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DP and new colleague (long, sorry!)(151 Posts)
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!
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?
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.
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?
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
I agree posie. you need to build a social life away from work, no matter how much fun you have with your colleagues.
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.
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?
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
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
or even different thread...
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!!
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.
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
Into same hobbies
The man spending hours trying 'to cheer the woman up'
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.
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 ). 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..)
Oh - that does put a bit of a different perspective on it for me. Given everything you have been through (both of you) and what you are still going through, I think this does need 'nipping in the bud' - how you do that I'm not so sure.
Your DP sounds as though he's in a very susceptible position to have an affair, to see it as an escape from reality (not YOU, reality), be easily flattered by a young, attractive girl who 'gets him' and he can be a knight-in-shining-armour to, protector and hero all in one.
What would I do?? ... Have a small glass of wine (one small one isn't going to hurt) and talk to him, tell him you know how hard this past year (or whatever) has been, that you understand he's stressed/grieving/fed up (whatever) and that your relationship hasn't been at its best. That you understand how the stressful the financial situation has been (etc etc etc) but that you are scared that because of all of that, he might be somewhat susceptible to the flattery/admiration/adoration/neediness of x, that you understand he's currently just being a friend and trying to help her out and you don't think it's his intention to have an affair with her, but that you can see how easy that would be - especially with her love of his music etc and that you are scared that she will seem like a better option to him and that you don't want to lose him & your family - so how can you, together, make sure this doesn't happen.
Make it clear you can see where this could head & that he could sleepwalk into it
I think you're being wise in trusting your instincts here.
If I was in your position I would go with the invite, this being an invite from you both, this will give out a signal that you and your dh are a team, she can confide in you also if needs be.
You both sound like kind, considerate people, your dh sounds like a lovely person but this could turn into something which he never saw coming, which he never had any intention of going as far as it did. It's all about nipping it in the bud now.
Downunderdolly, your jaw must have hit.the.floor when you received that email!!!!! Talk about a guilty conscience. she can be as self-satisfied and as sanctimonious as she likes, but she did NOT try to "save your marriage". Wow. Seriously!!! I hope you had a bottle of wine in the fridge when that popped up in your inbox.
And to the OP, I think somebody here found a really good way of phrasing your concerns that doesn't sound like insecure jealousy (although you'd be entitled!). Saying that you feel he is over investing in to a friendship with a colleague all evening why you are there in the house. Maybe you could make the internet connection go down . See how upset he gets on a scale of one to ten.
Spent the day at my parents. Shattered now!
Thanks for the replies everyone, I really appreciate it. Some really thoughtful posts here. I'm barely functioning atm so will reread tomorrow.
I think she sounds great and NO danger to your relationship.
Him on the other hand, I think I'd be having a few sharp words with him actually.
Came back from my parents late last night and had a nice night with DP. Just normal domestic stuff, but nice. He came and picked us up off the train at the stop we're meant to change to the last train on - so a 30 minute drive rather than a 5 minute one for him, which was good of him.
He'd been Christmas shopping, and had a small early present for me. (No, not a guilty conscience! He's just nice like that). And it was just lovely to see him.
This thread and just getting away for the day have given me a bit of perspective!
I don't think the colleague is out to "steal" DP, not at all. However I would be surprised if DP doesn't feel attracted to her (and she may to him, or not, I have no idea). I very much doubt he is actually planning anything, but I do still worry it has the potential go too far if they're ever alone together while drunk.
I think nipping in the bud is the thing to do. A definite dinner invite then! And early enough in the evening for her to meet DD too I reckon.
"Your DH sounds like a really nice guy - do you not think you can talk to him about how this is making you feel?"
Yes he's lovely, but we're both really, really bad at communicating about our feelings! Particularly when sober. But I need to force this one don't I?
DP and I need to talk about the things that aren't so rosy atm. We are risking trouble. For my part, I need to a conscious effort to improve things I think. I must admit that while things have been pretty stressful at times recently, I have been guilty of disappearing into the computer (mumsnet etc) as a means of escape, and really haven't done as much as I could to tackle the problems I know we're having. I've been aware of this, but done it anyway This isn't healthy for a start.
"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.."
I honestly don't think he'd be particularly bothered, he wouldn't see it as a threat, he knows he can trust me. Also, it's a hard one to imagine, as I never show any signs of being attracted to other men. And actually I don't think I have met anyone else I've found particularly attractive since being with DP.
I know DP does find other women attractive. He doesn't rub it in my face, but I'm aware of it. We haven't discussed it but my understanding is he's of the opinion that it's normal to be attracted to people, it's what you do about it that matters.
I agree she is not out to steal your DH - but I do think both are in real danger of becoming too close and falling down the slippery slope into an affair.
Often at the beginning of a friendship/relationship, there is a lot of mirroring going on hence the talk about music/bands.
Finding other people attractive is normal but there needs to be boundaries and these are already being blurred...
If I were you I would read Shirley Glass's Not Just Friends:
This is the bit of their conversation which makes me feel particularly uncomfortable:
DP: This is my anthem <link to song>
Her: <that band> are amazing
DP: Are you sure you're not 37? You certainly look good for your age if you are! Unlike me!
Her: hahaha i certainly don't look 23 that's for sure. I still get IDed.
(I note he's fishing for a compliment but she ignores it. She's acknowledging his flattery of her however).
DP then asks me in RL, I assume it's around now in their conversation as he's playing the song:
"Do you like <band name>". "They're alright I suppose" I say, in a "you know I'm not really keen on that stuff" kind of way.
This makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel like I'm being compared, and unfavourably too.
(The whole conversation isn't like that thankfully).
She later suggests they get together sometime to compare music collections.
DP was quite tipsy while having this conversation. I suspect he would have been a little more restrained if sober. I'm very nervous about the idea of them being drunk together in RL.
