Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

I'm the "other woman"

(120 Posts)
Womaninthecity Wed 13-Nov-13 20:51:19

I really need some advice please.

Two years ago a much older colleague of mine made a move at a work event. I was taken back and just warned him the matter could go to HR if he didn't stop.

Back in the office, things returned to normal. He's my senior and runs the team, so a lot of work I do is for him. We had always been good friends and he regularly asked for my opinion on work or client matters. We'd even lend book to one another and talk about politics whilst making tea - just friendly colleague talk.

One thing lead to another and somehow the conversation in the office spilled to texts after work. I asked him many times not to text me outside working hours. He continued to do so. We then met outside work to discuss things and I, again, warned him off.

He then went on a family holiday and would regularly text me about his feelings for me and how he didn't want to let this go.

On his return, I regularly reminded him that nothing had happened and nothing would. I didn't escalate the situation to anyone more senior because I figured that he was just going to a mid life crisis and it would pass.

One thing lead to another and we began to have regularly coffee meetings outside of work, which then lead to dinners. These weren't romantic dinners, usually I would listen to his problems at home and just be a listening ear.

Somehow, this spilled into something more and feelings began to develop. We began to become more and more intimate - but never slept together. It would regularly eat me up - almost monthly I would try to end up but he'd always come back asking if we could be "just friends".

I figured that I could no longer work for this man. He made me completely miserable. I didn't want an affair and I definitely didn't want to ruin his marriage.

I spent months avoiding him then found another job. I left all my friends in the office and moved jobs.

Before I left another senior person in the company found out. He wanted to take him to HR and take him through disciplinary - but I begged him not to. As much as this man made my working life a nightmare, I had feelings for him and didn't want to destroy his career.

I am not three months into my new job and I'm completely miserable. I miss my old workplace and more importantly, absence has just made the heart grow founder. I have seen him a handful of times since I left and he keeps telling me how much he loves me - and I feel the same now sad

I have asked him not to get in touch and just to leave me alone but he won't take the hint.

I want to put an end to the madness and just give us a chance to move on.

So, if he contacts me again, I am thinking about contacting his wife. It won't be a nasty "your husband won't leave me alone" message - but rather if I were marred, I would want to know.

Does anyone agree? Should I just ignore and hope somehow it'll just blow over?

musicismylife Sat 16-Nov-13 18:54:57

You haven't tried that hard to fight him off, have you?

You found him
You flirted with him
You frollicked with him
And now you fancy him hmm

Actions speak so much louder than words, op (especially to people who don't take 'hints' hmm

How about ignoring him. Forever?

Womaninthecity Sat 16-Nov-13 19:09:54

Thanks NearTheWindmill, that's very supportive of you. Appreciate it.

KingRollo Sat 16-Nov-13 19:27:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crazyhead Sat 16-Nov-13 20:20:32

Because you never really did 'have' this man , you are bound to have wistful 'the one that got away' feelings about him. These will evaporate to nothing once you are in a real relationship with a man you love, with a family if you wish. At 27, you've got plenty of time to find this - women sometimes waste their fertile years on this kind of liaison.

You are right not to tell his wife. Although the main responsibility is his, you have wronged her and the only and best way for you personally to make the reparations you can is to get completely out of his life, giving their marriage a chance if it does still have a chance. It is too late for anything else.

Obviously it is gutting that you had to leave your job over this while he apparently gets away with it. What I'd concentrate on in your shoes is building your career so in the long term this negative can become a positive.

I say this as someone who was also stupid enough to get involved with a married colleague years ago. With someone you are forced to see at work every day, it is much easier for things to escalate than it would be if you didn't - these situations are poisonous and no good comes from them.

However, you do now have the chance for a break even if it takes a while to get away from this episode - be grateful that you have the opportunity to move on.

NearTheWindmill Sat 16-Nov-13 20:34:30

Sorry you didn't like it. It's the reality of life and from all you have posted I think you have a great deal of growing up to do. This man is someone else's husband. You have been consorting with adultery. You need to start getting a little bit real in my opinion. If you are as good as you think you are you should have no trouble finding a man your own age who happens to be free to date you.

You sound awfully defensive and that tends to be the reaction of people who know they are in the wrong. I think you need to prove to yourself and everyone else that you are capable of netting a man who happens to be free.

