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Please help me to stop being such an idiot - married man(147 Posts)
I work with him, for a long time I didn't think of him like 'that' at all as we were both married and I didn't find him particularly attractive anyway. Somehow though over a period of a couple of years of working closely together (during which I had a messy divorce) it got to the stage where we'd built up a friendship that was a bit too close, he quite obviously flirted and could be quite suggestive. I naively told myself that I'd although I liked him, I'd never let anything happen as I didn't want to get involved with someone who was married but I think I'd already allowed myself to get sucked in and started to rely on the contact and attention.
Eventually after a work event we slept together - I was very drunk, he didn't force himself on me and I could have (and obviously should have) stopped it but I feel he did take his chance and slightly take advantage of the situation. Afterwards I told him I regretted it, he said he didn't and since then he's carried on as before, continued the flirting and makes comments that suggest he'd like it to happen again.
I've told him it's not going to happen again but the problem is I keep getting sucked in. I can keep my distance and keep it professional for a while but then if I spend any period of time with him he seems to be able to win me around and it goes back to the overly familiar/flirty stage (although nothing else physical has happened).
I know I'm being a fool to let him use me like this and to be doing this to his wife - he doesn't even make any secret of the fact that he just wants something on the side, he doesn't really pretend to particularly care about me and has never suggested that he's not happy with or doesn't love his wife.
If I'm honest with myself I know it's probably a self esteem thing and I just don't want to let go of the attention but I know I need to for my own sanity. What can I do to stop getting sucked in and put a proper stop to this? There's no way I can get out of working with him although I have stopped attending any events where drink is involved and avoid being alone with him.
I know this isn't the place for sympathy, with all the horrible stories of people being hurt by their husbands and people like me but I just need a good talking to to snap out of it and put a proper stop to this.
I know the employment market is difficult, but you need to start looking for another job.
It is hard to go NC if you have to see someone at work. So you do need to change workplace. Chalk it up to the price of experience, and move forward to a new environment where you might meet new friends.
And well done for recognising that you need to get away from this mess.
You scare me OP. they say hurt people hurt.
Basically this chaps wife is paying the price for whatever anger/dissatisfaction/need that arose from the break up of your own relationship.
Did your exH cheat or did you ever suspect he did?
Is this your way of getting even in some way. the gratification that you could pull someone who is in a marriage.
I hope you can heal.
You're more valuable than that.
Laura Mvula Diamonds
I think you need to realise that if the chips are down, he will throw you under the bus to save his own skin - his job, and his marriage. I always worry about women who get into difficult situations in the workplace, because a combination of gender prejudice and men's sheer brass neck usually means it's the woman who suffers, professionally. For example, you've started avoiding events - a good decision in terms of the relationship, but what does it mean for you professionally?
Does that perspective help? You have to start putting yourself first.
I agree with meditrina that changing jobs will be easiest. But will that set you back? if so, I also think you have the strength to cut him dead. Be a very friendly, very professional ice queen. To avoid unpleasantness, I would have a quick chat with him to the effect of 'it's better this way', if possible leaving him with the sense that it's a decision he's made. To be frank he has been manipulating you, and I think you have to start manipulating him.
He took advantage of you while you were very drunk - what kind of man would do that?? I would hope that this in itself would make you see what a pig he is.
If you can't get another job anytime soon you do need to keep your distance and be professional but cool with. Btw people at work will 100% have noticed that some kind of affair has/is happening.
You don't mention much about your own marrige in the thread. Are happy with your H? Do you have DCs? You mention his wife, what about your husband?
sorry OP - don't know how I missed the divorced bit!!
Your being an idiot op... STOP IT!
Try to picture his wife and children crying with utter devastation when they find out. That should do the job.
Beautiful link ofmiceandmen Thanks for sharing.
Whitesugar - I think it's HIM who needs to picture that now the OP has said she doesn't want to continue, and he is carrying on with the same behaviour.
Well OP is the one who said she keeps getting sucked back in.
I am surprised the wife and child bit didn't put you off! Stop being an idiot and get a new job if you can't trust yourself around him!
Find another job as soon as you can. This man isn't yours, his loyalty should be to his wife and children, and regardless of how flattering his attentions are, find another way to boost your self esteem.
You sound very passive in it all, OP. I'm not convinced you want it to end though.
Am I wrong?
I'd have a word with your boss, this is basically harassment in the work place, make them rwsnsfervyou at the very least and deny you slept with him.
He deserves to lose his job tbh this predatory behaviour is disgusting.
As you have suggested, you need to build on your self esteem.
He is making your self esteem worse, not better.
If you can apply for another job, then do so.
Put your self esteem to a higher importance than attention and flattery.
He has no motivation to change jobs, so almost certainly won't.
So, massively unfair though it is, you're going to have to. Start looking tonight.
agree, he will drop you like a hot spud, and it will be nasty.
Agree that a quiet word with HR might avoid any future trouble and give you the jump on him. Be a bit clever here OP. Be a bit brutal.
It's clear to you that he has no real feelings for you, plus he is married. Why on earth are you attracted to him?
I know it can only end badly and I do want to end it (whatever 'it' is) I'm just finding it difficult to completely extract myself from it. I've done the 'it's best this way' chat and he'll be normal for a while but then it will gradually get to the stage where he's pushing things again and my problem is that I don't seem able to keep up the icequeen routine.
I was hoping it wouldn't get to the stage where I had to leave - I have been looking for a new job but for what I do and where I live it would be difficult and would probably mean taking a step backwards career wise.
yellowballoons - any suggestions on how?
