When Your Ethics Don’t Align — Never Meet in the Middle
Personal values should be non-negotiable in a relationship
“I’m not sure if I’m comfortable doing this,” I said with a slight shiver in my voice because I didn’t like disappointing him.
“Come on,” he pleaded. “We’ll both make a lot of money out of it. And you’re not doing anything illegal; I just don’t want them to know you are my girlfriend.”
I didn’t dare to say no, so I tried to negotiate. “I know lying isn’t illegal, but I don’t want to take this job if I have to lie for it.”
He rolled his eyes. “I’m not asking you to lie about anything, just don’t mention we’re together, that’s it. You can walk in there without broadcasting to the world we’re dating, right?”
Annoyed, I mumbled something about lying by omission, but he wasn’t convinced. So I did what I always did; I followed his lead — albeit under protest.
I was hired on the spot and managed to only mention my boyfriend in his professional role — as my recruiter. But after two weeks, I slipped up. Over lunch, my manager asked me about my weekend, and without even thinking twice, I mentioned how R. and I had visited his parents and went on a beautiful hike.
It wasn’t until I saw the question marks all over his face that I realized my mistake. For a split second, I thought about pretending my boyfriend, and the recruiter shared the same name, but I decided honesty was the best policy.
I tried to be casual about it. “Oh, didn’t you know we were dating?” But my heart was thumping so loud; I thought everybody in the building could hear it. I had to put my fork down, so people wouldn’t see how my hands trembled.
The manager didn’t make a big deal out of it, but he did ask my boyfriend to be more upfront about sending over his girlfriend to do a job. They were happy with my performance, and they kept me on until the end of the project.
Even though there were no serious repercussions, my boyfriend was angry when I admitted I was happy I didn’t have to lie anymore. He even accused me of slipping up on purpose and always wanting to be a goody two shoes.