Sending the message?

With the way we move here, there and everywhere, you guys are the closest thing we have to a “couples support network.” We were talking last night how much we hope we can grow that aspect of this site. We really need it and figure maybe others might want something similar. In that vein, we decided to ask you guys for your help here. We would love to hear from BS, WS and/or both with thoughts, opinions, etc.

Here’s the deal. MC is the “go-to” person at his work for certain areas of his expertise. His office is largely male. The female co-worker (CW), the one he ran into at the airport as described in his “travel travails” and “follow-up to travel travails” posts, is one of many coworkers who seek MC’s guidance within these certain areas from time-to-time.

MC shared with me that he thinks that some of her questions are becoming perfunctory in nature. Yesterday, her questions, though certainly in MC’s purview, were easily searchable on the internet. Frankly, I know the answers to these questions and I don’t even work there. In addition, she tapped his shoulder and said, “hello” in the crowded lunch room when he went to get his lunch out of the refrigerator. He grabbed his lunch and went back to his office, not lingering or talking with her. In a normal world, where my husband had never cheated, I don’t think I would have thought anything of any of this. I hate having these thoughts and feelings, I just was never this type of person. GRRR!  But, our world is not “normal,” is it?

We are moving overseas again this summer, so I know our time here is finite. Still, even the remote possibility that she is signaling her availability is enough to raise my radar. And, MC tells me that prior to d-day this was exactly the kind of situation in which he would have taken advantage. He would have encouraged the small talk, looked her in the eyes when talking, stopped by her office from time-to-time, been more open and friendly, never talked about me or the kids and never would have displayed pictures of us in his office. He assures me it is the opposite now in every way.

He has pictures of us in his office. He tells me that he takes every opportunity to mention me in a loving and admiring way. When she came to his office, he answered the question with as few words as possible and then immediately turned to his computer to work, before any small talk could even be attempted, trying to send the message he is not interested in anything but what is necessary professionally. He never seeks her out in anyway. He avoids eating in the lunch room, instead eating his home-prepared lunch alone at his desk.

I do see MC telling me all and he will take another polygraph before we move, as was always the plan. He comes home and tells me without me asking. While I feel he is making great efforts to protect us, I just don’t like that this woman seems to be taking advantage of the fact that MC is the “go-to” person for certain issues and is expected to provide needed information to his coworkers on these issues.

So, while I am advising other women to make sure their husband’s “SLAM the door shut, Mr. Nice Guy be damned,” I feel a bit disingenuous with this going on. Thoughts, ideas on what else can be done to send the “not interested” message while still meeting the expectations of his job?

Thanks all!

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21 thoughts on “Sending the message?

  1. Sounds like he’s doing everything he can to let her know they have business only communication. I know it makes you uneasy as it should, but as long as he’s honest and open with you about what she does I think he’s doing exactly the right thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would definitely take advantage of the whole sexual-harrassment thing in the workplace, to explain him being closed off. He can just say he’s being a stickler about it, when it comes to that point.

    “No – I’d like the door to remain open.”

    If a working lunch/dinner is arranged, it needs to be with a 3rd party present… for propriety.

    MC will be known as the very-helpful guy who is nothing if not Strictly Professional.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that a lot! If she ever tries to close his door, it is a very easy to say and professional reason to not do it.

      After the airport lunch, he knows the importance of not being over-confident that such situations could come up.

      He should have no need for working lunches or dinners with this woman. Still, these ideas are good for him to consider in terms of potential scenarios he could encounter and how to deal with them if ever suggested by a female co-worker.

      Thank you!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It sounds to me as though he isn’t doing anything that would even be worth mentioning, normal work-place behavior and banter.. But for the affair. That jades every-fucking-thing…And I’m having major issues this week, about this very thing… My husband started his new job this week… He is geographically closer to HER, and on yet another another hurt hunting trip yesterday, I discovered that my husband is geographically located writhing walking distance of HER HUSBAND. And, HER fucking name is on a high-level executive board at the HFC my husband is now an executive at.

    All no big deal right? My husband knows that I am uncomfortable with the geographic closeness of them. I don’t know if he knows where her husband’s office is.. I sort of doubt it, because, why would he? It’s doubtful he knows she’s on the exec committee…

    But it has totally thrown me off a small cliff and into a pit of worms….

    had he been assertive, and forth coming, even investigative.. To assure me that the geographic closeness really is nothing to be concerned about, foolish even… But know… He doesn’t even know that I know these things… Because I found then own my own hunting trip, and haven’t shared them with him yet..