If you type in "self esteem" into search on here, lots of threads talking about self esteem will come up.
I dont think there have been any recent ones in the last 2 months, but there have been several threads about it over the years.
This is a prime example of why never to get involved with somebody at work. But that doesn't help you. But he shouldn't be harassing you like this if you have now told him that's it. Of course you made a mistake but that should be the end of it. I don't really see why you should have to change jobs because he won't take no for an answer. But if you end up encouraging him then you've got to take some of the blame.
Have a sharp word and threaten him with telling the boss if he doesn't back off. Or ask for a transfer to another department if that's possible.
I don't feel I can tell his boss as it's not a big company and he's fairly high up so I don't think they'd want anyone making trouble and it would probably end up affecting me more than him if it came out.
You could try posting in legal to see what your position is.
If you want him to stop, and he doesnt, then I think he is in trouble legally.
I'm not sure he's doing anything I could really complain about though - he's not tried it on physically again he's just getting in my head.
Getting in your hgead - so he is in a position of authority - makes you feel like you couldn't complain about his unwanted advances because you'd end up coming off worse - I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that this is unwanted - and you are concerned for your position within the company if you spell it out that you do not want any unprofessional contact.
They call that sexual harrasment and it's against the law - I received 5,000 pounds in compensation and kept my job when I made a complaint about our CEO's unwelcome attention - he "worked from home" for 6 months until everything died down and kept right out of my way.
You shouldn't have to look for a new job but you can take steps to ignore his calls/texts - but keep them incase you need evidence - and for god sake don't shit on your own doorstep again. Or shit on some other woman by sleeping with her husband, karma bites back IME.
I wouldn't be so sure your boss would be wholly supportive of him. Most mature employers view these kind of things as unprofessional and expect better of their senior staff.
Your boss may view the situation as 50/50.
You could try politely and firmly emailling him saying that if he does not respect your wishes and back off you will be forced to take the matter further and you will be taking legal advice. That his behaviour is harassment, that you wholly prepared to act upon any legal advice offered including referring the matter to your employer. You could say that if he'd rather not have a sexual harrassment case brought against him then you could agree if he leaves you alone and keep things strictly professional then no one need know. Make good on your threat, a solicitors letter might make himn realise you are no longer a pushover.
What's the worst that could happen this may not work and you may have to find a new job. Which is what everyone is suggesting, I don't know why more people are not telling you to stand up to this man.
It's not so much that he's harrassing me though as when I tell him to stop he does. It's more that I need to be able to maintain the lack of contact and professional relationship only. At the moment I tell him I don't want anything more than to be colleagues and aren't interested in anything happening, he accepts that and we are ok working together for a couple of weeks but then gradually he starts being more friendly, contacting me outside of work etc and sometimes I can feel that it's working and I'm letting my guard down again which I know is stupid.
Rootypig - that perspective does help, I know deep down he would drop me without a second thought if he thought this was all going to come out so I need to be strong enough to completely walk away from it.
There's a chance in a few months that I won't need to work so closely with him so think that will help.
He has no business contacting you out of work if you dont want him to.
You keep using these very passive phrases "he seems to be able to win me around", "I don't seem able to keep up the icequeen routine", "sometimes I can feel that it [his friendliness] is working and I'm letting my guard down again".
Your behaviour is entirely under your own control. Why do you feel you have to respond to him when he flirts? Why do you respond at all when he contacts you outside work? If you have no problem maintaining appropriate boundaries with any number of other professional contacts, why is he different?
I don't think you have any sort of legal route to take, since it's clear from the subtext of your posts that you are engaging in flirting with him and that you are saying you're not interested but then clearly showing interest.
How about telling him that you are attracted to him and think he's a great guy, but that you really can't get involved with someone who is married. Tell him that if he wants to end his marriage you would be interested in seeing how things go. See how he feels about that suggestion hmmm?
Good lord no. Don't tell him that.
If you really want to get rid of him (and I'm not sure that you do) then tell him the sex wasn't satisfying and you won't be doing it again.
That should do it.
IME men like this don't stop they see it as a game, a challenge etc.
You need to control yourself! No contact outside of work! Walk away from anything flirtatious. Avoid him at all costs. If he continues tell him you will tell his wife and you will enjoy watching his perfect little world crumble. The fear factor should hopefully make him back off. Best option is to change job.
You need to find a new source of self esteem. Start dating again. He sounds horrible btw. I wish his wife knew what he was like and was free of him.
He won't back off whilst you keep encouraging him!
Your a grown woman FFS, start acting like it. Seriously do you think no one in the office hasn't seen what's going on and with office gender bias he will be seen as a lothario and you a slut, sluts are viewed way more negatively. Your professional reputation has already taken a hit within this company and your "I keep being sucked back in" passive hand wringing the perpetrator. You are responsible for your behaviour.
It's very simple, get a new job or iron knickers.
FFS this is why I so do not swallow any of the OW owes the marriage and wife nothing bollocks, this one knows exactly what's going on, exactly how to stop it and she just doesn't want to. If the wife tears your head off verbally or otherwise don't come crying on here when she finds out - and she will.
Isetan is blunt but correct. You will be deemed to be the slut who led him astray and devastated a wife and child. Your job will be affected. Passive I can't help it won't cut it then. I think you know this though and recognise you need to be active in stopping this.
NC is obviously the best answer. Self esteem is the cause of your reaction to his flirting. It's also the cause of his reason to chase you. Get your esteem building elsewhere. Take up running...anything...a hobby and get out and date, meet new friends but distract yourself.