Aargh, I'm straying towards paranoia aren't I?! I'm not going to read over their chat again! That's the problem with social media isn't it, it's there on record. If it'd been a drunk flirting while out, it might have been totally harmless in the grand scheme of things, and I wouldn't have a copy of it to beat myself over the head with would I?!
I suppose I might say flirty things to men when I'm drunk and DP's not there which don't mean anything at all, but which would look terrible written down!
Or am I minimising?
Think I need to go back to plan A, have a chat with DP about how to improve things between us. Get a babysitter, go out somewhere! Keep a watchful eye on friendship between him and colleague.
And in the short term, get on with the day!!!
I know I sound like a killjoy, but internet 'addiction' can be quite damaging to family relationships. This site is so blasted erm addictive, it is very easy to just disappear for huge swathes of time. It's not the actual time though that does the damage, it's not being available on a permanent basis, being unavailable. checking out for a quick fix...
I think you are being too decent about this threat to your relationship OP. It's all very well to be decent and understanding but this scenario is well-travelled and too often ends in disaster. Stop being a ninny and nip the thing in the bud.
No OP that conversation would make me feel uncomfortable, he is commenting on her appearance and that would set alarm bells off in my head.
Agree with you though FB is the work of the devil - if he had said that on a night out you would never have known.
Keep your radar up and yes have a chat with DP, however you are pregnant so don't beat yourself up with ways to be as fun and glamorous as her. You are you, the woman he chose to have child with and that should be enough for him.
You're not being a killjoy springyspring I agree totally.
Being on the computer too much is damaging. I need to rein it in, and now.
Having seen that snippet of conversation, I think you are right to be concerned.
As an outsider, from what you have posted, the flags for me are:
1. Your DP isn't just saying "I like this song/band" - he's saying "this is my anthem", i.e. something which really matters to me. That's much more personal and the kind of thing you say at the beginning of a new potential close friendship or relationship, rather than to a colleague, where you might say "X's music are great, I have all their albums/have seen them several times".
2. Music can be very emotionally loaded - by seeing someone younger get enthusiastic about "his" music, your DP will be taken back to when he was young and discovering it - feeling young and full of potential v approaching middle-aged. She's living an exciting single life - free to go out and see bands etc...
3. The comparison thing worries me. "She really understands me."
4. There's something very intimate about sitting up late chatting to one person on the internet. I'm sure he wouldn't dream of sitting in a bar chatting to someone until the early hours - this is quite close to that.
5. The mentor/confidant/rescuer can be a very appealing role.
I think he is putting himself in quite a lot of danger of something "just happening", and needs to reinvest in you and his family quickly.
Chipping's advice for the conversation you need to have is good, I think.
I'm not sure I would be rushing to invite her around. I'd be asking for distance from her - no 2 hour chats about her love life, no offers for her to stay the night.
They can be colleagues that like the same bands without that level of mutual ego massaging.
People who like obscure bands (and I say this as someone who likes obscure bands) can be very pleased with themselves for how clever they are to know about such bands. Meeting another person who is pleased with themselves for the same reason can lead to a very superficial, show offy "connection".
It's not some great meeting of minds. It's just like two people who like the same flavour of soup. No reason for it to be indulged with sleepovers and midnight confidences when one of them has a family.
OP I'd trust your instincts here.
What worries me is how easily she fell into bed with another colleague.
Agree that staying up late chatting to someone on the Internet is an intimate thing. I'd be very annoyed with DH if he did this with a female colleague, and tbh I think he'd know it was inappropriate.
SineOfTheTimes the comparison thing worries me too. Especially as while they were sharing their love of this band, he asked my what I though of it. I said basically said it wasn't my thing. I had no idea it was his "anthem", he's not shared that with me.
I feel excluded, or like he set me a test he knew I would fail. But maybe that's petty. Mind you I wouldn't mind if it was a mate he didn't feel attracted to, that's the thing isn't it. It's not just about a shared like, it looks like more than that.
Athing do you mind if I ask, are you in a relationship? Does your DP share your love of obscure music?
I don't see how to ask for distance from her without opening up a whole can of worms. DP will see me as being unreasonably jealous - I don't think he thinks he's doing anything other than being friendly. I imagine he'll greatly resent me trying to scupper a friendship. I certainly wouldn't take kindly to it if he asked me to stop a friendship with a male colleague if I felt there was nothing untoward in it. My ex was unreasonably jealous, he couldn't accept my male friends were just that; it was poisonous, and horrible to be on the receiving end of
"What worries me is how easily she fell into bed with another colleague."
That doesn't worry me tbh. Both DP and I (and our friendship group) were very promiscuous while we were young free and single, I see it as pretty normal tbh, particularly when there's a lot of drinking going on.
Am I the only one who doesn't really get the impression this DP really is all that lovely?
The internet conversation alone is enough to flag up.
He crossed the line of what is acceptable or appropriate.
This is different from your ex-P, this is not unreasonable jealousy. You are perfectly within your rights to raise this with him. FWIW, I would have no hesitation in doing so if it were my DH.
Also FWIW, my DH and I are polar opppsites and do not share the same interests at all. But we get on well, like and trust each other. And we have shared values, which are more important than interests.
You mention "mundane shit" and the pair of you have had a tough time then in comes Little Miss Sunshine. Don't give her more power than she has. I'm not saying disregard that warning light that's come on but don't rush to condemn DH or badmouth her. Nothing provokes chivalry like an interpreted slagging. The music is a shared interest, okay let them swap tracks but 2 hour debates or trips to gigs, no that's eating into your time.
Acknowledge it's great he's been such a support to her but she needs to go her own way now, and not risk putting himself in a difficult position at work. As soon as she gets on with her job and gets herself a new boyfriend, the better for her. Point out that he's been a good mentor (resist saying 'father figure') and now's the time to let her find her own way.
