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DP and new colleague (long, sorry!)

(151 Posts)
needabitofperspective Sat 10-Nov-12 09:53:24

I feel threatened by DP's new colleague. I don't think anything is going on between them (yet or possibly ever - but who knows) but they click and it's shining a light on the way we don't in some areas. I feel very uncomfortable.

DP and I work at the same company, but in different departments on different sites. He's making friends with this new colleague. She works in his department. He doesn't have any management responsibilities towards her, they wouldn't usually work together, but he's senior to her and they are currently working together, just the two of them, on a specific creative project.

She's young, pretty. But the most important thing is that DP is really, really into his music, and likes some pretty obscure stuff. New colleague is also really into music and likes the same kind of obscure shit he does. Which even I have to admit is pretty amazing for her age - to have even heard of it let alone be really into it. He is amazed to have found a kindred spirit (my words) in such a young person.

He's being very open about making friends with her, but it's making me very uncomfortable, I'm writing this to help me work out some perspective.

New colleague is having a hard time at the moment. She is new to the town and is finding it difficult to make friends. She contacted DP last night because they were both on Facebook and she felt she needed to chat to someone she could trust. She got very drunk at a work do and slept with one of their other colleagues (he's her age). Now some of the bitchy women in the department are gossiping about her and making snide comments in her presense. She regrets it, feels crap and last night felt like quitting. (Not sure how serious the quitting was in reality, could just be how she felt at that moment).

DP was sending her music to cheer her up, which was working. He was being totally open about how he was doing this. However he was chatting to her for over 2 hours, on and off. He stayed up an hour after I went to bed to chat to her.

It's partly that I feel threatened by the connection they have over music. It's so important to DP, and it's not a passion I share. I have music I like, but I'm not a muso like he is. I know he'd love it if I could share this passion (most of his exes have) and I feel like it's a massive part of his life I'm not part of. It's not just that though, although I adore him and we get on, I often worry that we don't really click. He's not one to go on about his feelings. I on the other hand am happiest when I have lots of affection and am told often that I'm loved! He does things to demonstrate his love for me, but I can't help worrying there's something missing sometimes. But then I think it's just the way he is (quite a closed book) and that it's improving over time.

I knew DP would offer to meet with her, and so I suggested that he invites her round if she's having a hard time. We've not met, although we've had contact via email for work stuff. I would have suggested this whichever of his friends was having a hard time. DP (and myself) are also the type of people others often come to for advice (and a drink!) and we often have waifs and strays at ours (from work and outside). However I must admit my motivation here was to meet her so I'm a real person to her, also my DD and my pregnant bump! Just in case there's something brewing. Is this sensible or am I stepping into dangerous territory here?

Some background - we work in the creative industries and it's not unusual for our job to spill over into our private life. DP is a very friendly person, so am I. We both have many, many friends of the opposite sex, and it's not unusual for us to make new friends of the opposite sex. I just feel threatened by this one.

I did read their chat. There was no flirting on her side but there was on his IMO. Could be interpreted as friendliness, but made me uneasy. It was her who mentioned me (he mentioned work, she said "that reminds me, I need so send <admin stuff> to <my name>") which I think is a good sign as far as she is concerned. He invited her to come round for a drink and a chat tonight and said we've got a spare bed. This is totally within character, it's how DP would treat any of his friends. However DD and I are off to my parents to sort some stuff out today and I'd half considered staying over. DP doesn't know if I'm going to stay or not, I hadn't mentioned whether I was, but he must have known it was a possibility. This makes me very uncomfortable. But am I just being paranoid?
She declined (as on medication, can't drink atm) but said she'd like to come another time. He later invited her to come round for food, and mentioned me then. I think this bit might have been when I said "why not invite her round".

DP is a lovely, warm hearted person, who is extraordinarily nice to people. He's a great friend and very caring. We often have people come over for a drink, male and female. I don't want to go all green eyed monster at him, if he's just being his usual lovely self! But I know that if we weren't together, he'd be really into her.

I do think I need to think about what it is in our relationship that's making me feel so insecure.

Sorry for the essay - thanks for reading!

I'd appreciate any thoughts on the situation. I need ot get some perspective!