Since he is in a higher position that you, if you do piss him off (telling him sex wasn't satisfying for example) I suspect you'd see another side of him which would pop that self esteem boost instantly. He'd probably toss you aside in favour of new flirt and then conveniently manoeuvre you to a place where you were less risk and you had been discredited in the company. Ponder that.
Tell him how happy you ate with your new boyfriend! If you don't want to go down the harassment route then this might put him off?
Eating your men might scare him off, too! ;)
Dunno why the OP is getting such crap on here, she is the free agent here, it's he and his wife who are is responsible for the marriage working, not her.
Main thing to bear in mind is if OP does get involved, at work it's likely to be OP who comes off worse when it's over. Best to find distractions elsewhere to reduce temptation.
Lazyjaney.Sounds like you are or have been in an extra marital affair?
Since when does a person having an affair with a married person been able to say that she is not behaving badly?
The op knows this. And she also knows that it is not doing her self esteem or her life any good. And is trying to get out of it. Well done her.
'when you carry on flirting with me i feel really bad for your wife and like i should tell her what happened. i really want to believe what happened was a one off and you don't always treat her like that or i will have to tell her'
along those lines would work.
he's in authority at work but you hold cards with this one.
his wife who are is responsible for the marriage working. Yes - naughty wife not looking after her man! [shocked]. I agree OP is a free agent. Tbh I think the thread has been gentler than a real life exposure of an affair would be
Stop being such an idiot. Think of his poor wife. Jesus he's not even nice to you!
Just think of it as a grim liaison. Basically you did not remotely fancy him, how have things got so twisted that you shagged him. Think yuk!
He is married and so he's destroying the lives of his wife and children.
So, he's ugly on the outside and ugly on the inside. Surely you want better than that? Try to think of him this way.
Tell him clearly you wish to have a working relationship only and he needs to stop all the flirty crap.
A person has a responsibility to himself or herself.
Hence the adding to self esteem issues.
Feeling guilty about something does nothing to help self esteem.
Listen to Stepmooster.
No point in doing one thing and saying another unless you are not being honest about how much you enjoy being chased by somebody regardless of their own sexual and moral impropriety.
Doesn't matter that you don't class this as sexual harassment. What you need to do is send that email and keep a copy. That is the best way to keep him at bay. Anything less suggests you actually do not want this to stop.
As Madeleine Allbright once said "There's a special place in Hell for women who don't help other woman". Help his wife before you break her heart and rid yourself of this twunk.
OP, you have realised your mistake now you need to change it, immediately,
I can't help but feel so so upset for this mans wife, what a pig, and what a naive woman you have been, you need to go NC. I actually hate men who do this, why would you waste your time on some pig? Just grow some imaginary balls and keep the fuck away. He is disgusting. He is a player and he only wants you for the "game" he obviously likes a challenge.
God what a prick of a man, and what a daft idiotic woman you have been
You are in control of your own behaviour. So just don't fuck someone else's husband and ruin her life and those of her children's. HTH.
Thinking about this again, I'm not sure I like the phrase "ice queen routine" anyway. That implies you're still playing the game with him, being aloof to lead him on. Whereas in fact you just need to behave like a normal professional adult would behave with any colleague who is not a friend.
tbh her stopping this sleaze bag hitting on her doesn't help his wife. his wife has married a sleazebag - the OP may be one of many people he is sleazy around and has slept with.
the wife's life is already ruined in that she's married a sleazebag who fucks around behind her back. the only way to actually be decent to the wife would be to tell her but i doubt many would be up for doing that.
Get your Big Girl Pants on and tell him to go fuck himself
Don't be such a sap, seriously
Why are you taking his calls outside of work then?
Lazyjaney.Sounds like you are or have been in an extra marital affair
Or I'm more realistic and less judgmental than you?
Swallowedafly summarizes the wife's situation well just above, if it wasn't the OP it would be someone else and probably was.
So you think it is ok behaviour?
I don't respond when he contacts me outside of work now, I know I probably never should have but it was a long slippery slope from innocent work friends to not so innocent.
I'm not playing games, by the icequeen comment I just meant shutting down any attempt at anything more than work conversations, which sometimes seems quite rude but I have to remind myself that we're not in any way friends
Why don't you change your number and let only people who you want to contact you, have the new one?
Or block his number?
He only uses my work phone number - I can't turn it off as my boss expects to be able to get hold of me outside of work if she needs to
You say you dont want to be rude to him.
But his behaviour is far worse to his wife, so dont worry at all about being rude to him.
Rude is what he and you need.
OP you're getting an awful lot of flak here that I don't think you deserve. The other posters perhaps have never struggled to control their actions . More likely you are coming in for ire as the OW. Well he made vows to his wife, not you.
If you stay in the job, you need to keep away from him. Small company nd it sounds as though another job will be hard to come by - this is serious, not a harmless flirtation. What you're saying is you've been relying on willpower alone and it's not working. Have a good think about what would help you to stay away. Your boss / HR knowing doesn't seem to be possible. How about some external support for you, to strengthen your resolve and build your self esteem. Therapy? Boxing class? Arranging dates with unmarried men? If you are serious about getting out of this with your dignity intact, you need to come up with an answer.
You also need to find a way to see him for what he is - if the attraction would vanish, you'd have no problem resisting. Focus on the things you find unattractive about him. When he contacts you, think to yourself that he's just made excuses to leave a room his wife and DC are in to do it. Pathetic, really.
Get your cv together, get on linked in and start networking. I don't see why you should stop going to events with drink, unless you have an issue with alcohol and can't drink sift drinks or water. If you are expected to attend you may be damaging your job anyway.