    And you know, I really do think he’s clueless, like he’s in his own “new job” role and blind to what I’m going thru…

    Totally fucking blind, all the fucking time…

    I’ll spare you the rant and hopefully ward off the looming panic attack…

    MC- so long as she is truly not violating sexual harassment codes and is being a social employee. Stay your coarse and keep TL in the loop.

    Tell her everything… Keep her safe ❤️

    TL- I hope his forthcomingness gives you the assurance that his intentions are good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my how it does jade every fucking thing, doesn’t it? And, I hate that, yet cannot help it either.

      Rac, I wish your husband could know that even though I give MC shit about this woman (I admit it!), the fact that he is telling me on his own makes this a lot easier on both of us in the long run. It is an opportunity to build trust. That doesn’t stop these stupid brain worms from occurring, but it does stop them from growing out-of-control. That and having all of you out there supporting us and kicking either of us in the ass if we ever need it!

      MC cannot read the responses at work, but when he gets home he will.

      Now off to get my car fixed after the little accident I was in the other day – ugh!

      Love you all! TL xx

      Liked by 2 people

    1. That has actually started an issue for us, before. The ho-worker went flat-out MEEK and shocked by it (she wasn’t) and told everyone, one on one, that she couldn’t believe that being “friendly” to him made him actually think that she wanted to sleep with him. “Isn’t that pathetic? The man doth protest too much. I NEVER implied that I had ANY interest in him like THAT.” HR was called; it was A Thing. Husband explained that he’d been unfaithful before – though not there – and had just wanted to make clear where his boundaries were. What is okay and what is not okay and why.

      HR understood and said that it’s safer to just make general boundaries known – to be short and dry about it – and not explain them or put any kind of blame onto anyone else. And then they moved her. (She’s a troublemaker and everyone was DONE with her antics anyway.)

      So now, he’s just Strictly Professional.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I probably take it a step further than most but… even with friends, other men don’t come in when it’s just me and I don’t go in their homes when their wives aren’t there. If I need to pick up something, I wait at the door. I might step inside and stand next to the storm door but I don’t linger. When asked about it – it makes sense to some and doesn’t to others – I just smile and say it’s most respectful of everyone. MOST couples, unfortunately, have dealt with some kind of infidelity in the past or among those close to them. They understand my meaning and do the same, here.

        Our best friends are a couple who own a big, Victorian rental house across the street, where they lived until buying her grandparents’ farm a few years ago. He was cheated on by his first wife and is very sensitive to it. When he goes over there to mow and my husband isn’t home, he’ll wait at the door if he needs more drinking water. If he needs to use the bathroom, I weed the garden for a bit outside, if I wasn’t already. Nothing would ever happen… but it’s just the respectful thing to do.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. IOH,

        Thank you for this. This exact situation was something we both worried about. Good to hear what HR recommends!

        Actions speak so loudly to those of us who have been there, just wish they did to everyone!

        Like

        1. Insecurity, his, was brought up by her… to others. I’m friends with all of his co-workers, from well before she was there. (Pretty sure she was in the 9th grade when he started working there. lol – even Past Husband wouldn’t have gone for her… the OWs were always much, much older than me. One of them is a little older than my mother. Anyway…) They told me everything she said. The next time I saw her – because I have lunch with him once a week – I pulled her aside and told her that it isn’t insecure to have boundaries and expect others to be able to respect them. Rather, those boundaries are exactly what DOES make someone secure. That those without boundaries always seem to me to be the most INsecure, because they don’t know how to keep their personal life and professional work separate. And that’s when things get messy.

          She nervously laughed and said, “Okay, MOM”, then walked away.

          I don’t know if she asked to move or simply was moved… but again, she was sent to another location 2 weeks later.

          It really did feel, at the end there, like I was trying to get my youngest daughter to understand something important, while she rolled her eyes at me. THAT is insecurity… not respecting others’ boundaries because you haven’t formed your own.

          Good luck de-escalating this situation!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. These comments are super helpful. I especially appreciate your warning, Insistonhonesty, about how your husband’s co-worker retaliated by gossiping and bringing in HR.

    Before D-day I would probably have found my co-worker’s attention flattering, or at least not threatening, and been tempted to abuse the attention. Now I find it irritating, worrisome, and perplexing.

    I do think I should continue to do everything in my power to minimize contact with this woman. Due to the work environment, I think I must demonstrate the boundaries rather than talk about them. I think demonstrating the boundaries means never initiating conversation with her, ending any conversation with her as soon as possible and before it can stray from strictly obvious work-related discussion, and never being alone with her or behind a closed door.

    I do wonder whether maybe this woman is testing me, waiting to see whether I will stray off work-related topics. I am determined to pass the test. I don’t feel compelled to stray even to small talk about sports or the weather. I do think I can confidently just say, “I need to get back to working on such-and-such,” if she strays even a tiny bit off work-related discussions.

