my coworker had an affair with my wife

A reader writes:

A few months ago, I found out my wife was having an affair with one of my teammates. I reported the incident to my boss, who then reported it to their boss. I was allowed to work from home for a week following the reporting to allow time for the teammate to move offices (we shared an office).

A week following that, I was sent a meeting request with my boss and my boss’s boss. At the meeting I was told that they (boss and boss’s boss) were sorry that I had to go through that. They also stated that a transfer is not an option as our team is the only team in the company with our specific skillsets (even though there are plenty of other teams with the same skillsets in the company). They said they would understand if I could no longer work at the company, as they felt their hands were tied. I then asked if I could work from home for the foreseeable future to avoid any unnecessary confrontations (my work is not dependent on meetings or collocation) and that request was denied.

The affair continued for the next few months, finally stopping about a month ago. The teammate would tell my boss he was working from home and then spend the entire day with my wife.

Since the ending of the affair, I have been given dirty looks from this teammate and an attitude anytime I say something in meetings. Am I in a hostile work environment? Should HR get involved and if so how?

I’m sorry, how awful.

For some reason, your company is telling you pretty clearly that they don’t intend to do anything to make your life easier and that they’re fine with you leaving over this. Maybe that’s because they don’t value you, or maybe they have no idea how to manage a situation like this, or maybe they figure they’re going to lose one of you and they’d prefer it not be your coworker. But it sure seems like they don’t value you.

Their opposition to letting you work at home full-time isn’t necessarily telling in and of itself; lots of companies aren’t remote-friendly or would feel like it’s not an appropriate response to “I don’t want to work around another coworker,” even with good reason like this.

But a decent employer would be open to allowing you to transfer to another team — and if they’re telling you no other teams use your skillset when you know that’s not true, that’s troubling. And even if that option was legitimately closed off (maybe there are no current openings, maybe some other factor means other teams wouldn’t be a good fit), a decent employer would explain to you why that is — not just say something that seems untrue and leave it at that.

And a decent employer would make it clear to your coworker that the dirty looks and attitude toward you need to stop immediately. Do your bosses know that’s happening? If not, you need to tell them. If they don’t do anything about that either, then you know something is really rotten here.

As for what to do beyond that: Your coworker’s conduct doesn’t create a hostile workplace in the legal sense (that’s limited to conduct based on your race, sex, religion, disability, or other protected characteristic), but you’re certainly being subjected to mistreatment that your employer shouldn’t be okay with. It would be reasonable to talk to HR about what’s happening and ask for help in recovering a distraction-free, hostility-free work environment. If you have good HR, they’ll intervene. If you don’t have good HR — and a lot of companies don’t — they’ll just back up your manager and say there’s nothing else that can be done. Either way, their response will tell you a lot about what kind of future you can expect there.

If your company continues to indicate through words and inaction that they don’t value you enough to do anything to mitigate this situation, I’d strongly consider moving on from them. I’m sorry.

{ 280 comments… read them below }

    1. juliebulie*

      I don’t have anything else to add, just that I felt a little sick as I read your letter, especially the part where your “teammate” would “work from home” with your wife.

      I would seriously consider calling him out publicly on those dirty looks… but my instincts in these matters are very poor, so you probably shouldn’t. I would certainly like to know what his problem is, though, because he seems to be getting better treatment.

      1. AnnaBananna*

        I personally already would’ve beaten the sh*t out of the teammate and damn the results of my job – but I have a very short fuse for BS.

        LW – it’s time for you to go. Period. In fact, i’m surprised you didn’t start looking as soon as you found out. Do whatever you need to in order to move on, from all of them.

        1. Lovelorn*

          I sued the guy that was sleeping with my ex(wife) for alienation of affection and won an undisclosed amount, it helped that I had a record of their affair on social media/email.

          It also helped me in my divorce proceedings (we had no kids)

          1. Hills to Die on*

            Wow. Well, that is an option I’d look at if I were the OP. As well as updating my resume and researching good divorce attorneys.
            I am sorry OP. That’s just terrible and you deserve better from everyone involved. Best of luck to you.

            1. valentine*

              I personally already would’ve beaten the sh*t out of the teammate and damn the results of my job
              I really hope you are just posturing here.

              I think the dirty looks are because the married couple is still together, which means the alienation didn’t last.

              1. TimeCat*

                Yeah, I also have to point out you could still 100% be arrested and charged with battery.

              2. MassMatt*

                Fortunately most people can control those violent impulses but in the heat of the moment many people don’t. Infidelity is a major cause of violence, ask any cop.

                1. Impy*

                  Yes, it’s a sad fact that some childish idiots react to infidelity with either violence or domestic abuse. Fortunately mature adults stick to divorce and job hunting.

          2. TimeCat*

            Are you in North Carolina? Because alienation of affection is only a thing in six states and even then it’s only really big in North Carolina.

            1. Jdc*

              It should be in more now that I’m learning about it. One person refuses to engage in the marriage yet you get stuffed with irreconcilable differences. That’s BS. They didn’t adhere to their marriage vows

              1. Clisby*

                Alienation of affection suits aren’t made against the erring spouse. They’re made against third parties – typically a person having an affair with the spouse. That third party didn’t make any vows to the person suing.

              2. Candi*

                That’s adultery, not alienation. In many states for a long time adultery was the only way to get a divorce -which led to “fake adultery” rackets. Quite the scandal when one broke in New York state back when. But it led to getting the laws changed to allow things like “irreconcilable differences”.

                When I had my divorce (early 2000s), I knew my soon-to-be-ex had cheated on me a lot -he’d even bragged about it, yet the next day swearing he’d always been true. But getting my hands on that evidence would have been difficult. My state’s (not NY) irreconcilable difference laws let me escape my emotionally/mentally/recently physically abusive spouse.

                Best part: I walked out on him with the kids, planning to file as soon as I got the fee together. He filed on me as revenge -which meant he got suck with ALL the fees unless I agreed otherwise. (Hah.) (Then at the courthouse some time later he had the gall to say, “You can come back to me now.” I just looked at him in disbelief.)

                As for adultery -if one or both parties in a marriage want to see other people, and everyone’s open about it and cool with it, none of my business. But if they’ve promised to be _exclusive_ to each other, then it doesn’t matter if they have the fancy paper or not -cheating is breaking that promise.

                1. Amaranth*

                  I’m fairly certain to be classified as adultery there has to be sexual intercourse, while in those few states with ‘alienation’ a third party just has to act in ways “damaging to the marriage”. It does seem a little weird to me to sue someone who made no promises.

                2. whingedrinking*

                  @ Amaranth
                  The idea, as far as I understand it, is that this third party intentionally seduced your partner or in some other way made them less committed to you – in other words, they sabotaged your marriage on purpose.
                  IANAL, but I would imagine this would be very difficult to prove, especially if malice is required. I’m sure there are plenty of marriages that are “damaged” by attractive people wearing revealing swimwear at the beach, but that’s hardly grounds to sue the bikini- or Speedo-clad folks sunbathing.

              3. TimeCat*

                States generally aren’t in the business of litigating the complexities of a marital relationship in court. No fault divorce is the standard now.

                The idea of financial coercion to keep someone in a marital relationship they no longer want to be in is frankly horrifying.

              4. Avasarala*

                I’m actually kind of glad you can’t sue someone for not loving you back. Y’all decided to get married, it’s your jobs to keep it going together.

              5. Impy*

                Oh please. It’s the stupidest, most childish thing I ever heard of, short of the violence thing. Why can’t people be adult about this sort of thing and move on? To be fair I’ve never cheated or been cheated upon, but the idea of suing my husband’s affair partner strikes me as the stupidest thing in the world.

                If he cheats on me, fine, we either fix it or break up. The idea that the other person tried to steal him is very primary school.

                1. CM*

                  Marriage and divorce have financial implications. It’s not childish to consider all your options.

                2. Traffic_Spiral*

                  “To be fair I’ve never cheated or been cheated upon, but the idea of suing my husband’s affair partner strikes me as the stupidest thing in the world.”

                  Translation: “to be fair I have no knowledge or experience in this matter, but Ima tell you my thoughts in a condescending manner anyways.”

      2. Tidewater 4-1009*

        “I would seriously consider calling him out publicly on those dirty looks”
        Maybe wait till you’ve found another job and then call him out, with as many people as possible watching.

        1. Jdc*

          When people do that to me I just will look like them in the eye and say “can I help you?” Every single time.

      3. Random IT person*

        Calling him out – yes – in public (in the office) – sure.

        But – wait until you either have a job elsewhere secured, or you just won major in the lottery – because this would be the last day / hour you should work in that place.

        That said: polish up the resume – and start looking elsewhere.
        From the response you`ve been given – don`t expect much more except the automatic ‘sorry this happened’.

        1. Amaranth*

          I’d be really tempted to calmly and clearly say across the room ‘I don’t know why you’re glaring at me, you’re the one who was sleeping with my wife.’ and go back to my work.

    2. VanLH*

      I really think that the LW needs to go as soon as possible. It is obvious that, for whatever reason, his employer does not value his work.

    3. joss*

      This is really bad and I am sorry that this happened to you. What struck me in the write-up though was that after this was already known your coworker “was working from home” and then spend the entire day with your wife. How come he was granted the opportunity to work from home and you were denied that privilege. Now I know bupkes about labor law but I would think that there is some kind of discrimination going on here. It could be something that you might want to look into.

      1. anonymouslee*

        They may be welcome to do it for a day here and there, but not full-time and indefinitely as the LW was asking for.

        1. KayDeeAye*

          Yeah, I think that’s the problem. The LW wants to work exclusively – or almost exclusively – from home (not that I blame him), and the company believes that isn’t a viable plan. And they may be right, but yeesh, they don’t seem to be open to finding any way of lessening the OP’s pain.

          Maybe there isn’t anything that would truly help, but I’m betting there is something better than “Sorry, no, you can’t transfer, and we’re not going to transfer the other guy either” and “We’ll understand if you feel you need to leave.” Gee, isn’t *that* nice! /sarcasm

  1. The Original K.*

    … The teammate who slept with your wife has a lot of nerve giving you dirty looks.