B1ueberryFields Sat 10-Nov-12 09:59:26

I'm not surprised you're threatened. He obviously really likes her, gets on with her, cares about her?. It's more than just finding her attractive. Do you think she would find him attractive? If she would rule him out because he's too old for her or a father or not her type then they won't get together because it does take two.......... but he sounds like he would be only human to be tempted. However, he may value what he has with you despite you not being the same as him. You might have qualities he values that are more important than liking weird bands.

Do you have children?

B1ueberryFields Sat 10-Nov-12 10:01:47

yes, mentioning you in that context was a kind of deflation on her part. but also an acknowledgement that their 'click' has a momentum all of its own and needs to be derailed by mentioning you. She doesn't sound like she's "out to steal him". But they do sound like they have a connection. Not sure this is helping. But I'd say your own assessment is fairly astute. You sound very reasonable.

WhoNickedMyName Sat 10-Nov-12 10:06:28

Do you think she would find him attractive? If she would rule him out because he's too old for her or a father or not her type then they won't get together because it does take two

Really Blueberry? I would have thought the onus would be on the OP's partner to ensure they don't get it together, not for the OP to just hope that this woman doesn't fancy her partner...

OP - I think I'd feel insecure in this situation too. I'm not quite sure what I'd do though... Depends if you want to nip it in the bud now (so you'll never know how far it may or may not go) or watch and wait?

B1ueberryFields Sat 10-Nov-12 10:09:00

Well, obviously, that goes without saying which is why I didn't bother saying it.

But, people don't always behave how they should behave. It sounds like he has one foot into dangerous territory here. Obviously the onus is on him not to cheat, but relationships DO break up. OP has said that she feels they don't click in the same way!

needabitofperspective Sat 10-Nov-12 10:10:23

It is helping B1ueberryFields, thanks. It's really useful to get another perspective.

I've never met her so hard to say if she'd find him attractive or a father figure. I'm biased I know, but I think he's very attractive!

We're late 30s, she's early 20s, so a large age gap but not massive. (I guess most the people in the bands she likes are older than DP and me!)

We have a DD and I'm pregnant. I do really want to meet her, and for her to meet DD so I know we're real people to her at least. Is that bad?

B1ueberryFields Sat 10-Nov-12 10:10:33

Also, if I were the op here, I wouldn't worry about him having a quick bunk up with this girl and then trying to cover it up afterwards. I think she's worried about more than that and my comments about her feelings for him were in that context. Sorry OP. sad

PosieParker Sat 10-Nov-12 10:12:15

I've always felt that evenings and weekends are not for chats with colleagues, irrespective of whether they're male or female, especially if they're junior.

B1ueberryFields Sat 10-Nov-12 10:12:44

Right. You have child(ren).

You're pregnant. You always feel vulnerable when you're pregnant. But he sounds like a decent guy who wouldn't leave you at the drop of a hat. And you know that. You're not insecure generally. You're afraid that this is a coup de foudre so to speak?

It might not make it any less painful, but she doesn't sound like she would get involved with a man with a child and another on the way. She might have strong feelings for him which would make you sad but I think she sounds like she would resist/fight those feelings.

B1ueberryFields Sat 10-Nov-12 10:13:47

I agree posie. you need to build a social life away from work, no matter how much fun you have with your colleagues.

LadyKinbote Sat 10-Nov-12 10:14:24

It sounds like you're doing all the right things. Keep it out in the open, make sure you meet her, and always speak about her in a positive light. Just keep an eye on it but it doesn't sound like there's anything to worry about at this stage.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Sat 10-Nov-12 10:16:56

I think that given you are both outgoing, friendly people with friends of the opposite sex etc but are concerned about this person, probably means you have reason to be. It's not as though you panic everytime he speaks to another woman.

Your DH sounds like a really nice guy - do you not think you can talk to him about how this is making you feel?

needabitofperspective Sat 10-Nov-12 10:20:24

WhoNickedMyName "Depends if you want to nip it in the bud now (so you'll never know how far it may or may not go) or watch and wait?"

I'm really conflicted about this. My initial impulse is to do what I can to nip it in the bud.

But if he's going to stray, perhaps better sooner rather than later. Oh I don't know. It seems treacherous to even write that. I accused him of cheating once before (I had totally got the wrong end of the stick, I know for sure. It was mortifying! I felt awful for him)

Things are not rosy in our relationship atm.