    Beyond that, I also will just continue to tell TL everything, immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really feel for you both. It can’t be easy for MC to relay these events to you TL. I imagine he would rather them not be happening. It must be a further nightmare for you TL, coping with this miserable scenario along with everything else.

    But, it’s evident from your blog that you are working hard on your marital recovery and are handling honesty – openly and critically. Nevertheless, it’s difficult, because you are working in the present whilst having the heavy shadow of the past hovering over your heads at all times. But I see this as a necessary requirement for healing. It will promote corrective behaviour and will, as has been demonstrated, permit MC to recognise the situations where danger lurks.

    This co-worker sounds like a predatory female. If she wasn’t, she would have got the hint by now. Avoiding her wherever possible – good. Only reacting to her questions rather than responding to her as a co-worker – good. How about also fostering an independent approach to work… Something along the lines of, “I’m sure that you could find this out on your own – where have you tried?” How about even feigning no knowledge? “Can’t help you in this instance I’m afraid”. Or, the otherwise engaged reply; “I’m in the middle of something at the moment, can I ask for you to e-mail me your enquiry and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”

    I hate her. Who the hell does she think she is????????

    MC, keep telling TL everything.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. MR,

    Thank you so much. Yes, it is so very hard and I do know it is hard on MC to be confronted with this “test.” She is clueless, lazy and/or predatory, though likely all of the aforementioned. I mean how could someone really be that fucking clueless. Thanks for sharing some great ideas too!

    MR, can I tell you something silly. Every time I read a comment from you, I feel like I am back amongst some really wonderful friends. “Whilst,” I just love that! It reminds me so much of my small, but beautiful group of friends when we were overseas. My little one still calls candy “sweeties” and instead of sledding wants to go “sledging.” 😉 And, no, we were not in England or a former British colony. Go figure. . .

    Anyway, thank you for your thoughts. The situation sucks for sure. I do appreciate that he is telling me everything and looking for best ways to handle this all. TL xx

    Like

  7. Sounds like you received some great practical advice on this one. Thankfully we have no women working in our office (except me), and I am HR. Temptation will always be there for everyone, but especially MC, BE, etc… Sounds like MC is doing the right things and at this point being on high alert seems like the totally appropriate way to be. Some people are legitimately very friendly, touchy, whatever. Some are predatory. It is MC’s job to keep it professional. So glad he is doing a fantastic job of that and of communicating with you when he is uncomfortable. Open communication and honesty is where it’s at. 🙂 Are you guys happy about going abroad again?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat, thank you. Yes, it is certainly MC’s job to keep it professional. And, I so agree that open communication and honesty are so important.

      When we go home one day, I would love to have our own business, just the two of us! That was something we talked about long before there was a d-day. Believe it or not, I always thought that professionally we worked very well together. Yeah, I just did a double take on my writing that sentence. Yet, it is true. Weird!

      Anyway, I am looking forward to getting abroad again, I think we all are looking forward to it. And, then after this stint abroad, I think it will be back home for real. Kind of excited about that idea too! We miss it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Having your own business is definitely a blessing and a curse. BE wasn’t meant to work for other people, so being successful as his own boss is exhilarating. Being responsible for the livelihood of a bunch of families, that is stressful. It has been a huge help during recovery though because BE could take a lot of time (me too), time he should have been taking all along, but you know, what’s done is done. BE and I work very well together, we have completely opposite skill sets.

        I think living abroad would be fun. We had opportunities a long time ago when the kids were little, but didn’t take them. Both BE and I regret it a bit. My family moved around a lot when I was young and I hated it. I changed schools so many times it was not fun. I wanted my kids to stay in one place… funny thing though, all that stability and those friends they had growing up, well they have moved on from all that now anyway. I was just too rigid in my want to keep them firmly planted in one place. BE traveled, A LOT. I can’t go back now and I don’t blame myself for all his crazy behavior, he would have done it no matter where he was, and in fact, he did.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I can imagine. I think with what skills we have to offer, it would be just us. We have similar skills in some ways and then very different in others, in a complimentary kind of way also.

          I also moved around a lot as a kid, but usually because my parents were running from bill collectors. MC’s got a stable gig, even if the position changes a lot. And, we do love the expat life. But, we do miss home too. It is a weird duality.

          You know, expat life or one long-term home, both MC and BE had some horrible behavior, nothing changes that and we didn’t know what we didn’t know. There are always decisions in front of us and we each just do the best we can with the info we have available to us. Kat, we did the best we could to make healthy choices with what we knew at the time and I think our husbands are finally getting their shit together to attempt doing that too. ❤

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