Go, drink water, stay away from him and lift share, or leave early.
Try not to be alone with him in the office and when he is over familiar tell him to stop or just call the meeting short.
Don't answer the phone outside work, he can leave a message. If you were abseiling you wouldn't snatch up the phone would you?
And you need some new friends - if you has to rely on him at work for your divorce misery, you must be quite lonely. Go to meet ups, join a women in business club, and try to meet people that way.
He would definety throw you under a bus . Don't give him the chance.
As others have said, you're not helpless, you can control your behaviour. Just don't reply to unsolicited messages or calls. Still go to events, and limit the booze and avoid him. Focus on yourself and doing well at work.
Don't worry about appearing rude to him: he is not your friend and what he thinks of you is irrelevant, given that he's a shit who cheats on his wife and DC and has treated you badly too. He's actually a threat, what if he's involved in redundancy decisions, for example?
If you WANT to continue the flirtation, it's your life, but take responsibility for that decision ( rather than "I'm just so weak, he was so persuasive, I was sucked in" crap). That path won't lead to anything good.
Not an Idiot You, I think you have shown exactly what a decent person you are by coming on here and sharing all this.
You have written absolutely perfectly what Shirley Glass talks about boundaries slowly slipping without noticing:
"I don't respond when he contacts me outside of work now, I know I probably never should have but it was a long slippery slope from innocent work friends to not so innocent."
This is exactly how infidelity starts.
Rootypig, another perspective of 'the flak' is that the harshness of it has jolted her out of her bubble, fantasy and thrill being a powerful powerful addiction.
Look at how her perspective has changed. She has gone from 'I can't help myself' to truly seeing how disgusting this behaviour is.
That she is disgusted with herself shows what a decent person she really is and how far from an idiot she is.
Resepect for your courage and honesty, OP. It is the tough things that make us a better man!!!!
So you think it is ok behaviour
I think it is what it is, affairs at work are pretty common, and the OP is hardly the first woman or the last to have an inadvisable drunken shag.
Besides, the OP is a free agent, she isn't married to his wife, he is. If it wasn't her shagging him someone else would be and probably has. Save all this ire for him.
Best is to find other things to do, people to have relationships with, etc. Also agree with networking around (cf other things to do) but it may well be that there are few other jobs in town, so she may have to work with the guy, just let it fizzle out by not responding, no histrionics and certainly no reporting to HR etc.
No Lazyjaney. It isnt necessarily true that someone else would, though with this man, it might be.
If you are or have been, I hope that you too think carefully about what you are doing.
I like your last paragraph.
I wouldnt have thought that it was very easy to carry on working together. Rather like an an addict standing next to what they were addicted to?
wobbly I don't see that - I think the OP came remarkably honest and open to advice and that has stayed the same, in spite of any harshness, not because of it.
If you are or have been, I hope that you too think carefully about what you are doing
This is the 2nd time you've alleged I'm having an affair Yellow, merely because I believe the main person responsible for a husband keeping his dick in his pants is the husband.
But since you're slinging shit, here's my observation of affairs for free - after the errant person, the person you next have to look at for it happening is their partner, not the 3rd party.
LazyJaney - do you not think of common decency as a good attribute then? I'm alright, Jack so fuck everyone else?
I think you're an idiot, OP. If you genuinely want rid of him, avoid him, block his number, blah blah. Or why not just fucking tell him? Without smiling or twirling your hair or sounding uncertain. Fucking tell him you think he's a sleaze, you don't want to be someone's bit of rough and, most importantly, 'LEAVE ME ALONE OR I'LL TELL YOUR WIFE'.
You come across as someone who wants to say no but still want him to 'fancy' you, if I'm honest. That ain't going to work.
Wow Lazy that's a bit special lol
Am hiding this thread now because all the OP wanted was validation that she's not too bad and can't help it poor thing.
I did not accuse you of having an affair. But you dont seem to think there is much wrong behviour for a woman, or man I presume, to do that.
she hasn't said that at all - what she has said is that the responsibility lies with the married person first and foremost and from their you've projected all your angst at OW at her and assumed she is or has been the OW.
lots of projection and displacement going on this thread - understandably as it's a very emotive topic for many as the OP acknowledges in her first post.
Damn, Rooty, you are right!
OP, wake up and get a grip!
I have never been wronged by the way.
But do I think it is wrong behaviour by both parties. Definitely.
That also doesnt mean that a person, man or woman cannot be remorseful and move on. People seem to have affairs because of things that have happened or are going on in their own lives, not just because they want a bit of fun.
I was totally with you Janey, until you said in the hierarchy of blame when someone has an affair in second place is the cheater's partner
You just massively insulted all the women on the relationships board who did absolutely nothing wrong but their husbands fucked around anyway
Wow. I missed that AnyFucker. Didnt realise that was what Mosman was saying too.
i don't know about blame but certainly it is the people in a relationship who have the most responsibility for the relationship. perhaps she meant it that way?
People only have responsibility for their own actions - not other people's.
Anyway, it's a pretty hefty assumption that this man is only cheating because he's unhappy with his wife isn't it?
Especially when the OP says:
he doesn't really pretend to particularly care about me and has never suggested that he's not happy with or doesn't love his wife.
How odd that some posters would like to suggest otherwise.
I dont often feel shocked on here, but I do now.
I dont think the op was saying it was a "drunken shag" either.
Lazyjaney. You sound very mixed up on the issue.
The old expression "it takes two to tango" is probably still relevant.
I think there are reasons some people have affairs, has the op has acknowledged.
But I dont think there are excuses as you seem to be putting forward.