      1. Katrinka*

        It doesn’t matter what the circumstances, having an affair with someone who is married/partnered and then giving the partner an attitude about it is inexcusable.

      2. Bananers*

        We can only ever have one side of the story on most of the letters here, so I’m not sure what good it does to speculate like this. What we know from what the LW has told us is that his co-worker had an affair with his wife, and is now giving him attitude and dirty looks. It’s reasonable to say that that’s absurd behavior from someone who has wronged you (and unprofessional no matter what).

      3. The Original K.*

        Regardless of what may or may not be going on in OP’s marriage, it’s unprofessional for the teammate to be acting out this way at work.

        1. Mama Bear*

          Agreed. I’m rather bothered by the company saying the OP can’t transfer and don’t seem to care if OP leaves, either. They are really not handling this well at all if they know about Affair Guy’s behavior. I’d document what impacts my work (like attitude in meetings in front of a client or work refusal or…) and present that to the boss. I’d also look at other departments and see if there’s a legit transfer somewhere. Make the case that your expertise in llama grooming can be applied to llama toenail painting. Barring that, OP, I’d look for another employer. Sorry that happened to you.

      4. MK*

        No one has “very good reasons to have an affair”; if your spouce doesn’t treat you well, you have a good reason to leave them. not behave badly yourself. That being said, it’s possible the wife has painted a very negative picture of the OP to her affair-partner, it’s even possible some or all of the things she said to him are true. And the coworker may well have chosen to believe the OP is the only villain of this story to make himself feel better about his own misbehaviour.

        1. chronicallyIllin*

          I mean, I can see why abused people end up having affairs before they feel safe enough to leave. But abusive relationships are specifically relationships where one person is trying to control and force the other to stay against their will. It’s part of the whole thing.

          But if LW were abusive (and I really don’t wanna open this as a speculation, please don’t hop on this and speculate) then it would be REALLY REALLY bad to give him dirty looks and try to antagonize him at work while he’s still married to his wife.

          So, either cheating is bad and you have no excuse to do it.
          Or the one kinda justifiable excuse also means that antagonizing the person who got cheated on is incredibly dangerous or bad.

          So, regardless, definitely incredibly unprofessional and bad behavior on the part of The Other Man in this story.

          1. PSB*

            It does make one wonder what the wife might have told the other guy about the husband…whether it was true or not.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Yeah, no kidding. If I was a burn-my-bridges type, I’d call him out, loudly, the day I was going to storm out of there.

    2. Myrin*

      Right?!? I’m reminded of the letter where a manager had an affair with the husband of a coworker lower in the foodchain (but not her direct report) and made that person’s life a living nightmare. I remember being strongly befuddled by that – since it would make much more sense for the betrayed coworker to be acting out – and I’m feeling that same befuddlement here.

      1. Nesprin*

        It’s my experience that people are most self-righteous when they know they’re in the wrong.

        1. mountainshadows299*

          +1 Also, people who are in the wrong and self-righteous about it are usually being that way either 1) to provoke a response from the aggrieved party so they can feel more justified in their wrongness/self-righteousness and/or 2) because they think that the aggrieved party must think/act the same way they do, so they’re lashing out in advance of retaliation that they sense is coming (even if that may not be the case) and/or 3) because part of the reason they were pretty cool with being the affair partner is because it helps bolster their own sense of superiority (you see, they WON- but what they won was a partner who was perfectly ok with cheating, so…?).

          1. Paulina*

            Also potentially to put the aggrieved party on the defensive and make their continued situation completely untenable for them. While the aggrieved party has more to object against, the volume of it can leave them without the confidence and security to make any objection at all.

      2. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        Affair Guy may have resented being removed from the shared office? And, although we’re only going to get OP’s version of events, there may well be other investigations going on with Affair Guy and HR and management that OP isn’t privy to, that Affair Guy resents because of the invasion into his life (oh boo hoo /sarcasm)

        But all this is speculation, and we’re not really allowed to do that here.

      3. Artemesia*

        A well known phenomenon is that people who are helped are resentful to those who help them. Anyone who has loaned money to the family dead beat knows that. By the same token, people who have wronged others often find ‘reasons’ to denigrate or act badly towards them because that helps them justify their own bad behavior. If they deserve to be ill treated, well then I am just fine here.

    3. MK*

      We have a saying with the general meaning of “no one will despise and hate you as much the person who has harmed you”. Also, there is the quote about everyone being the hero of their own story. Most people who know they are behaving badly in a way that hurts other people are also unwilling to admit that they are completely in the wrong. They prefer to find “mitigating circumstances” and often prefer to believe the person they have hurt deserved it, or isn’t really hurt, or that their own behaviour is justified in some way.

      I am sure the coworker prefers to think himself as the hero of a grand romance with a poor neglected/mistreated/abused wife (there are plenty of movies with that plot) than as someone who is participating in a sordid affair with a cheater.

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        ‘No one will despise and hate you as much the person who has harmed you.’

        Is that ever true! I have seen people treat their family and friends in horribly cruel ways. Yet they would shoot dagger looks at the person they hurt, as if that person was to blame. Maybe it’s their guilt, maybe it’s willful ignorance, but it’s maddening to see.

      2. Chinookwind*

        “I am sure the coworker prefers to think himself as the hero of a grand romance with a poor neglected/mistreated/abused wife”

        And since others are giving the OP dirty looks, I suspect the coworker has spread that narrative around the office.

        No advice, OP, just tons of sympathy as a previously cheated on spouse. I agree with AAM that you need to start looking for a new job if only for your own mental health and, in the meantime, follow up with HR and ask for advice on how this should be handled.

    4. Sleepless*

      As a person who has been accused of giving “dirty looks” many, many times, I do wonder if the person is deliberately doing so. They could be looking guilty, or any number of things. I’ve seen way too many interactions go sideways based on how somebody thought the other person was looking at them.

    5. Tidewater 4-1009*

      Mama Bear makes a good point about documenting the impact of affair guy’s behavior on your work.
      I would keep that documentation after you leave or transfer, in case there’s any legal action you need it for.
      Also, I wouldn’t take your managers word that you can’t transfer. I would look at internal postings myself and apply through proper channels. You don’t need your managers permission to do that, normally.

    6. Quill*

      There are so many disasters in this office and the teammate is only one of them.

      I get how the bosses may believe that they can’t make judgements in this situation because it’s technically someone’s personal sex life and marriage, but the fact that the co-affairist is behaving unprofessionally is definitely something they should already have addressed.

      1. Candi*

        There’s also a bunch of entries on AAM about businesses not wanting (outside work) kith and kin working in the same team/small department due to the mess that can cause. Mostly centered on the chain of command, but coworkers also come into the equation. It’s due to the drama these outside-work relationships can cause.

        In cases where people have become enemies due to conflicts outside of work, it would seem sensible to apply the same rules, especially since enemies can cause deliberate drama as well as unintentional. But LW’s company doesn’t seem to get that.

        As for the supposition about “personal life and marriage” and the boss and grandboss thinking that means they can’t do anything, companies make that kind of judgement and take action all the time anyway! The teacher on vacation with the wine is the most notorious and ridiculous example, but more sane ones happen as well.

        1. Impy*

          My first thought was that they want OP to transfer instead of coworker… but then I read that they won’t let him! Baffling.

    7. Random IT person*

      Probably that ones line of thought is ‘John still has not left his wife – so I cannot have her yet’
      ‘Why did John make his wife stop seeing me’.

      The entitlement in that one is strong.

  2. Crivens!*

    Good god, OP, so sorry you’re going through this. I can’t even imagine. The absolute gall of your teammate to give you dirty looks as if HE was the one being wronged here just adds insult to injury.

    Even if HR is of help here, I’d strongly consider moving on to another company if that is at all possible for you. Your direct bosses have made it clear that they do not value you enough to do something fairly basic for you. I’m not sure if there’s any coming back from that.

    1. Mrs. Wednesday*

      Before going to HR, I’d check your state’s unemployment insurance options. In my state, there’s constructive discharge, which leaves you eligible for unemployment benefits even though you chose to leave. It means you left because circumstances make staying unreasonable. I would definitely emphasize how stressful the situation is. HR may not care about you but they will care about managing risk and stress increases risk.

      I’d also consider seeing your doc about how this stress is affecting your health and getting that documented. If it’s significant, you also might be eligible for short-term and/or long-term leave, depending on your state and company benefits.

      I’m truly sorry for what you’re going through, OP!

      1. pnw dweller*

        even if constructive discharge is viable, OP, are you able to suck it up ’til you find something new? I fear the loss of a job (even in this circumstance) coupled with marital problems could negatively affect your search for a new job and become self defeating. Counseling may be the answer for the short run. My sympathies, having the rug pulled out from under you, and from so many directions, hurts deep.

  3. AKchic*

    I am so sorry.
    Please meet with an attorney to discuss your personal options (covering that base real quick).

    But start job searching now. It’s obvious that the company isn’t going to help you here. They know your co-irker is going to keep being shady, and you know he’s abused his WFH “privileges” already, and they have no intention of giving you any leeway.

    There’s no reason to stay. Make a clean break with everything. New job, new home, fresh start…

    1. The Original K.*

      In OP’s place, I really cannot see staying at this job. Even if this were the only company in my area that hired people with my skills, this is so egregious that I just couldn’t do it. On top of having to work with the affair partner every day, to have the company essentially shrug it off would be adding insult to injury and I wouldn’t be able to deal.

    2. sacados*

      Wow, I actually missed the significance of the WFH bit the first time around — “Their opposition to letting you work at home full-time isn’t necessarily telling in and of itself; lots of companies aren’t remote-friendly”

      But apparently the coworker is allowed to work from home as needed? I mean it’s possible there is some legitimate business reason for the discrepancy, but given coworker and OP shared an office/were on the same team, it leads to believe they have similar positions. Which would make it all the more glaring that one is allowed to use (and abuse!) remote privileges that the other is denied.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Yeah, I let out a loud “WOW” when I got to the part of the letter where OP’s request from work from home was denied, and OP’s teammate requests to “work” from “home” were being consistently approved. What the heck?!