If you do socialise with her by inviting her round I'd pull out all the stops and look fabulous and don't give her honoured guest status, invite a crowd; better yet, matchmake, get an unattached male round too. Fwiw if the chance arises, don't confine yourself to a meal at your home, go out in public with your husband. She knows you have DD and another DC on the way - if she has designs on DH she won't be cowed by seeing you be Mummy at home, that's the kind of thing a Daddy might yearn to escape from.
Btw When you say your DH wouldn't be bothered about you having an attractive younger male protege, he wouldn't feel threatened, is that him trusting you implicitly or complacently dismissing the idea of you being sexually attracted to other men.
I'm married and DH and I share similar taste in music (although with 3 children now, it's getting harder to keep up.
We're both lightweights compared to some of our chin strokey friends, so it doesn't loom that large as an issue in our relationship
Would he really be so pissed off about you flagging this as a problem when you are not normally remotely jealous and controlling?
That's not great, is it?
Friendships at work turn into affairs all the time. It's hardly like you're suggesting the impossible.
You should be able to say to him "this is making me uncomfortable and jealous, please can you wind this one back".
What happened with the non-affair? How did you get it so wrong?
Gosh Donkeys, sounds incredible strategy, where did you learn to think like that? MN constantly amazes me.
I don't really have anything to add to what others have said. Donkey's strategy aside, I don't really have much truck with whatevers-cool-is-cool approach - especially when your heart is saying that its not cool actually. I think you need to assert yourself.
Tell him how you feel. Forget about "her"; he needs to be told how you're feeling, your worries about your relationship, feeling frumpy/mumsy/not a sexual being, feeling that watching him get so into a conversation with someone else made you try to remember when he'd been so enthusiastic about a conversation with you. If you're negative about The Girl I think he'll go into White Knight mode - "she's lonely, she needs a friend" - and you don't want this to end up with it being a them against the world situation.
You must be honest with him about your feelings and fears about your relationship.
The biggest hurdle you have to overcome initially is to be able to communicate better.
I agree with others, this should be raised, if your dh is as lovely as you say he is then he should accept the way you feel and that you feel slightly threatened by his relationship with this work colleague. You haven't been jealous in the past and it sounds like you have a large network of friends but there's something this time which feels slightly 'off'.
I would personally go with the invite, I think you will feel better once you've met her.
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'.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
MOSagain I'm so sorry, you must be having an awful time atm Have you split from him?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
MOS the feelings of suspicion must be horrible to live with.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
needabit, I'm 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.
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.
I'm sorry, but WTAF??
He's too busy??
I think NOT. I would have exploded. He's got time to spend hours navel gazing with HER but no time to talk about stuff with you?
Twat of the first order. I am so angry for you... <MN isn't good for my blood pressure!>. Tell him, that you will be talking tonight and he will be making time. Git.
Offred, yes, saying it's a typical male thing is a bit of a lazy explanation. Certainly not all men I know are like that! FWIW I didn't mean that the not being good at talking about feelings was "male" - I for one am a female example of the same!
What I meant was specifically that he feels he needs to "solve" things. He doesn't understand how to simply talk around things and see where it takes us. He seems to think he needs to find a solution there and then.
I've read about a page of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" and this is where I'm getting that idea from!
I don't know why that approach is natural to him.
I think perhaps we would benefit from some couples counselling, just so someone can arbitrate / interpret! Don't think that is going to happen, realistically, any time soon though.
"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 that's probably a fair comment.
Well put that book in the trash can for starters. It is absolute shite written by a ridiculous man with an agenda to make money by persuading women to put up with unacceptable behaviour.
I've just read the entire thread and to me it seems obvious.
Your partner is deliberately putting distance between you to allow feelings for his colleague to develop. At the moment, it's all on his side but it's as clear as day that this young woman is in a vulnerable place and with enough persuasion and attention from your partner, might enter into a relationship with him, even against her better judgement.
Investing in your relationship at this point might not work and I've the sense that it would be all one-sided anyway because your DP is getting addicted to this other relationship. This is why you're being stonewalled because at the moment, he doesn't want there to be closeness between you, because that would get in the way of what he wants to do.
"Honestly, you're being far too soft on him. You need to demand a talk, and demand it now."
I have demanded a talk tonight. Not about everything, just the house stuff. I will get that out of the way and then lay my cards on the table about needing to talk about other stuff. Or at least I will try to. Like I said I find it hard!
He is genuinely very busy, more than he has been in years, but yes it's absolutely about priorities. He needs to make time. I will be saying this to him.
I don't know what you need, if you really are extremely pushed and stressed could you devote time to couples counselling?
What is behind the communication problem? I think that is key. In my relationship it is as I said about dh's upbringing but also both our needs to avoid confrontation and identifying why we have communicated poorly has helped us begin learning to communicate better - me on difficult subjects like my needs or feelings and him general communication, confidence that being heard and desired is wanted by me from him and the intimacy related to that. If you can identify the problem or problems then you can see what you need to do. One problem seems to be that he doesn't want to communicate with you at all, is this recent, a one off or an ongoing thing?
needabit he has to MAKE time to talk to you, you have to be firm. Yes YOU should be his number one priority. Good luck x
With my situation, yes, its a legal thing. There is an absolute bar on petitioning on adultery if you've known about it for more than 6 months (if its not continuing) so I need to make a firm decision this side of Christmas (courts closed for a while over Christmas/New Year)
"Well put that book in the trash can for starters. It is absolute shite written by a ridiculous man with an agenda to make money by persuading women to put up with unacceptable behaviour."
I agree, that's why I only read a page! That bit has stuck with me though.
I don't think he's stonewalling me particularly. He's genuinely very busy and not seeing the wood for the trees IMO. If I say it's important (I didn't) he'll do it.
I'm starting to think that although the colleague thing shouldn't be ignored, more importantly it's shining a light on the issues on our relationship which do need dealing with. I can't allow them to fester any longer.