I think the first two steps to ending an affair is to firstly acknowledge it, and secondly to be sorry about it.
i have never been cheated on and i've never cheated on anyone and i'd like to believe i would never do anything with anyone who was married. i have seen a lot of hurt from affairs.
the thing is though that everyone has different morals and you cannot control the world and everyone in it. all you can do is try and make sure you marry someone with the same or very similar morals and levels of integrity as you if you get married. you can't control every woman in the world as to whether they too may fall for the sleazebag in a weak moment, or deliberately or otherwise. you only get to control your choices.
so at the end of the day it would never be a third parties fault if my relationship failed due to me marrying an adulterous shitbag. it'd be his fault and ultimately it'd be down to me to try not to end up with a shitbag again.
i do think it's a waste of energy when women focus on the OW. i also think it's often a way of trying to redeem their partner (and their choice of him) by throwing all the blame on her.
it's not healthy.
you can disagree with an OW's morals, fine, me too tbh and i also think she is a fool to herself to get involved with someone willing to cheat on their life partner but tough you know? there are billions of women out there with different morals to you and you have zero control over that.
it's your husband who has committed to you and your children and who you have chosen and allowed to become such a central part of your life. it's him who has betrayed you.
Dont agree swallowedAfly.
That is far too simplistic a statement.
What about all those women who didnt know they had married or were with a man who was capable of something, if someone he fancied made herself available and dangled herself in front of him?
tbh though, I am not the best person to answer your post. I am pretty sure you are going to get some forthright and more knowledgeable replies from others!
And some women are more than capable of being seductresses.
Meh, it's not only 'sleazebags' who have affairs. I've been on MN long enough and have seen enough in real-life to know that more often than not, they are just ordinary regular people who up till they had an affair, absolutely had 'morals and integrity'. So it's not a case of silly women marrying men who weren't on the same page.
No-one can cheat unless they've got someone to do it with. The responsibility for cheating lies with both, but never with the person who's being deceived.
And no, it's not happened to me either AFAIK. But screw blaming the innocent party either for making a crap choice of partner in the first place or for something she doesn't know is happening.
how do you dangle yourself in front of someone?
and how do you accidentally fuck someone else because they were dangling there?
you are doing the exact nonsense i was talking about of removing male agency. the point of your marriage vows is that you're not meant to fuck anyone else even if they do somehow magically dangle in front of you seductively.
do you think men are helpless dicks without brains?
morals and integrity until the moment they had an affair?
how does that work? does a woman suddenly remove their morals and integrity by this 'dangling' business?
Yes, morals and integrity.
FFS people who have an affair don't present with scarlet letters on their foreheads. How many times do you see it said on here 'I was always really against cheating until...' or 'I can't believe he's done this. He was always really scathing about cheats'.
Having an affair doesn't mean a person is without morals and integrity. It does suggest that a person has a tendency to selfishness or an inability to resolve personal issues in an adult, assertive way. Same goes for OW or OM though. There's a reason people make the choices they do, but unless they make a habit of having affairs or screwing other people's partners, it doesn't mean they are morally bankrupt or without integrity.
I don't think anyone's saying a man (or a woman for that matter) is a helpless piece of driftwood who has no agency in the face of a determined suitor. That's why there have been so many posts on this thread challenging the OP's rather passive stance. Because she did and does have a responsibility to tell this man to fuck off. As much as he had a responsibility not to fuck a woman other than his wife.
All I'm saying is that his wife bears no responsibility for this.
Either for marrying a bloke who was going to fail her or for what him and the OP have got up to in recent times.
She's the one without any agency right now. You can't have agency if you're being deceived.
The responsibility for cheating lies with both, but never with the person who's being deceived.
Of course. The person being deceived is not cheating. Therefore they cannot take any responsibility for that.
The cheat tells lies. They plan them, think up excuses, make up reasons to be somewhere else, lie by omission, etc. The deceived person is not doing that.
There is no way a deceived person can take any responsibility for someone else's decision to lie.
Lying and cheating at the expense of another, for your own gain, is immoral.
The op is not lying. She is not cheating on anyone. The man is. He is 100% responsible for his own choices. He is choosing to cheat on his wife.
If a woman who fucks a married man is so entirely blameless, why do so many people make it painstakingly clear that it is a line they wouldn't ever cross?
Because everyone knows it is immoral
yes because we know it's not right and we hope to god we'd never do it. but people make mistakes and people have different morals to us and yada yada.
but in the event it does happen that someone sleeps with a married man the facts are still clear that he is the one who is married, telling the lies, cheating on his wife, risking his children. he's the one who goes home looks them in the eye and pretends all is dandy.
i don't think anyone is saying she is blameless for her own choices but that she is a million miles away from as accountable as he is as the married man cheating on the woman he married whilst she raises his children in ignorance of what she is frittering her life away on.
And whyvdobthis who cross the line so often end up hurt and regretful because they know they did something wrong.
But why do we care who has the most blame. Neither of their behaviour is blameless.
Neither party can hold their heads up high can they?
And neither party can feel good about themselves can they?
It is such a lose lose situation.
I hope you still feel able to post op if you want to.
It is only by threads like this, and obviously stuff that goes on in the real world, that people can be helped and encouraged to stop what they are doing.
Actually I think most of us who've posted v recently are saying more or less the same thing
That the one with responsibilities to a partner and children is most to blame, but that the person they cheat with is not blameless
This all started with a poster claiming that the deceived party has more responsibility than the person who is knowingly having an affair with a married person.