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          To me, it reads as if the company truly doesn’t give a shit if OP leaves. For whatever reason, they’ve aligned themselves with the coworker, so OP needs to be transition planning. This situation is untenable long-term.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            I was wondering if they actively hoped he’d leave to mitigate drama. I mean, yeah, I’d fire the other guy first, but maybe they’re banking on OP’s vulnerability to make him easier to run off.

            1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

              It stood out to me that the LW was the one who brought this to the attention of management. Now they clearly want the LW to quit and go away.

              It can definitely be human nature to blame drama not on the cause of the drama (lowlife cheater), but on the person who first complains. It’s that whole dynamic where they stomp hard on your foot when nobody is looking, then everyone looks over to see you crying and carrying on. They don’t see the foot stomp, so they assume you’re the problem.

              Management doesn’t see this guy carrying on with the wife or shooting the LW dirty looks. They just see the LW asking for things. They assume that if the LW goes away, the drama will too.

              Of course, they are probably wrong. The openly-sleep-with-your-coworker’s-spouse type of person will always find a way to cause drama. They will always appear to be just coincidentally near the center of it, but not the cause.

              1. uncivil servant*

                Yes, my guess is that they figure that only one employee is unhappy with the situation, they don’t want to fire anyone, so it’s easier just to manage the OP out than to get involved.

      2. Steve*

        It may simply be a difference between the coworker taking a WFH day here and there vs the LW asking to WFH every day indefinitely. In every place I’ve worked, the former would be approved but the latter would not.

        That said, if the company continues to allow the coworker to “WFH” even after learning that he was abusing the privilege and not actually working, that’s seriously messed up.

      3. Annony*

        It could be a frequency thing. Maybe they allow work from home one day a week or something like that but are not open to it as a permanent thing. Or maybe the coworker has a job that would be easier to do remotely. The company still sucks though.

        1. Ann O'Nemity*

          Yeah, my thought was the frequency thing as well. Most of my team members can WFH for a few days in a row at most. There’s always admin stuff to catch up on. But the core job can’t be done remotely.

      4. AnnaBananna*

        Eh, I can see the company not wanting to do WFH – FULL TIME, because it sets a precedent. The Affair Dude is working from home, but not full time. So I wouldn’t even say that it’s a point for or against the company. It’s the lack of transfer encouragement or any other plausible option for OP’s graceful exit that I am side-eyeing the company.

        1. KayDeeAye*

          Yeah, me too. It could very well be that full-time WFH just won’t work, but they don’t seem to be even slightly interested in looking at any of the other possibilities.

      5. andy*

        That part made me think the story misses a lot of details and have large gaps. It does not make sense from either workplace nor relationships point of view.

        The behavior of too many people in the story does not make any sense.

    3. Anon, obviously*

      Yes on the attorney. Even if you want to reconcile with your wife, you need to know your options, which are different from state to state.

      In some states, you could bring an alienation of affection suit against your co-worker. An attorney can advise — possibly you could also bring a work-related suit against him (damage to your career etc). Obviously either of those is a blast it out of the water course of action which could affect your reputation, but you might consider it. Especially in negotiating a severance package for instance — again, discuss with an attorney.

      1. Susana*

        I in no way want to suggest I don’t feel just terribly for LW, who’s getting mistreated at home and at work. But what is “alienation of affection ” and how can you sue over it? Seriously, you’re going to take someone to court for not loving you anymore or liking you anymore?
        What seems legit here with coworker is letting HR know how unprofessional co-worker is being by bringing personal issues into the office.

        1. MK*

          It’s a suit where you sue your spouce’s affair partner for, basically, stealing them from you. Where I am from they are laughed out of court (a.k.a. dismissed because the affair partner has no obligation towards you like your spouce has), but I think there are jurisdictions where they stand. I do not know how successful they are, and in any case the OP hasn’t asked for advice about anything other than their work situation.

        2. Roller Kates*

          In some states it’s still legal, a huge financial case was just decided in the south recently. It applies mostly to people who knowingly enter into a relationship with a married person, or a parent in a custody situation who prejudices the child against the other parent. It sounds like something that would have died out long ago, but it still exists.

          1. allathian*

            Custody cases where one parent prejudices a child against the other are a different kettle of fish, in those I could understand it. But with an affair partner that’s just stupid, as it legitimizes the “blame the other woman for everything” idea (the blame is rarely laid on the other man). In an affair, the one who shoulders the most responsibility is the married party who’s breaking their vows, even if the other party is also technically guilty of adultery.

        3. Amy*

          Alienation of affection suits are only still allowed in a few states, but essentially the theory is that adultery is an offense against the marriage, and BOTH affair partners are responsible. Thus, the co-worker is committing a civil offense by participating in an affair with the wife. It’s not literally that the wife doesn’t love the OP – the affection in question is sex.

        4. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Oh, they’re FUN. Someone in my family had an affair and his wife threatened to sue the affair partner for alienation of affection, which is done quite a bit in the state where they live. She used the threat of the suit to get better leverage in their divorce settlement. From what I understand (and I am no lawyer), the only reason she didn’t go through with it was because she sent him a message accusing him of “screwing around” throughout their entire marriage, and if he was sleeping with multiple, unidentified women, her alienation of affection case against the affair partner held much less water. (Honestly, though, my family member got lucky and he needs to stop starting new relationships before he ends old ones.)

          I don’t know if I’d recommend the LW explore this option, though. It’s kind of nuclear and opens the LW up to a ton of scrutiny that he may not want.

        5. Lara*

          And if I recall correctly, technically Alienation of Affection isn’t limited to affairs. I think I remember reading about a successful suit against a mother in law who got between a couple in South Carolina.

          1. TimeCat*

            It’s technically a form tortious interference. Like viewing the marriage as a contract a third party interfered with.

            It’s controversial because it has its roots in a property theory of marriage, which is mostly out of line with modern marriage law.

        6. Lucy*

          Alienation of Affection is a Common Law tort. It actually has a long history and became extinguished in a lot of jurisdictions when no-fault divorce starts emerging in the 1970s. If you want to do something fun with your time, google “Loss of Consortium” and learn about all of the ways that the legal system tries to define and quantify family relationships.

          1. Tidewater 4-1009*

            I remember “loss of consortium” from LA Law, which is the only place I ever heard of it. Interesting, and so toxic!

            1. Candi*

              I first heard of it in a Howdunit book (’80s series for writers) discussing how real-life, sensible, law-abiding private investigators and detectives work vs the pulp fiction variety.

              There was an accident -no one disputed that. What the primary insurance company disputed that the injury was as permanent and severe as the suing claimant said it was -allegedly the guy couldn’t walk and could barely move from a neck injury. “Loss of consortium” comes in with his wife -she was suing for it, claiming that they could no longer do “marital activities” due to his injury.

              As for how it came out: The insurance company pulled out its list of reasonably reputable PIs and hired one of them to find out exactly what was going on. The PI sub-contracted with a business associate, and they created a pretty unethical (including rigging a contest involving a free weekend on a fancy boat) but very effective trap, of the “provide the opportunity, see if the guy’s dumb enough to walk into it” type. And in he walked, proving he could walk, move, water ski, climb a mast, swim, and perform bedroom activities with the lovely ladies the PI had contracted to staff the boat for the weekend. (The PI had a list of such ladies, who generally preferred working for him rather than street-walking.)

              1. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

                As a detective novel junkie, that book sounds like a pretty good read! Do you remember the name?

        7. Batgirl*

          You’re forgetting that there is more than just love and affection lost when a marriage ends. It’s essentially going after someone who has caused you massive expense and upheaval beyond money in the plan you had for the rest of your life. I think more people nowadays are more prepared for the possibility for divorce, but in situations like these, where the OP’s livelihood has been deliberately affected, it wouldnt seem unjust to me if his co-worker were held to account.

      2. Chinookwind*

        Ditto on the lawyer even if you want to reconcile. It is a completely different conversation when you know what can be legally done to/for you, especially since their affair may cost you your job (which just makes it so much worse). Beyond the obvious, you may want to check with the lawyer if either of them can be held responsible if you loose your job due to their actions.

        Add to that the fact that you probably don’t want to be in the marital home, and their choice to have an affair literally wipes out every aspect of your life, so some type of counselling should also be in order.

        At the very least, try to ensure that you have finances available only to you to ensure things don’t get worse and you end up on the street (because this is the type of situation that can make men homeless through no direct fault of their own.)

  4. Rachel*

    I just wanted to say that I’m sorry you are having to go through this. If I where you I would start looking for a new job the way they are treating you is not okay.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      A new job and a new spouse – having an affair is one thing (there may be some backstory there where the cheating thing wouldn’t necessarily be a dealbreaker), but the fact that she was messy enough to include a close coworker of her spouse in this situation tells me her judgment is seriously askew.

      1. Stormfeather*

        I mean, I think the cheating thing would be enough of a dealbreaker where the husband already knows about it and the wife is unrepentant to the point where she continues the affair, handling it in a way that the husband KNOWS whenever the two are meeting.

        (I am cutting polyamory out of the equation here because that needs everyone to be on board, and the husband definitely is not.)

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          It would be a dealbreaker for me and everyone I know, but I didn’t want to assume that an affair would be the nail in the coffin of this relationship for the OP. Some folks really do think they can work through that betrayal, even one that continues after the adulterer has been caught *shrug.*

          1. Chinookwind*

            *sticks up hand reluctantly* I have been there, done that and took my husband back.

            We don’t have kids and I am perfectly capable of supporting myself financially. Our relationship has changed completely and I wish I could trust him like I once did, but we are also best friends and, beyond the affairs, we have never hurt each other physically or financially (even though there was plenty of opportunity) and he has ensured that I will be taken care of financially if anything happens to him (to the point that I have his will and he re-signs and dates it every time he goes away for work).

