? Take over your life like a pod person? “First, I’ll ruin her family, and then I’ll make her move out, and now I’ll get her to leave her job.” I hope this person never finds out about anyone you decide to date. Creepy times a million.

                1. Sansa*

                  The idea that this is stuff to directly target me is a creepy one. I don’t really think that’s the case, but I’m also definitely watching my back. My trust has been stamped on and shat upon!

                2. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

                  Ah, she didn’t ruin the family. OP’s father chose that–after all, I’m sure he was willing. Honestly, I’m stunned OP didn’t scream at her father.

              2. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

                Oh good gravy!! Something is rotten in Denmark – and I think Cersei it the smell.
                Please let that hiring manager know that she seriously violated your and your family’s personal trust and boundaries. And that the violation was so bad that you had to move out and break a lease (you did move before the lease was up) and completely cut her out of your life. This is so not a person who you should have to work with.

          3. Traffic_Spiral*

            Eeh… no? Frankly, I don’t know of anyone who’s an awful person in their personal life but a good person in their professional one. they might be better at faking it, but it’ll come out one way or the other.

            1. Hey Nonnie*

              Yeah, you know, if someone is okay with lying to their spouse, they’re probably okay with lying to people they’re NOT close to, such as bosses and coworkers.

              No one lies because they think they’ll get caught.

          4. Lavender Menace*

            It’s less the cheating and more the moving in with her affair’s daughter so as to have better access to him.

        5. Burned Out Supervisor*

          I made this point too. Knowingly having a relationship with a married person makes me question someone’s character and ability to behave in an ethical manner.

      6. MicroManagered*

        nfortunately, one of my co-workers who I confided in told me that Cersei is one of the three getting interviews.

        That means you need to move OP.

        I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. That had to have been a lot to deal with. I’m curious if Cersei knows you work there.

        1. Sansa (OP)*

          I can’t move. This job and organization and my living situation are through the school I attend. Cersei knows I work there- she was the first person I told when I got the job. She said she was so excited for me.

          1. Jadelyn*

            I think they meant move as in move quickly, since Cersei is one of the few getting interviews.

            And the fact that she knows you work there, and is applying…that does feel really weird, like she’s repeating the behavior from before – getting close to you – but this time, what’s it in order to do?

              1. valentine*

                what’s it in order to do?
                Win Sansa (OP) back so they can be a family again. *shudder*

          2. Isabelle*

            Wait, she knows you work there and she still applied?! Wow she really has terrible judgement.

          3. MicroManagered*

            I meant move quickly to let your boss know you have very serious concerns about her working there. :)

      7. Artemesia*

        Given this fact I would be totally frank and not try to vague it. I would assume in your position that she is again trying to get close to you, perhaps to stick it to you. I would give it the full on factual.

      8. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        You have the high ground here. You are already in the position. If they didn’t want your input, they wouldn’t ask. You are definitely more valuable than even a pre-tested candidate. Focus on that. And if not, you can always try counselling:
        Well, there’s always the option of going to counselling with your father and this woman. It could help.
        Yes, I’m joking.

        1. Sansa (OP)*

          That was one crazy letter! Actually, reading it is one of the reasons I decided to ask Alison.

      9. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        You could always try group therapy with this woman and your dad. Because, THAT was a GREAT letter. This one, yeah, pretty good, but c’mon. No worries. You are a proven entity and you have the high ground. Good luck.

        1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

          OK, thought the first one didn’t post. Not having a medical issue or anything…

      10. facepalm*

        One thing that is really standing out to me is that Cersei is applying to your workplace, OP. Since you lived together, I assume she knows you work there. So why would she want to work there too? Has your father ended things and she’s trying to get at you/your life/create drama for your family in whatever way she is capable? I can’t imagine something like this is coincidental. You have to let the manager know.

        1. Sansa (OP)*

          I think he’s ended things. He goes to therapy with my mom every week and has made a lot of lifestyle changes. He recognises his fault and (I think) is genuinely trying to mend the harm he’s imparted. It doesn’t make him better all of a sudden, but I believe my mom when she tells me he’s working. I don’t talk to him if I can help it.

          1. Observer*

            Good for you. Does your father realize that besides the damage and wrong he’s done to your mother he owes YOU something? Cheating on your spouse is a real and huge violation. Using someone without their knowledge or consent, to further that is another and in some ways bigger violation. I don’t know how you could ever trust him again, without him directly (not through your mother) showing you that he recognizes what he’s done wrong and how he’s trying to change.

            1. Sansa (OP)*

              I think he recognises that! And at the same time I really don’t want to talk to him at all.

              1. Airy*

                And I hope you know you have every right to feel that way and to process how you feel in your own time.

              2. Jadelyn*

                I just want to add, as another adult child of someone who cheated (although thankfully I never had to catch them at it, my gods, you have all the condolences and sympathies for THAT), don’t force yourself to accept his contrition before you’re ready. You have a right to be angry at both of them.

          2. StellaBella*

            Have you thought about this angle:

            Your dad ended it, and is seeking therapy with your mom.

            Cersei is not happy your dad ended it so wants to be close to you at work to torment you?

            Sorry to jump to a conclusion but if she is unhappy your dad ended it she could be next level stalking you to cause you and him pain.

            I have been there with a creepy woman interfering in my life. It was horrible and she was and is still a manipulative harridan.

            1. Hey Nonnie*

              This stinks of triangulation. She may want to torment the OP; or she may want daily access to OP in order to regain access to her father.

            2. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

              I have to also share the wonder if Cersei is trying to get access to affair partner again – and knows the roommate thing is shot to hades, so what about co-worker?? That gets me some access, right?

      11. Student*

        Have you considered that this is a stalking thing? That Cercei might have applied for the job in order to force you to be close to her again? This might be part two of the weird apartment stalking, and that’s some next-level creepy.

        If this is a possibility, I might say, “Cercei has done things to injure my family and I can’t work for her. Even more concerning, moving in with me last year now seems to have been motivated by an obsession with one of my family members, and I’m worried that applying for a job here is just a continuation of this stalking behavior.”

        1. mcr-red*

          I would consider that a possibility too. Considering she admitted she became OPs roommate in order to start an affair with OPs father, I wouldn’t rule out her trying to get a job at OPs work, to get close to OP again, to get close to OP’s father again. And I see nothing wrong with saying something to OPs work about this.

        2. JSPA*

          came here to say this. Also, mention that she has “inappropriate boundaries, including sexual boundaries and what i take to be stalker-ish tendencies.”

      12. gladfe*

        Sansa (OP), that’s the option I’d go with too, because I’m pretty private at work, but I want to second the part of Alison’s advice that it’s also fine to divulge more details. If the conversation progresses in a direction where it feels less awkward to be specific, that’s fine too. None of this reflects poorly on you or your professionalism (and WOW do you not owe her anything), so you should feel free to be as private or as candid as is comfortable for you.

      13. Rachael*

        Hi, OP. You may also want to go the route that she moved in to be closer to your dad and now she is applying to where you work, too! I would be concerned that she is only applying to your office because you work there. As a manager, that behavior would be just as concerning as the emotional effect on you (because of the affair).

      14. Burned Out Supervisor*

        Frankly, I find her even applying to the job is creepy. Is this another way to ingratiate herself into your family and get to your dad? I have a feeling that there’s more to this person’s intention, OP. Good luck with your manager!

      15. Glitsy Gus*

        With this update I would definitely go with Allison’s second option, if not her third.

        If it were a list of ten people or so it may make sense to ask something more vague like the first option, because if she’s near the bottom it may not matter much and you can just indicate that you’d rather not work with her can be enough to knock her off the list.

        If you know she’s in the top three, though, talk to your manager and let her know via option 2 or 3 that if Cersei is hired you will be extremely uncomfortable and may need to remove yourself from the situation. Don’t be afraid to be blunt about how serious you are. This is not a time for being overly polite or trying to look like you can roll with the punches just to keep things easy for your manager.

    3. Heidi*

      Agree with option 2. Alluding to a falling out kind of leaves open the possibility that this was OP’s fault in some way. If it ends up that you want to go into more detail, I think that the way you described it was good. You stated the facts of what happened rather than judging Cersei. Trust me, we’re doing the latter. :)

      1. Sansa (OP)*

        Frankly, there’s a part of me that blames myself for all this- I was the one who introduced Cersei to my dad and I didn’t catch on while they were having an affair. But that’s more the internalised blame- not the reality of the situation!

        And thank you for judging her with me. I haven’t really been able to discuss any of this with people in my life because our community is so small, and I don’t want to add to my mom’s pain.

        1. Heidi*

          Don’t you dare take the blame for this!! Cersei and your father made those choices knowing that it would be hurtful. They deserve consequences.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Right on, Heidi!
            Adults are responsible for their own actions, period.
            When they recognized interest they could have chosen to cut contact with each other. You know, what with being adults and all.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          OMG, you are not to blame! I introduce all sorts of friends/roommates to my parents, and as far as I know, my dad hasn’t taken up extramarital affairs with any of them.

          For better or worse, this was 100% on your dad and Cersei. Even her moving in with you to be closer to him squicks me out—it’s so manipulative and shady. Don’t let their manipulative behavior bend your mind or make you feel guilty. They’re both adults who knew what they were doing, knew it would hurt others, and did it anyway.

          1. Sansa (OP)*

            It’s so gross! Wise-minded me definitely doesn’t blame myself, but we don’t always live in wise mind, you know?

            Again, super gross on their part.

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              At the risk of breaking commenting rules, Cersei’s cold, calculating, and selfish approach sound sociopathic.

              I hear you about the less wise-mind still absorbing blame, but I hope the less-wise brain will forgive yourself and recognize that none of this was your fault. You behaved like a normal, trusting human who believed your friend was trustworthy and decent. Cersei took advantage of your trust to get what she wanted, with no concern for friendship, loyalty, or basic decency. In the same way you wouldn’t be responsible for a serial killer’s murders, you’re not responsible for Cersei’s path of destruction. Be kind to yourself!

              1. Sansa (OP)*

                She has definitely shown her true colors, and like Saruman-of-many-colors – those colors ain’t good.

                I met this girl when I was in high school and didn’t really have other friends. She was older, but was so nice to me. When I was very sick and hospitalised, she checked in with me regularly. She called me from work when she had boy drama. She was supposed to plan my 21st birthday.

                What was she thinking? That she’d be my stepmother and all would be well? Was she ever my friend?

                Honestly it’s so shitty for so many reasons.

                1. That_guy*

                  OK – bravo to you for the Lord of the Rings reference, especially in the middle of something so icky. You have my admiration for being able to be so level-headed in this situation.

                2. Sansa (OP)*

                  I am glad you like the LotR reference! There are definitely less level-headed things I want to do & scream, but I don’t want to give her any power over me.

                3. valentine*

                  From the title, I thought she was your same-age college roommate and your dad took advantage of her. The truth is just as bad and getting worse. Maybe she’s stalking you and got with your dad to be closer to you, not the other way around? She’s invading your space and, if they get back together (or never split), she’ll surely try to get you back into the fold, if only for your dad’s sake. Work may not be the only front you have to resist her encroachment.

                4. Exexpat*

                  In your comments it sounds like you’re still in so much pain from this. I’m sorry it happened, OP. It had nothing to do with what you did or didn’t do; it reflects a major deficiency in Cersei’s character. I wish you much luck in recovering from this, and hope your family bounces back from this. :(

              2. Detective Amy Santiago*

                I agree with your assessment, especially given that Cersei applied to this org KNOWING that OP works there! That takes some serious cojones.

                1. Sansa (OP)*

                  And it’s not like I’ve been cruel to her or spread rumours. I just avoid her and cry on my own!

        3. Phoenix*

          There is absolutely no universe in which introducing one of your friends to one of your parents (!!!) is grounds for taking blame when said friend and parent decided to behave abysmally. Seriously. The degree to which this is not on you is the highest degree.

        4. Lisa B*

          Just adding to the symphony of SO NOT YOUR FAULT. Introducing your roommate to your parents is an incredibly 100% normal thing to do. And I know you said later that “wise-minded you” gets that it isn’t your fault, but even “irrational you” needs to be at peace here. You are not responsible for someone else’s bat-craziness.

        5. Dust Bunny*

          Yeah, no, that is in no way on you. I’ve been introduced to countless straight male friends and relatives (I’m a cishet woman) and have proceeded into affairs with exactly none of them. It’s not a situation that’s hard to avoid if you have the merest of scruples. This is on your father and Cersei.

        6. Batgirl*

          That’s not doing anything for them in the way of encouragement Sansa! This is in no way your fault. They made their own opportunities and went into this with a lot of deliberate deceit towards you (and your mother). Deceit which means brainweasels now have to unpick what was/wasn’t true from that entire part of your life.

          I’m sorry you’ve been silenced on this issue (your mother as the main victim does get to decide who to tell but truth telling and support was my main tool against deceit). If it helps I used to wave off my (very decent seeming!) ex husband and his affair partner (also a friend of mine) on their outings because that’s.. what trust of looks like.

          1. Sansa (OP)*

            Thank you for your comment. I am sorry you were in that situation and I hope you are doing better now.

            1. Batgirl*

              Oh I didn’t mean to worry you! I’m very happy, this was years ago and I’m planning my wedding!
              It’s going to horrible for a while, but as long as you’re not working with a walking trigger, this too will pass.

        7. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

          Joining the choir: this is absolutely not your fault. This is all on Cersei and your father.

        8. Hey Karma, Over here.*

          Please read what Heidi writes. I’m sorry that your mom is hurting and I know you want to take some of that pain away, but you can’t put any of it on yourself. You didn’t give her the flu, you made a friend. That friend became interested in your dad (either by herself or as a result of his flirting) and he chose to sleep with her.

        9. Observer*

          So not your fault. And how were you supposed to realize they were having an affair? Your mother, who lives with your father and knows him better that you could know Cersei, apparently didn’t know either. Even if she did, you couldn’t be expected to realize, but the fact that she didn’t should tell you how unreasonable it would be to think that you would see it.

        10. RUKiddingMe*

          You are not at all at fault!!!!

          Cersei *and your dad* are to blame. Period. Normal people don’t think “oh I cant introduce my friend to my dad because *of course* they will have an affair.”

          Introducing friends to your parents does *not* normally lead to sex.

          1. Traffic_Spiral*

            Yeah, “might bang my Dad/Mom” isn’t generally something you’re expected to look out for when deciding who to introduce to your parents.

            1. Sansa*

              Yep! Now I feel like I have to screen for that. No wonder I haven’t wanted to introduce my friends to my dad lately.

        11. Burned Out Supervisor*

          Sansa, check out You might find some good resources there for yourself and maybe your mom.

            1. Burned Out Supervisor*

              Just a heads up, it’s a site that can be pretty raucous and her point of view isn’t for everyone, but you might find it helpful.

        12. Elizabeth West*


          They chose to do this; it’s on them. At least your dad is trying to make it right. Cersei with her creepiness can go jump in a pool of dragon pee.

        13. Lavender Menace*

          When you introduce a friend to your parents, you don’t really expect that friend to begin an affair with one of them. I mean, it’s not even in the realm of things that crosses most people’s minds.

          So nah…I wouldn’t blame yourself for that.

        14. tangerineRose*

          Don’t blame yourself.

          Have you considered therapy? It might be very healing to be able to really talk this out with someone who has to maintain confidentiality.

          1. tangerineRose*

            I see you’ve got a therapist – you’re doing great in so many ways with a very difficult situation.

          2. MamaSarah*

            I was just thinking it would be healthy to talk it through with an MFT or even someone with a background in PTSD. Just to be proactive. Sometimes the depth of our feelings can surprise us. It’s important to practice good self-care – eating regular, healthy meals, sleeping well, doing some yoga or exercise – and surround oneself with positive, upbeat peers.
            And, IMO, this is a pretty icky situation. All the best, OP.