No way can I agree with that, or even contend that a deceived person has any responsibility at all, for what is being kept secret from her.
i think the point with this particular scenario is that the OP has made a mistake in drunkenly sleeping with him. he is making a mistake every single day and interaction with his wife where he doesn't tell her that and allow her to make real decisions and choices based on reality.
maybe that's part of the issue with me - that i personally see lying, deceiving and allowing someone to live a lie as a much bigger deal than sex.
no i don't think she has responsibility for it in a moral sense but in reality she is the one with the responsibility as in it's her life. not as in she is to blame or it's her fault but as in this being her, and her children's life, responsibility as to who she lives with etc just does fall to her. or me, or you etc. at the end of the day it's her life that is being effected and her who will deal with the repurcussions.
responsibility does not necessarily mean culpability. it just means that you are the one invested. the OW isn't invested. she may have done something stupid, wrong, selfish etc but she isn't invested in the situation therefore has no responsibility in the end. not as in she's not to blame but there is nothing left in her hands to deal with and take care of and fix which is what responsibility actually looks like.
i may be making no sense at all.
I don't think the drunken sex is the only mistake the OP has made though. From her point of view, I suspect the sex itself is not the big deal either. It's the validation she's getting from a man who's sexually interested in her. That's what she's addicted to right now.
That's the main mistake- and main issue, in my view.
I'd love the OP to stand back and say to herself: "Why the hell do I find this attention validating? What is that saying about me right now? How can I get to the point where that sort of attention isn't validating, but simply tireseome?"
i guess the point is 'blame' is an imaginary construct that weighs nothing in reality. responsibility is very, very real and has a lot of weight to it.
the man is risking that responsibility, that reality, that weight. the OW is not.
that's not about making anyone innocent but recognising the reality that they when they make their mistake/bad choice/selfish act aren't holding anything in their hands. the guy is - he's holding his marriage and his children in his hands.
responsibility and blame are two separate things and blame will console fuck all realistically.
ooh, I forgot I had read about the drink part. I take your points in your last post swallowedAfly.
oh heck. I meant 14.03pm!
[Note to myself. Step away from computer right now]
This guy is a prick.
1. For cheating on his wife and kids
2. For shagging someone at work
He has total disregard for your career, he doesn't respect you at all and sees you as an easy shag - with the added thrill of risk. He might even be boasting about it to those he can trust not to spill the beans. Cos i reckon he's a charmer like that. i know his type and they think they are famtastic. As someone said YOU are dispensable. Both at work and to him.
Nothing he 's told you about his wife is true. He's a liar and manipulator.
Get away. Quickly and if you can work wise move on.
Is that straight talking enough? Make no mistake he's the fucking twat here but you've grown up and wised up now and got the t shirt. No more married men.
good. i hope i'm making sense. i'm not trying to make anyone blameless but acknowledging different levels of responsibility.
if you are a parent and a spouse you have chosen to take on a lot of responsibility and you are being trusted to hold that in your hands. what you do with it will effect lives that you have chosen to put yourself in a position of guardianship over.
a woman will have some blame in that situation but there was never any responsibility in her hands unlike him.
to me it is exponentially different.
my husbands responsibility to me and my children (i'm not actually married just making a point) is exponentially greater than that of some random woman at work. she doesn't even know what colour hair i have perhaps let alone know that billy has nightmares about everybody dying in a car crash sometimes or cries at the end of ET every time. you know?
Don't entirely agree SAF. I couldn't even begin to persuade myself that another woman and children's pain wasn't my responsibility if I'd had a role in it. Even if they were complete strangers to me. Then again I'm pretty big on 'society' and our duty of care not to harm others if we can help it.
it's making a poor abstract moral decision v not giving a fuck about the real, living breathing, lives in your hands. no competition in my book.
OP, what a crappy situation. I'm tempted to say, call his bluff. Tell him you want a relationship, you want him to leave his wife, you want his babies and you want to be his world. The deeply cynical part of me, says that this should probably do the trick & you won't see him for dust.
The less cavalier side of me, thinks that you have to get angry with him. You have to be less passive & really make up your mind that he is a complete arse and you want nothing more to do with him. Think of all the things that are bad about him; he is a liar, he is cheating on his wife, he had sex with you when you were drunk, he has coffee breath, he sometimes has noticeable ear wax etc etc - collect up all those bad things and the first 3 give you are really good head start & focus on them. This is not the man you deserve or should be with. So get angry & dump him.
but that's an abstract leaven - that's my point. your mixing blame and actual responsibility.
i care about the abstract and let it guide me thus far. but betraying an abstract concept and betraying my living breathing child/partner etc are two different things. one will create real actual consequences upon the people i claim to love the other will be 'wrong' and i shouldn't do it. they are entirely different.
but an OW does also have some responsibility in my book.
If it wasnt her, it may be someone else. But not always, and cant be used as some sort of get out clause by the OW.
you're missing my point about the difference between blame and responsibility. i don't think i made it very well though tbf.
Perhaps janey will come back and put us all straight, eh ?
She certainly seemed quite clear that a partner that has been cheated on bears more blame/responsibility (whatever you wanna call it) than the person who is colluding with the complete disrespect of that person.
Unless the OW has been equally lied to, but that doesn't appear to be the case here.
Maybe it's semantics and maybe we just disagree. Either way it's cool as I don't think we're too far apart on the big picture stuff, SAF.
Of course it's right that people should feel more responsibility to people who love, care for them and are dependent on them in some way, than complete strangers.
But the concept of 'do no harm' isn't an abstract to me personally. It's a fundamental part of my make-up. I'm very clear on the differences between blame, culpability and personal responsibility. In this situation I think all 3 apply, but not in equal measure to eachother and certainly not equal to how blameworthy, culpable or responsible the married man is.