            We are willing to settle with what our relationship can give us because we have seen what is out there, neither of us wants to live alone, and it is very hard to find the kind of trust we otherwise have with anyone else.

            I was one of those who thought she would never stand for this until it happened to me. You would be surprised by how that can change when life actually happens.

            OP, give yourself time to make any decisions. Remember that your job is not your life but a way to ensure you could put a roof over your head and ask yourself what you are willing to do to keep that roof there and start looking for something new (because I can so see your boss trying to figure out how to get rid of you). This is gonna suck for the long term, but at least the suckage is now known and you can mitigate it to make it survivable. Find someone reliable to talk to and let your family help you if they can (but don’t let embarrassment stop you from asking).

            1. Diahann Carroll*

              You would be surprised by how that can change when life actually happens.

              Eh. I’ve been cheated on and left that dude – I’d rather be single, even in this trash ass dating environment, and have my peace of mind. But to each their own.

            2. allathian*

              Thanks for your perspective! It’s easy to be categorical when we’re talking about hypothetical cases, but that doesn’t necessarily happen when life happens.
              At the moment, I have no reason to suspect my husband of straying outside the marriage, and I know for a fact that I’ve been faithful to him. Our mutual bond is such a strong foundation, that if either of us had an affair, the bottom would literally drop out of my world to the point that I’d be a completely different person from the woman I am today. I know that I as I am today would not be able to forgive my husband for being unfaithful, or myself either if I were to stray, but if that were to happen, I can’t predict the reactions of the woman I’d become by that point… Am I making any sense?

          2. Batgirl*

            All the people I know who have forgiven their spouse had previously said, and meant, that it would be a deal breaker.
            I did leave my cheating husband but it was very, very difficult which was a total surprise to me.

          3. Librarian1*

            Some people actually do work through infidelity and stay together. You just don’t usually hear about it because people don’t talk about it.

      2. AnnaBananna*

        Oh, I kind of assumed that OP would be leaving the wife. Maybe I shouldn’t assume? But her gall in sleeping with her partner’s teammate is so ridiculously disrespectful that I can’t see how they could fix the relationship.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          This – it’s very brazen, I wouldn’t be able to so much look at someone anymore after they looked me in the face and lied to me everyday and dragged my officemate into the fuckery. That’s a bold ass woman, smh.

      3. Batgirl*

        That’s actually the more preferable type of affair. A typical, more solvable affair is a one-time selfishness; messy, with someone in their immediate vicinity; family, spouse’s bestie, co-workers necessitating job changes, the parents of childrens’ close friends etc.
        Cheaters who are neat and cast their nets for a stranger tend to be serial cheats and it’s impossible to stop that with the ending of one affair.

    2. HarvestKaleSlaw*

      Yes – seconded. I have no great advice, but a lot of sympathy. This is a really crap situation. I’m sorry.

    3. Thornus*

      I am now wondering how he would answer any questions regarding “So why do you want to leave [X] Company?”

      1. RC Rascal*

        If he involves a lawyer and negotiates severance and leaves, this can be a point of negotiation.

        If he wants to continue working while he looks for a job, the best answer is going to be that he is ready to move on in his career and wants to explore other opportunities. Keep it vague and general.

  5. Jennifer*

    Wow. My heart breaks for you, OP. I hope you have a good support network and are taking care of yourself. I’m rooting for you. If possible, I’d start job searching ASAP.

  6. hmmm*

    So why doesn’t the company have a problem that “working from home” isn’t actually working?

        1. RVA Cat*

          Same. It’s irrational.
          OP2, I’m so sorry that not only has your wife broken her vows to you, but your employer has clearly shown they are anything but impartial. Playing favorites like this, to the point the rules don’t seem to apply to him, is toxic even without the affair. Leave for somewhere better.

    1. Stormfeather*

      My guess (from this, from the way they give him WFH privileges when they don’t give them to the LW, and from the fact they’re obviously siding with him, not reprimanding him for the dirty looks and such, etc.) is that the guy’s their rock star super performer or some such, and they’re bending over backwards to keep him and keep him happy.

      (I mean I’m not agreeing with them at all in it, you might give your rock stars a bit more leeway with stuff but not to the extent of crapping all over your other employees. Just it’s my suspicion of what’s going on)

      1. KayDeeAye*

        I’m not sure, of course, but it reads to me as though the problem is that the OP wants to work from home basically all the time – permanently – and that while Adultery Guy has used this excuse, he presumably didn’t WFH every day. Just sometimes.

        1. Candi*

          hmmm’s question wasn’t about why letting the other guy WFH and not LW, though, or their comparative frequencies. It was about why other guy was not being reprimanded for abusing WFH permissions.

          Misusing WFH privileges is absolutely a problem the bosses can come down on someone for, regardless of why they abused it in the first place. But they aren’t doing so. That’s weird, and a problem.

          1. Ellie*

            They might not know about it… it’s certainly not a conversation I’d want to have, if I was the OP.

    2. Hey Karma, Over Here*

      It’s pretty clear they don’t value OP and are bending over backward for teammate.
      Time to move on.
      After you have a clear conversation about the stunning reference they are going to give you.

    3. pope suburban*

      Dysfunction. My previous workplace was a lot like this. We had a department full of people I could prove, in multiple ways, were not going on their assigned calls and not working the hours specified on their timecards. But the CEO was both debilitatingly conflict-averse, and prone to playing favorites. So these people got away with stealing and going to strip clubs on the clock, while the rest of us would have to beg for the smallest accommodations. I wouldn’t think it would happen in more than one environment, but I suppose that’s just out of a sense of wanting to believe the world isn’t quite the dumpster fire it is. It’s disappointing that OP is dealing with this, but it’s not something he can change and so I recommend he makes an exit from this place.

      1. Impy*

        Yes. Had this in my last but one job. I was literally bringing in 6 x the revenue my coworker was, but she got a promotion and I had a huge account taken off me.

        To this day I don’t know what I did to that trash fire of a boss, but her bullying was obvious, visible and made zero sense.

        I’ve had bosses I didn’t get on with before, but provided I was bringing in the money, they still treated me with decency, gave me raises / promotions / bonuses.

        She behaved as though she was absolutely baffled when I left. It was crazy making. If I hadn’t had good friends at that job who noticed the abuse, and hadn’t had six phone calls on my last day telling me I was doing the right thing, I might have thought I’d imagined it all.

  7. Erin*

    So sorry. Maybe this is the boost you need to jump start a new life! New job, new relationship status. Unless you’re working things out with your wife – either way, best of luck to you, I’m sure many of us will be thinking of you.

    1. Katrinka*

      Even if they are working on it, a fresh start might be something they need. New house, new job, new location away form co-worker and the memories and reminders.

  8. Senor Montoya*

    I don’t understand why the teammate could “work from home” but you could not….

      1. Reality Check*

        Seriously. If they don’t value OP that’s one thing, but why do they still value the coworker??? I am mystified.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Maybe he’s somebody’s kid or nephew. Maybe he brings in the most money for the company. Who knows? It’s messed up though.

        2. Hiring Mgr*

          Probably because the LW was the one to raise the issue so he’s looked at as a complainer or trying to instigate drama, etc

          1. Candi*

            Because some people are ridiculous and see the person who pointed out the missing stair as the problem, and not the jerk who broke it in the first place. >:(

    1. TooTiredToThink*

      ++++ I was thinking the same thing and had to reread to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding!

    2. CupcakeCounter*

      Only plausible reason I could come up with was that OP was asking for, essentially, permanent WFH vs what appears to be intermittent WFH (which appears to be allowed) that is more normal for the company.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Yeah, that might be it. Otherwise, they seriously favor the co-worker, who doesn’t seem to deserve it.

    3. Clawfoot*

      To be honest, we don’t know how often the co-worker was “working” from home. It could have been once a week, which is VERY different from “I want to work remotely on a permanent basis going forward.”

      I get to WFH once a week, but I’m sure I’d be shut down just as firmly if I asked to make that a permanent thing.

    4. Lil*

      i read it as OP getting denied for WFH indefinitely (lasting weeks or possibly months) whereas coworker was still getting approved for WFH days according to policy (a few times a month, or whatever).

    5. Arctic*

      I don’t like anything about how the work is handling it. It’s borderline evil.

      But OP seems to want to work from home full-time. It’s very possible an occasional work from home is in place but not full-time.

      (Of course, the fact that the co-worker wasn’t actually working is a huge issue, which should be addressed. Preferably by firing co-worker. But that’s a different issue.)

  9. MB*

    “The teammate would tell my boss he was working from home and then spend the entire day with my wife.”

    I would raise this as an issue (whether with HR, management, or whomever) for multiple reasons.
    1.) it seems that the ability to work remotely is not being provided equitably
    2.) if you know he’s not working when he’s supposed to be (and, you know, *sleeping with your wife*), raise that concern to the appropriate person.

    1. It's mce*

      Agreed. The teammate should be treated the same in not being able to work from home, if OP’s request is denied and especially if the time is being spent misled.

      1. chronicallyIllin*

        I get the impression that this place allows intermittent WFH as needed for illness, home contractors, doctors visits, etc, but doesn’t allow perpetual every-day WFH.

        If I’m right, they’re both being allowed to do the occasional WFH day as usual, LW just happens to know for a fact that the other man is doing his affair instead of actually working when he says he’s WFH. I assume based both on info somehow from his wife? As well as info on his work output suffering on those days.

        1. valentine*

          I would raise this as an issue
          OP has lost, so, this could be turned around on them as “MYOB.” I think the teammate got ahead of the message. Since OP is staying in both the job and marriage, their best option is are not to let the affair affect how they work with the teammate.

          And I would hang on to the job because it’ll be that much more vital if the marriage does end. You don’t want to be juggling law stuff, job searching, and the possibility of moving.

    2. SusanB*

      I would say that there’s probably no way to prove that. You know? I mean, if the co-worker says “I’m working from home on Tuesday” and still manages to respond to e-mails and get a few things done . . . there’d be no reason to check in on him. And how could you check in on him? Especially if it was something that happened in the past.