Charbon has said what I was thinking, but I didn't like to say.
what part does alcohol play in all this?
you have referred several times to not being able to talk easily when sober, both of you
I think you're intractably wedded to this self-image of you being a cool, modern couple who have no jealousies or insecurities and this has been holding you back. I also think some of this is you not seeing the wood for the trees.
Your partner has got the time to talk about this. He's spending hours talking to his colleague and downloading music; time that could be spent talking to you.
I also think there are some separate things going on here that are getting confused in terms of cause and effect.
You don't communicate well as a couple - that much is obvious.
But that hasn't necessarily caused this situation.
Your partner might have very poor boundaries and immature ego needs, which have nothing to do with his inability to communicate with you his partner, or you with him. You could be superb communicators and he would still have poor boundaries and a need to get his ego boosted by flirtations.
Offred thanks for your reply.
"What is behind the communication problem? I think that is key." I have no idea.
"One problem seems to be that he doesn't want to communicate with you at all, is this recent, a one off or an ongoing thing?" It's ongoing. And is one of the things I want to talk about with him.
He hates talking about feelings. If I ever try to start a conversation about feelings he tries to shut it down as soon as possible. This is why the "finding a solution" stuff doesn't work for me. If I bring something up, I want to talk about it. He wants to say "OK, we'll do this instead". Job done, conversation over. Or at least that's what it seems he'd like to happen!
I don't think he's even aware he's doing it, it's instinctual. A major hurdle is that he has difficulty with the idea that he can be in the wrong about stuff. It's wearing. He seems to have two states - either he's in the right, or if he finally accepts he's doen something wrong, he's devastated, really upset and berates himself, and feels like he's a terrible person, which is not at all helpful! It's wearing! And any conversation regarding anything he's done needs to negotiate this minefield. It's not often I need to have a chat about him with anything he's "done", but his is one of those times!
It's not a manipulative thing to stop me from talking about feelings. It's really deep seated, and to do with his own self-image I think. He's used to being the competent, capable one in control of stuff, and any deviating from that is scary territory for him I think. I think we could do with couples counselling to negotiate this one. I do talk to him about it when it comes up btw. I don't shy away from it. I explain what he's doing to him, and he tries to understand. We made some progress last time it came up I think. (Well, we'll have to see if it stuck this time!)
From my point of view, I find it hard to start the conversation off. I put it off. I've always been like this. I decide I'm going to do have a chat with my partner (DP or exes), and then the moment never seems right. For such a confident outgoing person I can be pretty cowardly indeed when it comes to this stuff.
I am going to have to make myself do it tonight.
You realise I suppose that men who find it difficult to talk about feelings and their relationship with their partner are especially vulnerable to affairs?
What was this other misunderstanding you had about infidelity?
Let me tell you how I think this might go tonight.
You talk about the 'safe' domestic stuff and then as soon as you start talking about your relationship, he will try to shut the conversation down. But whereas in the past, this might have ended with a cuddle and some reassurance (and possibly sex) there will be none of that.
You go away thinking 'well he never likes discussing our relationship, so there's nothing new to worry about' which will be the wrong conclusion.
Because this time there's another agenda operating. He doesn't want to resolve this, even in a superficial fashion - because he doesn't want closeness right now with you personally. If you became close again, he wouldn't be able to pursue this relationship with as much vigour.
When you have this conversation tonight, think very carefully about how this is different to other times you've had discussions about your relationship.
If he can spare two hours to talk to a colleague about her feelings and problems, he can certainly find time to talk to his own dp.
If he's so busy that he has no time to talk, when exactly was he planning on inviting this colleague round for food?
He may well be lovely and caring, but right now it's not being aimed in your direction.
It doesn't sound good. If it is so instinctive why is he trying to do it with her? That's what is upsetting you isn't it? That he won't communicate with you but he is trying with you.
That nasty comment (because it wasn't a question) about the band was really passive aggressive and horrible. It really is absolutely not unreasonable for you to expect that he provides basic intimate communication in a long term relationship. Why he isn't only matters in terms of whether you can sort it out, you should not be accommodating this because he "knows not what he does" like you are poor martyred Jesus and he is well meaning but messed up judas... It is the ultimate crappy romantic message really, do not fall into this pattern.
I agree with charbon's post about his ego, I feel the reason behind the lack of communication (and I though it would be long standing) is his self importance and ego and this caricatured life you are trying desperately to live, I bet at his insistence though you surely believe you want it too.
There is a lot there that makes me worry about you and I think you have fallen into the trap almost every woman does after an abuser of picking a shithead who isn't quite as shit who you really don't want to believe is a shithead.
well, the reason he doesn't want to talk now is cos if he's asked questions he won't be able to tell the truth. i'd say he knows well he's conflicted, but also knows that there's no poinnt telling you he has strong feelings for miss 23.
I think it is also wise to add shitheads who treat their partners badly are also vulnerable to affairs because they, ultimately, are shitheads. They also spend the time pursuing the ow setting up the wife/partner to look/be unreasonable/nagging and those frequently happens shortly after the birth of a baby or during pregnancy when the shithead egotist realises they will never again be your entire focus and when try as you might you simply cannot take on the entire emotional burden of the whole family anymore. Also often pregnancy and childbirth makes a woman dependent and gives a partner both stress and power over her which, if he's a shithead, will manifest in shithead behaviour.
Also there were interesting thoughts being shared on another thread about "workaholics" and how this can be a perfect excuse or emotional or physical absence by a shithead.
Refusal to communicate about feelings is unacceptable because whether or not it is done for bad reasons the effect is to do that - pass the burden of the whole emotional welfare of the entire family onto the communicator (even if that person's communication isn't wonderful). It is why, even though my husband is lovely and not abusive, he has to change his poor communication or I will leave (he is).
Did he ever pick you?
Not just as his girlfriend, but as his life partner?
You're not married, but did you ever decide together to spend your lives with each other or did it just gradually come about with cohabitation and unplanned pregnancies?
