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Dear Susan: “My ex-boss’s fiancee is doing him wrong. Should I spill the beans?”

Dear Susan,

So I know this person, my ex-boss, who is getting married this summer. He would constantly talk about how his wedding would be the wedding of the century, blah blah. This was before I, along with a bunch of other people quit/got laid off because his company was hemorrhaging money and said boss wasn’t dealing with the situation well. Recently, I heard that his fiancee had been stepping out on him (on a regular basis), ever since the company started losing money. Lies about hanging out with friends really meant something else. I’m not really close with said boss anymore and while it’s not my business, it still makes me feel kind of bad that I know that this is happening since he was always really kind to me and left me with a glowing recommendation when I left the company. Also, it sucks he’s marrying someone who’s kind of a golddigger and only with him because he pays for everything for her (he paid for her useless liposuction just before the company started operating in the red). Should I let it be? Should I be sociopathic and leak that info to one of his friends? I should really just ignore this, right? Not my business!

Okay. Let me start off by saying what I would probably do, and that is accidentally on purpose get a little bit drunk and let it slip directly to ex-boss. Because I am terrible at a) minding my own business, and b) keeping secrets.

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/davemmett/

But I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. And here’s why:

Imagine what will happen if you tell the boss. He presumably looks upon you like a sweet former employee, whom he feels guilty about having had to lay off, but not much more. I noticed you didn’t say “I have this friend who was my boss” or “my boss, who happens to be my twin brother,” which leads me to believe that the relationship that you had with him was a cordial professional one.

His relationship with his fiancée, I would wager a guess, is much stronger.

When it comes to exposing a cheating partner, it all comes down to trust. Whom is he going to trust more? The person he laid off last summer and has reason to be bitter, who was constantly rolling her eyes* at the idea of the wedding? Or his one true beloved lovely love?

He’s going to trust her. And given that she sounds comfortable with lying as well as being completely vested in the relationship, she’s not going to confess. Meanwhile, your relationship with your boss is not strong enough to survive the conflict, and you won’t actually be making a difference in terms of his wedding, because she will lie and he will believe her.

You mentioned leaking the information to one of his friends. Do you think his friends don’t know? If the information is making the rounds to people who are tenuously connected to the couple, his closer friends probably know, or at least suspect. If you really think that they don’t know, and you have decent relationships with them, it might be worth saying something. Then again, if they are in the dark, and you aren’t close with them, then they, too, will likely believe the fiancée of their best friend over a jilted ex-employee.

Your ex-boss is going to find out. If she’s stepping out on him before the wedding, and not being very discreet about it, he will find out. It might not be before he’s already gotten legally entangled with her, but your saying something won’t change that. Besides, if his company is hemorrhaging money, it sounds like she’s going to get out of the relationship on her own.

It’s not that I believe that people should support the secrets of a cheating partner, but that I think you being the one to disclose the information will only backfire. Your position as a laid-off ex-employee, regardless of how fondly you remember the job, makes you a poor and ineffective candidate for breaking terrible news.

*I’m sure you weren’t rolling your eyes

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By Susan

I am old and wise. Perhaps more old than wise, but once you're old, you don't give a shit about details anymore.

7 replies on “Dear Susan: “My ex-boss’s fiancee is doing him wrong. Should I spill the beans?””

Yeah, don’t do it.  I get the sense that the woman who wrote the letter already didn’t like the fiancee for other reasons (not suggesting jealousy or a past with the boss…just sounds like she doesn’t like her).  Why shouldn’t her former boss have paid for the liposuction out of his earnings?  That’s totally none of the letter-writer’s business and it makes her sound petty and maybe like she blames the boss’ spending money on his fiancee for her losing her job.  That’s a motive to fuck up this relationship that’s not being addressed here.

I faced a similar situation once with a peripheral friend who’s fiance was cheating on her. I wanted to say something but a) I knew she was in love and my opinion wouldn’t change the course of their marriage, and b) our friendship probably would have been wrecked as I had known for months and kept it from her. So they married and he cheated on her more and she divorced him and now she’s happy without the deadbeat. I agree with all the other advice here–let his close friends warn him. Don’t wreck your reference.

Another issue is that “you’ve heard”. Unless you have actually seen the woman having sex with someone else, you don’t _know_ and in those cases it’s better not to go there. Rumors are just that, rumors and you don’t want to open a can of worms based on something that might be false, or at least, greatly exaggerated.

If we still lived in an era where an anonymous note on scented notepaper did the business (ahem Downton Abbey ahem), then yes, but now? No. Like Susan says, it probably won’t be effective and it may do you some harm. That said, though, I’d probably throw a few hints at his friends – if you know them and would be talking to them anyway – and see if they twig it.

I agree, it really isn’t your place. If your boss was your brother, or you had a vested interest in your relationship with your boss that would have been irrevocably damaged by not saying anything (but would be damaged by saying something too, because let’s face it. The messenger would get shot in this scenario) I’d say consider it. Sad reality is, you are not the one who should say it. It will figure itself out on its own (without your help)

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