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Unwanted shoulder rubs as a sign of dominance ?!

(184 Posts)
OLP2019 Thu 12-Sep-19 06:46:04

Ok so my dh runs a company and I also work there - I have a normal mid manager level role but obviously slightly different in that my dh is the boss/ I've always tried very hard not to take the piss but we have two dc and due to the seniority of dh role it was always me leaving early to pick them up or staying home if they were sick etc.
Back in the day when we had babies the company was very small and so I was my role so I could easily afford to work part time hours most of the time but always did my work and even if I was "off" did what was needed and never let anyone down
The company has grown a lot and so has my role and i am now full time and work long hours - granted dh and I travel a lot however we are never "off" and always working and I see that as the pay off for coming and going as I please. I'm very successful and good at my job despite dh being the boss he isn't my direct boss and I hardly ever see him in the office
So that's the background! Here's the issue
When we were smaller dh was doing everything and eventually hired a young hot shot sales guy to groom to run the sales team. This guy is a good sales guy but very rough around the edges and a bit cowboy. Has bugged dh for promotion but doesn't seem to get that there is more to a management role than just selling and has never grasped the strategic and forward planning side of the senior role he wants
I would describe him as a big swinging dick kind of guy.
Anyway he seems to have always had an issue with me.
I joke that he wants to be married to dh and get chance for the pillow talk.
He has complained about me to dh more than that made and has also reported me to hr more than once. He doesn't seem to understand how I get to "swan in and out" and he doesn't. Well I guess that is a benefit of being married to the owner of the company .
On the surface we get along but we have butted heads over the years. I have never pulled the "married to the boss" card for what it's worth. We have hung out and had some laughs but knowing what he's said and done behind my back, to my own husband even, I don't trust him at all.

Anyway to get to the aibu - recently Whenever he comes to talk to me he gives me a shoulder massage ! Like comes up behind me and suddenly there he is !!

We are definitely not friendly enough for that kind of physical contact and I do have male friends at work I consider close who would never do that and if they did I would say wtf ?!
For some reason I let him do it because it always takes me by surprise
I wonder if he does it to show other junior staff that he is "in@ with the boss and his wife and also if he does it to dominate me ?!

Thoughts ?!

For the record I don't feel creeped out enough to report it but I do find it very odd that he does it to me and an curious about why when I know he doesn't really like me at all

user1493413286 Thu 12-Sep-19 06:48:33

I think it sounds like a power play and a very inappropriate one. Next time turn round and say “can you not do that, why do you keep doing that”. Don’t let him keep getting away with it.

GameChange123 Thu 12-Sep-19 06:50:39

Oh dear he sounds like one of those small dogs that humps your leg!

StealthPolarBear Thu 12-Sep-19 06:51:06

He's definitely doing it to show his power. You need to ask him sharply to not do it

TheCatInAHat Thu 12-Sep-19 06:51:40

Powerplay in my view too. He sounds really tedious. I’d tell him his behaviour is inappropriate in no uncertain terms.

flumpybear Thu 12-Sep-19 06:53:23

Ug what an arse! Id do as PP said and tell him no, inappropriate and not wanted thank you

As for the children part, it's tricky like you say because the boss is your DH but why can't he go home sometimes if the kids are sick?! Just because he's the boss he's not immune to supporting the family too - does cowboy have kids? Would he be allowed to go home if his children needed him? I guess it's about fairness really, but if you're married to the boss and it's his own company I guess you've got the upper hand - but if you do what other parents are allowed to do within working hours with children/dependants then he can bugger off lol 😆

OLP2019 Thu 12-Sep-19 06:54:10

Glad to hear it is obvious what he's doing but also feel the need to play him at his own game and don't want to tell tales on him to dh (which he has actually done about me ha ha ) I also don't want him to think he has won by intimidating me if that makes sense
In a way I've ignored it and laughed about it but started to think how weird it is especially in front of junior staff who report to me

Llioed Thu 12-Sep-19 06:55:42

I wouldn’t like that either. If you don’t feel brave enough to tell him “please don’t do that, it is inappropriate” you could just pretend you have injured your shoulder and wince when he next touches you on the shoulder. He will soon stop. I know you shouldn’t have to pretend, but I know some people are too polite or don’t want to cause issues in the workplace (which used to me - too timid, but not anymore)
Me, I would tell him to stop. Has your DH witnessed these shoulder rubs? What does he think?