        15. JSPA*

          It’s not like you tripped him, he fell on her, and their clothes magically vaporized, leaving them in a state of unintentional coition…

    4. HA2*

      Yeah, I think that option is the perfect level of detail. Enough to show that it’s serious, but without actually needing to go into what she did.

    5. charo*

      1) LW assumes the affair is over. DON’T. It could still be on or pick up again.
      2) Don’t start w/gory details, or you might end up looking unstable and overwrought. Start w/the vague answer and offer more details if needed. Act a bit reluctant, but cooperative and concerned.
      3) If you can cite examples of her lying, it helps as a hiring issue.

  2. Murphy*

    Wow. I’m really sorry that happened to you, and I hope you’re able to prevent her from becoming your co-worker!

  3. Ellex*

    Cersei’s actions certainly indicate someone with problematic and questionable social skills and decision making skills, which personally would be more than enough to make me not want to hire her whether or not someone already on my team had a bad experience with her and no matter what her professional skills look like.

    Interpersonal drama in the workplace is never good for productivity.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        If it were me:

        “Cersei moved in as my roommate to be closer to her married lover. Her lover was my dad. I cant work with/near her.”

        1. Jen S. 2.0*

          Agreed. My answer as the boss would be, “Wow. Done.”

          45 seconds of pain to avoid YEARS of continued drama at work.

    1. Tea Rocket*

      In addition to what you’ve said, the detail that she moved in with the LW in order to get closer to the LW’s dad shows a manipulativeness and willingness to use people that would make me worry about how she would treat her coworkers—her manager, too, when it comes down to it. Manipulative people can and do target the people above them in the hierarchy as well.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Ugh yeah, that detail made me squick. I want to say “who does that?!” but I know some people just have no problem doing whatever it takes to get their way.

      2. ChimericalOne*

        Yeah, that’s as bad as or worse than the affair itself, IMO. People tell themselves all kinds of lies to justify sleeping around. But most people don’t turn their affair partner’s family members into unwitting pawns while doing so.

        1. Ms. Taylor Sailor*

          I’m completely with you. Based on the title, my immediate assumption was that the woman in question would be a total stranger, which is obviously still bad, but the added details make it infinitely worse and dragged OP directly into it.

          1. Sansa (OP)*

            Far from a total stranger!!! Like I don’t want to put in too many personal details, but this girl was as close to family as you can be.

            And apparently far closer to some members of my family than she should have been!

      3. animaniactoo*

        I see I should have read further before commenting above – yeah, the lack of ethical boundaries here is a major red flag.

      4. HeyAnonanonnie*

        Her having scheduling power over OP with that history of manipulative behavior extremely worrying. In am very glad OP is speaking up.

      5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Yeah, that was the biggest red flag to me. Like Amber Rose, I found it squicky, but it’s also so calculating and manipulative that it takes it to a different level of bad than a regular old affair with your friend’s dad (!!!).

        1. Sansa (OP)*

          This was someone I’ve known for a very long time. Hindsight is definitely 20/20- she was so calculating and (I think) deliberately cruel!

          I honestly hadn’t even thought about the scheduling power she would have.

          1. Glitsy Gus*

            I would actually suggest just being open with your manager, but if you would rather keep more of your private life private you could keep it more along these lines.

            Something like, “while having Cersei as a roommate I realized that she is a very manipulative and dishonest person. I have cut her completely out of my life since moving out and really have no interest in working with her in any capacity.” Any real manager would not want a person their employee would describe as ‘manipulative and dishonest’ on their team, regardless of where the dishonesty and manipulation came into play.

            If your boss wants more info you can decide what to share from there, but it sounds like you have plenty of legit objection material here without needing to go too deep into this if you don’t want to.

        1. Sansa (OP)*

          It’s not a big area, and her field of interest/experience overlaps with where I currently work.

          1. That_guy*

            That’s her problem. If she lacks the awareness to know that there is NO WAY should go anywhere near you or your family, then she probably still doesn’t believe she did anything wrong. That crosses the line from icky, bad behavior to sociopathic behavior.

          2. Lime green Pacer*

            If she has to move to another city to find work in her field, that would be a pretty decent outcome.

    2. Emmie*

      Cersai moving in with OP is especially problematic. It feels like Cersai could be doing something similar now – by attempting to work with the OP. That’s a piece of the puzzle that the manager should know.

    3. Mike B.*

      Just came here to say that. Having a single indiscretion or even an affair is bad karma but not really any of your employer’s business, but someone who would actually befriend and move in with their paramour’s daughter is carrying a briefcase full of drama bombs.

    4. SignalLost*

      Yeah, I agree. I know to a lot of people it sounds hypocritical to say that I, personally, as poly and I judge the hell out of people who have affairs, but to me, any affair and especially one that goes on for a while, raises questions for me about an individual’s ethics. I can’t find affairs ethical and I can say I have serious questions about the judgement of people who have them. And then add to that the ethics of manipulating the OP to continue the affair!

      1. Mike B.*

        I think allowing a person’s sexual behavior to influence business decisions should be done *extremely* sparingly. There’s a world of difference in practice between a practicing poly person and a married person having one or more affairs, but to an outside observer like an employer they can easily appear the same. The best way to avoid penalizing people who’ve lived ethical private lives is just to ignore this entire category to the extent that it doesn’t intrude on business.

        And people are complicated; there certainly are and have been plenty of staunch by-the-book types who have had affairs. It’s not such a strong indicator that it’s worth trampling on people’s private lives.

        1. SignalLost*

          In this case, I’m comfortable with my judgement (I agree there are situations where it matters less and I would have to recuse myself) because of the ethical issues indicated by Cersei’s actions. I had a lot of sympathy for the LW a while back who had an affair, got pregnant, and the father’s ex-wife was going to be her new manager) but this is so calculated that to me it’s horrifying. Like, the affair is crappy, but the roommate situation is what shoves me over the edge as I think about it.

      2. boo bot*

        It’s definitely not hypocritical (for any wondering), especially if you consider that it’s totally possible to have an affair or otherwise behave unethically in a polyamorous relationship, even if the language might be different from “cheat” or “affair.”

        For example, most polyamorous people I know would have a serious problem with one of their partners having a long-term sexual relationship with one of their parents!

  4. sheworkshardforthemoney*

    You could also go with “Based on personal experience, Cersei has no moral or ethical values.”

    1. Sansa (OP)*

      There’s a pretty dang? Petty part of me that does kind of like that option. Especially because this is a job with real-world impact! Where we help people in vulnerable situations. Back when I considered her a good person, I would have thought she was a good fit for the job. Now though…

      1. blackcat*

        There’s a middle ground–the script Alison offered + “I believe honesty and integrity is important to the work we do, and those are not qualities she has shown in her interactions with me and my family.”

        1. WindyLindy*

          I like that addition! Has a more professional tone, but reminds the boss of the impact Ms. Cheater’s poor ethics could have on the work.

        2. Artemesia*

          Too vague. This is a situation where it is critical to know that she moved in with you in order to forward an affair with your married father. Vague just lets me think, well you have trouble working with other people, rather than this is a one off disaster in the making.

          1. Glitsy Gus*

            It’s a good start. I mean, if I had an employee who I felt was pretty trustworthy say that I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. I may ask for a bit of clarification, but I wouldn’t automatically assume it was childish or petty.

            OP knows her manager better than I do, though, so she can better gauge where to start from.

      2. SignalLost*

        Honestly, I don’t think that’s a petty addition at all. You’re working with a vulnerable population, and Cersei’s actions have demonstrated a … serious ethical deficiency as well as a manipulative streak a mile wide. (Please note I don’t excuse your dad in this but he is not a candidate for this job, so I’m limiting myself to speaking about Cersei.) I think you are not being petty if you draw on demonstrated actions to protect your service population from this woman.

    2. Lance*

      Way, way too vague, I think… and sounds very much like a grudge (which, in fairness, it may indeed be in this case… but with very legitimate reasons behind it). Besides, I don’t think painting with such a wide brush is helpful; OP says themselves that the position could in fact be a good fit, but the issues with what she did would make me want to give something with substance, not just something to the effect of ‘she’s just a terrible person’.

      1. Sansa (OP)*

        Yeah, I don’t think I’m actually going so vague about her- I’m planning to go with Alison’s suggestion about the “hurt me and my family” without going into details.
        There’s definitely a part of me that wants to disparage and shame her, but I don’t think that would be good for me or my mom, or for my professional life.

        1. Chocoana*

          I think you should be prepared to be completely clear and upfront with your manager. You may find you need to tell her everything . Do you know her well enough to gauge her reaction with Option #2? There is not enough time for any errors or misunderstandings to happen here. If Cersei interviews really well, you don’t want any room for doubt, now or ever. For what it’s worth, I am a hiring manager.

        2. learnedthehardway*

          I really think that you should emphasize that this is an ongoing pattern of behavior in which Cersei has used getting close to you to stalk a member of your family. I think that’s legitimate to say because she moved in with you to carry on a relationship with your father, and because she already KNOWS that you work at this non-profit.

          I mean, her behavior is bad enough on its own, but this way, you don’t have to disclose the nature of her behavior or who in your family was involved, or anything other than the fact that Cersei has TWICE now tried to get close to you to get close to another member of your family.

          1. TL -*

            Stalking implies nonconsensual, which I don’t think was the case here. And since she’s a really good fit for the job, it could just be carelessness on her part, not malice. Affair partners have the same drive to be employed as the rest of the population.

            But the OP should definitely bring up her concerns. Cersei doesn’t need to be employed alongside the OP whatever the reason.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              OTH, people don’t generally want to apply for jobs where they know they will be in contact with a person who they have had difficulty with in the past. (The nature of the difficulty can be any larger issue.)
              She either has an agenda here or she has no conscience… eh, maybe both.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I agree–it’s simultaneously too vague and too bitter.

        I like Alison’s last option, which is clear and to the point. Second choice is the one above it, which indicates how deep and intimate the cut was but takes a step back on whether the cut needs to be described in explicit detail to the manager.

        OP, I think parsing the esprit d’escalier is where crowd-sourcing can help–because things that seem great in your head can thunk when delivered in meatspace.

    3. Person from the Resume*

      I would not recommend this just because the lack of moral/ethical values in her personal life may not translate into work life.

      Key here is that (1) Sansa’s boss seems reasonable (2) Sansa’s boss values Sansa enough to ask for her opinion. Therefore Sansa’s boss is unlikely to want to hire someone that will result in Sansa quitting or even make her extremely uncomfortable. I think that work related information should be enough for Sansa’s boss to decide against the candidate especially for what appears to be an entry level position with no particular specialized technical skills.

      1. CurlyCarlita*

        Thank you for saying this – it’s tough for the OP to be around this person and saying that they “hurt me and my family” should be more than enough to convey why. The OP should definitely protect herself so as not to be manipulated or implicated further in Cersei’s lifestyle choices. Alison makes a great point that “relationships matter at work” – regardless of why a relationship is damaged, the damage must be taken into account, and there are plenty of other fish in the sea if a potential employee is just not a good fit.

        As others have said, the affair was fully the decision of Cersei and the OP’s father, and they share the weight of that decision, as well as its impacts on others (OP’s mom, OP, etc.). Without knowing more details (not that I need to know!), the affair alone, even with the roommate situation, does not ‘prove’ that Cersei is a terrible or corrupt person. No one is perfect, especially when it comes to making moral / ethical choices in both work and life. ‘Management’ itself often requires political savvy that is often seen as manipulation, and the lines can be blurry at times.

        1. Greg*

          I get what you’re saying, but it’s worth keeping in mind that hiring managers are forced to make snap judgments on candidates all the time (e.g., “She was five minutes late to the interview; that raises questions about whether she can follow directions.”) Some of those judgments are accurate, some aren’t. I have no idea which is the case here, but there’s nothing wrong with passing this information on to her boss and letting her make the decision.

          Ultimately, it may be better for Sansa to focus on the fact that she can’t work with Cersei because that offers a more concrete argument for not moving forward with her candidacy, whereas Cersei’s ethics are more subjective. But I don’t think there’s anything “unfair” to Cersei about raising what happened as a potential red flag.

        2. Observer*

          The thing is that the room-mate situation really DOES speak to her ethical and moral compass and her willingness to cross boundaries. Not a good risk when dealing with vulnerable people.

      2. Pommette!*

        Agreed. We don’t know whether Cersei lacks moral/ethical values in her work life. It’s entirely possible for someone who is horrible to their families and friends to be a great colleagues and to scrupulously adhere to their professions’ deontological norms! (Fun fact: my father and his affair partner are totally beloved by their colleagues, for what sound like very legitimate reasons. I sporadically run into colleagues or professional acquaintances who feel the need to tell me how wonderful (and brilliant!) one or both are, and how lucky I am to have them in my life. At one point one of his long-term mentees took it upon herself to reach out to my sibling and I to try to broker a reconciliation… look, lady, I’m sure that he’s a genuinely wonderful colleague and you are welcome to respect him. Just don’t assume that you know what kind of parent, or spouse, he is/was. Sheesh.).

        Frankly, the “lack of moral/ethical values” statement is both unnecessary and risky. To many, it will make the OP sound melodramatic, petty, and bitter (when in fact her letter doesn’t suggest that she is either of the first of those two things, and shows that she has plenty of reason to be the third).

        Would Cersei be a good and moral employee? Maybe! But who cares? The fact that Sansa can’t work with Cersei is reason enough not to hire her.

        1. Sansa*

          It sounds like you’ve been in a similar situation- I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with that. Thank you for your comment and your perspective.

    4. Kathleen_A*

      While this statement is almost undoubtedly true, I don’t think it’s a great thing to say in these circumstances. It’s somehow both too vague and TMI at the same time because it sounds really vivid (hence the “TMI” part” but says almost nothing (hence the “vague” part) and could refer to almost anything from “she cheated on a test in college” to “she stole my best friend’s boyfriend” to “she has religious beliefs I don’t approve of.”
      It’s the sort of statement that’s and almost bound to inspire great curiosity, which the OP probably doesn’t want.

    5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I worry that approach is too vague and loaded. Because it’s so strong, it has a likelihood of making the listener play devil’s advocate or try to rehabilitate Cersei’s character in their mind. It may also make OP’s completely legitimate concern sound like OP is being over the top or overly judgmental. I would vote for Alison’s second script—it threads the needle in tone while preserving the seriousness.

      1. Sansa (OP)*

        If my boss pressed, I would elaborate using something like Alison’s 3rd script. But I also don’t want to lead with that!

    6. Phoenix Programmer*

      Eh. Not everyone views sleeping with a married person when you are single as morally reprehensible.

      I would want to know OP doesn’t get along with her and would not hire based on that but if OP came in all “she’s clearly ethically bereft and not suitable to work with our populations” I would be giving OP serious side eye. Especially since vulnerable populations often make grey or morally questionable decisions.

      1. Phoenix*

        “Especially since vulnerable populations often make grey or morally questionable decisions.”

        This is a funny way to say “vulnerable populations are human”. Are you suggesting that marginalized people are more likely to make “morally questionable decisions” than those in power?

      2. Marina Magdalena*

        You can also ask yourself what societal factors may be at work in the decisions that people do make, when they make them from a place of being less privileged than yourself.

        1. Phoenix Programmer*

          Exactly. That’s a big part of what rubbed me the wrong way about this letter.

          Having come from a background where my father abandoned us, I’ve made some poor decisions for older men I thought cared about me.

          While I’ve never been a “homewrecker” a term I hate that OP has tossed around the comments here, I almost lost my job because an man old enough to be my father was taking advantage of my fatherly affection for him.

          Not saying the same is true for Cersie, but if you want to work with the poor or drug addicted or other vulnerable populationd you need to be more flexible about weighing the ethics of decisions. It’s usually not as simple as – stealing bread is bad therefore you’re amoral for stealing.

