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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!

springyoffaducksback Sun 11-Nov-12 14:30:43

If you do approach him about this then don't do it in a 'I know I'm being stupid' way. You're not being stupid. Your 'knower' is there for a reason, and the alarm is going off. If you say anything, I'd say it matter-of-factly. If he makes a fuss, don't get pulled in, just repeat that you are uncomfortable with their friendship, particularly the intimacy of it - make statements. (and don't feel guilty/embarrassed about it in private, either). You are just stating how you feel.

What about the previous incident where you thought he was having an affair, the one where you said it was 'incredibly embarrassing'.

Looksgoodingravy Sun 11-Nov-12 14:40:56

Brief extract from the Shirley Glass book (mentioned upthread):-

Rational jealousy should be taken seriously. Sometimes jealousy is not a sign of paranoia but a healthy reaction to valid suspicions. When a not normally jealous spouse suddenly starts getting suspicious, the jealousy is apt to be based on a threat that is real.

Don't feel that you shouldn't be wary of this blossoming friendship. Something in you is feeling threatened and you should trust your instincts.

hiviolet Sun 11-Nov-12 16:51:58

I would feel very uneasy in your shoes, OP, no doubt about that. My DH and I got together as students and our entire relationship was about bands and going to gigs. Fast forward 11 years and we have a 14 month old and I don't have time for music, but he still does! So, I can really empathise with you.

How would he react if you were brave enough to be open with him? I think he needs to know (assuming he doesn't already) that chatting to her online for two hours and baring his geeky soul is inappropriate, and it makes you feel shit.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 17:04:31

Are you sure you are not basing this "he is lovely" on that he isn't your ex? He sounds like a bit of a knob to me tbh; obsessional interest in music, nasty comments to you, uncommunicative with you, taking an interest in a much younger work colleague while you are pg, and what are these problems you had before about?

MOSagain Sun 11-Nov-12 17:05:10

This doesn't help you, but I'd feel very very uneasy about this type of relationship. Mind you, I'm in the position that I found out recently that my husband had an affair with a woman he used to work with and was flirting with at least 3 others on FB that he used to work with.

If there is nothing else that has gone on with your DH that has given rise to your suspicions then hopefully all is well but I do think you should make it clear to him how unhappy/uncomfortable you are with this.

fiventhree Sun 11-Nov-12 17:14:01

She is much younger than him, she works with him (even if he isnt a line manager). He is older and male.

It is inappropriate to fb work colleagues who are the opposite sex late at night and make comments on their looks. Regardless of what other context/content exists. End of.

I wonder if he would feel quite comfortable in the HR office or with the CEO mentioning his 'support' to younger female colleagues out of hours?

boodles Sun 11-Nov-12 17:15:15

Does she really like that band? If it is that obscure of a band I would wonder if she is using liking that band as a way of getting a friendship with your OH.

2 Hour conversations in the evening when he should be with you, almost no matter who it is with, is not on. He should be putting that effort into your relationship.

MooncupGoddess Sun 11-Nov-12 17:20:10

Hmm. As a (mostly) single woman I have found that quite a few married/seriously attached men like to initiate a bit of light flirting/intense music chat, etc. In my experience they are often basically happy in their relationships and have no desire to cheat, they just want a bit of sexual frisson/ego boosting. It's not terribly creditable but it is pretty human and shouldn't be seen as a major threat to the relationship. The curse of social media mean that you can now read exactly what was said, rather than it only going on at work drinks with you being none the wiser.

The crucial thing is that your DP knows exactly where his boundaries are on this... so, like everyone else, I think you really do need to talk to him about it.

needabitofperspective Sun 11-Nov-12 18:31:36

boodles it's not just one band, it's a whole scene and some. To fake that would take some serious research! To insane stalker level! I'm 100% confident she's genuine.

It's not unusual for either/both of us to be on the computer in the evenings. There is definitely too much computering in this house atm, we need to address this. However for me to accuse DP of spending too much time on FB would be so hypocritical as to be laughable given the amount of time I spend on MN!

This does need to change, but it's both of us (me more so, even), not just DP.

needabitofperspective Sun 11-Nov-12 18:37:03

fiventhree the work culture in this industry isn't like offices in other industries I've worked in, in the past. I don't want to say exactly what it is for fear of outing us, but it's not a 9-5 job, and it often spills over into supposedly non-work time.

