Poaching - Hunting the Married Prey

So I just finished an interesting lunch with an acquaintance here at work. Turns out she’s full of news; she’s in a new relationship!

With a married guy.

I told her I thought this was bad news, for all the usual reasons. Her response was basically: if this were a company competing for a contract, you wouldn’t say I was wrong to steal the business away, right? In fact, we do exactly that when we bid for federal work: we look for a way to convince the government to jump away from the incumbent contractor and choose our company, right?

I replied that there is a difference between business and personal ethics.

She said that the distinction arises from outmoded religious concepts relating to fidelity and monogamy, and that there is no reason for her to accept that kind of limitation.

I pointed out that if he was willing to cheat on his wife, with her, then he was willing to cheat on her with someone else (besides continuing to sleep with his wife!)

And she said, basically, that she was willing to run that risk. She didn’t identify the guy, but apparently he’s quite the catch.

So I left the subject by saying we’d agree to disagree.

Is there an argument that would have gotten through to her?

I’m thinking … no. But I’m also thinking I didn’t have enough time to craft a good one, so… ?

You’re trying to use logic on someone who is rationalizing her emotions? Good luck.

The main difference is, to me, a basic agreement of “the rules” by all the players.

In a business contract, all the players generally know when a contract is up for bid that there is a possibility that they could lose the contract. If, however, you were in a long-term contract with a no compete clause (or whatever- I’m not a business person!!!), then to go with another company would be unethical.

In a marriage- if it were open or nonexclusive and each party knew that, well then- ok. I’m betting, however, that this guy’s wife doesn’t know that he’s “out for bid”. In that case- unethical.

In the business model, what are the business equivalents of STDs, unexpected pregnancies and child support?

Also, in the business model, does one typically promise to stay with the same company until it dies or you die?

No. She’s in lurve.

No – in fact, a contract that purported to enforce such a condition would (I think) be void. Contracts can’t last in perpetuity.

Her thesis, as I understood it, was that the same idea should apply here. Even though such a promise was made, it should be considered void, because people make such promises only in response to utdated, outmoded, religiously-based considerations, and they shouldn’t be held to them.

If the married man has agreed with his spouse that it’s okay to have another relationship (on the side or not), then fine.

But if the married man has sworn a monogamous union, but is lying to his spouse about the situation, then it’s marriage fraud at the least, and the spouse could rightly kick him to the curb.

No, there’s nothing you could have said that would have gotten through to her, since she has no respect for or belief in marriage vows, nor does she respect the fact that someone else may take those vows very seriously.

My prediction is that about 6 months from now, you’ll be having another lunch with her and she’ll be crying in her salad about how Mr. Wonderful spent the holidays with his family, even though he said he was going to leave his wife.

She’s full of crap and trying to justify destroying a marriage.

Anyone with half a brain knows there’s a difference between a marriage and a business relationship. The business relationship doesn’t involve going over to your clients’s house to help them deal with a serious illness.

Steer clear. She’s scum and I feel sorry for the wife.

My analogy: the guy who drives the getaway car may not be as culpable as the guy who robs the bank, but he’s still committing a crime. She’s not the one cheating, but she is gleefully helping someone stomp all over their marriage vows.

Your acquaintance is willing to help ruin two people’s lives just so that she can get some from a cheating dog. I agree with ivylass’s assessment of her character.

She’s not breaking any vows or any social contracts. A moral rule, yes, but she didn’t make the vows.

He is breaking his vows and he is the bigger scumbag. She is just…unfeeling and kind of stupid and naive, but if she is willing to take the risk…?

Of course it is bad news. But just as you might find out about your friend taking part in a risky business proposition - you might be inclined to advise them, or try to help them, or warn them of the pitfalls, but in the end we can’t stop them from doing whatever it is what they want to do.