          1. StaceyIzMe*

            I think you can make a relatively strong case for some sort of extenuating circumstances in almost every instance of crossing the line, metaphorically speaking. However, it’s ridiculous to ask the person who was directly harmed to be so cognizant of the potential for mitigation that they don’t employ any pejorative. Most of us think well of those who treat us well and poorly of those who don’t. If you take my cash, car or other property, I might intellectually acknowledge that you had an addiction fueled (at least in part) by early trauma and/ or limited opportunities. But you shouldn’t expect any compliments from me or even much direct sympathy in discussing the incident. Now if I’d walked in on my married dad and a friend in my own home? That’s going nowhere good.

            1. Batgirl*

              This! Of course people who make harmful decisions have background stuff. That doesn’t mean the victim has to give someone unremorseless (and stalkery to boot) a free pass and a welcome mat.

          2. Jen S. 2.0*

            I also think none of that is the question Sansa has been asked here.

            The question is whether she can work with Cersei, and it doesn’t say anything about Sansa as an employee if the answer is no. Sansa can be sympathetic and flexible with regard to disadvantaged populations without being okay with having her **own demonstrably manipulative former roommate, who was banging her own married father, in her own apartment, while she was present** hired at her job.

            It’s different when it’s your own life and your own family. There’s a reason you don’t provide therapy to your own kids.

          3. Sansa*

            Hi! OP here. In a comment later down this thread I apologized for my use of homewrecker. It’s a gendered term and one that I now see kinda obliquely takes the blame away from my father- which is not something I want. They are both absolutely responsible and complicit.

            I also think that there’s a difference between stealing something and setting out to cause pain. And I thought I knew this girl well- I personally don’t see how Cersei could not have seen pain and suffering would result

            1. Not So NewReader*

              You are very level-headed. I am sure whatever way you go with this one you will pick the right path given all the givens.

      3. Burned Out Supervisor*

        You don’t think it’s ethically wrong to be complicit in an extra-marital affair, even if you’re single? I mean, it’s find if you don’t think it’s morally reprehensible but most people think it’s suspect for a single person to knowingly sleep with someone’s spouse because you’re participating in deceit and the emotional harm of someone you don’t know. Plus, you (the Royal You, not you personally) are involved with a demonstrated liar, not exactly the type of person I would want to associate with. I used to think it wasn’t really my problem (not that I’ve been an affair partner) until I was cheated on by a boyfriend. This is the kind of thing that can absolutely blow up your world if you previously thought you were in a happy relationship, etc. Not to mention, people who are cheating may be using marital funds to spend on the affair partner, may be behaving abusively to their unknowing spouse, etc. Definitely not something I would want to be a part of and would not have a good opinion of someone who was knowingly in a relationship with a married person.

        1. Phoenix Programmer*

          I think the fault and blame belongs with the married partner. It’s like 95% the married party’s fault. However, especially when it’s a married man, the reverse blame happens with most of the items heaped on the “other woman” like in this letter and comment section. Even in scenarios like this one where the man is much older and thus has more power in the situation.

          I think it’s rude to sleep with someone else’s spouse – but amoral? No. Is the spouse amoral for breaking their vows? Yes. The other person is rude to not cut in where they don’t belong but are not “homewreckers” IMO. That blame lands squarely on the spouse who cheated.

          1. Burned Out Supervisor*

            I agree that the “homewrecker” moniker is often employed in a sexist manner, but I also don’t believe that the cheater is solely to blame. If someone is knowingly sleeping with a married person, they are consciously making a decision to be party to a lie that has the potential to devastate the cheaters spouse. If you really want a relationship with that person, then you go through ethical means (no relationship until divorce is achieved). Do I think that the affair partner deserves to be shamed as much as the cheater? No, but they’re not completely clean, either.

          2. Airy*

            I would argue that Cersei is a homewrecker in the sense that she shared a home with *OP* and sure as heck wrecked that arrangement by having an affair with OP’s father in it.

            1. Sansa*

              I definitely see the pitfalls of having used that term, but it also feels like a term that is accurate to my situation. This is a woman who my mother and I welcomed into our home and family, and Cersei and my father proceeded to essentially pound it out in a wrecking ball.

              1. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

                Nah. Your father pounded out his family with a wrecking ball. He’s the one married to your mom, he’s the one who broke HIS vows and destroyed HIS families trust.

                Cersei went along with it, of course, but she hadn’t been around, it would have been someone else. He cheated because he’s a cheater, not because Cersei used her magic vagina to lure him away.

                You have every right to be angry at her! She broke your trust as a friend, lied to you, manipulated you. But the ONLY “home wrecker” in this story is the man who actually HAD a home to wreck.

          3. Elsajeni*

            I think the friendship/roommate history does complicate things in this particular situation, though. Sure, the married person is responsible for their own marriage vows. But it also sounds like Cersei, specifically, did some lying and manipulating in her friendship with the OP, and I think it’s fair to say that that reflects on her ethics.

          4. aebhel*

            I mean, I’m kind of with you up to a point, but I think that befriending the daughter of your married lover and then moving in with her to maintain your access to him and then having sex with your roommate’s married father in the home that you share goes well beyond ‘rude’ and into the realm of amorally selfish behavior. At best it demonstrates a total lack of judgement and self-control.

          5. Batgirl*

            I think you’re talking about how affairs are represented in popular culture. Yeah men are usually painted as hapless to temptresses and like it’s only men who cheat. That’s the movies.

            In real life, women cheat too, and in every example of that I’ve seen, the affected family has absolutely seen the other man as a homewrecker/persona non grata.
            It doesn’t mean they absolve the married person of being mostly to blame.
            What do people expect? Friendship bracelets?

          6. Nic*

            We’re focusing on the woman in this comment section, because we’re talking about OP’s working dynamic and whether she can work with one of the two people that deceived and hurt her on an emotional level, and how to communicate that to her boss – and her dad is not the person on the verge of joining her workspace! If he were, it would be him we were focusing on.

      4. tangerineRose*

        This was sleeping with her roommate’s father in the place she shared with her roommate, with a door opened so that the roommate actually saw what was happening. Seems like an unusually high level of bad decisions.

    7. Samwise*

      Too vague, sounds snarky. It needs to be specific enough and it needs to make clear to the manager that you can’t work with her.

  5. ZSD*

    I’m so sorry that this happened to you, OP, and that you’re now having to relive part of it because of this job application.

    Side note: Assuming Cersei knows that the OP still works (or might still work) at this place, why on earth would she apply to work there? Is this her extremely misguided way of trying to restore her friendship with the OP?

    1. C*

      I’m guessing she’s just too self-centered to care. Or maybe she doesn’t think the OP will speak up.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Ding, ding, ding. I think we have a winner. The ex friend seems narcissistic enough that the thought of this potential conflict didn’t even cross her mind.

        Or maybe she wants to get close to OP again in the event OP has an uncle she wants to try out too. You never know with this kind of person.

        1. Sansa (OP)*

          ew ew ewwwwww.
          As a side note, part of the deal of my parents staying together is that dad has had to tell his family- all of whom are seriously against infidelity and falsehood. That side of the family is being really supportive of my mom, thank goodness.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            I’m glad your dad’s family is standing strong behind your mom – that’s awesome. I’m just angry for you that he put you in the middle of this mess in the first place.

          2. Batgirl*

            That sounds like a similar therapy programme to the one I was in. It’s really successful and I definitely saw couples recover successfully with the right kind of family support. Especially when there was a not-taking-any-bullshit daughter on the scene being hard on cheating mum or dad!

              1. Batgirl*

                Oh no you’re doing fine! You would not believe how many kids decide to keep the secret or don’t support the betrayed spouse. (Usually those people were exposed to affairs and secrecy pretty young though).
                Or else they can sometimes be just …understandably shell shocked.
                As soon as you said he would not have ended the affair without exposure/confirmed he actually told your mother I knew you had a good handle on this.
                Trust your instincts because they’re solid.

                1. Sansa*

                  Thank you! I really can’t express how helpful the insight from you and other commenters has been to me.

      2. Therapist by day...*

        There’s also the possibility that she’s continuing to target you as she did before. That level of disregard, selflessness, and pathology runs deep. She knows you work there, she likely knows you know what she and your father did, and she’s STILL applying for the job.

        You’re a better person than I am as I’d take delight in blocking her from getting the job.

      1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        I disagree. Would you say OP’s mother has seriously lacking decision making abilities? Look, OP’s father chose an affair. Cersei did as well. She betrayed OP’s friendship–that doesn’t make her a horrible employee or even horrible person overall–it makes her someone who chose a stupid thing and hurt people. She was human. If people judge everyone on whether they had an affair or not, then a lot of people shouldn’t be working. OP should definitely state she couldn’t work with Cersei due to problems in the past but it’s not like Cersei was the only one in this–OP’s father was as well.

        1. Electric sheep*

          “If people judge everyone on whether they had an affair or not, then a lot of people shouldn’t be working.”

          This is a red herring; Cersei would be a terrible employee for this organization because hiring her would massively negatively impact Sansa, who is a more valuable employee (more experienced, and what sounds like a more skilled role in the organization.) Plus ‘moved in with employee to better have affair with her father and then later knows she works for the organization but applies for job there anyway’ does not speak well of her judgement.

          1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

            I agree I wouldn’t hire her because it is negative for Sansa. But OP states ‘Apparently’ she moved in to be closer to OP’s father. Did she admit to this? Or did OP’s father say this? I’d side eye anything he said. If I was OP, I simply would state I couldn’t work with her due to personal history and hurt she’d caused me. Make no mistake, Cesei did a horrible thing in hurting OP. But it doesn’t mean Cersei is a terrible worker, has no good qualities, etc. She may be an excellent worker but she definitely shouldn’t be with Sansa

    2. KEWLM0M*

      I was wondering if Cersei deliberately applied to OP’s workplace for the same reason she had earlier become her roommate – as a link to the dad.

      1. JokeyJules*

        this is exactly what i would be thinking. of the MANY places a person could work? just like of the MANY place someone could live? too interesting of a coincidence for me to feel safe if i were in OP’s shoes.

    3. Temperance*

      The kind of person who moves in with a friend in order to further her affair with said friend’s dad isn’t the kind of person who cares about who they hurt.

    4. Ms. Taylor Sailor*

      I was leaning more on her just being desperate for work. Given that she and OP were friends, it wouldn’t be out of bounds to think they might be in the same industry and that she’s just applying for whatever’s out there.

      That said, your, C’s, and Dragoning’s explanations are just as likely and it could very well be a combination of all these.

      1. Sansa (OP)*

        I could see it as a combination of factors. This could bring her back into my circle, maybe with the potential to bring her and dad back together. The job she applied for also fits her interests and skills, and while it’s definitely not the only one in the area, there aren’t unlimited options.

  6. Falling Diphthong*

    You don’t need to divulge the entire situation (unless you choose to).

    I want to note that you do need to divulge enough to make it clear this is serious and a big problem for you–I think people can get so worried about starting down a crazy rant in which they parse every awful detail that they instead swerve too far the other way and say something vague about personalities not meshing, and it comes across as she always hung the toilet paper the wrong way, which your boss figures you can get over easily–it’s not like toilet paper hanging is in the job duties.

    1. Narise*

      I agree. I would want my manager to know that I will have a hard time being civil to Cersei. I also think that if Cersei knows that OP works at nonprofit it’s borderline stalker behavior for her to try to work there after moving in with her to be close to OP’s father. If OP’s parents ever drop by OP’s job there also could be issues of one of them confronting Cersei. If I was the manager I would want to avoid all of these issues and not hire Cersei.

    2. C*

      I agree that being more direct about is likely the way to go. OP can be apologetic about having to share such a story, but a “I’m sorry to have to share this, but as you know, I do know Cersei, but have severed my relationship with her due to her having an affair with my father. I wouldn’t be able to work with her should get hired, because of this.” gets to the point fairly quickly and doesn’t exactly invite more questions or speculation. The part about her moving in with the OP specifically for the affair is an unnecessary detail for the manager to have.

      If I were a hiring manager, once I heard “candidate had an affair with employee’s parent” that would be the end of the candidacy and I wouldn’t feel the need to go further, unless there were some extreme circumstances (eg. Cersei is the only one with knowledge needed in a small, specialized field or something like that, which doesn’t sound like the case here).

      1. Thursday Next*

        I agree. Alison’s first two scripts leave too much wiggle room to cast OP as being unnecessarily dramatic. The plainly stated truth, because it is more direct, makes OP seem more reasonable—she’s not trying to torpedo Cersei’s candidacy over, say, a wedding invitation snub.

      2. Student*

        Honestly, “she had an affair with my father” is icky, but might not be disqualifying. “Moved into my apartment with the intention of getting closer to my dad and may be trying to do the same thing with this job” is the part that raises an entire army of red flags. That’s not an interpersonal problem or a roommate situation gone bad, that’s someone unhinged who should definitely not be permitted to further insinuate herself into OP’s life. Any sane hiring manager will avoid hiring someone who may be stalking an employee.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Yeah, the seeming stalking in this situation would be too serious to hand-wave away.

          1. Sansa OP*

            I’m didn’t bring up “maybe she’s applying for this job to repeat what she did,” because I don’t think it’s super relevant? But my boss was kind and supportive

            1. boo bot*

              I don’t think you have to bring it up, unless you want to – if you’ve told your boss about her moving in with you to get close to your father, I think it’s (a) serious enough to be disqualifying on its own and (b) likely that your boss will think of that possibility without prompting.

    3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I 100% agree. I like Alison’s suggestion saying she did something that hurt OP and her family. I personally would provide the details (maybe not all of the nitty gritty details, but the affair part at the very least), but it definitely depends on the type of relationship OP has with her manager. I had one manager who was all about rumors and gossip, and I would have never shared the details of something like this with her.

      1. Dust Bunny*


        I’ve had coworkers who said other coworkers “did something” to their families, but it was something about a power struggle over who had Christmas at who’s house, or not sharing recipes, or some other ridiculousness. Hardcore drama over something functional adults should be able to solve. So I’d provide enough detail to make sure your boss understands the ture nature and scope of this mess.

    4. Elise*

      I agree. I feel I might add something like, “I want you to know that I would not bring this to you if it was a minor disagreement between friends.” Then share as much as I felt was necessary to get the point across. The first script seems a little too vague to me as I know people who would use similar verbiage for something that isn’t that serious (like a coworker they just don’t gel with very well and had an argument with).

    5. SignalLost*

      This is a good point. It’s similar to the letters we see from people who’ve hinted someone needs to change something to stay employed; I think OP needs to put enough out there in one way or the other to be clear that this isn’t “she was an annoying roommate who always wanted me to clean up after myself.”

    6. M. Albertine*

      If (and I assume) OP is a valued employee who has proven to have good judgement, I would think saying “I would be very uncomfortable working with this person” would be enough.

    7. Courageous cat*

      Yep. Someone being vague wouldn’t give me confidence that they just didn’t like the person for some petty reason.

  7. MissDisplaced*

    “Apparently one of the reasons she’d moved in with me was to be closer to him.”

    I’m sorry, but… Ewwwww!
    An affair/fling whatever is one (bad) thing, but doing that in addition is just wrong on so many levels. No, I would definitely not trust this person and definitely would not want to work with her!

    Curious, but did Cersei know you worked for this organization, or was that just a fluke? Because if she knew, man, that makes it even more messed up. Either way, I think you can speak up about recommending they not hire her. I think it’s serious enough to warrant Script #2, which covers a lot without getting into details.

    1. HeyAnonanonnie*

      If she knows, that’s messed up and OP really really needs to speak up for safety purposes.

        1. HeyAnonanonnie*

          Following an affair partner’s child is 100% a safety issue, particularly if she blames OP for exposing the affair.

          1. Mike C.*

            No, it isn’t. This person already lived as roommates with the OP without becoming a threat to health and safety.

            Furthermore, there’s a massive difference between sleeping with someone and becoming a physical threat to their child. This is little more than rampant speculation that isn’t going to serve the OP and only dilute the importance of actual workplace safety issues.

