Boss's Infidelity May Cost Him His Job

Q: I'm pretty sure my neighbor's having an affair with my boss. I know my boss's car because it has vanity plates and is real expensive. My neighbor's husband travels all the time, so she's by herself a lot. I've been seeing my boss's car in her driveway when I walk my dog at night. Sometimes I see him drive by in the morning before work too, and I know he's seen me. He's married too and has three kids. He's been late to meetings at work on the days I've seen him drive by in the neighborhood. I can tell by the way he looks at me at work that it's kind of a warning not to say anything. This puts me in a real bad situation, because my neighbor is a nice guy who works hard to support his wife. He even comes over for a beer sometimes when he's home and talks about how well his wife handles everything with him traveling so much. My wife says I should tell him and she wonders why I won't. But if I say something, my boss will know it's me and I could get fired. I feel like I'm part of the cheating though, and it makes me feel bad. What can I do without getting in trouble myself? Jarron, 52

Dr. Pamela: I'm sorry to hear that other people's deceptive behavior has added such stress to your life. Your predicament is heart wrenching because any action you take will cause someone pain. The best way to approach an ethical dilemma such as yours is first separating facts from feelings. And you're missing the most vital fact: whether your boss and your neighbor are actually having an affair.

If you do decide to take action and jeopardize your job, you need to protect yourself. You will require hard evidence about the affair if your boss does end up firing you or making the work environment unacceptable. However, because your boss has a lot to lose, he's unlikely to retaliate if you have photos backing up your accusations. Right now, all you have is your interpretation of events, which may have led you to a conclusion that could possibly be wrong.

Also, keep in mind that you, as an outsider, don't know what arrangements may exist within the marriage. For all you know, your neighbors may have an understanding about mutual affairs. He may not even want to know about the affair. I've had clients say they regretted learning about their spouse's infidelity.

At this time, you don't have enough information to act, especially given how complicated and delicate the situation is. And your good intentions may do more harm than good. I understand that you and your wife are torn; it does seem like speaking up is the right thing. But at the moment it may not be the best thing. If you do get all the facts and evidence, you can reconsider.

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