      I’m not saying this to take the co-worker’s side. I’m just saying that it puts an employer in a really rough spot. If employee 1 said “I think that employee 2 was sleeping with my life when he was supposed to be working from home.” – I have no way to prove that and I can’t do anything about it. Especially if employee 1 otherwise completed their work. It’s not an easy situation to deal with.

      The whole situation is messy because I’m assuming there’s no way to really prove any of it. We don’t know if Employee 2 actually admitted to the affair or if there’s any way to prove that it did occur. If the wife and employee 2 are denying it (I assume?) what can a boss do? Heck, what if it actually didn’t occur and the evil looks are because employee 2 thinks employee 1 is trying to destroy his reputation at work.

      I sympathize with the OP but I also don’t know how I’d deal with this as a boss if a situation like this occurred.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        Yep. When I work from home, I’m technically spending the day with my spouse. We aren’t sitting there canoodling all day, but we are in the same residence even when I’m in my office working. This is an icky path to try to go down.

      2. Amy*

        I don’t know that the boss is powerless and only able to throw up hands.

        Regardless of whether boss believes OP or not, it’s clear these two employees cannot work together. Co-worker was moved. Nevertheless, it should now be clear that moving was insufficient. If you want to keep the employees, you transfer one out. Or allow WFH on alternate days so one or the other is usually out of the office. Or offer severance. You don’t tell OP no transfers, no WFH, and leave if you want. At that point, it’s clear boss is using the affair to manage OP out and prefers co-worker, whether the affair is true or not.

        Moreover, if OP gets a divorce and fault becomes an issue due to a pre-nup or other reason, it’s going to get even more awkward when co-worker is being asked in court about the affair. Boss can’t just say “don’t care, deal with it,” unless the goal is to get rid of OP.

        1. valentine*

          these two employees cannot work together.
          They can, and it’s not up to the employer to change the way they run the business because of (even such) personal differences. In fact, they may consider that involving themselves in the marriage.

          1. Candi*

            No one is asking the employer to change the way the business is run.

            What is being asked is that the two in conflict be separated by LW being allowed to transfer to another department -which the business is large and versatile enough to support. This is not involving management in the marriage -it’s handling conflict between two employees, something every business can expect to happen and needs to be able deal with.

            It’s the boss and grandboss who are carte blanche refusing to allow a very basic accommodation of a personal conflict between two workers.

            There are plenty of stories on here of companies that had mild to severe conflicts between workers. One or both are often transferred or promoted out of the affected department, or assisted in their job hunt, given a glowing reference, and sometimes a payout. If one of the parties acts out enough to break policy and/or the law, they’ve often been fired or given a transfer they didn’t like.

            There are plenty of ways, just in the past year of AAM letters, to deal with employees who can’t work directly together for reasons. The bosses need to gird up, boss up, and manage.

    3. MK*

      I really don’t think the OP should get involved with anything like that, especially with a company that hasn’t been all that accommodating to their difficult situation. As others noted, the request that was denied was for indefinite WFH; the coworker probably just worked from home for a day here and there. Even if the OP could prove the coworker wasn’t working, they will come off as the vindictive cheated spouce and it will be an embarassing situation.

  10. AnonymousAdvice*

    OP, your marriage is over. Time to move on… and maybe also switch jobs? To give yourself a clean start.

    1. Anon, obviously*

      It may or it may not be. It’s possible to recover from infidelity and betrayal, but it’s very hard and it takes a long time.

      I encourage the OP to meet regularly with a therapist. I would not recommend marriage counseling tbh until the OP has had time to work through thoughts and feelings, and until OP’s wife has had time to fully pull her head out of her a$$. Right now, I’m sorry to tell you, your wife is a lying liar, even if she thinks she’s sincerely decided to recommit to you and your marriage. You don’t even know if the affair is really over, or if it will restart… Marriage counseling is not productive with someone who is lying and hasn’t spent any time yet figuring out their own sh!t. Take care of yourself.

      1. valentine*

        OP, your marriage is over.
        I don’t think it is, and that that’s a new part of the problem.

        1. Chinook*

          The more accurate statement is that the OP’s marriage has changed and life as he knew it is over. This is the part that is most overwhelming.

  11. Caramel & Cheddar*

    I’m confused why the various bosses are acting like LW is the one who needs to move on and not the office mate who had the affair with LW’s wife.

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      That’s exactly what I was going to say! What on earth.

      Also, I call bullshit on the idea that their hands are tied – clearly there are lots of things they could do if they wanted, but apparently they just don’t want to. For whatever reason, they’re choosing to prioritize the co-worker, at the expense of OP.

      I’m so sorry, OP. This whole thing sucks, on so many levels.

    2. Aitch Arr*

      Because it seems pretty clear from the boss and the grandboss’ reactions that they are not going to go to bat for keeping the LW.

      1. Aitch Arr*

        Whoops! I misread your original post, Caramel & Cheddar.

        Ignore my earlier reply in favor of this one:
        – my guess is that $CHEATER is a more ‘valuable’ employee, whatever that means

          1. Antilles*

            That’s usually a decent go-to explanation…but in this case, I don’t see it. The “conflict avoidant” strategy would be to let OP transfer teams or work from home; instead by doing nothing they’ve basically ensured that it’ll be an ongoing and persistent issue, more arguments, more sniping back and forth, team members taking sides if OP fights back, etc.
            Just seems like if the goal was to avoid conflict and minimize issues, the play would be to let OP work from home so you don’t have to watch this argument day after day after day.

              1. valentine*

                more arguments, more sniping back and forth
                I don’t see where this has happened and OP’s “to avoid any unnecessary confrontations” is like the temper letter: You don’t tell your colleagues, especially management, that you may not control yourself if you have to keep sharing space with your coworker.

            1. Paulina*

              They’re setting things up so the OP has very little choice other than to quit, which they may think will make the problem magically vanish, without them having to do anything about the coworker. Would this potentially be constructive dismissal?

            2. RC Rascal*

              While I follow your logic that the “conflict avoidant” strategy would be for OP to transfer, a truly spineless manager would see that option as involving work on their part, as well as admitting they have a fault. They have to admit to another senior person that there is a problem in their organization, and they need a favor to solve it.

              The chickenhearted types also tend to be extremely concerned about saving face.

            3. pamela voorhees*

              Sometimes conflict avoidant doesn’t mean “I will take the easiest solution to make this problem go away”, but instead “I will refuse to acknowledge there is a problem at all” — it’s entirely possible that upper management has decided this is a “personal issue” and is determined to ignore it until it goes away, not change anything, yep, everything’s fine here, nothing to see, work it out amongst yourselves (probably by one or both of them quitting).

            4. andy*

              Consistent explanation would be that they want OP gone but don’t want to fire him. Reasons may be related to affair or completely unrelated to it.

              Another idea is that other teams don’t want OP for some reason. In that case, transferring him us not low conflict version.

    3. EPLawyer*

      The company has decided for whatever reason they want to keep coworker and not OP. They have made that abundantly clear:

      1. OP can’t change teams.
      2. OP can’t work from home while coworker can — with no one monitoring that he is not producing any actual work.
      3. And quite frankly they flat out said it “We would understand if you left over this.” This is saying in no uncertain terms they want you gone so they can keep the other person.

          1. valentine*

            he is not producing any actual work.
            We don’t know this. If the wife is the source, well, nuff said?

            1. I Go OnAnonAnonAnon*

              I think the phrase meant that co-worker is not producing any actual work because s/he is spending all day WITH the wife, with whom they are having the affair, when s/he claims to be “working from home”.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Your #3 is spot on. Employers who don’t want their employees to leave would ask how to better accommodate said employee like, “Unfortunately, due to X policy or procedure, we can’t authorize you to work from home full-time; however, we can make sure you and Shaggy aren’t working on anymore projects together going forward and that he gets a permanent desk away from you so you don’t have to interact.”

        Something. Instead, they’ve kind of just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Good luck to you.”

        1. Antilles*

          Agreed. If they really wanted to keep both employees, they’d try Do Something. Maybe it wouldn’t work, but they’d at least go through the motions of trying to come up with a solution.
          But they aren’t doing anything and *that* is the real message here.

        2. The Original K.*

          Yeah, I had a coworker who went into her review and demanded a bunch of stuff or she would leave. Her boss said, basically, “We’re not going to do any of that. Is this your resignation, or …?” because her boss really didn’t care if she left. (I’m not sure if she’s still there – I left, and we don’t keep in touch.)

          Here it seems like OP’s bosses are going out of their way to ensure that he’s uncomfortable – there’s stuff they COULD do, they’re just choosing not to. The message is clear.

      2. AndersonDarling*

        Anytime a manager hints at you leaving, they are saying “we want you to leave.” I 100% agree that the managers want the OP to move on and they want to keep the co-worker. The co-worker’s nasty comments will likely get more and more aggressive and the managers will let it continue.
        Take the hint and move on. Here’s hoping that this is actually a sign that there is a better job ready and waiting.

      3. pamela voorhees*

        “We’d understand if you left over this” translates to “please leave so this can be over and we can stop having to talk about it.”

      1. Diahann Carroll*


        You know what!

        Lol. (I was going to say the wife, but you could be onto something.)

        1. Old Admin*

          The Duck Club strikes again!
          Sorry, I could not resist.

          But levity aside, the bosses really are signaling they want the OP to leave. I’m sorry.

    4. Red Tape Producer*

      It makes me wonder if the coworker didn’t deny the affair once confronted by the Boss and Grandboss and, faced with two conflicting stories, just decided the easiest (and completely wrong) option was to make them work it out themselves or get the one complaining to leave. It would also explain why the teammates were giving the LW dirty looks, the coworker probably told them that LW was crazy and trying to ruin his career.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Or what if the LW’s wife lied and said she was cheating with the co-worker when she was actually cheating with someone else?

    5. Andrea C*

      I feel like it may be the company doesn’t want to get involved in something that is about their workers’ personal lives. Maybe if the co-worker said they couldn’t work with LW under the circumstances, the company would be fine with them leaving, too. Just a hunch.