            1. HeyAnonanonnie*

              If it was just an affair, you might have a point, but OP says this person moved in with her to get closer to her father. If the motivations are similar here it places OP in a potentially unsafe situation, particularly giving this person scheduling duties over OP. Just her applying for this job makes me extremely wary of her sense of.boundaries.

            2. Liane*

              Mike C., my read is that the commenters calling this a “safety” or “health & safety” issue don’t mean it in the regulatory/workplace sense/s of “this violates OSHA regs,” “is against company safety SOPs,” “would put our current employees at risk of accidents/illness/workplace violence,” etc.
              More likely they mean it in more personal senses. “Health” as in “working with Cersei will affect Sansa’s mental health” or “the potential office drama isn’t going to be good for anyone at this place.” “Safety” as in “Cersei may mess with Sansa’s schedule” (as several people have suggested) or even “Cersei sounds manipulative enough to try and damage OP’s standing at work, or worse.”

              (PS: I used to be a lab safety officer among other things.)

              1. Works in IT*

                Yeah, putting someone who manipulated her way into Sansa’s life and used her to get closer to her father and who has now been dumped by the father in charge of Sansa’s schedule is terrifying.

              2. Mike C.*

                That’s the sort of thing that’s highly personal and we shouldn’t be speculating on it unless the OP brings it up.

            3. Mike B.*

              I assume the roommate situation ended as soon as was possible after the affair was exposed, so this would be a new avenue of contact for someone who might possibly want revenge.

              It’s not tremendously likely, but it would be a point worth considering if this person weren’t otherwise a non-starter.

        2. Student*

          Sounds like it might be a safety issue, though. If Cercei is obsessed with the dad to the extent she’s moving in with his daughter to get close to her, it may turn into a problem now, since the affair is over in part because OP discovered it. It was weird stalker stuff before, and now it’s weird stalker stuff where the stalker has been dumped. A person who wasn’t dangerous when the object of her obsession was going along might be a problem now he’s cut her loose.

    2. annakarina1*

      Yeah, that feels like part of the plot to Poison Ivy or any 90’s softcore thriller, not what a person should do in real life.

      1. HeyAnonanonnie*

        Trying yonshove your way into the sphere of someone you know doesn’t want to be around you is wrong. It’s maybe not stalking on its own but 100% a red flag.

      2. animaniactoo*

        [whew] I’m not the only one who was sitting here thinking “Poison Ivy! Poison Ivy!”

    3. Sansa (OP)*

      Cersei definitely knows I work for this organization. She was the first person I told when I got my job and actually drove me to one of the training sessions I had when I couldn’t drive.

      1. MissDisplaced*

        Ok, that makes it a definite Hell No! There is No Way You Should Have To Work With This Person. Please speak up! This person is not trustworthy (or at very least has really poor judgement), and it seems even more weird that she knows you work there and still applied for a job. You don’t need that kind of drama in your life. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with all of this. Jeez!

    4. Engineer Girl*

      This is what got me. Cersei is the type of person that manipulates and used others to get what she wants. There are no thoughts to the consequences and impact to on others. It’s full blown narcissism. It will destroy any team.
      This is someone who has such bad judgement! Any manager would be alarmed.

    5. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Yeah, as a third party that doesn’t know any of the characters personally, I could maybe be somewhat understanding of Cersei losing control in the heat of the moment, but this… this… premeditated moving-in with the OP as a way to get closer to OP’s father… this tells me that Cersei is someone I would not trust in any working relationship, ever. Not to work with me, not to work for my employee’s vendor or client, not to catsit or get my mail while I’m out of town, none of that. She sounds like the least trustworthy and professional person ever. And wow, the thought that she might be following OP to this workplace on purpose is indeed scary!

      1. MissDisplaced*

        Yeah, It’s almost like a bad Lifetime movie plot. Poor OP.
        If Cersei were to get a job there, I can only image the damage she’ll try to cause to OP. Nope. She can find a job elsewhere. Somewhere like far, far away from OP.

  8. HeyAnonanonnie*

    “I have a history with her that would make it difficult for me to work with her”.

    As someone who participates in hiring, I would never hire someone based on a statement like this. You never want to bring drama into the workplace. Obviously as an employee, you really only get to say this once without explanation and not much more than that.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I like this. It makes it clear that this is serious* but steps back from sharing the ugly details. From Valued Employee about Unknown Applicant, it would usually be enough just on its own.

      * This is the sort of thing you get to pull once per job. Like the distinction between someone who has some bad history with their ex Alex and doesn’t want to attend the same social function, versus someone who has bad history with everyone they ever dated, all of whom were monsters in the exact same way.

      1. Sansa (OP)*

        I agree that it’s really only something I could do once. Honestly, unless dad goes out and has another affair with a formerly-dear friend, then I don’t forsee myself in a position like this again! Like I think I could be civil with a shitty ex, but not through this.

      2. WindyLindy*

        Yeah, it might be worth it for OP to acknowledge that saying “I won’t work with someone” is a big deal. For example, after using script 2, she could mention, “If we’d just had a normal falling out or I just didn’t get along with her anymore, I’d do my best to work with her if she was the best person for the job. In this case, though, she hurt me and my family too badly to get past.”

    2. TootsNYC*

      or maybe “she has a history with me”?

      Or “the way she has treated me and my family in the past means I won’t be able to work with her”

      I wouldn’t want it to sound like this is the OP’s fault.

      Or maybe, “As you know, we used to be friends, and were even roommates for a short while. I don’t like to go into details, because this affects other people too, I am not her primary victim. But the way she acted during that time has meant I have completely changed my opinion of her. It’s not just that I would not at all be able to work with her. It’s also that I’ve seen her been tremendously manipulative and unethical.”

      And maybe
      “It’s so hard to talk about this because I’m not the person who was most directly hurt, and talking about other people’s lives is something that requires discretion. It’s not that it’s a shameful secret, but no one likes to have their sharpest hurts discussed casually with just anyone.”

    3. pcake*

      Unfortunately I know several people who would hire her based on that statement. One feels he’s a master social engineer who would want to make them get along, three more figure it’s work and they’ll learn to get along or that the OP is exaggerating.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Those people who would hire her based on that statement sound similar to the people who sneak an allergen into a food to “test” if someone’s really allergic.

    4. hbc*

      I agree. Someone who’s a good worker and not drama-prone will get the benefit of the doubt from me, without details. I *might* come back if this is the only qualified candidate or the top one by a wide margin, but that would be more to explore whether there was a level of separation possible that would keep OP satisfied. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, though, I’m just accepting that the current and known employee is worth more than whatever value the candidate has on paper.

      1. cncx*

        i would like to think that’s how my boss would feel. that a current and known employee is worth more than whatever potential a candidate has.

  9. MuseumChick*

    Alison is spot on. You can 100% speak up and make it clear that working with Cersei would be a problem for you. I want to under score that you are under no obligation to reveal the details. I like the second version of Alison’s script because I think it does a better job of communicating just how much you cannot work with Cersei without revealing to much.

    Now, if you feel you can tell you boss the details, that’s fine to. As long as you keep it to the facts without personal attacks, “Cersei and I used to be roommates. During that time she began an affair with my married father. As you can imagine when the affair came it cause a lot of pain and stress for my and my family.”

    I’m sorry both Cersei and your dad are asses.

    1. Iris Eyes*

      Except it apparently began BEFORE they were roommates.

      So more like “Cersei and I became roommates because she wanted to make it easier to continue an affair with my married father. As you can imagine after this came to light it has been causing a lot of pain and stress for me and my family.”

      1. Sansa (OP)*

        Cersei moved in with me before starting the affair with my father. Most of what I know comes from some long texts Cersei sent after I found them in flagrante delicto and from stuff my dad has told my mom in couples therapy. Apparently, Cersei hoped that moving in with me would bring her closer to my dad. They started their affair a month or so after we became roommates.

        1. HeyAnonanonnie*

          Do you think her affair with your father is motivating her applying for this job? I really worry she could use the organizational duties to harass you.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            I have the same concern. It sounds like she’s trying to worm her way back to OP’s dad by using a strategy that worked for her before—inserting herself into OP’s life/space.

            1. Sansa (OP)*

              Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me- which means I should probably tell my mom she applied. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to. This has been so hard for her and I don’t want to make it any worse

              1. Lance*

                I can understand that… but again, for this, don’t blame yourself. You’re not the one who did any of this, you’re not the one who’s made bad decisions; that lies firmly on Cersei and your father. They’re the ones that have made things hard on your mother, and on you.

                1. valentine*

                  Your mom will want to know Cersei won’t leave you alone and any information is useful in case Cersei escalates. In fact, writing a timeline, including this job piece, and compiling texts and other evidence might be a good idea. Circulate her picture amongst the fam, in case she tries other avenues when you don’t budge.

              2. blackcat*

                I might not.
                Also, it’s not great that you’re hearing what your parents are discussing in the therapy. You may be an adult, but you’re their kid. It’s not on you to be your mom’s emotional support here.

                1. Observer*

                  The thing is that this is information that is actually relevant to the OP – it’s not necessarily about being emotional support for her mother, but her mother passing on information about a former friend that is (or might be) useful for the OP to be aware of.

                2. Sansa*

                  I’ve gone to a few family appointments with them. My mom is pushing a “private, not secret” point of view. I don’t feel like I have to bear her through this process, but I don’t want to make it any worse for her

              3. Batgirl*

                Be really aware of stalking behaviours in situations where someone unavailable was kinda targeted from the start.
                They don’t always stop when the affair ends. I came across it a lot in group therapy for infidelity survivors.

              4. animaniactoo*

                Hmmmm. Don’t tell your mom she’s applied. Tell your parents, together.

                While obviously they have to deal with it as individuals, they are trying to stay a partnership and deal with it as a partnership. That may or may not succeed, but the best respect you can give to your mom is to respect her decision to try for that and act in ways that supports the partnership goal. Which means giving it to them both, not one side or the other to handle.

                [random internet hug] I’m sorry, all of this sucks.

                1. Sansa (OP)*

                  Thanks for the hug. I’d rather tell my mom individually, because I’m obviously not in a situation where I trust/want to interact with my dad- and I definitely see what you mean, and I think you’re right.

                2. Gloucesterina*

                  I don’t think OP as the child should be burdened with trying to facilitate the parents’ reconciliation. That is between the parents. OP needs to protect herself and her livelihood.

                  Wishing you well, OP!

                3. animaniactoo*

                  @Gloucesterina – I understand what you’re saying, but it’s not about Sansa facilitating their reconciliation. It’s about respecting the choice her mother has made and acting in accordance with that. Especially because while it’s clear that Sansa is understandably pissed at her father and on her mom’s side here, if it works out this will be a point of tension among them and it’s better for all of them if she/they figure out how to navigate it now.

                  This isn’t to say that she can never take sides on issues, or have stuff that she discusses with one parent and not the other. Just that in this moment when all of it is active and relevant and the information affects both of them, she is best off abiding by their wishes and making mindful choices about that.

                  Facilitating would be more like helping one or the other of them set up date nights and/or being a sounding board for stuff they are working through/trying to figure out how to say to the other person. I agree that she should thoroughly stay out of that.

                4. aebhel*

                  @animaniactoo, OP has said she isn’t speaking with her father. I don’t think she’s obligated to start over this.

                5. animaniactoo*

                  @aebhel – She’s said she talks to him as little as possible, which I take to mean “talks to him as much as is necessary to deal with practical matters/interacting with other members of the family”. I would consider notifying her parents of this to be a practical matter, but if she’s not sure where she lands, I would encourage her to talk to her therapist and figure out between them how to handle it as the therapist has the most information to help her sort her way through this and choose the path that she wants to be on.

                6. Sansa*

                  @animaniactoo – that’s a good explanation of how I speak to my father. It’s sometimes necessary, but if I can avoid speaking to him I can. And I think it’s a good idea to discuss this new situation with my therapist so we can brainstorm how to tell my parents.

              5. smoke tree*

                If the conversation comes to this point, I wonder whether it would be worth mentioning to your boss that based on her previous behaviour, you’re concerned Cersei may be applying for this job as a way to get closer to your family, because I think most managers would be alarmed by this possibility. (Also, I’m so sorry that this woman has treated you so horribly!)

              6. Koala dreams*

                I don’t think you have to tell your mother, instead try to find an outside source of support for yourself. Talk things throught with an unconnected friend or a therapist. You and your mother are both deeply hurt, and not necessarily suited to offer each other support when it comes to this issue. Take care of yourself!

          2. MuseumChick*

            Oh I hadn’t thought of this angle. But the more I think about the more I think this is likely what is going on. Cersei is trying to find some way back “in” with all of you. Geez, I hope your boss takes you seriously this afternoon!

  10. TeapotNinja*

    “not comfortable working with”?

    I’d personally use language much stronger than that. “Not comfortable” to me reads like “I’d rather not, but if absolutely needed to, I could”.

    This is a situation, in my opinion, that requires something much more direct. “I will not directly work with this person, ever.”

    1. ChimericalOne*

      I’d be concerned that “I will not [do a thing]” and “ever” would risk sounding a little schoolyard, but I agree that “not comfortable” is too soft. OP might try saying, “Unfortunately, I will not be able to work with her” or “I don’t foresee being able to work with her.” Saying “I won’t be able to” suggests that it’s not really a situation that’s in OP’s control (and rightly so — Cersei has poisoned this well beyond anything a reasonable person could tolerate), rather than something OP’s just being willful about.

    2. Lisa B*

      I agree- needs to be closer to your comment in the letter of “no way in hell I can work with her,” because that paints a MUCH different picture!

    3. TootsNYC*

      or, “I love working here. I’d hate to have to leave, which I fear would be the outcome.”

    4. Anonysand*

      I would agree. “Not comfortable working with” leaves a lot open for interpretation, and assumes that you COULD work with them, but would rather not. “Not comfortable” could mean that you have different political or religious opinions, or maybe that you used to be friends but realized you were too different and had a falling out. Maybe your relationship soured as roommates because you had different opinions on cleanliness/shared spaces/boundaries/etc. I have plenty of people and previous friends that I would not be comfortable working with, and none of those reasons are as serious as “they schemed to move in with me so they could start an affair with my parent.” That is some serious moral and ethical boundary crossing, not just your run of the mill “we don’t get along that great.”

    5. Tex*

      “I can’t work with her because not only did she damage my parents, she admitted to deliberately moving in with me as a roommate to target them. This is is someone that in no way, shape or form I could trust at any level. I wouldn’t say anything at all if it was a petty dispute, I hope you trust my judgement enough to believe it was an extremely serious matter that I can’t go into details because it involves other people.”

      This way it leaves out the affair but gives a better example of her connivingness.

    6. Kate R*

      “Not comfortable” to me reads like “I’d rather not, but if absolutely needed to, I could”.

      I actually think this *is* the message OP wants to send. On a personal level, I understand Sansa (OP)’s unwillingness to work with Cersei, but on a professional level, I worry that setting a hard line like that could look like insubordination to an employer. A good employer would want to avoid interpersonal drama at work and would likely choose Sansa (the already established employee) over an unknown candidate, so even softened language might be enough to stave them off hiring Cersei. That said, HeyAnonanonnie upthread suggested the wording: “I have a history with her that would make it difficult for me to work with her”, which I like a little better because doesn’t set the hard line of “I absolutely will not work with this person” but it does explain that the relationship is fraught.

      1. mcr-red*

        Well, but what is she supposed to do if she absolutely will not work with this person? Sometimes don’t you have to set the hard line if that’s the reality of the situation? Like if they did hire this woman, OP will quit? (Not saying that’s the situation, but I’ve been in a situation like that.)

        1. Sansa OP*

          I don’t think they’ll hire her- I spoke to my boss earlier. If they did, I do think I would quit- though- and I tried to state that kindly and firmly

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            >>”I don’t think they’ll hire her- I spoke to my boss earlier. If they did, I do think I would quit- though- and I tried to state that kindly and firmly”

            GOOD FOR YOU. Speaking up calmly & kindly in a drama-laden situation like this is not easy.