I hate to say it but this makes a huge difference. I wasn't married to my x because he didn't value me. He didn't value me because my self-esteem was so low when we met. He bloody well has to give me a grudging respect of a different kind now because I kicked his sorry ass to touch and started again without him but he didn't at any point want to marry me. And if I had the time again I wouldn't ever have had children with a man who didn't want to marry me. Lunacy now looking back on it, but you live and learn. [great consolation] :-|
And of course shitheads are not just men, just using he in this context as I suspect this man is one such shithead who is having what may be described as a "midlife crisis" in order to excuse terrible behaviour. It does sound as if a lot of the stress is coming from his inability to grow up and recognise working in a "young industry" does not excuse abandoning emotional/physical investment into his family. You do sound quite cowed too.
Calling him a shithead might mean that the OP doesn't recognise the man you're describing. I recognise him though. He's 'with' her but he's like a labrador all over the place wagging his tail here there and everywhere. He wants her at home but he wants to be free too. And of course, he's laid back, easy going, good company, charming, popular, so you could easily think that he is a lovely lovely man. Until you realise that he is marching to the beat of his own drum, quite unapologetically, and that you are also (with his two small kids) marching to the beat of his drum.
i hope that makes sense. i get carried away with the metaphors!
Interesting question, AThing. No, he didn't "pick me". We are together as life partners, because of unplanned pregnancy.
He did propose however, a few months ago (before I got pregnant with DC2, which was planned this time in case you ask!)
He's not a shithead, honest. He's not perfect! But he does mean well, that I am sure of.
So Charbon, what should needabit do to stop this?
Meaning well means absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. The very fact you say he "means well" rather than "he treats me well" is a bad sign. Listen to blueberry. I agree there is no way you would see him as a shithead even if he was and I think he is...
email him your concerns and see what he comes back with.
You can get everything you want put down without interuption and you can think clearly to word the email so you get across what is important to you.
Im no good at talking so i bulletpoint my issues.
Hi, OP. First, you sound really lovely. But, and I don't want to scare you off/upset you, your DP sounds a whole lot less than lovely to this outsider
- He can chat to a younger, vulnerable colleague for 2 hours on FB, but he can't find a window to chat to his partner and mother of his children for potentially 2 weeks??!
- Me and DH used to be really into our music - gigs, bands and all that goes with it. Now, though, our priorities are different - we still enjoy all that, but have 2 DC and life is diferent. You mention that you and DP are late 30s, well, IMHO, that's a bit old for him to be obsessing over obscure bands with someone in their early 20s.
- Their FB chat was totally inappropriate, comments about the appearance of an attractive early 20s and comparing interests with her and you is just not on.
I don't think she's a threat necessarily - I think DP is the problem here, which will be harder for you to accept than if it was the colleague that was the issue.
By this outsider, I mean me, not your DPs colleague, just to be clear!"
No communication in a relationship only works if only one person is considered you see, my dh made that one person me, he seems to be making that one person you. I mean come on you have to ask him when he can schedule you in for a relationship talk... How stifling that is...
If it helps give you something to kick off your discussions tonight, I can tell you that - as an HR professional - I would view the chat messaging you quoted as being an indicator of (as opposed to direct evidence of) sexual harassment on his part. Especially given the age gap between them. If there were three or four messages in a similar vein (where the woman is clearly not encouraging it herself) it would amount to enough to warrant investigation should she complain. Just the one comment I would consider to be a bit silly on his part, but I would certainly have an informal word with him if she mentioned it to me (it would be at a low level though because I consider fb and the like to be something that both parties choose to engage in, whereas this would be far more serious if part of general work email traffic).
FWIW the relationship being established here is not really a healthy one, especially if she is leaning on him as a result of work issues. She may start looking at him to protect her at work and he could interpret this in a whole bunch of inappropriate ways. I don't think either of them are particularly 'at fault', but neither of them have thought through where their actions are going. You were spot on in your sense of unease here.
The picture I am getting is of a man whose ego has never matured, so he needs 'strokes' from everyone to keep him going. This is also why he can't bear to be in the wrong. He also sounds quite self-absorbed and selfish which is why even when he's in the wrong and can't escape that, he manages to turn the drama back onto himself by self-flagellating, instead of concentrating on the upset he caused others by the wrong.
I don't think you see either you or your partner very realistically OP and this is part of the problem.
I get the sense that you regard his egotism, self-absorption and selfishness as friendliness, a cross borne by a creative genius and introspection that is typical of many men. I think you still see yourself as the cool, laid-back girlfriend who isn't too bothered about security and having boundaries around friendships that threaten your relationship.
In a nutshell, you've probably changed and matured since having children - and he hasn't - but you're both still stuck in these old scripts.
The best way of dealing with this would be to express your concerns about this friendship, but to recognise that this is actually just a symptom of his overall character. Until he recognises why he feels the need for these strokes, there will be a succession of younger, adoring women being introduced as props over the years. This particular young friend is only significant because it's obvious he's fishing for an ego boost and some good feelings about being a male rescuer. But she could be anybody and there will be more like her.
I'd be asking questions about what he's getting out of this, because his intentions are in no way altruistic. I'd also be reversing this and asking him how he would feel if you were devoting this much time to a new male colleague who shared a passion with you for something that left him cold - and suggested he came round when your partner was going to be elsewhere with the children.
The problem is that getting him to see all this pre-supposes an emotional maturity that he is evidently lacking - and I think that's the core problem here. Because of that, I think any talks will be stonewalled and he'll carry on with a new obsession he doesn't want to give up.
So ultimately you can only do your bit, express yourself honestly and then make some decisions if he ignores you. You don't have to be in a relationship with someone who is this emotionally immature. They make very bad parents especially when children become older. You can decide that you want a different relationship with a more emotionally intelligent man.