Friendships outside of work are common, people do socialise together. I don't find DP (or me) having friends from work at all strange.

Agreed the commenting on looks was over the line though, it made me uncomfortable.

needabitofperspective Sun 11-Nov-12 18:39:24

MOSagain I'm so sorry, you must be having an awful time atm sad Have you split from him?

needabitofperspective Sun 11-Nov-12 18:45:31

Offred thanks for the concern, but he is lovely, really. Not perfect, but his heart is most definitely in the right place. I've known him years, long before we got together, and know several of his exes, none of whom he's fucked over, not even remotely.

Where were the nasty comments? He hasn't made any as far as I'm concerned? confused

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 18:49:47

Asking you if you were interested in this music which is his "anthem" when he knows you aren't which made you accurately feel as though you were being deliberately found lacking.

mampam Sun 11-Nov-12 20:48:09

Not much to add except to say always, always trust your instincts. We (my exh and I) had a friend of a friend, I never liked her from the start but made the effort with her as she was a very good friend of one of ours. I'd even commented to exH that she was a 'homewrecker'. Turn out she wrecked my home and now he's married to the b*tch.

tumbletumble Mon 12-Nov-12 07:37:12

Hi OP

Your post really resonated with me.

Approx 4 years ago, my DH was working closely with a slim, attractive female colleague - including late nights in the office etc. They had a shared interest in that he loves France and speaks fluent French and she is French. She was married with a DD, but she confided in my DH that her marriage was shaky. Then one night after work drinks she tried to kiss him!!

Meanwhile I was stuck at home with a baby and a toddler (22 months between DC1 and DC2) feeling fat and frumpy and jealous. Here's what I did:

1. I did tell him that I found their relationship inappropriate (this wasn't difficult after he told me she tried to kiss him!). But I didn't go on and on about it, and I didn't try to stop him seeing her (I couldn't as they were working on this project together). We had her over a couple of times to visit with her DD, so I definitely did the 'making sure she has met me and realises he is a family man' thing.

2. I took the opportunity to work on our relationship (which had suffered due to the demands of small DC). But not in a desperate 'I'll do anything to keep him' way. I just tried to make sure we talked (sounds like this is a biggie for you), cuddled, had time together in the evenings etc.

3. I put my jealousy to the back of my mind. I believe not trusting someone (while it may be justified) makes it more likely they will stray, as they feel 'well she doesn't trust me anyway'. I focused on our relationship, not theirs.

At the end of the day I can never be 100% sure that he didn't have a fling with her. But the important thing is that I believe he didn't. Now, four years later, she has left the company and moved away. She has also split up with her DH. She and my DH are no longer in touch, and our relationship is strong and happy at the moment. We have DC3 too! I feel like I have won.

Hope some of that helps. Good luck.

MOSagain Mon 12-Nov-12 08:28:17

needabit yes, things very tough. Have tried to 'brave it out' for the past 4 months but in the last few days I've realised I will NEVER trust him again. There are several woman at his new job (7 months) that he seriously 'underplayed' when he first started, never mentioned one of them at all, just talked about the men there and then I suddenly found out that he works VERY closely with one in particular and all of a sudden it was 'kim this, kim that, kim thinks..........'. I don't believe even he would be that stupid to start something again this soon after me finding out but the problem is, I just don't believe him.
He was talking last night about another woman at work who he is supposed to be having a meeting with today and when he first started he kept making really negative comments about her and now is talking her in a more positive light, ie how good she is at her job and that bollocks. I know, that if he'd never done what he did before, I probably wouldn't have an issue but things are different now as he destroyed all the trust and respect and I honestly don't see me being with him for much longer.

I have about 6 weeks before I need to decide whether I'm issuing divorce proceedings sad

tumblebumble I'm so impressed at how controlled you were, I honestly couldn't have remained as calm as you, you must be a very strong person. Am so glad it worked out ok for you.

needabitofperspective Mon 12-Nov-12 11:21:06

MOS the feelings of suspicion must be horrible to live with. sad

Do you have RL support? Do your friends / family know the situation? With my ex, I didn't tell people how bad it was (I was embarrassed to admit what I was putting up with.) When I finally did confide in people I felt it kind of broke the spell IYSWIM. (Turns out none of them were surprised anyway).

Why do you have 6 weeks to decide, is it a legal thing?

needabitofperspective Mon 12-Nov-12 11:38:41

Well, so that went well. Not!