        2. Kate R*

          Yeah, unfortunately, I think that’s the choice Sansa would have to make. (And luckily, it doesn’t sound like she will have to based on her above comment). But I agree with you that even the “difficult” phrasing doesn’t get to the seriousness of the situation. My interpretation of “I will not directly work with this person, ever” was along the lines of, Sansa will stay, but refuse to work with Cersei, which could impact their work in a negative way and make Sansa look insubordinate. I see now that may not have been the intention. If the case is that you’d be willing to quit over working with a new hire, then I think that is worth mentioning. Though, I still think a reasonable employer would move on from that candidate even with the softer language. People like it when their teams work well together.

      2. aebhel*

        I don’t think that’s insubordination. It’s honest. If the employer is making a decision on the assumption that Sansa will be unhappy but willing to work with Cersei when the fact is that Sansa will quit if Cersei is hired, that does nobody any good.

        “This is something I will quit over” is a line that employees are able to draw, and I’m really uncomfortable with the idea that it’s insubordination to do so. It may not always be *wise*, given the imbalance of power in most employer/employee relationships, but it’s not insubordinate. My boss doesn’t get to demand that I continue working under conditions that are unacceptable to me; I do get to decide to quit.

  11. Narise*

    Would it be worth it to add ‘ Cersei behavior could reflect badly on the company and does not line up with the company mission.’ I know that background checks are usually done for criminal charges but for some nonprofits they would not want someone with questionable moral character working for them. If it ever went public it could impact the reputation of the company. With this being said, OP’s dad would/should also be excluded from employment for the same reason.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Having an affair with her roommate’s father in the place she shares with her roommate seems pretty questionable. Especially leaving the door open. Don’t get me wrong, the whole thing is awful, but these details really take it over the top.

    1. Mike C.*

      No, not at all, this doesn’t make any sense what so ever.

      Who you have sex with doesn’t reflect on your employer in any way, shape or form.

      1. SignalLost*

        No, but your ethical judgement does, and living in a world where it’s okay to have an affair with a friend’s dad and to move in with the friend to further the affair speaks to your ethics. (I would say the person you are actually having sex with doesn’t matter in the least, though; to me it’s about ethics.)

        1. Phoenix Programmer*

          Honestly I don’t see the friend as much at fault here. I see a much older man taking advantage of a daughters friend while then shifting it all on her.

          All the more reason not to try and make grandiose claims about friends ethics when a simple – we have a past history and honestly if she were hired i would be very uncomfortable” will do.

          1. SignalLost*

            But Cersei stated outright that she chose to move in with the OP to be closer to the father. I think I’m not comfortable just assuming that she had no power to make a choice, and I’m really not comfortable she’s chosen to apply where the OP works. I see it’s a small area with not a lot of opportunities, but … dude. Just … recognize that not everyone will rug-sweep and that you really can’t expect to get a job where someone you participated in harming already works. If that means you have to change careers or locations, then that’s what it means. If Cersei had handled the post-reveal differently, I might be more inclined to your perspective that this was unilateral on the part of the father, but I’m not, and feel comfortable that the information we have I doesn’t support that view.

            1. boo bot*

              Yes – it’s not the affair, it’s moving in with his daughter in order to get close to him.

              To be honest, I think she should just tell her boss what happened. There’s not a clear euphemism for, “my friend wanted to get close to my dad so she moved in with me and they had an affair, mostly in my apartment,” and I think talking around it is either going to make the OP look like she’s causing drama or like she’s talking about something trivial.

          2. Temperance*

            She’s an adult woman, though. This isn’t a high schooler, this is a person at least in her mid twenties.

            1. Phoenix Programmer*

              Still really easy to be taken advantage of by older men.

              Been there done that. Bought the T-Shirt.

              1. Airy*

                I feel like you’re assuming Cersei is like you and therefore you’re sympathetic, which is coming off as a) assuming you know way more about Cersei’s motives and problems than any of us do, b) kind of denying Cersei had any agency or responsibility in this mess.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I don’t think choice of romantic and sexual partners falls under background checks, unless the role is sacrificial virgin.

      The problem isn’t “This is the sort of person who would engage in an ILLICIT LIAISON.” It’s that she’s someone you can’t work with because her past actions directly hurt you and your mom. It’s personal, and trying to make it impersonal and instead about vague moral precepts you can’t go into (or can–“How can someone enter data if they would ignore someone else’s marriage vows?”) is likely to backfire with most third party listeners.

    3. Person from the Resume*

      I am not defending Cersei in any way, but we are not living in the 1950s any more. Unfortunately in this day and age a lot of people have had affairs, and they are not barred from jobs – even political office. People have had affairs, married their affair partner, and gone on with their life without being shamed forever. Don’t make this about what Cersei did in her personal life. Make it about the impact on the office which is Sansa, a valued employee, would be terribly uncomfortable and likely quit if Cersei was hired.

      The whole roommate deceit adds an extra level immorality/pain to the whole situation, but it is Sansa’s dad who was the cheater.

      Who knows? Sansa’s boss may have been party to a affair at some point so she wouldn’t appreciate the Sansa’s judgment on that.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        Point of fact: Lots of people had affairs in the 50s, but it was much more secret because getting caught did reflect on that person’s morality in all aspects of life including job prospects.

        1. The Original K.*

          I think the fact that affairs were much harder to arrange back then had a lot to do with it. I got back on dating apps recently and was pretty (perhaps naively) surprised by how many married men* are on there straight up saying they’re looking for affairs, and those are just the ones that admit it. I’m certain there are married/partnered people on them who are pretending to be single – I came across one the last time I was online dating. I’d be willing to bet that the OP and her boss have worked with people who have cheated before; they just don’t know it.

          Cersei and Sansa’s dad did a very, very messed up thing. “Cersei’s morals are shaky” is true, but I don’t think that saying it that way gets Sansa the desired outcome, which is not to have Cersei working there. IMO the “she hurt me and my family and as a result, I’ve had to cut her off completely and could not work with her if she were hired” script is the best.

          *I don’t date women so I can’t speak to that, but I saw a man’s profile that said “What’s up with all the married women on here?” so women do it too.

      2. Sansa (OP)*

        Yeah, my dad was the cheater. It’s complex for me because my mom is staying married to him (she knows about the affair. when I discovered it I made dad tell her in front of me so he wouldn’t lie about that at least). At the same time, he’s also the one working to fix(?) the terrible things he’s caused. Cersei just sent me a few texts and has avoided me non-stop. To be fair, I’ve also avoided her.

        I agree that her being a kind of a homewrecker doesn’t directly affect her eligibility for her job, but it’s been helpful to see that the pain she’s caused me is a reasonable reason for me to talk to my supervisor about her candidacy. I was worried I didn’t have any cause to say anything.

        As a side note, what the fuck was she thinking? That she would end up my stepmother?

        1. MuseumChick*

          There is a MUCH longer back story to this that makes it 10X worse. I know someone who had an affair with a married man. Two grown kids involved. I told her this was a terrible idea. She didn’t listen. When the affair blew up she came crying to me about how his kids were calling her “The Whore” and how they had stop communicating with their dad. The wife was divorcing him. This was an intelligent woman and I had to explain to her that their reactions ANYONE could have seen coming from a mile away.

          1. Sansa (OP)*

            I don’t want to give out many details in the comments, but you’re right. This is one messed-up soap opera situation.

          2. tangerineRose*

            Wow, yeah, of course the kids would call her that and wouldn’t talk to their father – that’s not surprising at all.

        2. MommaCat*

          In response to your side-note, I doubt she was thinking through those kinds of consequences. I’m just thanking God that my now-stepmother, though in my industry, is both 500 miles away and on a much lower level than I am. I don’t know the age differences involved in your case, but at least my now-stepmom is technically old enough to be my mother, and was never my friend (though she “friends” with my mom). It sounds like you and your former roommate are peers in age? Which adds an additional ick factor to the whole thing. To bring this back around to work advice, all that you’ve said in the comments that you’ll talk about with your supervisor sounds smart, and I’m definitely following your comments with interest. Hopefully this will turn into a “oh your family has drama? Sit down and listen” kind of story in a few years. Hugs if you want them, this sucks for you.

          1. Sansa (OP)*

            She was a little older than me, but not by much. One of the grossest things is how she would text me/message me right after I found out about the affair, saying how we could still be friends and didn’t have to affect me at all.

            1. Batgirl*

              Yeah I got that ‘Wait, how does this affect our friendship?’ obliviousness too.

              From what I saw in group therapy that remark is super common! People who shop in the married department for dates are weird, yo. They genuinely think it’s NBD; that everyone does it, that we are all just being discreet.

            2. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

              Okay – Cersei just sounds psychopathic. Like I have this plan, this is what I want – and then totally didn’t understand when other people who were hurt by her actions cut her off/out.
              Just WTF???

          2. mcr-red*

            I’ve been wondering that too, is OP and former roommate the same age? Because I think I just threw up in my mouth a bit.

            1. Sansa OP*

              She’s older than me- old enough that we didn’t share developmental stages, if that makes sense. Like she graduated college before I would have started college ordinarily

        3. JamieS*

          Well the difference is your father is the one who actually cheated. He broke his vows, he hurt your family, he showed a total lack of respect for both your mother and you for that matter. He didn’t try to “fix” anything until he got caught and he’s probably only doing that for selfish reasons.

          Just talk with your manager and move on.

          1. Sansa (OP)*

            Yeah and I think I am clear that I also blame him. But also he’s not the person who is applying for a job near me.

            I talk to my manager at one today. Moving on takes time and is in all sorts of different pieces.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Her father seems to have the good sense not to force contact or communication. Wise move on his part.
            The ex-roommate though does not seem to be in touch with the realities of the situation, though.

        4. MM55*

          I see your father as the home wrecker. And Cersei as quite the willing accomplice. If your father had not CHOSEN to have had a physical, sexual affair with Cersei, you would not be dealing with this pain. The work home wrecker makes it seem that men are not able to control themselves around a woman they are attracted to. And that calling the woman a home wrecker takes a lot of the blame off the man. I for one would like to change that dialogue and put the blame squarely where it belongs, with your married father.

            1. Sansa OP*

              I definitely see where you are coming from, and certainly agree.

              They share equitable parts of the blame and are both homewreckers. And the word homewrecker does imply stuff that isn’t true, like that my dad isn’t culpable

      3. Rusty Shackelford*

        Yes; the OP wouldn’t be saying “don’t hire her because she slept with a married man.” She’d be saying “I cannot work with her because she manipulated me in order to get closer to my father so she could sleep with him.”

        1. boo bot*

          I actually think this is great phrasing; it’s not laden with details or moralizing, and it gets the facts across!

      4. Batgirl*

        Yeah, the married person is the cheater but you don’t get any medals (or jobs) for being the ally to someone abusing their spouse’s right to informed consent. I also don’t find spousal abuse progressive in the slightest.

        The idea that the ‘deceit adds an extra level of immorality’ is just laughable. All affairs (except ethical polygamy) involve complicated deceits and gaslighting. It’s just not possible to conduct an affair of any length without creating an entirely secret second life. I know in the popular imagination it’s more ‘whoops I forgot to tell you’ plus a casually ‘how did she/he not know’ negligence at home; but the reality means lying to pretty much everyone in ways that have them doubting themselves. Otherwise every betrayed spouse and child would have to be a fool.

        1. Artemesia*

          There is also a moral difference between becoming involved with a married man (or woman) you meet and come to be friends with as part of your work and it ‘happens’ and moving into with someone’s daughter ‘in order to pursue an affair with their father.’ I am sympathetic to people who fall in love when married but not so much people who are intentionally setting out to seduce other people. Neither is a a good thing to do, but it is manslaughter verses first degree murder comparatively.

    4. iglwif*

      Yeah, I don’t think so? At least, not the part where she had a relationship with a married dude. The part where she’s using the LW to get closer to LW’s father is pretty problematic–in the same way stalking would be–but I don’t think we want employers policing their employees’ consensual sexual behaviour, do you?

  12. iglwif*

    YIKES, how extremely unpleasant for you, LW!!

    I am full of sympathy here because once upon a time many of my high school friends kept talking about their first-year-university Latin instructor who was just so great … and the instructor turned out to be my stepmother, with whom my father had started sleeping about 10 years earlier while she was his PhD supervisee.

    More relevantly to your actual situation, yes, back when I was a hiring manager I would ABSOLUTELY 100% have wanted to know if someone I was considering hiring was going to cause issues for one of my existing staff. No vacancy needs to be filled so urgently that it’s worth hiring someone who will literally cause someone else to quit!

  13. LaDeeDa*

    “Apparently one of the reasons she’d moved in with me was to be closer to him.” WOW! OP, I am so sorry you have been put in that position in your family, keeping it out of work has to be a priority. I think most companies would truly want to make sure their employees aren’t put in that kind of position, and really- in the long run it could prevent them from having to deal with any sort of drama. I hope you are able to have that difficult conversation and that it goes well. Good luck!

  14. LG*

    Cersei must know that you work here- is this another ploy to stay close to your father in some way? I’m sorry that this happened to you and that this person is lingering.

    1. CG*

      I wondered that too… How could Cersei possibly not be aware that OP works there, and if Cersei is aware, why the heck did she apply for this job?!

      1. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

        If it were a big company with a ton of employees or satellite offices, I wouldn’t be worried about it (if you know someone you dislike works at McDonald’s, you’re not going to avoid McDonaldses). But it’s a nonprofit, so I’m assuming it’s much smaller than your average firm, *and* it’s the same place LW was working at during the affair. It’s not like she moved and Cersei just had the bad luck of applying for the same job, like that one letter where the guy happened to get a job at the same company as the girlfriend he’d ghosted years before.

  15. CG*

    I agree with others who suggested going with Alison’s second proposal (“hurt me and members of my family”). To me, “Cersei and I had a falling out” unjustly implies that part of the problem is that OP can’t get along, when the problem is 100% on Cersei’s behavior.

  16. Sansa (OP)*

    This was someone I’ve known for a very long time. Hindsight is definitely 20/20- she was so calculating and (I think) deliberately cruel!

    I honestly hadn’t even thought about the scheduling power she would have.

    1. Flash Bristow*

      You have my huge, huge sympathies. Years ago, someone befriended me online, she seemed nice enough, wanted advice about travelling to the UK (from her country), seemed innocent enough, I didn’t mind chatting a little with her.

      Then she burst out that she had a secret to share, there was someone she really was looking forward to visiting which she believed I knew and that’s why she had been so happy to get to know me! And she was planning to stay with him!

      How nice. What’s his name?

      It’s A***!

      Oh. Yes I do know him. He’s my boyfriend.

      She logged out pretty promptly at that point. Ugh. She got to know me to get close to someone I loved. Ugh ugh ugh.

      Not quite the same as your situation (and I don’t wanna talk about how it ended). But huge sympathies for the ick in your situation and how Cersei has betrayed you as well as hurt you.

      Just be factual to your manager, but clear it’s not a trivial grudge, it is serious and “either she goes or I do.”

      Best of luck. I hope it’s not too painful to go thru all this and relive the bits you have to. I’ll be thinking of you, please do update us. Wishing you all the best.

      1. Sansa*

        That’s a horrible situation and I hope you’re doing well now. Thank you for the well-wishes.

  17. curious*

    OP I can’t say any more than has been said above. Alison and AMA comments have given you some good scripts.

    I do want to say, and I might be misinterpreting things… you seem to be blaming yourself for the situation. For example it happened because you introduced your roommate to your father. That’s a normal experience for someone. Eventually roommates meet people in each other’s lives. You seem concerned about how “outing” the situation will make you and your mother come across. While I suggest to navigate the situation professionally career wise, this wasn’t a situation caused by you. I just want to say you did nothing wrong.