For me, this is mostly about personal responsibility. To myself and others.
I think the OP has got to stop faffing about telling herself and us that she's a passive receptacle for all this flirting, start taking some personal responsibility and realise that she's damaging herself as well as others by her actions.
'I can't help myself' and 'it's not my fault' are the frequent laments of people who aren't big on personal responsibility or confrontation. I'd hate to add to that sort of nonsense.
Couldn't agree more swallowed. Though tbh I hate threads being derailed like this - a back and forth between posters, not really related to what the OP has said. I know I'll get flamed for that. But I think the OP's request for advice was pretty straightforward and there are people here just grinding an axe.
Though tbh I hate threads being derailed like this - a back and forth between posters, not really related to what the OP has said.
A lofty ideal indeed, rooty
What a pity you spoiled it by doing the exact same thing.
Fair enough AF, I couldn't resist putting in my tuppence. But I try not to be aggressive. Maybe I'm kidding myself!
Ehh have looked back at my posts and think the OP is my main focus. I can live with that.
I think accusing people of "grinding an axe" is a pretty aggressive comment to make, tbh
So far, people have disagreed with each other on this thread but managed to do it without getting personal
Ok, fair enough - I suppose that's what I meant when I said maybe I'm kidding myself. I know there are different ways of being aggressive. But I wouldn't have said anything to introduce the non OP discussion, and said what I did in defence of her. Like I say, I can live with it. Maybe next time I'll remember this and keep my thoughts to myself. (As in, lesson learned, not flouncing.)
OP, good luck. I think you are willing to take responsibility and you can get over this man.
I was in your shoes many years ago OP, stupid involvement with married man at work when I was in the aftermath of a split and basically more insane and vulnerable and idiotic than I'd been in my life. I thought I was in love but the feeling that lasted was the guilt towards his wife.
How closely do you work together. Sit next to him or near him? (I did, it was awful). I did end it, but him getting another job (we were both trying but the market was awful) was a huge relief.
If you can ensure you get away from working closely, that will help immensely and you should take proactive steps to do so, even if you can't fully move jobs. Do other stuff to distract yourself from this man, date (single) men, have fun with friends. Go on a long holiday away from the situation and reconnect with the person you want to be.
These situations are poisonous, utterly destructive for the other woman, and the very last thing you need in the aftermath of a marriage where you need life to be gentle. I hope you get it sorted.
Threads do tend to go off on a tangent when the OP disappears. It's a bit like chatting amongst ourselves until they come back.
I haven't disappeared - this is all helpful thank you.
The only explanation I can think of for why I've been so pathetic about this is that I just came to rely on him during a difficult time. It is not an excuse I know and I have some good friends outside of work who were very supportive of me through my divorce but at the same time the worst of it was going on work was very stressful as well, we were working long hours together and he became much more significant to me than I really realised at the time.
We were in daily contact for a while - there was a point when I stepped back and realised I wouldn't like it if it was my husband spending this much time with another women but he assured me that his wife wouldn't have a problem with it and we weren't doing anything wrong (at this stage the contact was probably far too frequent but the content was innocent). Then gradually it descended from that to be slightly flirty, then obviously flirty and then the drunken night. I think afterwards I hoped we could still be friends but obviously the dynamic was completely messed up by then and I wonder whether there was ever any real friendship there or whether it was all part of some weird long game to get in my pants anyway.
I'm not waiting in the wings or trying to tempt him away from his wife, I've never wanted a relationship with him and even if he turned around and said he was leaving his wife it wouldn't change that. I think the reason I probably sound half hearted is that although I know it's really bad for me, if I'm honest with myself I miss the friendship we had at the beginning. I know that's messed up as it probably never existed and the way he's acted shows me he's not the nice guy I thought he was but what I mean by the 'keep getting sucked in' is not that I'm tempted physically, more that I don't want to get in the slippery slope of becoming too close to him again. He seems to know exactly how to worm his way in and for a while he'll act normally and like he did at the very beginning but then little things will be said and I realise that we've crossed the line and can't just pretend it didn't happen. I can ignore all contact outside of work and stop it from progressing like that again but without making it very obvious that there is an issue at work I can't just completely ignore him.
I know this all sounds incredibly selfish - it's not that I haven't considered his wife in all this as I have but apart from making sure it doesn't happen again I can't take back that night. He seems to have no guilt or concern over it - it's like he sees us completely separately and doesn't relate what has happened between us as anything to do with her.
crazyhead - work pretty closely at the moment, see him most days and need to interact quite a lot to be able to do my job.
Perhaps janey will come back and put us all straight, eh
Swallowedafly said it perfectly IMO.
well you have worked this all out in your head now OP and just need to implement it re: remembering it's a front and not who he really is and just a long game. remembering he's not your friend and that that friendship can't be regained (if it was ever there for him). you can maintain boundaries and when 'something is said' stop it there and then by saying that's not appropriate please don't do/say that.
it's a slow game but it will work eventually if you're consistent.
agree about the personal responsibility btw - for me it is too - just acknowledging it isn't for everyone and we can only mind ourselves and our own choices really.
He seems to have no guilt or concern over it - it's like he sees us completely separately and doesn't relate what has happened between us as anything to do with her.
Have you spoken to him about this? If he says something inappropriate to you have you said that you don't want to hear anything he wouldn't be happy to say in front of his wife?
If so, how does he react?
I just ignore it if he says anything inappropriate now as he doesn't really react when I remind him he has a wife and shouldn't be saying it.