      1. Smithy*

        This is my thought. As bad and distressing as this news is for the OP, it may also be that given the OP’s particular skill set and company policy – the OP would need to submit for a new internal posting and go through the hiring process.

        While I see my own boss and boss’s boss being sympathetic and work to identify short term opportunities (like a week of WFH), if I asked to be moved to another team – I think the best they could would be to offer to support me through the hiring process if a job was open. There would be no way I could just be transferred to that team.

        I think longer WFH accommodation and a frank conversation around how internal applications/hiring works would likely be the best my own workplace could provide. They would be loath to investigate the claim of the affair or proactively taking any action that would look either punitive or rewarding. Claims of bullying they could get involved with (noting how this teammate is now being unfriendly in the office) – but that would be about it.

      2. Pampaloon*

        This would be my take without more information. LW is the one bringing an issue forward that is perceived as a personal one. Empathy aside for the ickiness of the situation, if LW is the one asking for an accommodation based on something personal they might feel that shrugging and saying do what you must is the reasonable response that keeps them out of a non-work related mess.

      3. Willis*

        That’s my read of it. And who knows, maybe they did tell the co-worker that. Unless there’s more than what’s in the letter, it doesn’t really seem to me like they’re necessarily choosing one employee over another as much as they’re choosing not to intervene in this situation. I don’t know that their excuses really seem that unbelievable to me either…sometimes it’s not that easy to make a position 100% remote or do an internal transfer, and it’s not necessarily something you’d do for every employee. But, it does sound like they could be kinder in their responses to the OP and put a stop to the dirty looks or rudeness in meetings. Anyway, I’d start looking for a new job. I don’t think I’d want to interact with that person at all, whether remotely or occasionally from a different team.

      4. Candi*

        The company is being ignorant, then.

        There are plenty of letters on this site where workers’ personal lives spilled into the workplace -it’s impossible to entirely segregate them at the best of times. Humans are human. Alison has given tons of advice about how to deal with the effects on the workplace of personal issues spilling.

        When personal life troubles are causing issues in the workplace, the issues in the workplace need to be dealt with. Saying that since the source is personal issues, the bosses don’t need to get involved, is a set-up for more drama and more problems. Management looks ineffective when they fail to corral the work effects of personal issues and those issues continue to affect the workplace.

        1. hbc*

          Yeah, but how much there is to deal with in the workplace is tricky. I mean, it’s obviously what should happen morally and karmically. But if they were fighting because they were roommates and Coworker stiffed OP on rent, I don’t think they’d fire or reassign Coworker for not paying his debts, nor give OP a pass to never see Coworker again by working from home forever. I understand the logic of not taking sides unless there’s legal involvement.

          They *should* be insisting that Coworker cut bringing in the drama to the office, though.

  12. Stormy Weather*

    Gah, talk about things that shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry, LW that’s just awful.

    It’s GTFO time.

    If they wouldn’t facilitate a transfer for you or the teammate, then you’re not being valued. Time to go.

  13. RC Rascal*

    The only obvious solution to this is to find another job. That said, searches can take longer than you want and meanwhile there are bills to pay.

    Go see a good employment attorney. This might be a situation where negotiating a severance is best solution. I would also like to know age/race/ gender of the coworker. For example , if you are over 40 & they aren’t you may be able to make a discrimination charge. The reason to do this is give yourself some negotiation leverage.

    Go see a good divorce attorney. You need to know your rights & liabilities.

    Meanwhile, mind all your Ps & Qs. Document everything & all aspects of your work. You are never less than 100% polite & professional in all you do. If you don’t quit willingly they will try to fire you or put a fabricated PIP on you. This is a work environment that will take its toll on the entire team & they want you to hang for it.

    It occurs to me if another more powerful department— legal, or good HR—were to find out about this they might disagree & overrule boss & grandboss.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      I would escalate this for sure while also preparing myself for the possibility that they couldn’t really do anything on their end either.

      1. Salty Caramel*

        I would substitute ‘won’t’ for ‘couldn’t’ here. I have a hard time believing they couldn’t transfer one of them if they put in the effort.

        1. valentine*

          This might be a situation where negotiating a severance is best solution. […] you are over 40 & they aren’t you may be able to make a discrimination charge. The reason to do this is give yourself some negotiation leverage.
          The employer has no reason to negotiate and OP should not make a bogus charge.

          Remember the OP who works on the same floor as their husband and his ex-affair partner/coworker was soon going to move to that floor? They should be scrupulously professional in their dealings with her and so should this OP.

          1. RC Rascal*

            With the help of an attorney you can negotiate severance. Companies do this all the time. I am not advocating for bogus charges , I am advocating looking for opportunities to make legal claim.

          2. Candi*

            Making a charge that may or may not fly is one thing. Hinting at a charge that reasonably could apply is another.

            Sensible companies are mindful of PR. They also don’t want their name on too many litigation or other lawsuits -those things are usually searchable by the public. Like reporters looking for a juicy story.

            The mentality that makes companies pay out on bogus lawsuits so as not to spend any time on a court case? It can apply in employment suits as well.

            But it must be handled very, very delicately. And always by a lawyer, who can accurately judge the playing field and risk.

            1. valentine*

              The juicy story is the wife-teammate affair, not that the employer has zero interest in helping mitigate OP feelings about it.

      2. RC Rascal*

        That’s why the OP needs legal advice. If it is possible that there is a law or policy being broken, and an attorney can get appropriately engage with legal, there is the possibility Boss and Grandboss won’t be able to fire OP. For example, if OP can make a discrimination claim then terminating OP becomes retaliation, and that its a big problem.

        It’s also possible there is a some hidden liability around Shaggy the co-worker working from home with OP’s wife. Bosses this weak tend to overlook other company policy violations, and that might give OP some leverage.

        Bottom line: OP needs to figure out how to get some air cover while they look for another job.

        1. Chinookwind*

          Could it be discrimination based on marital status? After all, if OP wasn’t married, this wouldn’t have been an issue. An employment lawyer would know if they could thread the needle with this argument, though.

          1. valentine*

            if OP wasn’t married, this wouldn’t have been an issue.
            It would be an issue if they were partnered but not married. And it might be a problem if she were another relative or a friend. Not the employer’s problem.

  14. Susana*

    I realize this could create more problems, but I’d be tempted after one of those dirty looks, to whisper (but loud enough to be heard by others) that I realize you are disappointed my wife isn’t sleeping with you anymore, but I need you to behave professionally around me at the office nonetheless.

    Does no one else on the team know about this?

    1. RC Rascal*

      Please don’t do this. Causing such an overt disruption is a guaranteed way to get fired

      1. pamela voorhees*

        Yeah, it’s something that feels satisfying to write here (and certainly feel free to fantasize about it so it can get you through the day) but doing it out loud would, at the very least, get you written up — if not outright fired on the spot, especially considering the other stuff they’ve told you. And even if you feel ready to be fired, it’ll tank your chances of getting a good reference.

        1. valentine*

          Also, you really don’t want that to be the way you find out you’re, oh, so wrong about this: my wife isn’t sleeping with you anymore.

          1. EddieSherbert*

            Excellent point. It feels like a satisfying jab to imagine saying that… but it easily could turn it into an actual conversation that you DO NOT want to have with your coworker.

    2. pony tailed wonder*

      I do think there might be a benefit to letting a co-worker know what is going on, one who won’t gossip. Rumors will be flying if they already aren’t and you need to have someone in your corner, jmo.

        1. Candi*

          Bring the most gossipy coworker their favored treat and say you’re sorry you haven’t had a chance to talk lately -you’ve been having “personal problems”.

          A tiny tidbit or two that you don’t mind getting out, and in my experience, the gossip will spill, spill, spill in response.

  15. Delta Delta*

    Let me make sure I understand this. Coworker has an affair with OP’s wife. OP tells the company this is a terrible situation. The company makes sympathetic mouth noises and then tells OP they’re welcome to work elsewhere.

    I think that’s probably the best option.

  16. Veryanon*

    Oh wow. This is a terrible situation all around. OP, I hope you are exploring your legal options on a personal level. From a job perspective, if it were me, I don’t think I could continue to work there. I hope you are searching for a new opportunity.
    Best of luck to you, OP.

  17. Master Bean Counter*

    This is terrible OP.
    The truth of the situation is your employer has picked their side in this matter, and it’s not you.
    You deserve better. Brush off your resume and find an employer that values you.

  18. LQ*

    “We understand if you can no longer work here because of this.” is pretty kiss of death.

    Not a 100% but I’d be packing up and job hunting like my job was on fire if someone said that about something that mattered to me.

  19. Phony Genius*

    This letter feels like another example of “blame the jilted spouse, not the cheater nor the paramour” that I have been noticing with increasing frequency. I don’t know why that is. For some reason, I see it more when a woman is cheating than when it’s a man. Seeing that it may have infiltrated this workplace makes it worse.

    1. pamela voorhees*

      Best I can tell it’s classic shoot the messenger. The logic goes, the cheater and paramour do not have a problem with the cheating, and are not “complaining”. The spouse has a problem and is “complaining”. I want the complaints to stop, and the easiest way to do that is to get rid of the person that I see as making the noise, instead of fixing the underlying problem — which, as an added bonus for folks who think like this, discourages other people from ever speaking up again. And then they brag about how high morale is because they don’t hear complaints.

    2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      There might also be some reporting/confirmation bias here: LW is the one who is going to tell the story as adultery. LW’s wife has (social) incentives to instead talk about how her marriage just isn’t working, or there are problems and LW refuses to work on them with her. And CW’s story could be “my office mate won’t talk to me, he accused me of some really wild things” or “I didn’t realize my new girlfriend was married until her husband found out about us.” (He could present it that way even if he knew better.)

    3. andy*

      The “teammate would tell my boss he was working from home and then spend the entire day with my wife” frames the whole issue as the teammate nit doing anything whole day. That is how mamy people here understood it.