Offred. The problems with this kind of thread is that it's a snapshot of a relationship and readers can't get the whole picture. I haven't written about the good things as that's not what's on my mind right now! But yes, he does treat me well.
Chandon "I get the sense that you regard his egotism, self-absorption and selfishness as friendliness, a cross borne by a creative genius and introspection that is typical of many men."
Again it's hard to get a picture of a person from one thread that's focusing on the stuff that's not working! But I don't recognise the picture you're paining. I don't see him as some kind of creative genius and excuse bad behaviour on that basis! I know the type you're talking about, and that's not DP, not at all.
I honestly can't see him getting worried about me spending time with a young male colleague. Someone upthread asked if that's because he trusts me implicitly or because he doesn't see me as being sexually attracted to others. I'm still thinking about that one, I don't know.
Anyway ... I feel I'm getting sidetracked here! I've obviously not done a very good job of painting an accurate picture of DP if you all think he's a shithead!
He isn't, really, honest!
It seems a bit silly for me to carry on arguing this though, as then the thread turns into me defending DP!
"or because he doesn't see me as being sexually attracted to others."
Or, worse, because he doesn't see you as sexually attractive to others.
OK, we had a bit of a chat last night.
I didn't bring up the colleague thing. I talked with one of my best friends (also a long standing friend of DP) before I spoke to DP, and I realised I don't want to bring up the friendship with the colleague, not just yet anyway. At the moment it's all out in the open, and I don't want to risk driving it underground.
I think I do want meet her. It's important to me that I'm a real person to her. Time is an issue, I can't imagine a dinner invite happening very soon. I may be able to meet her at work sometime soon anyway. I appreciate the real issue is with DP, not the colleague (as far as I can make out anyway), but this is something I want to do anyway. DP and I have had a hard time recently, and I think some nipping in the bud can't hurt.
We didn't chat directly about all the things I wanted to, but it was a good start. We talked about having to make sure we make time for each other, particularly as this is going to be such a busy time these next few months. I promised to put the computer down occasionally! (Joking aside, this is an issue, I know it). I need to make time for DP. If he did have an affair now, I would feel I was partly responsible for studiously ignoring him so much recently! That has to change, I know it.
It was nice. I felt listened to, and that we're connecting. I didn't get the sense that DP was withdrawing from our relationship, not at all. We talked about our marriage plans at one point which was nice too.
The "can't talk for 2 weeks" thing disappeared. I think I caught DP at a bad time when he said that - perhaps he was stressing about how much he has to do when that came out. In reality it's not an issue.
I think the most important thing I'm getting from this is that we've both had a difficult time recently, and we need to actually work at helping each other through it. We haven't been.
And, I've got a date A friend has agreed to babysit and we're going to go out one night next week.
The colleague thing - well, I'll keep an eye on it. I will mention it to DP if it seems to be escalating.
AThing, I do think he knows I'm sexually attractive to others!
What I don't understand is why you can't just come out and say it -that he is making you feel insecure. Why do you need to "book" an appointment. By doing this you will be making yourself more anxious about bringing it up!
In one way your relationship sounds very formal and proper that you have to have proper discussions about stuff while on the other hand very liberal and relaxed chatting late at night on the internet and such like.
Just tell him! If he is as 'nice' as you make out he will back right off with this women and see the error of his ways. You are not being paranoid trust your gut instinct. Good luck I think he will be fine. If he is not then its time to admit you have a real problem.
The reason I "booked an appointment" was purely because I find it hard to bring this kind of stuff up (always have in previous relationships, that's to do with me, not DP).
I said "I need to make a time to talk" because then it makes me do it IYSWIM. I know if I just wait for the "right time" I'll put it off.
Glad your chat went well
When are you getting married? I can't imagine how we would have found the time and inclination to do it once children had arrived, but I can highly recommend it.
Enjoy your date.
I'm going to take a leaf out of your "close the computer" book. It's so easy to be beside each other not interacting.
At the risk of being flamed I was the OW in this
almost exact situation. I was very young (no excuse I know!) and now I'm a mother myself I know for a fact I would never get into a situation like that again.
You need to put a stop to their relationship. If he values your relationship he will agree. I was introduced to his exdp and their son. It didn't stop us falling in love, it just made the eventual split much harder on all involved. I was invited to stay overnight frequently. Although nothing happened until after he left her I know I was a catalyst.
Our relationship was inappropriate and should never have continued. For what its worth we are very happily married with 3dc's and been together 10 years. It was never just a cheap thrill!
I still feel guilty (even though everyone has moved on) and even tho neither of us were ever out to have an affair or cheat we just fell in love.
We bonded over shared interests and he confided in me about their relationship problems. It was allowed to continue (she encouraged our friendship) and when he started investing more time in me than his family it caused us to have an even stronger bond due to their arguments.
Ultimately in my situation she didn't want to fight for the relationship and encouraged us to spend time together "to get him out the way"- her words.
It sounds different for you though so stop this before it develops into strong feelings. Sorry for such a long post but I've been there. Things can happen quickly.
Also if you find it hard to talk can you show him this thread? That way it's not just made out that 'its in your head' or that you're jealous. I hope you can resolve this.
Thanks for posting, Flippers, I appreciate your perspective.
Some food for thought there ...
I don't want to worry you!
Sometimes it goes deeper than just sexual attraction tho. If they find it easy to chat for 2 hours with barely any flirting then it's a very good friendship developing. The fact that he is helping her with personal problems also indicates an emotional bond. If they also happen to find each other attractive then that's a bad combination.
You sound very mature and calm in the way you handled things. So many posters waste their energy hating 'the competition'. I think you went about things in a good way here.
OP, well done for tackling things in a measured way rather than go in with guns blazing.
But this situation raises many red flags for me that perhaps even your dh (believing all you say about him) is not aware of himself.
I am not the jealous kind. I have an aupair at home who is very attractive. My dh's secretary at work is a hottie. He meets up with female colleagues, friends etc without me.