It’s funny, because until this conversation I never would have suspected this of her. I kind of admired her – she’s in her early thirties, very career-driven, very focused. When she would work on a contract proposal, I’d often see e-mails from her sent at 3:00 AM: “Could you send me those-and-so when you get in this morning?” She was tough to budge off a position once she’d taken it… but I never pictured her as … well… dishonest, which is my opinion of her now.

She maintains there’s nothing dishonest or unethical about it, which is what frustrated me and occasioned this thread.

Yep. She clearly has no respect for the guy’s wife, either. :mad: I really hope this comes back to bite her in the ass.

Ah. Well, unethical it is. Dishonest, too, unless he’s telling his wife. The onus still lies on him not to cheat, though. But no, there’s nothing you could have said to get through to a woman like this. Amoral is the word.

That’s spot-on, in my opinion. And I think both are morally despicable.

Weeeellll, yes and no. Yes, she personally probably wasn’t present at the wedding and didn’t vow to anything. But in a larger sense, every wedding I’ve ever been to or officiated has some part of the ceremony where the officiant says something akin to “Hey, y’all. Yeah, you out there sitting and watching. Do you promise to do what you can to help these two kids out in this whole big scary marriage business?” The congregation/circle/family/coven answers on behalf of the society at large. We generally want to protect the institution of marriage, whatever that means to us. We do, as a society, generally agree on what some of the default expectations of marriage are, and monogamy, for better or worse, is one of them. Like other spoken or unspoken social contracts (like holding the door for someone walking close behind you or waiting your turn in line or taking your shoes off in the house when requested) there is some level of expectation that we’re all playing by the same rules, and people who don’t are jerks. At that level, of course she’s breaking a social contract. Part of our social agreement is that we don’t try to sleep with other people’s spouses, except in cases where a not-default marriage says it’s okay (ie. “open marriage” or “pending divorce” or, possibly, “spouse is in a vegetative state”.)

There’s a reason I have a quick chat with any woman whose husband or even boyfriend I consider sleeping with: because I’m not a jerk. I’m also not stupid, and I won’t just take his word for it that it’s okay with her. (Anymore. I’ve learned. Ouch.) My having an open marriage - my belief and agreement with my husband that my marriage is not constrained by “outmoded religious concepts relating to fidelity and monogamy” does nothing to change the default, and I will always act in accordance with the default social contract until I’m certain it doesn’t apply for the couple in question.

ETA: And I agree that where her business analogy falls down is the informed consent of **all **parties involved. She’s putting her bid in for a business that had a long term contract before that contract is up.

WhyNot, I’m with you, but the OP’s question was - can he convince her in anyway? And I am pointing out, if that is her logic, then nope, she can’t be convinced - she didn’t sign for anything, so it’s not her responsibilty/fault/problem.

In a way, to live in society, we all follow social contracts that are unspoken (god, something my mother was right on). She chooses to break the rules, she will pay for them, but you can’t change her mind if she thinks she’s right.

Oh, absolutely. She’ll probably spend more time and energy thinking up a new and even more flawed analogy to prove herself right than she will on honest introspection and ethics checking. :rolleyes:

In the business model, you create a kickass proposal for your potential client to get his business, work out a great statement of work - tuning the proposal. Answer all his questions.

Then he has the company he is already working with implement your proposal and doesn’t pay you a darn cent since you did all the work for him in an effort to get the job with no signed paperwork.


He hires you, negotiating you down in price so you can get in the door. With the next job, you are on the same damn footing with every other vendor bidding because your client has no loyalty.

I think the situations are very similar, and her risk is the same. Feel sorry for the bastard’s wife - but perhaps she, herself, is the replacement for an earlier vendor who made a better pitch. You get the system you participate in.

WhyNot, you summarised my feelings much more eloquently than I can. Beautiful.

Wow, that’s a good turn of phrase. I’ll have to remember it.

Bricker, I’m not sure you could logically convince her out of her course. Some people just seem to take those around them as… resources to be exploited.