I told DP I needed to talk about stuff. I didn't make it clear it was emotional stuff, I vaguely mentioned the other stuff I'm dealing with right now - we've got lots going on, we're moving house for example. I said I need to talk about that, and lots of other stuff.

DP is studying in the evenings on top of his work atm, and this is a very busy time for him. He said yes, of course, but he doesn't know when, he's just so busy. I asked when his next major deadline was, he said week-Wednesday. I asked if he has time after that, and he said no, then there's another deadline after.

I said, well we need to make time. Like for example the house-buying legal stuff, I genuinely need his help with asap. How about tonight? He said OK, we can talk about that tonight.

But no agreement when we'll talk about the other stuff. I'm going to have to push this. It's a balancing act: I don't want to add more pressure to an already stressful situation, but at the same time if he has 2 hours to chat about music he can make time to talk to me!

I wish we were both better at this stuff, I find it so hard especially when sober. DP hates talking about emotional stuff. And he takes that typical male approach, where he thinks if I raise an issue it means I'm asking him to find a solution to it, straight away. He does try, but he doesn't understand how talking about an issue, exploring what happens, without necessarily trying to solve it, might be helpful. He simply doesn't know how to do it. For a highly intelligent man (which he is) his understanding of how to deal with emotions is poor!

Maybe I'll write what I'm feeling down.

Offred Mon 12-Nov-12 11:53:02

Yes, write what you are feeling down.

A couple of thoughts I have about that are that sometimes when women say things like he is a "typical man" or does "typical man things" such as "not talking about emotions" what they are describing is not a "typical" man but one who was raised not to speak about emotions because he is a man - my dh is like this, he is more benign than most because he was raised by a mother who taught him to serve and please women and that women are not interested in how men feel or who they are or indeed anything about them. This problem affects him most but still me but it is significantly more benign than the usual reason; learned male superiority which can be reinforced by both men and women. This "men don't talk" stuff or "it is hard for him". Fact is he has time and inclination to socialise with her. That socialising has included intimacy. Now I'm not into all the snooping, banning, declaring emotional affair stuff BUT on this one he seems to be actively refusing intimacy with you, seeking additional intimacy with her and comparing the two of you. No, I don't think you are paranoid. It isn't a good sign if stress pulls you apart.

Looksgoodingravy Mon 12-Nov-12 11:58:15

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.

Seems like you both invest more time caring about others where it should be yourselves and your relationship you need to invest more time in.

I think writing down your feelings is a good idea if he hates talking about emotional stuff then maybe replying this way will make it easier for him.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 12-Nov-12 11:58:33

Going by what you've just written, for a "lovely warm hearted person" he doesn't seem very quick to make time for you when you ask. Tell him you need to speak to him about the baby. Indirectly it is, you're pregnant and feelng a long way off secure and contented. That should get his attention. You want to check you're both on the same page, no amount of work/study should override that.

AThingInYourLife Mon 12-Nov-12 12:03:42

He can't make time to talk to you for almost two weeks?!

I think your relationship is in quite a bit of trouble.

Nobody is ever that busy.

AThingInYourLife Mon 12-Nov-12 12:05:44

And I'm married to a man who struggles to acknowledge he even has feelings, never mind talk about them.

But if I said I wanted to talk to him he would make time.

MamaMary Mon 12-Nov-12 12:06:36

needabit, I'm shock at his response to your request, tbh. So he's not free to talk to you until next Wednesday, and then probably not after that as he'll have another deadline coming up!!?? Where are his priorities?

But yes, he has time to spend 2 hours talking online about his favourite bands.

Honestly, you're being far too soft on him. You need to demand a talk, and demand it now.

I'm also a bit concerned at your seeming dependence on alcohol to be honest with each other, and also, the fact you're not married...It leaves you in a more vulnerable position.

PeppermintPasty Mon 12-Nov-12 12:06:46

Having read the thread I have to say I agree with Offred when she posted yesterday at 17:04:31. I think your DP sounds rather selfish and self absorbed. A bit immature too? I'm not trying to be a total cynic, which I suppose is my default setting, and I appreciate that you sound like you work in a "young" industry, but he does sound a bit desperate for validation wrt his passion. If that is all there is to it, well, ok, but I think it could go one way or the other.

Apologies if there's too much generalising there, but mainly, you shouldn't ignore your gut feelings, they are rarely wrong IMO.

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