But this is one situation where I will play the trump card. I would nip this in the bud asap. As flip says (case on point), if he values your relationship, he will agree. If she has no claws on him, she will see the sense too.
I will leave you to phrase it the way you think best, but don't bottle out of this one. You must overcome your natural aversion to these conversations and get your message across. If anything, their reaction will be very telling.
BTW, inviting a colleague of the opposite sex to stay overnight in one's house is deeply inappropriate and sends out all the wrong signals.
You might think this is all creative industry 60s free love casual, but it is not, and most definitely if you and the children are not in the house.
If you don't tell your dh that is a no-no, there will be times when you might perhaps take the children to go to stay with your family, or be out of the house, and an impromptu arrangement happens between your dh and her. One thing leads to another ... it does not take a genius.
If I wanted to have an affair, my spouse allowing me to invite a male colleague overnight without him around is practically a green card. Why make it so easy for them?
Personally I wouldn't show my OH a thread about them if it's been a useful place to let off steam. Back to the old rl vs mumsnet conflict!
OP glad you've been able to talk to your DP fwiw I thought you took everyone's comments on the chin and I really hope you get through this okay, good luck.
Athing, no idea when we're getting married! We definitely don't have the energy for arranging a wedding any time soon. But we talked a bit about what a wedding means to us. It was nice.
Flippers, I am worried. Hopefully it'll blow over. He was flirting. Hopefully it was a one-off, and nothing in it really. But I'm not confident that that's the case. I just don't know. Time will tell I guess.
I don't want to have to fight for him. I want him to be with me because he wants to.
blueshoes that's a difficult one. You see the only reason I know he invited her over is because I read their FB chat. That conversation is out of bounds to talk about unless I admit snooping and I'm not keen on admitting that just now!
DonkeysDontRideBicycles I don't think I'll show him this thread as I worry he might feel weird that I've written so much personal stuff about our relationship in a public place. I'm confident we can't be recognised in RL though, I've been careful not to include details which are unusual to us IYSWIM.
I do think I might have a go at writing my feelings down for him to read however.
The more I read this the more cross I get on your behalf! He is out of order to have invited her over and flirted with her. Have men got no sense we just read this time and time again on MN. Men being immature and selfish having affairs because they could not help it !
See there is nothing wrong with finding other people attractive. There was the other side of a similar situation where the woman confessed to fantasing about a man she worked with. It is whether you cross the line and risk hurting and losing your partner. It is about respect.
Sorry that was a bit sexist women can be just as bad!
You're being so accommodating OP, I just don't get it. His behaviour is totally inappropriate and if it were me I'd be telling him that his relationship with this woman was not acceptable. Is it because you're scared of driving him away? Obviously you wouldn't have posted if you were comfortable with the situation so maybe you should just admit to yourself it's a big deal. Because it surely is.
I'm intrigued by the music thing BTW - what is your DP into?
I said in my last post that you don't seem to see in your DP what others do, based on your posts about him. That could be because you've given an inaccurate impression or it could be that you're too close to the situation to gain an accurate perspective.
In your latest posts, I see some further problems. You seem to think that your own behaviour can prevent your DP having an affair and that if you stop using the computer as much, this might help. You also say that if he had an affair, you would feel partly responsible for it because of the time you spend not focused on him. This is flawed thinking.
The only person who can prevent him having an affair is him actually and one of his deterrent factors should be to come away from his computer, facebook chats and 2 hour conversations with his colleague.
You also seem to fear being honest with him about how vulnerable you feel about this friendship and that seems to have deeper roots than just your fear of confrontation in relationships.
yes, you do seem to have a boyf/girl relationship re 'I don't want to sound too keen/bunny boiler'. All well and good when you were late teens/early 20s and there are no particular commitments between you. but you have a family now...
What I can't forget - and this is creeping into my rl thoughts OP! - is when he asked you about the song/band, knowing what your response would be. It was blatant comparing.
Plus your alarm is going off, big time. Listen to that!
Oh, OP, I really hope this works out for you. I would second what Charbon posted at 1246. I know you think we've all got the wrong end of the stick re your DP, but you haven't given us much else to go on. What I see is an immature man in his late 30s, who's flattered by and attracted to a younger colleague who's into the same "stuff" as him. And I see a worried partner, who says she would feel partly responsible if he did have an affair because she doesn't spend enough time on him Only he can have an affair, and my instinct would tell me that he's halfway to having an emotional affair already.
Only he can take the decision to have an affair
Needabit, what is facebook for but for snooping. It is designed for snooping. Presumably you are his friend on facebook. Why should you not have seen the message?
People don't put messages on facebook if they don't want it to be read.
I would just be matter-of-fact about reading it. If he accuses you of snooping, well, he would be deflecting and that would count against him.
You seem to be treading so gingerly around your dh. It is as if you are not secure in your relationship with him.
I never give dh ultimatums as regards his friendships with other women. It is not my style nor do any raise alarm bells. But in this case, if I were you, I would have every siren going off at the same time.
I have no fear to look my dh in the whites of his eyes and set out the boundaries very clearly in this instance. The rest is up to him. But it looks as if you are not prepared to do this. Can you ask yourself why?
Instinct is amazing, isn't it? I've only felt jealous of other women twice in my life, the first time the girl turned out to be a serial cheater who tried it on with pretty much every man I know, the second time it transpired later that she had declared her love to my then-partner. Sigh.
Sounds like you're handling it well, and it's really good that you're pinning it on him rather than her. She is probably hoping that having made friends with an older, family man she will be able to confide in someone without having to worry about crap like him flirting with her or trying or it on. Or at least only in a "safe" way that she can brush off (as you saw).
He really doesn't want to be that particular brand of pathetic loser who gets a crush on someone half his age and makes it awkward for her at work. She's already suffering from being the object of gossip there, that's the last thing she needs. Maybe you could approach it from that angle, if you do at all? I.e. that he shouldn't develop any kind of "special" friendship with her because she needs a chance to establish herself in her own right at work without people talking snidely about her?