      With framing like thia it is easy to becomr one whonis not trusted. If the teammate worked for 6 hours and had fun with wife for 2, it is already apparent to teamleader that teammate is doing something. Which would make OP the less trusted party.

      Also, there might be history unrelated to affair that would make the company prefer/dislike that or this individual.

    4. Batgirl*

      Victim blaming is very common when the feared misfortune is baffling and hard to comprehend why anyone would do that. It gives a sense of control over the fear.
      I definitely used to think that if I got cheated on I would leave straight away and also that I would never be in a relationship that unhappy anyway..lalala’.
      Which is what people say about lots of abuse and misfortunes that arent controllable.
      Not to mention that most infidelity victims simply don’t know or find out very late.

      1. pamela voorhees*

        Batgirl (Babs? Cass? Steph? I’m out of Batgirls I can name off the top of my head) makes a truly excellent point. People are very, very uncomfortable with any sort of misfortune, and desperately want there to be an explanation, or, barring that, for the person it’s happening to to have somehow “deserved it” — because if they don’t “deserve” it, it would never happen to them, right? The second anyone gets a cancer diagnosis, it’s amazing how quickly everyone around them suddenly wants to go through a minute discussion of every food they ever ate / every place you’ve ever lived / do you smoke/drink/not use enough/too much/any essential oils / anything they’ve done so they can convince themselves it’ll never happen to them. It’s entirely possible the entire office is having a visceral reaction of “oh no, this makes me uncomfortable because it could happen to me” and just wants the person having the misfortune to go away so the anxiety disappears.

  20. Betty*

    I had a coworker who’s wife (also a coworker) was cheating on him with another coworker of ours. Now that was messy. The only difference is all 3 worked in different departments. They ended up getting divorced and the other man left the company.

  21. LogicalOne*

    Ugh this sucks and I am sorry it happened. Life sucks sometimes!!
    Also, if I were in your situation, I would feel like my company slapped me in the face and doesn’t value me as an employee. The way they are handling it is basically saying, get over it or quit. No one should ever be in the position you are in. Are you making too much money? Could you easily be replaced? Is your coworker valued more than you? Why isn’t your company taking this seriously and treating you like you’re not a priority? There must be more to the reasoning of what and why your company is handling it this way.
    I hope you can find a better job with better pay and better perks. You were thrown this curve ball and you are being treated unfairly. It sucks companies act this way and don’t make you feel valued. All the time you invested into this company for nothing. I’m sorry but that really ticks me off. But seriously, I wish you the best in this situation!!!

  22. PSB*

    I mentioned this in passing above, but both the coworkers dirty looks and the employer’s reaction make me wonder if OP’s wife told the coworker terrible things about the OP that the coworker might have repeated to the bosses. Their complete lack of ongoing empathy and their immediately jumping to “it’s okay if you quit” is just bizarre in any normal circumstance. It might also explain why the coworker is giving the OP dirty looks with no shame.

    Or they could just all be jerks. I don’t mean to discount that possibility at all.

    1. Forrest Rhodes*

      Agreed, PSB—I was wondering the same thing. One of my brothers had the misfortune to get tangled up with a woman who, when their relationship went south, made a hobby of telling other people wild falsehoods about him. It took him a long time to straighten out the sideways looks he was getting from those others.

      OP, sorry you’re having to deal with this. It may be that the best action for your own well-being is just to say adios, adieu, and sayonara: divorce the woman, leave the (chicken-livered jerks who are your) employer, and remove yourself to some healthier scenery.

      No, it isn’t fair that you should be the one to leave … but think of how relieved you’ll feel when you no longer have this whole situation in your face every day. Best of luck to you.

    2. Turtlewings*

      Exactly what I was thinking. Whether it’s true or not (and I’ll do the LW the courtesy of assuming it isn’t), I’m willing to bet the wife is filling her paramour’s ears with tales of her mistreatment at LW’s hands. It seems like the only reasonable explanation for the dirty looks.

  23. Buttons*

    We don’t know that they didn’t tell the coworker something similar. I don’t like that they told the OP that they understood if he wanted to leave, but I really don’t understand what their responsibility is here? Maybe I am being naive. But other than the coworker’s dirty looks and other unprofessional behavior, what are they supposed to do? If there is an internal posting the OP could apply, but if there isn’t an opening on another team…?

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      Even without a posted opening, OP’s manager could reach out to another team and ask the hiring manager there if they anticipate having future staffing needs in the next couple of months because they have an employee who’s looking for advancement that they just can’t accommodate at the moment. The manager could also tell the cheating coworker that if Shaggy can’t act professionally in the office with OP (i.e., knock off the eye rolling and passive aggressive comments), then they’ll have to put him on a PIP, which could lead to termination if the behavior continues.

      1. Buttons*

        We don’t know if the manager knows he is doing those things, the OP doesn’t say, so yes he should tell them so something can be done.
        In my company no one would call another department/team manager. It isn’t part of our culture. We would tell the employee that if we hear of an upcoming opening we would let them know and to watch the internal job postings board.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          And I’ve worked in plenty of companies where retention was an issue, as was recruiting strong job candidates in the first place, so managers had no problem talking to other business unit leaders on behalf of a good and valued employee they knew was itching to leave for whatever reason if it meant keeping the company’s institutional knowledge around.

    2. RC Rascal*

      I have worked for companies that would fire the co-worker (Shaggy, as Diahann Carroll has aptly named him) in this situation. Some companies have strong brands that they want to communicate integrity and trust, and will fire employees engaged in this kind of behavior.

      1. Chinookwind*

        I like companies with that type of integrity because this isn’t someone who slept with a married woman, but someone who slept with a teammate’s wife and then treated the OP badly when it ended. Shaggy is unprofessional enough to not care if he hurts a coworker or destroys a teamwork situation and the bosses are fine with that. Makes me wonder what other things Shaggy has done to coworkers that bosses have swept under the rug.

        1. Candi*

          Something I’ve realized: Behavior is rarely compartmentalized. The person who is lovely in one situation is usually lovely elsewhere, and ditto for the jerk.

          Abusers and their behaviors don’t count for this. They aren’t compartmentalizing, they’re putting on a shell to look nice to people who aren’t the ones they’re abusing.

  24. Camellia*

    You…found out about the affair and then still had to work with this person…while the affair continued? And all your company did was give them their own office?

    Definitely time to move on.

  25. Rob aka Mediancat*

    I might suggest Chump Lady as someone you can write about the non-work parts of this: her specialty is cheating spouses. She might have some good advice.

  26. Llellayena*

    So…aside from being generally hurt, have you (OP) been hostile to your coworker? Anything that in a normal situation would be the cause of them being hostile back? I’m not saying you wouldn’t be justified, but your writing sounds like you are being outwardly very calm and polite about this (which is very commendable if you’re managing that!). If you’re being polite and the coworker is not, your work’s attitude toward YOU does seem very odd. If it’s a mutual hostility thing going on maybe you’re both getting the attitude from the bosses but you’re just not seeing how they respond to the other person? It’s still worth flagging to the boss/HR the perception of inequality in the responses, if only to try and get the overt hostility to stop. (I can’t figure out if the hostility started after the affair stopped or before. Could the hostility be because your wife broke it off with your coworker and they’re jealous of that?)

  27. staceyizme*

    I think you should consult an attorney about options for legal actions. A lawsuit naming the employee and possibly naming the company for its facilitation of the continued affair? A restraining order due to the unpleasant and intrusive conduct of the coworker? As a last resort, a media leak that may embarrass the company into offering the requested transfer? And maybe help with a divorce and negotiation of a reference. Consider the possibility of emotional disequilibrium due to stress and explore with your attorney whether this might constitute a weightier factor in the harm suffered. “Medicalizing”, “legal-language-ifying” and “mental health-language-ifying” may help you to put things in terms that increase the likelihood of the company taking action more favorable to you, if only to avoid more difficulty later.

    1. Arctic*

      Alienation of affection (which is the only real claim against employee) is very difficult to win nowadays and many states have gotten rid of it altogether.
      Honestly, my heart breaks for OP but he should save himself the further heartbreak and difficulty a public law suit with very little chance of success would put him through.

      1. valentine*

        OP should not sue their company or “leak” anything. They don’t need a countersuit on top of the current major stressor.

    2. TimeCat*

      I mentioned this above l, it’s only a handful of states and sort of a cottage industry in North Carolina. It’s also massively controversial.

      1. TimeCat*

        I just looked it up and weirdly it’s actually unsettled law. But again, only in North Carolina. Which I must stress is the extreme exception in this area. Most states have abolished this claim.

  28. I was the other woman once*

    *I am sure the coworker prefers to think himself as the hero of a grand romance with a poor neglected/mistreated/abused wife (there are plenty of movies with that plot) than as someone who is participating in a sordid affair with a cheater*


    1. I was the other woman once*

      I’m so sorry, this was supposed to go under another comment and now I can’t find it. :(

  29. Not So NewReader*

    OP, hang on the fact that you have one up on your two bosses who seem to not care of you stay or go. They are just two people. On the other side is you with hundreds of people reading right here who would never in a thousand years want to work for those two spineless wonders.

  30. TimeCat*

    OP: I think I’d job hunt. You just don’t want to deal with this anymore and they haven’t really treated you that well with the transfer thing.

    I’d also speak to a lawyer. Especially if you don’t have kids, you might see this as an opportunity to get out of dodge and away from all the mess.

  31. LGC*

    But also – he said he was working from home and then was seeing your wife instead?!

    I have Extremely Dark Jokes about how your boss and their boss is handling this, LW, but you’ve been through enough. I hope your management is just oblivious to that, but if they’re aware that your coworker abused his WFH privileges to carry on an affair with his coworker’s wife and they’re still just throwing up their hands…man, get out because they don’t love you and they don’t deserve you. (And also they suck at management.)

    1. Phony Genius*

      Ironically, the coworker’s abuse of the work-from-home privileges may have something to do with his not being allowed to use it himself, thereby re-victimizing him.