Fairenuff Sat 16-Nov-13 20:47:52

I have accepted them gracefully - there's your mistake, right there. You do not have to be 'graceful' about unwanted gifts.

Once, early on in the relationship, I got very mad and left the gift on his desk. I then sent him a v v long email explaining that I wanted nothing to do with him.

Why? Why would you do that unless you wanted him to react to it.

He then approached me in the kitchen at work and asked if we could talk.

The answer to that would be 'No'.

We went to a meeting room and he gave me this whole lecture that He didn't appreciate my email and my attitude was making it difficult for us to work together.

That is why the answer is always, 'No'.

Later that night he sent me a v long email to my personal address apologising and saying that he had feelings but understands that I don't, so lets just be friends.

You should ignore this.

I responded and said ok. - Why? Why would you do that.

A few weeks later, I was taken on a project in York (I'm based in London) and he would regularly ask colleagues to ask me to call him.

And your response should be 'No'.

When I would, he wouldn't say much but balently just wanted to talk to me.

Why? Why in God's name would you call him.

I do have feelings for him. I know it sounds crazy. But I know this man is completely miserable, and I can't help but feel sorry for him.

Here is where you finally admit that you are just as much a wanker as he is.

Leave. Him. Alone.

HandragsNGladbags Sat 16-Nov-13 21:09:59

I'm usually pretty supportive on here but you sound like you enjoy the attention. Do your friends in RL know about this?

I had a friend who used to do this so may be projecting, but she was always the centre of someone's obsession and it was because she had a knack of finding needy men and led them on a treat. Then got all upset because they wouldn't leave her alone.

Then she would meet up with them again, and so it would go on and on and on. The undercurrent was always that she was so gorgeous/wonderful they just couldn't help themselves.

And block him.

Loopyloulu Sat 16-Nov-13 21:17:18

It's sad to think you have been involved in this since you were 25- same age as my DD is now. I'd hate to think of her in your shoes with a married man aged 47.

Does anyone know about this- friends, parents, etc- and what do they think?

I find it odd that you have let this go on for two years and just asked on a forum now for help when it's been shitty all along in so many ways.

And don't fall for the old line he's unhappy- if he was, he'd leave his wife.

Are you really so naive?

Twinklestein Sat 16-Nov-13 22:30:18

Your post at 18:23 shows that he is highly manipulative & has behaved totally unprofessionally to you. (Quite apart from the earlier info that you had to leave your job). He has behaved with no consideration to you whatsoever.

If he's not happy it's entirely his own responsibility to make the changes so that he can be. Altho' I think it's highly likely telling you of his unhappiness is part of manipulation to get you where he wants you.

He just wants to have sex with someone young, and seems to have focussed on you so long partly because you never let him.

You're really young and could be with some really lovely guy your own age, without all the manipulations and the watching you go off to the loo, and all the nonsense.

If this man does not have the sense to see what is good in his life, it's not up to you to show it to him.

Block him now for good & never speak to him again.

Womaninthecity Sat 16-Nov-13 22:37:19

Naive would be coming on here and not expecting some not so helpful responses - I knew I would be a target for some... So perhaps not THAT naive.

Thanks for the advice all - it's all about no contact now.

Twinklestein Sat 16-Nov-13 22:44:27

OW always get kicked on here, I don't know why - it's not as if any of them are a thread to anyone here. Don't take it personally.

I hope the thread has been of some use.

Loopyloulu Sat 16-Nov-13 22:48:53

Naive would be coming on here and not expecting some not so helpful responses - I knew I would be a target for some.

Sorry but that's not really the case, is it?

Knowing you might get unhelpful replies here is rather different from your behaviour for 2 years with a MM. I don't see how you can possibly draw a comparison between falling for the 'my wife doesn't understand me, I'm so unhappy' lines and expecting a pasting here.

You allowed him to bully you at work- the example about how he treated you after you emailed him about the gifts.

I can imagine he called you a psycho ( not excusable mind you) because you constantly gave out mixed messages- telling him to go away on the one hand, but still meeting him after work etc on the other.

This is an aspect of the affair which you still seem in denial over. Sorry if that is not the case, but you seem to have engaged in a push-pull situation.

You should read Baggage Reclaim which is all about affairs, and also google the push-pull scenario in relationships.