    I’d go for option two saying Cersei harmed you and family members. If you are close to your boss go into detail if necessary. While one should have a personal life outside of their professional life, sometimes lines get blurred. It seems like Cersei made some bad decisions and is expecting you to just forgive and forget. Based on the comments and speculation it would almost seem like Cersei conveniently forgot about the affair and is now trying to use you as a networking contact. Not as a threat but I would definitely mention to your boss that you would be uncomfortable with Cersei as a coworker and will be starting your own job search if she is hired, can you use boss as a reference. Again not as a threat, but with all the details your boss might see the whole picture and how it affects (you) a great employee.

    Keep us posted with an update. I feel like if Cersei is hired or not, there will be some confrontation or forced communication with Cersei.

    1. Sansa (OP)*

      I do blame myself. I know it’s not true/rational, but I blame myself for trusting her and bringing her into our family. I am working through the feelings of blame and guilt with my therapist, who is wonderful. (When I first told her, she said “Holy Fuck,” which was kind of funny).

      I like your elaboration on option two! I will definitely keep it in my back pocket for my meeting today (I see my boss at one).

      At this point, there’s a part of me that does want to confront her, but this isn’t the time or place.

      1. curious*

        I’m glad you are getting help to work through your feelings. Sending virtual hugs and assurance that you did nothing wrong. I know you love your job and I’d like to think your boss is reasonable with whatever outcome that may come, but just remember that this is one job you will have in your life and if you don’t like a situation, there will be other amazing jobs and wonderful bosses. Keep us posted.

        1. Sansa OP*

          I spoke with my boss! I went with option #2 with a little bit of detail when asked. My boss was very kind and horrified on my behalf, and expressed that this knowledge was absolutely relevant in her candidacy because Cersei and I would be in a lot of contact in that role.

          She’s still planning to interview Cersei (in part because an interview was already offered) but told me that Cersei wasn’t the first choice. I trust my boss to be fair, and trust her when she says she won’t be hiring Cersei.

          1. blackcat*

            So either your boss is okay with wasting a candidates (and her) time or still sort of considering Cersei? Neither of those are great….

            1. Sansa OP*

              She’s doing another phone interview later today- my boss told me one of the reasons she didn’t want to cancel was in case Cersei blamed me. It’s a niche thing and Cersei definitely knows some of the other candidates- my impression is that my boss doesn’t want to cause drama for me or whoever she hires.

              1. animaniactoo*

                *whew* fingers crossed OP. It sounds like it will be fine and I hope that one of the other 2 on the short list is a great candidate who accepts the role just to give that much more distance from anything potentially landing at your doorstep.

              2. IT Squirrel*

                This was just what I was hoping the Boss was thinking in still interviewing her – if they pulled the interview before speaking to her I could see it being very easy for Cersei to blame you (knowing you work there), but by still talking to her the reasons for rejecting her centre around interview performance instead and keeps you out of it (not that they would bring you into it, I’m more thinking in Cersei’s head you would be linked to her rejection….I’m not very good at explaining my thought processes so I hope you get what I mean!).

                I’m glad you have what sounds like a supportive boss who ‘gets’ this and is actually handling it pretty well.

      2. Anon for this*

        Ahh, the “holy shit!” moment from a therapist. One of the most validating experiences I’ve ever had. Stay strong OP, speak up with confidence, and know that not one iota of this disaster is your fault.

      3. Tinybutfierce*

        Not entirely the same situation, but two years ago I had to cut out someone I’d considered a best friend for some seriously appalling behavior and manipulation (which I later found out was a long-running pattern); I spent a long while blaming myself, wondering what I’d done to make someone treat me so terribly, how could I have missed the signs that they were really so manipulative and cruel, etc etc. But the truth was (which my own wonderful therapist has helped me see), I couldn’t have seen it coming because they didn’t want me to and deliberately hid it well; the only “fault” I carried was just being willing to trust someone I considered a friend, and them violating that trust is entirely on them.

        Long story short, I know that feel, those feelings are entirely valid, and I hope you’re able to work through them ASAP (at your own pace <3). That awful woman doesn’t deserve to take up any more time or energy from your life than she already has.

    2. curious*

      Sansa OP – I saw somewhere in the comments that you had to work at this company related to your schooling. Are you / Cersei in a niche field? Unless your field is so specialized that this is the only company that deals in your job descriptions, I am just trying to figure out why Cersei would apply to the company you work for knowing there was a chance you might have to work together. Surely Cersei doesn’t believe let bygones be bygones. I can’t come up with any reasoning for Cersei to apply.

      I’m glad your meeting went well. It seems as though your boss values you as an employee and is definitely taking your thoughts into consideration.

      PS I’m not saying this to make light of your situation. You mentioned in the comments that this was a bit of a soap opera. Part of me wants to know if Cersei contacts you once management has made a hiring decision. I feel like Cersei doesn’t realize (or care) how she wronged you until it affects her directly.

      1. Sansa OP*

        She’s a graduate student, this job is one of the few that corresponds with her program and would give her credit in this area. That’s one of the reasons I don’t really think she’s applying here as a way of targeting me.

        In response to the post-script, it is a bit of a soap-opera story. If she gets back in contact with me I’ll try to remember to let you know!

        1. curious*

          You are handling everything with grace and dignity. You should be proud of yourself. Best of luck.

          1. Sansa*

            Thank you <3 One of the things I’ve been trying is like? Just radically being the better person.

            And not having sex with my friends dads, which isn’t hard!!!

  18. LadyByTheLake*

    Okay, Cersei is no saint, but I am really troubled by the language here. It should be “my older married father started an affair with Cersei, which Cersei hid from me.”

    This affair is not Cersei’s “fault” nor is she some kind of siren luring an unwitting victim onto the rocks. The real creep here is dad. Now all that said, I wouldn’t be able to work with Cersei either, but I also wouldn’t blame all of this on her, and I REALLY wouldn’t be able to stomach being in the same room with my dad (hitting on a woman his daughter’s age — blech!)

    1. Dragoning*

      I mean, she did become OP’s roommate specifically because she wanted an affair with her father. This is not a case of Cersei didn’t know anything about OP’s father or that he was married. Yeah, OP’s father made a hell of a lot of bad choices, too, but Cersei is far from faultless here.

      1. Flash Bristow*

        Quite. Cersei is not innocent, she was calculating in how to get an extra toe in the water / how to get closer to OP’s dad.

      2. Pommette!*

        Normally I’m big on putting all of the blame on the person who breaks his/her vows and betrays his/her partner and family, rather than on the person they cheated with. But this isn’t a situation where the father had an affair with a random stranger. Cercei and OP had a prior relationship (friends, room-mates), and Cercei knowingly used the OP and betrayed her trust. That part is 100% on her.
        OP is entitled to do what she can to limit future interactions with Cercei!

    2. Sticky Note*

      There’s plenty of creep to go around, I think. The language used in the letter was they had been having an affair, and that they were both complicit. I’m not sure why that’s troubling.

      1. Bostonian*

        Yeah, OP notes that the dad played a part, too. But while Dad’s actions hurt the wife (first and foremost) and also OP (as the daughter), the roommate betrayed OP’s trust not only as a friend, but also because of the impact the affair had on her family. So, since the letter is about the roommate applying to work at the same company, and the hurt that she has caused, it makes sense that the focus of the letter would be on her.

        1. JamieS*

          No the only thing Cersei is liable for is betraying OP”s trust as a roommate. Everything else including the hurt the affair caused OP and her family is 100% on OP’s father and nobody else. He took vows and broke them while showing a total lack of care for OP in the process. Who the hell not only has an affair with her daughter’s roommate but does it in their daughter’s home? Truly despicable.

          1. hbc*

            There is not limited blame to go around. Let’s think less in terms of “responsibility” percentages and more in terms of absolute reprehensibility of behavior. Both Cersei and Dad are gross, gross people who actively chose to inflict pain on others, through different mechanisms. On a scale of 1-10 of awfulness, I might put them both above a 9, and moving Dad up or down a few tenths doesn’t budge Cersei.

            I mean, I’m with you if this is a game show and OP has to choose who gets a big sack of money or something, but Dad isn’t up for the job, so his relative guilt is irrelevant.

          2. Jennifer Thneed*

            And presumably in the living room, too, since most people don’t share actual bedrooms with people they call roommates. (Where I live, that gets called “housemates”, fwiw.)

            I get it – sex in the living room can be extra sexy, but ffs how stupid could they be? It’s a sit-com setup, only with tragedy at the end instead of a laugh track.

            1. Sansa OP*

              My apologies! We didn’t share a bedroom, so we’d be more of housemates I guess. My area tends to use roommate for anyone you live with

          3. Archaeopteryx*

            Knowingly sleeping with a married person is, if not equally despicable to cheating, at least in the same ballpark of shitty behavior.

            1. Arts Akimbo*

              Exactly, because they’re knowingly causing hurt to another person– the cheated-upon spouse, and in this case, to Sansa as well! Nobody can be so naive as to think a friend would be a-ok with someone banging their dad behind their mom’s back. Knowingly doing something that would cause hurt if other people knew about it is shitty behavior in my book.

              1. Electric sheep*

                100% agree. If you’re doing something you know someone else will be hurt by, you have made some terrible choices.

    3. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

      Dad is absolutely at fault here, but I think Cersei is being treated as the more guilty party because she is, as far as LW and the commentariat know, the initiator of the affair.

      Also, while dad’s a creep, LW doesn’t have to work with him, so a conversation to HR about how it takes two to tango, while accurate, doesn’t address the issue at hand.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Thank you. Dad and Cersei are both trash, but dad isn’t the one trying to work with Sansa like everything’s good and forgotten.

    4. Semaj*

      This is a pretty derailing response. What makes you think the father started the affair, as you assert here? It’s BOTH of their fault. We aren’t here to debate over which percentage of blame goes to who, and we have no business weighing in on LW’s relationship with her father.

      Why nitpick over who gets all the blame when the result is the same? She can’t work with Cersei, a conversation needs to be had with the hiring manager.

      1. JamieS*

        100% of the blame for an affair goes to the married person. OP should go to their manager because they aren’t comfortable working with Cersei which is true regardless of who is to blame (OP’s father).

        1. Not A Manager*

          Do you have a citation for that?

          I personally think that 100% of the blame for choosing to have an affair goes to the married person, and 100% of the blame for choosing to enter into an affair goes to the outside partner. Everyone is 100% responsible for their own choices.

          1. mcr-red*


            I see that all the time, someone being mad at BOTH the cheater and the affair partner, and getting all the “why are you mad at the affair partner, they didn’t do anything!” comments.

            Getting involved with a married person (as well as being a married person and having an affair) is basically like deciding to stand on a landmine and getting upset that it blew up. It’s willingly entering into a bad situation and then being shocked and upset at the outcome.

            1. tangerineRose*

              Yeah, she knew the man was married and decided to get involved. It sounds like it was her idea, too, moving in with Sansa to get closer to him.

        2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Why? Said who?

          I could get this logic if the married person lied to the other party about their being married, but not in a situation where the other party pursued the married person (through his daughter, who was also her friend, no less – ewww). They are very much both to blame.

        3. soon to be former fed*

          Hard disagree. Married people cannot cheat without a willing accomplice. Accomplices to crimes are still guilty. In the case of unmarried cheaters, they know they are helping someone violate their marriage vows and hurt another person. Hardly blameless behavior.

          Good luck to you OP. I feel you hard in not wanting to associate with your former friend, in any way, shape, or form. It’s sad that neither your dad or this woman had enough respect for you to spring for a hotel room instead of having sex in your apartment. Such garbage behavior. Damn.

    5. Phoenix*

      This is not relevant, and seems to go against the site rules to not nitpick the language of letter writers.

    6. Washi*

      I didn’t get any slut-shaming from the OP’s letter, just very justifiable bitterness at the former friend’s choices.

    7. Dust Bunny*

      Pretty sure they’re equal creeps. You can’t have an affair if the other party doesn’t go along with it.

    8. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Normally I fall in the “person in a committed relationship bears greater culpability for an affair” pool. But in this case, Cersei undertook a lot of extra-manipulative action to leverage her friendship with OP to access OP’s dad. And then there’s the extra tackiness of bringing OP’s dad to their apartment to have sex.

      Dad was a creep, no doubt, and certainly to blame for the pain he’s caused OP and OP’s mom. But Cersei also bears significant blame for creating a path of destruction by exploiting her friendship with OP to facilitate the affair.

      1. Sansa (OP)*

        And it’s not like I don’t blame my dad, either. He is absolutely at fault. But the question I asked- “how do i talk to my boss,” relates to Cersei, not him.

        Also, like? Her betrayal is a little more specifically a betrayal of me. My dad betrayed our whole family and my mom especially, Cersei betrayed them and me especially.

        1. JamieS*

          How do you know your father didn’t give the idea to Cersei to move in with you? Also he had sex in your home as opposed to going elsewhere for their trysts as well as didn’t put his foot down as Cersei moving in with you so he did specifically betray you in addition to the betrayal towards your family as a whole.

          1. Not A Manager*

            What’s your point in all of this? Why are you acting like OP somehow “needs” to blame her father more and Cersei less?

          2. Sansa OP*

            Dad actually was very insistent that I not enter into another lease with Cersei. I didn’t understand why and it was frustrating. It’s a multilayered and very gross situation.

            I agree that his was also a specific betrayal of me. It’s bad

          3. Temperance*

            Cersei is an adult woman, not a child. She made her own disgusting choices, and she gets to live with them.

            1. Sansa*

              I hope she one day realizes just how cruel she was. And I hope she doesn’t do this to anyone else

          4. motherofdragons*

            Maybe don’t question OP’s feelings and try to push her into seeing things your way. Not relevant, not helpful.

          5. StaceyIzMe*

            Does it matter who gave Cersei the idea? She crossed a line by involving herself in OP’s personal life. Also- discretion? How hard is it to go “oh, I’m having an affair with my roommate’s dad. I kinda suck but I’m not quitting. So maybe we should hit up the local hotel or my friend’s place.”? (Not that it would make it any better, but it would make it less obvious and less ridiculous.)
            OP- I think you can basically go “Cersei and my married family member had an affair. I walked in on them in my own home. We obviously don’t stay in touch and I wouldn’t feel able to relate to her in a normal way after seeing the fallout from this.”

    9. Sansa (OP)*

      Cersei is the focus of my letter because it is Cersei who is under consideration for a job where I work. My father is not under consideration for a position, so I don’t have to deal with figuring out what to tell my boss about him.

      They share fault. It takes two to tango. They are both creepy and have caused me and those I love great pain. I can’t stomach being in the same room as my dad- my mom knows about the affair and has decided to try counselling before a potential separation- so I can’t cut him out in the same way I’ve cut out Cersei. I’ve also seen my dad take responsibility and bear the blame, not Cersei.

      My dad betrayed my family and my mom. Cersei betrayed me a little more specifically.

      1. Save One Day at a Time*

        Yup! Makes sense as this is a job advice column, and you were here to ask Alison for specific advice to something that came up at your work. Your dad’s creepiness is not what is relevant here. I am sorry for all the pain this has caused you, and I’m glad you’re getting advice and support here.

      2. Ms. Taylor Sailor*

        I’ve also seen my dad take responsibility and bear the blame, not Cersei.

        Wow. I don’t know if you mean “not Cersei” as in you haven’t seen it for yourself or if she’s outright refusing to bear any blame, but if it’s the latter, WOW. Not that it’d excuse what she did or make the pain go away, but if she’s additionally unwilling to admit any fault for the pain she caused you or show any remorse, then that’s all the more reason to keep her the double hockey sticks out of your life!

      3. animaniactoo*

        I’d like to be clear here, because I’m not sure that you’re seeing this and you should bring it to your therapist. Your dad betrayed you a bit more directly than you’re drawing a line to here.

        Yes, he had an affair with your roommate. Yes he had an affair outside of his relationship to your mom and the agreement that they had as partners about their relationship and what kind of family structure they have and are promoting.