Needabit, you sound like a lovely person. But I honestly don't know why you don't bring this issue up with your DP. WHY are you tip-toeing around him? Just be honest! His behaviour was inappropriate and unacceptable. The more I think about him inviting her back to your house (on an afternoon when you were to be away) and offering a spare bed....the more I realise how deeply inappropriate and dangerous that it was. I can assure you I'd be livid if my DH did such a thing - especially without informing me! Never mind your casual, cool, relaxed relationship (which is clearly working in his interest at this point): you need to have boundaries of what is and isn't appropriate. It would be so dangerous if that had happened. No wonder you're worried. Never mind the facebook snooping - I take it you're his friend on facebook and have access?
I agree with the others that you actually sound quite insecure about your relationship You shouldn't be scared of laying down the law. Are you afraid that will turn him away? If so that's a bad sign in itself.
I'm glad you're going out on a date and I hope it goes well - but please be more open with him.
Not only is she insecure about their relationship, but also I think her boundaries have been blurred over the years and as a result she isn't sure what is appropriate and what isn't.
I also think she is afraid of pushing him into an affair if she confronts him.
OP - unfortunately there is nothing you can do to prevent him from having an affair, infidelity is all about the cheater's ego, issues and coping mechanisms. Please do not bend over backwards being the perfect wife - he won't notice because he does not want to as he is already checking out of your relationship and becoming far too absorbed into this new thrilling exciting friendship....
I hope you have checked out the link I sent you upthread.
Elephantsandmiasmas, agree 'like'.
If I thought my DH was too friendly with someone, tbh, I would just tell him....
From what I've experienced over recent months I'm quite clear on what is appropriate and what isnt'.
Anything that you/DH/DP wouldn't want the other party to know about, ie conducted in secret is, in my view, in appropriate.
If it was all 'open' on FB/joint email account etc, then it is out in the open. If it is secret texts/FB chat (not on wall) then I believe that is inappropriate and the person doing it is clearly trying to conceal it for a reason. The reason may not be that they are having an affair, but deep down, they know that their partner would be unhappy about it. In that case, clearly the knowledge that their partner would be unhappy makes it inappropriate.
yes......... you could say that nobody can ever live their life never making their partner unhappy, and if it's something important like a job or if they're torn between two members of their family that'd be one thing.. but making your partner unhappy so you can spend more time on the internet?
MOS, it was in their private chat. So to look at it I had to snoop. The things I object to are things I found out by snooping and I'm not ready to admit that atm.
However DP's account isn't something he keeps private from me. He has the same password for everything, which I know (and he's even set up some accounts for me with this password!)
DP and I often use each other's computers too.
I don't think using private chat to talk is unusual in itself. I much prefer using private chat to talk to my friends rather than their walls, and will usually use this if I see they're online.
I'm pretty sure he doesn't think he's doing anything more than being friendly. It would be a long conversation to get him to understand why it seems dodgy!
I would use private chat rather than "wall" chat, too, OP, but I guess the issue here is the content of the chat, which has made you feel uncomfortable and insecure.
It would be a long conversation to get him to understand why it seems dodgy!
I really feel for you, that he can't see that it is inappropriate and that you seem reluctant to call hiim on this. Hope you can work it out.
tbh, I think you have a bigger problem than his behaviour towards that woman, innocent or otherwise. You have difficulty openly discussing your feelings, and no doubt this will arise as an issue over other areas in the future.
Good healthy communication means being able to say what is on your mind to your partner without all this overthinking. And him being able to hear it and take it on board without being all defensive.
You need to talk, and at the end of it he needs to agree with you that it isnt appropriate to have extended that invite.
Agree with MOS.
In my case the private chat facility enabled dp to conduct ea which led onto infidelity, the chat turned into texts turned into meet ups.
I think the private chat (when used this way) can seem extremely intimate between the two parties, you also can't add tone to the way things are typed, you can also type things which you probably wouldn't say in real life, before you know it things have got out of hand and it all becomes secretive, something you don't want your dp seeing.
I hate the chat facility! but that's through my own experience of dp abusing my trust. I often wonder if I'd have stumbled upon his 'chats' earlier things wouldn't have gone as far as they did but you live and learn I suppose.
All being said, you've mentioned that you have access to his fb so this is something at least, I presume that their 'chats' sit where you can read them if you log on? can they not be deleted?
Been lurking but wanted to support you op- hope your date night goes well.
Being friendly isnt private messaging and listening to music, chatting online for hours. It's saying hello, did you have a good weekend? That's it really. And she should be out and about, making friends not messing with your dp. He is not helping her by being her new best friend. You need him, and he needs to know that. There is no way I would let her stay or come over alone - if he manages to talk you round, and invites her, insist you invite someone her own age or she brings someone.
And when you go to bed, she leaves. Not staying up giggling and you all lonely.
Your instincts are right IMO, and if you have access to his pc, I would delete her messages or write back gaily ' dh isn't here, can I help? He has told me you have trouble making friends, he is being so kind, really you youngsters! " I got rid of someone hanging round like that once, but I was a bit more direct iykwim
Your dh can't complain can he, after all she is just a Friend you both feel sorry for.
I like your style, Lavendar <takes notes in case>
A nice warning shot across the bow and one OP's dh cannot argue with.
Lavender, if you normally act like that I think that works but if that is out of character it would come across differently. NOT saying I don't think it's a good approach though.
Good point Blueberry, yes I suppose so. however the op says her and her husband have friends of the opposite sex and they all meet each other. It's seems in this instance the new friend is being treated differently and is unaware of the sharing between op and dh which has happened in the past.
i cant understand what there is if you dont have good communication with your partner, and if you find it easier to discuss the issue with your own colleague than him, and if he feels youre disinterested in his hobbies? What is YOUR bond and connection?
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