Does anyone know about this man except you?
Do you have friends who know?
I'd imagine that if you house share or live with your parents it's been very hard to keep it a secret.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 16-Nov-13 22:56:23

Unless I have read your OP wrong at no time have you made it clear to this man that you didn't want to be the OW.
Meeting for dinner and drinks outside work is hardly telling him you don't want to know. Of course you wanted this to happen whether you will admit it or not.
It seems whatever anybody says to you, you will continue to see him and have contact with him.

BlackDaisies Sat 16-Nov-13 23:11:50

I think he sounds horrible - calling you a fucking psycho and making a complaint about you at work?? Leaving you unwanted notes, sending gifts to your flat when you've asked him to leave you alone - that's stalking you. He sees nothing wrong in treating women with either contempt or a scary obsessiveness. I think having feelings for someone like that speaks volumes about your self esteem, and maybe you should try counselling to get to the root of it. Counsellors can be really helpful if you find the right one.

Twinklestein Sat 16-Nov-13 23:16:52

I agree - making a complaint about her at work, when he is the one with the problem is disgraceful behaviour.

Bryant247 Sun 17-Nov-13 00:03:51

If you don't want anything to do with him, then pls change your phone number and email. That can't be that difficult.

It's not a crime that he fancies you but rather disloyal to his wife. You played along maybe becos you wanted it too.

Telling it to his wife means you want to breakup his marriage and have him to yourself

beaglesaresweet Sun 17-Nov-13 00:40:23

OP has now repeated many times that she WON'T be telling his wife, and that she will not respond to his messages (she hasn't to the last one as a proof) - please stop just laying into her without reading her posts!

FWIW I don't think he'd be chasing her for two yrs without getting sex if all he wanted was sex with a young person - with his money he could hire a hooker in london. He's just depressed and miserable and this has possibly been some escapism, but it's him who's a bully and a psycho, not the OP who's 27 and a soft touch (thankfully no more!).

Loopyloulu Sun 17-Nov-13 09:37:42

I think there is some confusion here with the timelines.

OP said- I think- that the gifts sent home and the notes happened some time ago. It's not happened since she decided ( or told him?) not to contact her.

OP- I wish you'd come back and say if your RL friends know about this or your family. I suspect that if they don't, what you have missed for 2 years is a dose of sharp reality from other people. I can't believe it's a secret if you have friends, and if they do know did they never try to talk and sense into you?

kalidanger Sun 17-Nov-13 11:52:25

Looking at this from another angle this could easily be construed as constructive dismissal and you'd have a case for the Employment Tribunal. It would be hideous and messy and obviously won't happen but as far as I can glean from your more recent posts that's accurate.

Concentrate on your great new job and please remain NC. I just put my ex on the new Block Contact feature on ios7 and feel better already. Now I just have to keep ignoring him when he knocks only door. This is NOT a normal situation, for me or for you. I have previously been to the police re: harassment but some ridiculous complications meant it went no further.

Neither of us are being helplessly pulled by the tide. I'm in charge now.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sun 17-Nov-13 13:06:07

I think, maybe, it was naive to believe "one thing led to another" in which you had no culpability in the progression. I described a process of manipulation earlier in the thread that could account for how this could get started. But going on for two years boggles the mind a bit, especially as you are old enough to be an autonomous, intelligent, individual.

Sorry you love him, but this relationship is not going to be a winner for you. In fact you will end up heartbroken (may as well get that behind you), you will end up wasting alot of time on someone who is unavailable, and you will suffer lost time again for the healthy relationships you could have been pursuing.

Please accept you made a mistake here. Yes, I think he is probably a serial manipulator and is probably already starting to chat up someone else more than usual...but that is not an excuse for you because you are the one in charge of you. And, I hope, you will know not to fall for The Pity Party again. Not that you would say this to him because you are NC, but next time (and some lines of manipulation do seem to repeat) you could try saying something along the lines of "well, you will just have to put your big boy panties on and deal with it like everyone else does. It isn't a perfect world."

Another lesson you can take away from this...now you know why it is never a good idea to date someone you work with. I am very happy for you that you found a better paying job in the process, but please never risk your paycheck for attention from a man again (no matter how senior he is!). The gossip mill at your new place of work may have you identified as a player, so you may need the Just Say No skills sooner rather than later.

Take care and I recommend quilting as a wonderful hobby to pursue as you recover from this; it is something to focus on (rather than him).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now