        He ALSO slept with his affair partner in YOUR HOME. YOUR – not your family’s – YOUR safe haven. She betrayed you by going after your dad and using you to do it. HE betrayed you – specifically you – by not even rising to the level of thought about how off-limits your home needed to be, no matter that it was also hers. As much as he was already across all kinds of lines and boundaries – in putting you in the position that you eventually ended up in – he took it to a place of such utter abandonment of his position as somebody who should be on your side as a protector/guide/support that it is an even bigger impact on you and your relationship with him. Whether he ever really thought it through and made a conscious choice about it – you may never want to have that conversation and it’s fine if you don’t want to. But do recognize that there is a more direct betrayal to you here than just “my mom and my family”. So that you can sort it out for yourself and decide how you want to handle it.

        1. Sansa*

          Thank you for bringing that up! I think I understand what you’re saying and I’ll definitely keep this in mind when I see my therapist next. All of your comments have been insightful and I really appreciate them

    10. Student*

      Nah, if Cercei was pursuing the dad to the extent that she moved in with his daughter to get more access, that’s super unhealthy and unhinged. Unhealthy and unhinged enough that I would question whether this was really the motivation–except she’s applying to work with OP after he ended the affair. That’s unbelievably problematic.

      I don’t think cheating is cool, but I wouldn’t decide not to hire someone because they had an affair with a married person. That seems largely irrelevant, at least in the work I do. I would *absolutely* refuse to hire someone who was obsessed enough with a potential partner to move in with a family member to get closer to him. A person like that is not going to show good judgement in her work relationships. And trying to get close to OP again after the affair has ended is a potential landmine. Not only is it bad judgment, it might be an active attempt to pursue the father. That’s a superb reason not to hire someone.

      1. Sansa OP*

        Well, I wouldn’t say that he ended the affair. I would say that I discovered it and forced its end? Because I don’t really believe he would have stopped without outside influence.

        1. Student*

          So, it’s basically your fault that they’re no longer together, at least in her eyes? I think this is worth bringing up. Knowing you and a former roommate can’t stand one another might not influence me as a hiring manager, and I would probably think less of you for bringing it up. But knowing that the former roommate is possibly blaming you for the end of her relationship and possibly stalking you to get access to your dad–that’s a huge deal and would sink Cercei’s candidacy for real and not reflect badly on your interpersonal skills.

        2. Jennifer Thneed*

          Student used the phrase: “after the affair has ended”. It’s a passive formation that doesn’t address who the actor was at all. FYI.

        3. StellaBella*

          Yikes. Ok to my comment and others here on your dad ending this…. Cersei is stalking you. She is pissed this ended with your dad. Now she wants revenge. This is next level messed up and I am sorry .

          1. Sansa OP*

            I don’t really think she’s stalking me and is out for revenge, but I do understand why people are coming to that conclusion and I’ll be cognizant of that possibility

            1. Student*

              That may be worth saying to your boss: it’s weird she’s trying to get a job at your workplace, and you don’t think it’s a stalking situation, but the possibility exists. Let your boss decide if it’s a risk your organization wants to take.

      2. StaceyIzMe*

        Thank you! That’s exactly how I think most reasonable people would view it. The personal lives of potential hires are not anyone’s concern until their judgement is so poor that it becomes one. (A concern…)

    11. Artemesia*

      She apparently pursued the father. Yeah they are both at fault but certainly she is no victim of the father.

    12. Courageous cat*

      Ok I agree with you that the language surrounding Cersei is troubling but that doesn’t make what Dad did inherently extremely creepy. If they were adults, they were adults. Like I feel like we should be able to resolve this situation without making a bunch of moral judgments on people who we absolutely do not know.

      1. tangerineRose*

        He had sex with his daughter’s roommate in his daughter’s apartment (with the door open). That’s very creepy, at least I think so.

  19. Akcipitrokulo*

    Trust your manager that when they asked for your input, they wanted it.

    As long as you stick to facts (and within your comfort level) – and state it clearly, then you are giving her the data she needs *and requested*.

    Believe that they want to know, and don’t feel bad.

    1. Save One Day at a Time*

      Yes! I think that it’s important to note that they are ASKING for feedback on the list. You’d have ground to say something even if they didn’t, but in this case you have a very clear opening to share this perspective.

      1. JJ Bittenbinder*

        Just an aside—your username makes me smile! My son is crushed that ODAAT is on the chopping block!

  20. thinking outloud*

    I realize it is not unheard of having an affair. I just wonder if a manager would ever consider Cersei’s situation in hiring. The friendship aside, Cersei knowingly did something that was “wrong” on many ethical levels. Do you think a manager would question Cersei’s judgment because of this? Could she make ethical business decisions?

    1. NW Mossy*

      I hire people, and knowing about something like this would absolutely color my thinking.

      Being effective at work is about two things: relationships and results. Cersei might have excellent results, but she’s demonstrated some spectacularly poor judgment about relationships. Could she keep such bad decisions compartmentalized to her personal life? Maybe. But effective hiring is about looking at what the candidate has already demonstrated and proven, and it’s not a bet I’d take when I’ve got other candidates who don’t carry the same baggage.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I generally don’t consider people’s sex lives when hiring. This is especially true when hearing it second-hand, because there’s no way of knowing if the characterization is accurate, and because I don’t believe in scarlet lettering people. But if their relationship to a current (good) employee would cause drama, I’m unlikely to hire that person.

    3. Rusty Shackelford*

      I would look askance at someone as a *friend* for having an affair with a married man, but not as an employee. However, in this particular case, Cersei was dishonest and manipulative on multiple levels, and I have to admit, it would give me pause.

    4. Washi*

      The thing for me is how I would know this information so definitively. In this case, the OP is a very authoritative sources on what happened (which is why it’s a big deal – it affected her directly.) But if someone told me that a candidate had a messy affair, there’s no way to know what the other side of the story is, and there are lots of excellent employees out there with poor judgement when it comes to their choice of partners.

      1. soon to be former fed*

        I must admit, someone wishing to torpedo an applicant’s candidacy by telling a untruth did give me pause. Not that I doubt the OP at all, but I did wonder how I would react, to be fair to the candidate. Situations like that of the OP are not like an arrests/convictions or professional misconduct that can be that can be verified. I suppose you must weigh how much and how long you know the person giving the bad information, and their character.

        That said, Cersei would be on more solid ground applying for a job where OP works if it was in an entirely different area and the company was large enough to virtually insure that they would never see each other. I have worked at places like this. As it is, she has shown that she is boundary and empathy free and will likely cause drama for OP on some level if selected. The issue here really isn’t about sex, although I find the thought of sex with the father of any of my friends beyond disgusting.

    5. Student*

      I wouldn’t consider an affair disqualifying. People do dumb stuff when they think they’re in love. But this seems less an ethics issue and more a is-this-person-actively-nuts issue.

    6. Lepidoptera*

      I would question Cersei’s judgement in applying to Sansa’s company, if nothing else. She obviously has no problem bulldozing others anytime she has a goal, and that’s not the type of employee to make good judgment calls when the work deals with vulnerable people, as the OP states.

    7. M from NY*

      I believe the difference is the degree of relationship. Being asked to possibly work with person who had an affair with your father or even your own partner is far different from customer of your favorite hairdresser who shared story last week to entire shop. While one can make argument over character what moves this person to “non hire” IMO isn’t the affair but the degree of separation.

    8. Else*

      I think I would think that she was personally making ill-considered choices with such an affair, but not necessarily judge her workplace habits by that. However, I also would judge her fitness as a candidate in light of the already existing conflict between this potential new hire and my good current employee. And knowing that she was creepy enough to move into a roommate situation to pursue the roommate’s married relative? I would NOT want to invite someone with personal ethics and judgment like that into my staff’s lives.

  21. 99 lead balloons*

    Oh man, OP, that’s pretty awful. I’m another supporter of the “hurt me and my family” script possibly with a side of “I absolutely would not be comfortable working with her” some others have suggested to drive it home. Hopefully your manager will pick up on how serious you are from that.

    Also, I hope you took time to talk to a therapist/counselor yourself b/c that is some upsetting and anger-inducing clusterforkery. That would be a good way to vent all the disparaging and shaming things you would love to scream at her and/or your dad.

    Please update us!

    1. Sansa (OP)*

      Yep! I’m in therapy and have been for a while. My therapist is really helpful and supportive and is working with me on the feelings of guilt and responsibility I have.

      1. 99 lead balloons*

        Really glad you’ve got a great therapist! It’s gonna take time to work thru those feelings, but still going to validate what everyone here has said so far – none of this is remotely your fault.

  22. TootsNYC*

    “As you know, I’ve known Cersei for some time and she was even my roommate. However, during the time we lived together, she betrayed me pretty severely. I don’t want to go into great detail, because it affects more people than just me, and I don’t feel it’s appropriate to be indiscreet about someone else’s sharpest hurts.
    “So I guess I’m asking you to trust in my judgment and believe that I’m not being overly dramatic or overreacting.
    “But Cersei’s behavior was tremendously unethical and it was also really hurtful to me, beyond any traditional roommate clashes. It was so damaging that I moved out immediately and stayed on someone else’s sofa until I could find a new place.
    “In fact, her betrayal changed my opinion of her a lot. I no longer thing she’s particularly trustworthy, and I think she’s very manipulative.
    “And so I really do not want to work with her. I would hate to have to leave a job I really like and a mission I support so wholeheartedly.”

    And when they ask more and more about WHAT it was specifically:
    “It was in the interpersonal realm, but it was very untrustworthy, and it’s not mine to give all the details. Because I was not her primary victim.”

    “It’s not always appropriate to share all the details about something like this. People who were scammed or stolen from don’t want the whole world knowing about their vulnerability or foolishness. People who were sexually harassed don’t necessarily want everyone they know to know about it. People whose spouses cheated on them don’t want just anybody to have that information. People who were insulted and called names don’t want their victimization to be the subject of other people’s conversations, or part of their identity in other people’s eyes.
    “I may have been a secondary victim and a witness to Cersei’s actions, but I was not the primary victim, and I don’t want to make things worse for that person by telling their embarrassment and pain to anyone and everyone.
    “But I still think it’s appropriate for me to make my own judgments and set my own boundaries based on what I saw Cersei do to other people. And I have a very low opinion of her, and I won’t want to work with her.”

  23. Greg*

    Normally with letters like this (especially with the OP being active in the comments) I would want to read an update. But in this case, I actually hope there isn’t much of one, unless it’s two sentences: “I told my boss and she was both sympathetic and horrified and immediately removed Cersei from consideration. And now Cersei is out of my life for good.” That’s really all we need to know, and that’s exactly what Sansa deserves after all she’s been through.

  24. Greg*

    I know the usual thing here is to use Game of Thrones characters for people’s names, but I think topics like this make the case for expanding into other shows. Because that roommate sounds like a Villanelle if I’ve ever heard one.

      1. Greg*

        I mean, I don’t know you or what kind of shows you like, but … yeah, you should. It’s fantastic. It takes the spy genre and puts this very interesting feminist lens on it (but not in an overtly political way). Also, I’ve always liked Sandra Oh, but Jodie Comer is quickly moving into the discussion for all-time great TV villains.

        1. Sansa*

          I’ll put it on my list! It certainly sounds really cool, and while the White Princess was Garbage, I liked Jodie Comer a lot.

  25. Delphine*

    I hope things work out for you, OP. If Cersei had any sense of decency she’d take herself out of the running after realizing she’d be working with you.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      From the OPs comments in the post, it sounds as if Cersei is well aware that OP works there.

      The sense of decency is not strong in this one.

  26. Clementine*

    I think that the OP has to give the details the first time because this may be her only chance to do so. If the manager comes and says, “Cersei had a fantastic interview and she’s exactly what we are looking for – I’m sure you can get over whatever happened in the past and you need to do so because Cersei is exactly perfect”, it may then sound a bit ridiculous to then mention the sad details of what exactly happened, and the manager may be not disposed to change her mind.

    1. Drive-By Comment*

      Wow, I totally disagree. If the manager comes and says, “Cersei is exactly what we are looking for, I’m sure you can get over whatever happened,” and the OP then tells her what actually did happen, I would hope the manager would be like, “Whoa, okay, nevermind, that’s really awful.”

  27. boop the first*

    I feel kind of bad for everyone except dad in this situation. I hope that cersei wasn’t a minor when it started. I hope that her once willingness to be kind and giving to others didn’t mark her as an easy target. I hope that her manipulative plan to move in with OP wasn’t actually a plan to get caught and receive assistance. But that’s just because I’m more forgiving of people who are in that young, naive stage where they aren’t even aware of why they do the things they do, yet. Dad has no excuse.

    REGARDLESS, the advice is still good. Shamelessly do what you can to the candidacy. You can’t work through this while being friendly coworkers, that’s just nuts.

    1. Sansa OP*

      Cersei absolutely wasn’t a minor when this started. I was a minor when I introduced them, but Cersei was in her 20s when they met and in her mid 20s when the affair started. I don’t want to entirely discount that there might’ve been power dynamics that I don’t know about, but that’s certainly not been my impression. I hope that as she matures into non-young adulthood she realizes the great pain she took part in causing.

      I know that was a convoluted statement, but I definitely get emotional. I cared deeply for her.

  28. Sevena*

    Funny how everyone here is jumping all over Cersei as some awful person and saying OP should definitely speak up, but when there was a similar letter a while back from someone who had an affair at work and was going to be managed by the affair partners ex-wife, the ex-wife was made out to be the bad guy and the letter writer was sainted and supported.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      If you’re talking about the letter I think you’re talking about, those situations were vastly different. In that case, the ex-wife specifically took the job and chose her position so that she could destroy the LW’s career. And that LW took a lot of heat in the comments for her poor decisions in sleeping with a married man.

    2. Sansa OP*

      To be clear, my dad should also be considered awful! But I’m also not asking the question about him.

    3. Arctic*

      It’s funny how context matters.

      In that case, the LW was already in her job (coming in and firing someone who did something to your family is very different from not hiring.) And the ex-wife was intentionally setting out to destroy her life.

      In this case, if Cersei is hired then LW either has to leave or learn to work with her. She can’t spend the rest of her working career undermining her from within. (Which is not something I think OP is contemplating anyway.)

    4. Oaktree*

      How is this at all helpful? We’re not litigating who the “real bad guy” is, we’re helping OP have a conversation with her boss about it.

    5. MuseumChick*

      Ok, there were A LOT of details in that letter that effected the advice given. Just like any situation presented on this site, the advice given his highly dependent on who in the situation is writing in for advice. Nobody was given the OP in that other letter any medals for having an affair.

    6. Student*

      In general, I’d say that you just have to suck it up if you find that your father’s mistress is applying to a job where you work. Consider it an advanced class in workplace manners. What sets this apart is that Cercei has already intruded into OP’s life under false pretenses in order to pursue her father, and she knows OP works for this organization. If there’s a possibility that she’s using this job to try to access the guy who dumped her through his daughter, she’s not someone anyone wants to hire.

      1. Clisby*

        No you don’t. Any more than you have to suck it up if your horrible ex-spouse is applying to a job where you work, and your boss has specifically ASKED for comments on his candidacy. The hiring manager is perfectly entitled to ignore what you say, and you’re perfectly entitled to quit over it.

    7. Myrin*

      You may want to re-read the letter you are referencing as well as the details that OP provided in the comments and in two updates – the situations were vastly different (not to mention that there was no shortage of people being awful to that OP, either).

    8. dumblewald*

      I was surprised by the comments on that too! While I didn’t condone the ex-wife’s vindictiveness, I was surprised by how forgiving the commenters were of the OP, even perceiving it as a “forbidden romance” story. I personally thought of the situation as “everyone sucks here”. I think readers naturally sympathize with letter writers, especially when they are obvious victims of their situation.

