When An Affair Is Aired & Encouraging Women To Be Less Desperate

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DEAR CAT: A coworker pulled myself and a few others into her office and played us a voicemail that a male coworker accidentally left on her phone. He meant to leave it for a another female coworker that he’s having an affair with. The way our phone system works, it allows you to record your message first, then plug in the number, and obviously he put in the wrong number. The message was very intimate (about how they are hurting their families, etc.) and I felt uneasy being a participant and learning this information. Since then my coworker has played the message for other people in the office because to her it just gossip. I find the entire situation ugly. Do I tell her to stop, tell the couple that I know about them, or go straight to HR? — WISH I DIDN’T KNOW

DEAR WISH: You should do all three, and never discuss the affair again. I’m sure you’ve received emails with the footer: “If you are not the intended recipient of this message, please delete it.” An office voicemail essentially has the same subtext. Your coworker’s joy in sharing the voicemail and spreading gossip is detestable and HR should know about it immediately. I’m sure people might say the cheaters were ‘asking for it’ but that private matter concerns only those involved and their families. As per your signature….Cat’s Call: I, too, wish I didn’t know about them.

DEAR CAT: Your column a few weeks ago about the woman who is considering marrying the divorced man with children and all the debt inspired me to finally ask a question: since people look to you for advice, shouldn’t you, as a barometer for society’s conscience, encourage women to be less desperate? Questions like the one from that woman are typical but they shouldn’t be! I agreed with your answer but you should get a letter from the man saying: “Dear Cat, with all my debt and baggage it’s crazy to expect this woman to marry me. What can I do to convince her I will be 100% responsible?” It is frustrating that men don’t see things that way. Wouldn’t you agree? — TIME FOR THINGS TO CHANGE

DEAR TIME: I see your point and it’s a good one. A great one, actually. But I can’t control the questions I receive. It would be great to receive tons of questions from men asking how best to woo, court and man-up, but you should know that for every time you read about a woman settling, a man out there is doing the same. Though I do agree that women are often too desperate and therefore make hasty or unwise decisions in relationships, the same can be said about men. It may not be reflected here every week, but trust me, it’s true. As for being a barometer for society’s conscience, all I can say is, a barometer for society’s conscience? Cat’s Call: Good grief, get a grip.

What’s YOUR call? Share it below! Submit questions to: or click here!.

  1. Something along those lines happened where I work. It wasn’t a voicemail it was an overheard conversation. Two people were cheating on their boyfriend and girlfriend and it spread around like the plague. I do think cheaters deserve to get caught and I do not feel bad for the couple in question 1, however that woman was wrong to play the message for other people. People like that cause more problems than they solve.

    For question 2 that is an excellent answer to TIME FOR THINGS TO CHANGE. I went back and read the column she’s talking about, what did she expect Cat to say aside from what she already did? She told that woman to head for the hills. Some people don’t read or they ignore what’s plain in front of them.

    — Jamie, Oakland    10/25/2011    Reply

  2. Disagree with Cat on this one. “Didn’t Know” should just stay out of it, keep his/her mouth shut, mind their own business, and do their job. By now, pretty much the entire office knows about this anyway. Nothing good can come from getting involved in this nonsense.

    The only exception I can think of would be if this person has a close personal relationship or friendship (i.e. outside of the office) with one or both of the cheaters (or their spouses). In that case, I would probably warn them in private that the secret is out and they need to cool it.

    — Matt in Pittsburgh    10/26/2011    Reply

  3. as for the 2nd question, trust me that men can screw up and rush into things. My younger brother married his long time girlfriend and I turned 30 two months later, and panicked and rushed into things. I now have a marriage that I wish I hadn’t entered, even though I love my kids dearly. My wife never was honest with me about her crippling debt, and we basically have a sexless marriage unless she is using sex to try to get something. I was desperate for about a 6 month period and this marriage has bitten me in the butt too many times.

    — Doc, Pittsburgh    10/26/2011    Reply

    1. I am unsure about the specifics of the debt your now wife has accrued in the past, but don’t understand how it affects your credit. Unless your credit is not very good and you opened joint checking accounts and provided to her credit cards, her credit shouldn’t make a difference to your credit.

      — LeBron from Pittsburgh    10/26/2011    Reply

  4. It’s not the credit rating, it’s the difficulty in budgeting when you are facing “surprises” from the ghost of department store credit card past. Or, when you use a bonus from work to pay off a student loan with an 8% interest rate, when it could have been used to pay of a furniture store credit card at 25% HAD YOU KNOWN. It also erodes trust.

    — Duane, Pittsburgh    10/27/2011    Reply

    1. Duane,

      Was your reply about my comment to Doc?

      — LeBron from Pittsburgh    10/27/2011    Reply

  5. On the first one, I think he/she should go straight to HR and skip the personal discussions with the others. Since all this is happening at work, HR should be informed and take the appropriate action. Moreover, this would be done in such a way that his/her name would not be involved. It is definitely a disruption in the workplace that should be addressed.

    On the second one – agree that getting involved in someone else’s debt is a bad idea. I’ve seen the consequences of this – sometimes it is just not possible to straighten out someone else’s problems and yes, your credit rating can get ruined if you have joint anything (house, car, credit card, you name it) OR if the spouse abuses your personal credit by using your credit cards for online purchases, etc.

    — PB from NY    10/30/2011    Reply


You must preview your comment before submitting.

Back to top