When I said I felt guilty about what had happened and said surely he regretted it too he just said that he should but he didn't
OP inappropriate comments if you've made clear they are no longer welcome ARE harassment.
Hey, what a chauvinistic thread! The man is harassing this woman, he is in a position of power and ignoring her pleas to leave her alone. The bastard took advantage of her being drunk which could be classed as rape. And some people here are placing the blame on her because she can't refuse him strongly enough????? WTF?
She is the victim, and is in no way responsible for him being faithful to a wife he doesn't respect. Grass him to human resources he is sexually harassing you. You are the victim here, not Mr. Family Man. Yeah sure, his family will be upset but HE should have thought about it before harassing you in such way.
Letsadmitit I disagree. Harassment and the possibility of reporting him was referred to on page 1. I don't think that angle was neglected.
However, I think it's fair to say the OP's early posts gave the impression (to a great many posters) that she was responding favourably to the flirting (I can provide quotes if you like, but I'm sure you can see them). That's pretty much the first hurdle you have to clear in any situation dealing with a sleazebag - make it crystal clear where your boundaries are. So that is what she was advised to do.
She has now posted explaining that she IS putting clear boundaries down. So yes, now is definitely the time to take it to official notice if he carries on.
I agree with you wholeheartedly, but I still think that there are far too many people in this thread placing the blame solely on her, when in fact, it is the guy who is more at fault here.
harassment is still harassment if the person on the receiving end is confused as to how to deal with it, respond etc especially when it's someone in authority.
the onus is upon people in authority not to do it not for people without authority to know how to stop it.
Exactly, if both were single, the advice would have been very different but because he is married, she is the one who gets the blame and has to ensure that in addition to repeatedly ask to be left alone, tthere are strong boundaries around to prevent him from hurting his wife and marriage? What a load of tosh.
She has set the boundaries already and he is ignoring them. It is not about asking the person in the more vulnerable position to make those boundaries stronger, she needs help to stop this guy.
yep it turns into being about the marriage and people's attitudes towards marriage/affairs/OW etc rather than the issue.
If a single woman posted that she'd had regrettable sex with a single work colleague, didn't want to pursue it further but kept engaging with him because she was enjoying the flirtation and the attention, most posters would point out that she was giving the man mixed messages and therefore needed to 'shit or get off the pot'.
Harassment is defined as unwanted and unreciprocated attention
The early interactions don't meet that definition at all.
It's a different matter now that the OP has communicated clear boundaries. Any attention from this man would now fall into the 'unwanted and unreciprocated' category and would be grounds for harassment.
i was amazed at the amount of people telling her to leave her job! why on earth she should have to change jobs because a senior colleague shagged her whilst pissed and is continuing to sexually harass her despite her attempts to stop it (regardless of how good you think those attempts are) i do not know.
Yes, but she was not asking for help about the early interactions, she was asking for help to stop him after she was setting boundaries and he kept ignoring them.
I don't get why people were suggesting her to leave her job either, obviously if there were thousands of jobs around so she could get one at the same level/salary/location in order for this jerk to leave her alone I would understand, but not in the current economic climate.
Everytime a man takes advantage of a drunken woman, people are up in arms calling rape. But because he is married, some way she called this onto herself?
I think OP should tell HR everything that has happened between them. I think she should explaiin that, at first, she enjoyed his attention but now, having thought it through a bit more she has decided to end the 'flirtation'.
However, having told him that, he is not respecting her boundaries and continues to pay her sexual attention which is neither wanted nor reciprocated.
She should ask to have this put on record and for someone to speak to him, in her presence, to make sure that he understands that any further behaviour like this will be considered as sexual harassment.
The poster got lots of advice about reporting him for harassment actually.
In reply, the OP said that she didn't think it was harassment at all because everytime she asked him to desist, he stopped.
But then after a period of sanitised interactions, both got back into the habit of flirting.
It's not unreasonable at all to advise a poster to stop flirting back and stop engaging. She seems to have taken that advice now and got what she needed from the thread.
I agree that resignation calls were ridiculous though.
she didn't say 'both' got back into the habit she said that he'd start again.
everyone inferred both due to the whole married man bad girl thing.
the reality is he has never stopped, he just steps back a bit then starts up again when he thinks he's gotten away with it.
if I spend any period of time with him he seems to be able to win me around and it goes back to the overly familiar/flirty stage (although nothing else physical has happened).
If you've assumed that the OP remained silent or changed the subject when this man started flirting again, I think that's erroneous given the above, especially as the OP also talked repeatedly about the man 'sucking her back in' and 'getting inside her head again'.
OP isn't shirking from her responsibility in this. Can't see why people want to victimise her and infer she has no agency.
swallowedAfly, I was one of the posters advising her to quit.
But I was advising her to quit, for her to be able to control the emotional situation.
Now that she has told him to stop hitting on her, then yes, he could be the one to quit.
Not sure though, as Francesca says, that the op has actually quite stopped the flirting. I am not sure she is quite at that point yet.
It's difficult to explain when I don't really understand it myself
I have stopped the flirting, my concern is that I find it difficult not to be drawn into it through and I suppose i'm worried how long I can keep that resolve.
I know it's stupid, I know he's just using me and i'd be a fool to get sucked back in but just need to keep telling myself how much of a bad idea it is.
And need distractions I guess.
You need a boyfriend.
But not him.
Am I right in thinking, that if you had someone else, he wouldnt have an emotional hold on you?
probably, but getting back into dating again scares me aswell
why? [not done it myself though]
have you got a friend you could do it with?
make it be a bit more of a laugh?
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