      1. Myrin*

        What exactly would have been the point of not being forgiving of that former OP? She acknowledged and took full responsiblity for her actions, didn’t sugarcoat or justify the mistake she made, spoke matter-of-factly throughout everything, and only asked about the workplace aspect of things. What exactly is gained by not being gentle and supportive of a person like this, especially seeing how she made herself very vulnerable writing in about a sensitive topic like this? Do you want commenters to not actually offer advice on her question but harp on the fact that she behaved dishonourably?
        (Nevermind that there were quite enough comments doing exactly that.)
        (Also, if there was any notion of “forbidden romance” at all, it must have been an outlier – OP herself never presented it that way and was actually very clear that while she’s still in contact with her child’s father, she doesn’t have a relationship with him and never desired one.)

        1. dumblewald*

          No no the forbidden romance thing was propagated by the commenters, not the OP. And you’re right – the commenters who gave her helpful advice did the right thing. It was the commenters who romanticized the situation that really confused me. I’m not sure they were the majority, but they were a significant portion of the commenters.

      2. gbca*

        I think that OP was more sympathetic because she acknowledged that she’d messed up. She had remorse for the affair. And what really made people sympathetic to her situation, and not to the ex-wife was that the ex was out to permanently torpedo both the OP and her ex-husband’s lives and livelihoods.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yes, and I think I remember several people pointing out that the OP and the ex not being able to make a living would have adversely affected the child too, who was innocent in the whole thing.

      3. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I don’t recall anyone pushing it as a “forbidden romance”. From my recollection, OP was up front and honest that it was a one night stand, she knew he was married, and it came out because she ended up pregnant.

    9. Temperance*

      Apples and oranges. In that case, the ex-wife made it her mission to tank the LW’s career. No one excused the LW for her cheating, but it wasn’t the focus.

  29. J.E.*

    I’d let your manager know because from the manager side, I know I wouldn’t want any mess and drama in “my” office. I’d most definitely want to know something about a candidate of this magnitude. This kind of reminds me of the movie “Poison Ivy” with Drew Barrymore in the early 90s.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        “I’m sorry, I don’t think I can work with Mr. Wayne, since I know his secret identity and do not approve.”

    1. Clisby*

      That’s how I look at it. I wouldn’t expect the manager to refuse to hire Cersei just because she had an affair with a random married man. The fact that this married man was the father of a current, valued employee who is not willing to work with Cersei is what matters.

  30. dumblewald*

    Omg I have secondhand PTSD reading this. Definitely do what you can to avoid working with this person.

  31. Malarkey01*

    I might have overlooked this comment, but you could also say “Cersei did something that really made me question her judgement and I think she’d be a bad pick for our organization”. That avoids having to even mention that she did something to you, but points out that she might not make good decisions which is something a manager needs to know.

    Although affairs aren’t great, the fact that she MOVED in with you to be closer to your dad is really pushing past the bounds of social acceptability (even when affairs aren’t always the death of good judgement).

  32. Goya de la Mancha*

    Depending on the relationship with your boss obviously, it’s probably safer to be vague but firm. I would love to go in with guns blazing “THOT slept with my father AND moved in with me to make for easier access!” But what Allison stated is probably safer ;)

    1. Sansa*

      I assure you, the urge is definitely there! I saw her in a Dunkin’ last week and wanted to stand on a table and list her sins.

      1. Airy*

        “That woman does NOT deserve a doughnut! She doesn’t run on Dunkin’, she runs on LIES and TREACHERY!”

    2. annakarina1*

      That statement would totally sound like a title of a Jerry Springer episode, complete with chair-throwing and being held back by security guards.

    3. Courageous cat*

      Ok weird about you calling her a THOT though like she’s the evil temptress who misled innocent Dad astray. It’s a common trope and it needs to stop. The father is the one that’s married, not her. His was the major transgression.

      (Yes, it was a major transgression on her end because she’s friends with OP and was manipulative and weird, but that has nothing to do with the ‘thot’ phrasing.)

      I know OP is being reasonable about this but some of y’all as commenters are not, and it’s not ok to call someone a whore for this.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Cersei moved in with Sansa to try to start an affair with Sansa’s dad. She knew he was married, she had sex with him in the apartment they shared, Cersei is certainly no innocent in this. Obviously Sansa’s father is to blame too, but it sounds like Cersei certainly tried to lead him astray.

      2. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

        Agreed Courageous Cat. This was a person who knowingly pursued a married man, and even used that man’s child as a pawn to help give her more reason’s to hang around. He’s no saint but Cersei isn’t an innocent victim that didn’t know he was married. From what I’m reading Cersei seems kinda psychopathic.

  33. Lady Phoenix*

    If the gentle bagueness doesn’t help, the blunt teuth always does;
    “Cersi cheated with my father and became my roommate so that she could be closer to him. I cut contact with her for obvious reasons.”

    …. should be a last resort though. But if your boss still hires her after that, then you know you have a bad bods.

    1. dumblewald*

      Do you think Cersei is trying to work with OP for the same reasons? If so, they really don’t understand boundaries.

  34. Luna*

    I met a former classmate at a job I was applying to, and the manager did openly tell me during the interview that said former classmate had mentioned our previous connection, and that we weren’t on great terms at the time.
    I said that I was convinced I could work professionally with her — but, of course, that only focuses on *my* ability to work with her, and not if she would have been able to work alongside me without bad blood.

    I ended up not getting the job, though I am convinced her personal connection to me was not important.

    In your case, I would tell your manager that you have a very bad, personal relationship with her, and that you aren’t sure if you would be able to work alongside her without causing issues to most of the organization. (See the bigger picture. You aren’t just focusing on your personal crack with her, but that you are concerned this personal thing could lead to other people either having difficulty working with her or you. I feel like employers rather like it when an employee can see how their actions can cause bigger problems than just, “personal issue between two coworkers”)

    No need to go into details. Those aren’t anyone’s business, anyway, except between her, your father, and likely you. Though you have already made it clear that, according to you, this isn’t your business anymore — which is fine.

    1. Sansa*

      Thank you for your response! I hope Cersei is as levelheaded and reasonable as you seem to be.

      Details-wise? It’s tough, because I don’t want to think about it and I simultaneously want to know all the details so I can mourn the more. ‍♀️

  35. Sansa (OP)*

    I spoke to my boss earlier, using a version of the 2nd script. She was kind, uunderstanding, horrified on my behalf, and expressed gratitude that I brought this to her, because it’s the kind of thing she wanted to know about when she asked us for our input.

    She’d already scheduled another phone interview for Cersei tonight, but expressed to me that Cersei would no longer be under consideration. I’ll keep you guys updated and tell you the outcome!

    1. facepalm*

      I came here hoping to see this kind of update! So glad you were able to advocate for yourself and that your manager was receptive. Thanks as well for keeping the readers updated–it’s so wonderful when things turn out well, since they don’t always here.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      That’s a great outcome! And you’ve also got concrete evidence that your boss is a very reasonable person, which is also nice.

      And don’t blame yourself for any of this – you occasionally run into people who are just plain warped, and it’s really hard to detect or protect yourself from someone who deliberately uses people while pretending to be a nice person. Just be careful to protect yourself from her as you go on. The fact that she applied for a position at your workplace is actually pretty worrying.

      1. Else*

        Yes, definitely. As you lived together for a time, I’d lock my credit and change my passwords if I were you. I’d also set up an identity monitoring service for a while.

        1. Sansa*

          That’s good advice! I’ve changed all the passwords she knew/cancelled the Netflix she had access too, but I’ll stay aware!

    3. Lepidoptera*

      Despite the happy ending, I’d still suggest telling your parents that she did this, for your mom’s sake. This woman seems bound and determined to shove herself into your life in multiple ways, and your mom doesn’t deserve to be surprised by more nonsense.

      1. MuseumChick*

        I’m leaning this way as well. If this behavior start escalating it could case (more) distribution for your family. You mom in particular.

      2. Else*

        Yes, definitely. Imagine how your mother would feel if Cersei manages to cause more trouble, and your mother only found out about this attempt after the fact? Also, if she IS trying to creep into your lives again or cause harm, way better to have everyone sharing information – something that could be innocuous by itself might be sinister as part of a pattern.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Start with the ending first. “I just want you to know my boss decided not to hire Cersei, after she applied. So the story is over before it even started. However, you should know that Cersei did apply to work at my place and I told the boss I could not work with her.”

          Then stop. Let mom incubate that for a minute. Then answer her questions.

    4. SusanDC*

      Best possible outcome-well done, Sansa!
      Now if you could take care of Cersei on GOT, that would be great.


      I am glad to see this.

      I am sorry for the amount of unsolicited familiar/non-work related advice and judgemental crap comments you’ve had to sort through to reach actually helpful ones. :)

    6. MissDisplaced*

      So glad OP! You don’t need people like that in your life.
      Even if Cersi is not a totally horrible person… you don’t want her at your workplace. I’m shocked she even applied there, knowing you still worked there. It’s kinda creepy actually.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      It’s so important to know that others HEAR us.
      Congratulations on being heard, OP. And congrats on setting boundaries personally and professionally. Difficult stuff but well handled.

  36. animaniactoo*

    Sansa, I’ve read more of your comments up and down the thread, and I just want to say – I’ve been there on that trust thing. Having your own judgement in your ability to judge people and see them as decent or not shaken to the core. To see actions as benign, or genuine, or manipulative and having secondary goals. It’s a doozy.

    I don’t know if this helps at all, but I’ll put it out there in case. Truth: I have never fully recovered my ability to just wholeheartedly trust people – anyone – in the way I did before. I mean that quite literally – I don’t even 100% trust my husband not to kill me for the insurance money. Probably about 99.625%. But at the same time, I’ve gained the ability to see people as human and fragile in a much more complex and sustainable way. Nobody is wholly good or wholly bad. People we think of as “bad” often have stuff that we can understand if we manage to dig all the way past the bad and see human desires that we can relate to for comfort, safety, bonding, and so on. They’re capable of doing good things, and we can easily get mad and discard them as human trash for the bad ones – but that’s often a bit too simplistic. And it shortsights us to the fact that generally “good” people do bad things too. Sometimes deeply flawed, sometimes minorly and randomly on a regular basis.

    What I’ve drawn from this is the need to see people as people and not villains or heroes and search for compassion while at the same time protecting myself. To not allow myself to be guilted for wanting to protect myself and doing so until I am more comfortable – if I ever am. I’ve had to accept that unless I am regularly failing at the trustability judgment – well, errors will happen. Because it’s not a perfect and exact science or anything like that. So people will let us down. And we’ll let them down. And maybe sometimes it’s something that develops and the person they were – the situations they were in 5 years ago – are not the same as the person they are now. Maybe 5 years ago they wouldn’t have done it. But they’ve had some experiences, or revisited views based on stuff they’ve seen, and now they would.

    We’re not really in the habit of regularly re-evaluating the people in our lives and “who they are today”. We tend to settle on a sense of “known quantity” and continue on that basis, so when something that we would think of as “out-of-character” happens, it’s easy to miss. Or dismiss or explain away. Another key has been to learn how to cope with it – to know that I can cope with it, and choose what I want to do in the aftermath. Because if I expect it to happen again, well, it means that I do some extra risk assessment of the other person’s possible motives almost all the time, and I expect to have to cope with it again if it turns out I was wrong. Cuz I’m not a mindreader and I can’t expect or ask myself to be one. Like anything else, I have to accept that I’m doing as well as I can and if I’m getting it right more often – a lot more often – than I’m getting it wrong, that’s enough.

    Among that, I’ve found it worthwhile to not nitpick some stuff – to accept that sure there were things that were good and genuine and held separate in their own little encapsulated moment. Do I know all of which ones they were? No. But I can pick the ones that *feel* most genuine to me and decide to treat those as if they were. To regret that there was so much damage – either of the other person or the situation, or hey, maybe even me – that those moments are tarnished by the rest of the relationship. To hurt for it. But to accept that they had a realness and a validity to them that probably didn’t have anything to do with the damage. And learn to let that be okay.

    Good luck with therapy and getting through this and figuring all of it out and moving forward from here. I have confidence in you and your ability to do that and I wish you the best.

      1. MommaCat*

        animaniactoo’s comment is perfect, but I’m just gonna add on here: my siblings and I have a decent relationship with our father, even my sister who discovered his infidelity in a fit-for-soap-opera way almost 20 years ago. We have a relationship, but we don’t really trust him beyond what we know he can handle. We know he’s not reliable, and his infidelity was just one thing in a long line of things he did to prove that. Basically, I’m just trying to say that even if this colors your interactions with your father for the rest of your life (and it probably will), you still might be able to have a decent relationship with him in the future. It definitely sucks to find out your dad is human and can be really stupid sometimes.

  37. Lady Phoenix*

    Hey Sansa,

    Super glad boss sided with you and dropped Cersei.

    However, i get the feeling the Sansa will try to sneak her way back into your life again. She gives me some creeper feelings with the whole “cheating with your dad” ordeal and texting you afterwards about staying as friends.

    So just be safe and document any further odd behavior.

    Good luck, and may this be a one time dwal.

    1. Sansa*

      Hello! Thank you for the comment. I hope she doesn’t make her way back into my life again, but I will be careful and keep track of things.

  38. Same.*

    I can’t believe the roommate part wasn’t in the headline, this was even more nuts than I was expecting! I feel for you, OP.

  39. Wondering One*

    I would feel like I’m being stalked, if I were OP. Something is just not right with Cersei. Not the type of co -worker I’d want. I hope OP can convey just how upsetting it would be to hire Cersei.

  40. Seeking Second Childhood*

    I’m imagining the annual company picnic where families are invited. It’s a can of worms next to a wasps nest.
    (Wasps are way nastier than any honeybee in the world… they can and do sting many times when they get upset.)

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Catching up with the blog a day late means I have much less excuse for not reading all the way to the bottom before posting. Thank you for the immediate update – I’m glad your boss had that reaction!

  41. Misha*

    There’s no shortage of slut-shaming here. Wow. Did the father lose his job too? He should.

    Not promoting a woman because she had sex outside of marriage? Lunacy. I hope she sues the OP for creating a hostile work environment.

    1. Lady Phoenix*

      It isn’t that she slept with OP’s dad. It is that she stayed at OP’s apartment BECAUSE she wanted to be closer to her dad, tried to keep being BFF’s after they got caught, and now wants to work at a place that she knows OP works.

      We are more concerned with an obviously manipulative boundary pusher, not a girl sleeping around

    2. Ms. Taylor Sailor*


      There is literally nothing in the letter that indicates Cersei was currently working at LW’s workplace (which therefore makes it impossible for LW to have created a “hostile work environment” for her) and I don’t know where you read that she missed out on any promotion.

      1. Lady Phoenix*

        I feel like she read maybe the headline and decided to throw in her hat without even BOtHERING to read the letter.

    3. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

      Umm, I think you may have missed a few details. Cersei never worked where OP did, she had only applied for a job. Also she applied for said job after manipulating and using a child to pursue one of their parents for an affair.
      Dad may not be a saint, but at least he seems willing to give OP space and have gained an understanding of boundaries. I’m not so sure at all that Cersei knows or cares about any boundaries that stand between her and something she desires (speaking from my experience with people that Cersei reminds me of, I may not be fair or accurate here as I know none of the people actually involved in this situation).

  42. Katt*

    When Boss asks for your opinion, I also think that’s a great opening for something akin to “my personal experience with Cersei has left me with serious concerns about her integrity and ability to behave ethically.” While Boss might be curious on a human level at that point, I doubt a statement like that would require any follow-up questions to ascertain that whatever occurred, it was not a petty feud. Of course, part of this rests on OP’s standing and reputation with the company and with Boss as well– an outstanding employee with no history of problems with coworkers would likely be taken at her word with just that. A newer employee or one with a more colorful history might have to explain further to make the point. Either way, OP, I think you deserve not to have to work with this woman. I sincerely hope your workplace agrees, and that if not, you’re able to find a new one ASAP.

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