We've had a difficult, very stressful time recently. DP has lost people close to him. We aso have lots of debt, and had a period with very little money at all (now coming out of it) which was hard. DP has admitted to feeling depressed (unlike him to even talk about feelings) and I have found things tough too.

This baby is very much wanted, but has come at a difficult time and we know we're going to really struggle financially, we're both quite worried about how things will pan out.

I've put on a lot of weight (prior to pregnancy) and feel really unattractive atm. I must admit our sex life has become routine and samey, but I don't feel I have the energy, confidence or lust for life atm to get us out of it. (This is not good!)

We never go out together anymore.

Life is very busy with mundane shit, paperwork and the like.

Into this swans an attractive young woman he clicks with. You can see why I'm feeling insecure sad

I think we need to talk but I find it so hard with him! Oh I wish I could drink atm. We could get drunk together and it'd all come spilling out, we would make up. (He's a happy drunk! As am I). I know drink's not the answer, but it would be an easy one!

scaevola Sat 10-Nov-12 10:21:19

I think you are feeling mistrustful because you have (rightly IMO) identified the potential for an emotional affair between them. As other colleagues don't bother you, nor his music-based friends, it doesn't seem as if you are in the habit of being mistrustful. Is it the cyber contact that makes this one different?

What I think you need is to be confident that your DH knows that friendships need boundaries.

needabitofperspective Sat 10-Nov-12 10:21:58

Thanks everyone, this is really helping.

Yes DP is a really nice guy. I do need to talk to him. I find it difficult, so does he. We're crap at communicating!

But we need to, don't we.

needabitofperspective Sat 10-Nov-12 10:23:00

B1ueberryFields you're right, it's not about a quick bunk up (although I do fear that happening if they get drunk together and have the opportunity) it's that they click.

If he is investing more time, care, atyention and emotion in her than you then it is an affair of sorts.

Could you talk to him about how you feel?

ThickCut Sat 10-Nov-12 10:27:30

This is where trust is everything in a relationship. It's highly unlikely to commit to a relationship then never find anyone else attractive, physically, emotionally whatever, but its how you deal with those feelings and whether its worth sacrificing what you already have together. You are pg at the moment and already have a dd. If he's such a lovely caring bloke, he would never do that to you or them. If he did, then you are well rid imo.
It sounds like a real drain on you at the moment. I really feel for you. I had a very similar situation with my Dh and a girl he used to work with. They also connected over their taste in music, it also didn't help she was younger, prettier and slimmer than me. I felt like I was in competition with her for him. It did pass, he moved locations (with work but still same company). When he left he got pressies and a big card (due to a collection) but she went and got him things just from her. They are still fb friends but that's it. Hopefully ttsp for you, but there may well be others in the future, if she does leave.
But he's married to you! And you sound lovely, he would be nuts to risk you, really.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 10-Nov-12 10:28:37

Yes talk to him. Tell him that whilst you trust him implicitly you feel uncomfortable about him facebooking a young attractive single girl for 2 hours. Ask him how he would feel if the situation was reversed?

I wouldn't be going out of your way to invite her round and I would tell your DH that you would feel strange if he started having lunches on his own with her.

Controlling ? I don't know maybe I am, but DH would instinctively know these things and not do them and neither would I. Occasionally he will have lunch with a female recruitment agent or old colleague and he will make a big point of letting me know - likewise if its me with a male colleague. As a married couple its important not to give rise to anything that could be misinterpreted - particularly as this colleague already has a bit of a reputation.