  32. AltAcProf*

    I don’t know your circumstances but based on the info in the letter sounds like it may be time for a new job, new wife, new life. I put that because it rhymes— actually take time for yourself: a career move, working out, a new hobby within a new social scene, etc. Success is the best revenge.

    1. Enginear*

      2nd. Staying with your wife and employed at your job working with the guy who slept with your wife will eat away at your soul.

  33. andy*

    I feel like massive parts of the story are missing. I am filing large gaps there. But yeah, new job souds better then current job.

  34. YoungTen*

    LW, I’m sorry this is happening to you. You need an attorney at a new job. Maybe even a move to a new city.

  35. Out of the box thinker*

    Might I suggest requesting a restraining order against him if he is being hostile to you?

    Document issues, and be prepared with a list of places you need to be frequently that you want him to stay away from including your house.

    I’d wait first to see if HR does anything but if they fail to act, then i d suggest looking into it.

    Also job hunt, and find a good divorce attorney.

    1. andy*

      Restraining orders are not that easy to get. It has to be way more then attitude during meeting and dirty looks.

    2. valentine*

      Might I suggest requesting a restraining order against him if he is being hostile to you?
      Dirty looks are not a crime and poking the bear of the employer would make OP the problem at work and possibly get them fired for trying to use the police to harass the teammate.

    3. Candi*

      Non-DV restraining orders are expensive and require reeeaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmmssssssssss of proof. Tire-slashing, trespassing, door-pounding, harassment levels of proof. Dirty looks and snotty attitude don’t qualify. (Although a snarky judge might comment on how poorly the workplace is dealing with it.)

  36. Beancounter Eric*

    On the work front, you probably will need to change jobs. Until then, you need to be the ultimate example of professionalism. Your co-worker wants to show attitude….fine, let them. Take the high road. But document everything going on in the office.

    On the home front, well… probably need a very good lawyer specializing in representation of men during divorce. (I am assuming OP considers the marriage over.)

    You probably should begin to separate your finances. Discuss with your attorney and a CPA what steps need to be done to preserve your interests.

    Do not let your spouse lure you into anything which could be construed an act of domestic violence. It’s better to walk away if a discussion begins to become heated, than to allow it to escalate. Additionally, be on guard for violence by your spouse or proxy’s against you. ( )

    Good luck.

  37. Clementine*

    We can’t know for sure, but it would almost seem the boss is on on this affair facilitation, by allowing the coworker to “work from home” and preventing the poster from doing so. If the boss is a friend of the coworker and a friend of the poster’s wife, it’s totally possible. If so, there’s really no help things will improve at work (well, it doesn’t sound likely that things will improve regardless). Like others have said, find people who will treat you better in all respects, both romantically and employment-wise.

  38. Batgirl*

    OP, even if your coworker were to get themselves fired for their super duper ‘when at home’ work ethic; you need out. You need a fresh start away from offices where you’ve been enduring an active and deliberately hostile affair for months.
    That is a trauma you need to take seriously, without dwelling too much on how monstrously unfair that is.
    I know the therapist I consulted would laugh that a team transfer, with all the chances of incidental contact, would be a serious enough resolution. Most people who tried that didn’t do so well.
    No one at work, however sympathetic can protect you from the fall out of an affair; plus your workplace isn’t sympathetic.
    It’s really common for betrayed spouses to start off taking really good care of themselves and securing some distance when in fight or flight and then end up listening to those who would have you shrug it off. You succumb to feeling silly.
    Every time you see or are reminded if this guy it will set you back in your personal recovery, and reupload a ton of resentment, whether or not you are attempting marital recovery.
    The sooner you make a fresh beginning the sooner you get one. There’s no reason you shouldn’t get one.

  39. CastIrony*

    I can relate to bosses not willing to do anything because you’re not valued. I hope things get better, OP, and hope you can find another job soon.

  40. Candi*

    Hey, LW, from someone’s who’s been the person cheated on, you have my sympathies.

    First, take Alison’s advice, and weigh the commentators to see if you can use it in your situation as well. If your boss, grandboss, and/or HR are at ALL functional, it should help. The only places it hasn’t is in really dysfunctional departments and businesses.

    Second, have you talked to your wife about the affair since it ended? You need to; if you don’t, it will always be there, hanging invisibly between you. How she reacts can inform your next personal steps. Captain Awkward is often recommended for personal advice, though I don’t know what she might have on your type of situation.

    As for where you talk -I recommend if you do it at home, talk in the living room, with windows somewhat open to encourage both of you to stay civil, since it’ll be easier for the neighbors to hear yelling. Or you might want to have a mediator, or even talk in a therapist’s office. It’s up to you. As are any next steps.

  41. PJ*

    If there was ever a situation where I’d feel completely justified in leaving a job without notice, this would be it. I’d happily trade some financial uncertainty for not having to see that evil SOB at work.

  42. CoffeeLover*

    There’s a lot that doesn’t add up in this story. OP couldn’t work from home but the coworker could. The OP “knows” the coworker was spending this time with his wife when doing said work from home arrangement. The unprovoked glaring looks at work (!?) from someone who slept with his wife (!?). The fact that the company basically told the OP too bad and to pack up and leave. I feel like we’re not getting the full story… maybe that’s because it’s a difficult story to tell or maybe it’s because OP is looking for a little bit of sympathy.

    But regardless I’m in the “time to leave” group. The company obviously values your coworker more than you and isn’t going to do anything about the situation, so why would you want stay in a place like that? Do yourself a huge favor by finding work elsewhere so you can start putting this experience behind you.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I think we’re reading the “no work from home” wrong.

      The OP was allowed to WFH for a week! So they do allow it sometimes, which is why the co-worker gets to work work form home every so often [in which they decide to spend that time with the OPs wife]. It’s not a double standard or anything there. The OP wants to full “WFH” situation and honestly, lots of places certainly don’t accommodate that. Lots of policies are “one or two times a week” kind of set up! Or if you’re sick. You know?

      Just like tons of places now are locked down and WFH with the pandemic. But they’re planning on going back to their regular schedule when the quarantines are up.

      It just makes me sad though because it sounds like perhaps the coworker is a “favorite” or perhaps the “team rockstar” or some nonsense. That’s why they’d rather lose OP than that person :( Which sucks but I’ve seen it happen one too many times [not to this extreme but in terms of not cutting loose someone who acts crappy towards someone else because well they’re simply contributing more and therefore aren’t seen as someone you’d let go unless it’s something egregious and sadly this isn’t egregious in some minds.]

  43. agnes*

    this is a time when I wish we could ask a few questions of the OP. In any event, you can certainly talk to HR about this and they may have some ways they can be of assistance.

    In the meantime, be professional and don’t give your company any excuse to complain about your work.

  44. Yep, me again*

    So just my two cents and the balled up piece of lint i found stuck between them….

    I wish OP would just wait for his SO to leave one day, hire an attorney and locksmith and move all the money in the accounts to one of his own and have his wife served. In certain states the person who had the affair can be sued for alienation of affection (dunno how far those go but it will make life sticky for the co-worker). Give’em hell because they deserve nothing less, but again, that’s my two cents/ball of lint.

    The real advice is this-

    Network, network, network! Get out of there, change things up if you don’t see results, hire a career coach because this many times being kicked in the teeth has hurt your pride and self-esteem and it will show in interviews. Value yourself, you have the whole AAM community here behind you here. Let us know how it goes, don’t stay in defeat!

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I don’t suggest locking someone out of their shared home or moving assets without having a lot of legal assistance prior. Every state has different rules and just changing the locks on someone can be a crime if their name is on that title or lease. Along with communal property states, you can’t just drain an account, that’s theft and makes it all that much messier.

      And depending on what skeletons are in the OPs closet, you don’t always want to start playing those games even if you’re a perfectly upstanding citizen.

      I say this to protect the OP in the end, don’t do anything hasty. If you do move assets do it to protect them if you think the other person may drain the accounts first but if you spend all that or send it to some kind of weird off shore account kind of thing, that can cause many more problems. Yeah affairs are gross and I don’t respect anyone who has one personally but they have rights so don’t take those for granted.

  45. Bear*

    Needs to be resolved at home. The issue is with the marriage and your choice for next steps in your personal journey. Please keep your head up and I sincerely hope this resolves for you soon so that you can be with who you are meant to be and also have a great team. But do keep records as much as possible.

    If you had a home security system then you could bust the “working from home” myth with HR but it just seems to me that this will be more productive if it is about you and what you want then about where this goes with them.

  46. Overagekid*

    This is awful and I am so sorry for you :(
    I do think that just changing jobs may be a good thing to consider. Get away from a company that clearly doesn’t value you, especially away from the person you work with, and if you think getting distance from your wife would be a good idea, a new job would be a good way to do it.

    But again, sorry cos this sucks :(

  47. Cookie Monster*

    Alison (or anyone), if he does try to get another job, what does he tell potential employers in interviews why he’s leaving?

    1. Bear*

      I think it is always good to say that you are looking for new opportunities to grow your skill set / fulfill personal and professional ambitions / because you are a big fan of the company you are applying to and their team energy seems vibrant / because you can make the most difference there or / Its a perfect time for a change or homecoming. Better to keep personal issues totally off the table because it calls the questions of boundaries. They have no implicit right to anything.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You always just tell people you’re looking for a new opportunity or that it’s not a good ‘fit’ for you, you leave it very broad and open ended. Don’t give details because it can always blow back in your face if you do. Some will certainly understand that “Well my coworker was having an affair with my spouse, so I had to leave that bad situation.” but really, it’s better to not try your hand in the lop sided world of interviewing.

      Everyone seems to put a lot of thought and power into the whole “Why did you leave?” and how “honest” you should be. Response, don’t be honest about it, just say that you’re leaving to expand yourself and find a good place for your skillset, etc. It’s always the fluffy non-threatening option.

      In the back of our heads, as hiring managers, we know people leave for various awful reasons. This kind of thing. Management yelling at you. Unreasonable workloads. Loose cannons among your team. But really, just say it’s because you are looking for opportunities to grow and they look like a good place to explore.

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