Hello perspective

I don't post too much on boards but your note really resonated. From what you write and from the open way your DH has talked to you about her it doesn't sound like you have too much to worry about. But. On the otherhand he does sound like he is a little over-investing perhaps because of their shared passion, and you do say that you have had a few issues. It resonated as - and this is not where I am going with this post so bear with me - but my now exH left me 2.5 years ago for a woman at work whom he is still with. Out of the blue as we have no contact she emailed me this week and outside of it being an extraordinarily santimonious email (a different threat altogether for that one!!) she said that he had talked to her of me at work "Mainly how constantly unhappy you were and how he desperately wanted to fix it. If only you knew, the times that I gave advice to x to try and save his marriage."...now outside of the inappropriateness of her sending me this it is a stark reminder that what starts off as a friendship can turn into something else. Your DH sounds like a pretty decent and open bloke and I am sure he is not thinking of her as anything other than kindred music spirit right now. But my point is if you DO have issues then try and address them, don't let this girl get in the way, don't let her drive a wedge between you and open up the conversation with your DH to ensure a trival thing does not become something more. I don't like to believe the worst in people but the fact that you have taken the time to post on here tells me that you have a gut feeling or sense of unease that something may be a little off. I did with my former husband's now girlfriend but I ended up just holding it against him which played to their hand as he formed an emotional bond with her instead of me as he felt more able to talk to her than me.

I don't mean to suggest your DH is like my ex - he sounds pretty nice as do you - but I think these things can take on a life of their own if there are residual issues in a marriage - so best to shut down in a 'nice' way. Having her over for dinner when you are there is prob not a bad way of doing this.

Good luck

or even different thread...

PosieParker Sat 10-Nov-12 10:47:36

I don't think 'open' necessarily mens 'won't cheat'. My Uncle used to tell his wife about the rumours of his affair.....they were all true!! shock

Also just because someone tells you about something early on it doesn't mean it won't manifest into something else.

I always say to my husband an affair is just an opportunity and circumstance away. So in OP's case if she was constantly knackered (as she may well be) and her husband felt a little distant and then he gets tickets for one of the amazing bands and goes with the colleague...it's a perfect recipe.

I also wouldn't like chats on fb, or the fact that this very young women 'trusts' and 'confides' in him regarding rumours at work. She sounds as if she may not appreciate the boundaries of a professional relationship, especially when that colleague is married.

scaevola Sat 10-Nov-12 10:52:43

Another angle on this is that she is currently in a vulnerable state, because of her fling and the gossip about it. You might want to consider point in gout to DH that it would be deeply unfair of him to encourage any form of intimacy with a young woman in a heightened emotional state.

Work is work and, as he presumably has other friends into the same music, he must invite her ONLY as part of a group going to a gig.

These scenarios always have the same things in common:

Vulnerable, low self esteem partner
New colleague
Young, pretty
Into same hobbies
The man spending hours trying 'to cheer the woman up' hmm

Op, seriously, talk to your DP and list the things that have made you uncomfortable. You have every right to raise this. Plus you're pregnant and really don't need this stress.

I think he needs to tone it down tbh.

springyspring Sat 10-Nov-12 10:56:46

I agree with that! that he would be nuts to risk you.

Your antennae is on alert for good reason imo. She sounds like she's being fairly circumspect, but he may be a bit ragged at the moment and is enjoying this new lease.... dangerous territory imo.

I was in a situation where something hot blew up between me and a bloke I was the lead with in a play. The wife needn't have worried on my account (though she wasn't to know that) but she swung into action, suddenly being a very good friend to me, inviting me round (though not to stay shock ). Once the crisis passed, she dropped me entirely. YOu gotta laugh, but I respected her wisdom.

the worry of inviting her round is that this often includes overnights. Not so great if they're already clicking quite considerably. He has to not be an idiot here - can you say something to him? Along the lines of 'she's an attractive woman, you're clicking big time here, marriages aren't fireproof you know, you have to walk circumspectly sometimes, we're all open to temptation even if we think we could never fall' (re I had no intention of 'falling' with the play guy but an overnighter might have been too much temptation! ie don't be daft about it, naive). The danger of establishing an overnight habit is that it could in future fall on a day you won't be there overnight. I'd be very concerned that he blithely offered a potential overnighter when he wasn't sure whether you'd be there are not, it hadn't been established. Don't be a fool man!

I'd invite her round but I'd insist to him that 1. you have to be there 2. it never involves an overnighter. You can put those stipulations in place imo, he has to realise you cant sail close to the wind, regardless if you think you're immune.

That's if he's not being an idiot and purposefully casting caution to the wind... but from what you say, he's a big ragged (as you both are) and enjoying this new friend. He has to not be an idiot though. You may need to point that out. (perhaps you could get, or present the idea of, a good-looking young guy whom you click with over a huge interest you both share; you're going to invite him over to stay when your husband may be out overnight. See how he feels about that scenario..)

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