OnlineAlienator Thu 12-Sep-19 06:56:40

Definite power play. I'd be cutting it DEAD.

OLP2019 Thu 12-Sep-19 06:57:20

@flumpybear when our kids were small the company was like 5 people and I helped out part time on mat leave so it was the clear choice for me to do the childcare
These days kids are older and at school so circumstances are not the same but used the example from when he joined the company but complained about me even tho I was a part time casual employee in those days and nothing to do with him or his role just helping out while a sahm basically

OLP2019 Thu 12-Sep-19 07:03:06

@Llioed he hasn't witnessed and I haven't said anything but he would back me up if needed
I don't want to create drama but want him to know I know his game If that makes sense ?

LynetteScavo Thu 12-Sep-19 07:03:15

What a huge dick!!!

I would definitely be telling my DH! And yes, it's a power move.

At the very least I would stand up if he did it again to stop him.

He's not only disrespecting you, he's disrespecting your DH. And he's living getting away with it.

I've no idea how you've tolerated him so long.

CupoTeap Thu 12-Sep-19 07:04:10

You need to nip this in the bud now. Who does he think he is? Sadly I fear the only person he would listen too is your dh.

Dommina Thu 12-Sep-19 07:04:39

Absolutely a power play, and sexist bullshit. He wouldn't do that to a bloke. Next time he does it, turn around, and say (in a loud speaking voice) 'please stop grabbing my shoulder, its inappropriate and it makes me very uncomfortable.'
Warn him you will report it. Then if he does it again, report it to the boss or HR. Its not telling tales. Its stopping sex-based harassment.

OLP2019 Thu 12-Sep-19 07:06:03

@LynetteScavo At the very least I would stand up if he did it again to stop him. that's actually a good idea cos I sit in a corner so spinning around to confront him isn't really easy but I could stand up
What's weird is that if it were one of the other guys in the office that I get on with I would have no hesitation saying wtf are you doing you weirdo !

katmarie Thu 12-Sep-19 07:09:38

If your dh wasnt the boss what would you do? Report to HR? Tell him firmly to back off? If another female employee came to you and said he was doing it to them and it made them uncomfortable what would you do? I think you're conscious of your position in the company, which is understandable, but you're being overly cautious about it. Tell him firmly to stop touching you the next time he tries it. If that doesn't get the message across then speak to HR. If he thinks he can pull this kind of power play bullshit with the boss's wife, then god knows how he's behaving to other colleagues, and he needs putting back in his box.

OLP2019 Thu 12-Sep-19 07:10:09

It's amazing to get this feedback from you all. I started work in the early 90s and think I just got immune to this kind of shit and it didn't really bother me as such - I just let it wash over me because it was just how it was
We have a very young team and 50% female and I'm keen to create a positive workplace for them since I have some influence and today I thought to myself what if he did this to one of them you would not let him get away with that !! Also you're right it is massive disrespect to his boss / my dh

Pinkypurple35 Thu 12-Sep-19 07:10:23

Yes he’s doing it to show dominance. Next time tell him loudly not to touch you.

Juells Thu 12-Sep-19 07:17:59

I like GameChange123's joke about him being like a small dog humping your leg. That's what I'd use, make a joke about it so he looks ridiculous if he does it again.

Men have all sorts of ways to put women in their place. A longtime friend started tacking on 'girl' to everything he said to me when I was awarded a commission he wanted. hmm

HennyPennyHorror Thu 12-Sep-19 07:20:04

I'm honestly shocked that someone like you...articulate and successful can't just say "Get off my shoulders." to someone.


Why haven't you done that??

The man is obviously a dick and I'd be gunning to get rid of him HARD.

loutypips Thu 12-Sep-19 07:21:11

I'd say very loudly if he does it again " you do know unwanted physical contact is sexual harassment? Perhaps we better book you a place in a course to learn boundaries"

Really if he's treating you that way, I think that you need to speak up and not let him get away with it. Follow the right channels and get rid. Someone like that will only get worse.

HennyPennyHorror Thu 12-Sep-19 07:21:22

Why should she joke about it? It's not funny. It makes her uncomfortable!

Joking is just another way of a woman trying to soften the "blow" of not responding exactly how some man wants her to.

Tell him to get off sharply. And work out how to get him out of the company.

Itallt0omuch Thu 12-Sep-19 07:22:34

You'll need to call him out on it next time he does it. If he does it again, report to HR. Or just report to HR anyway. That's what I would do. He's got absolutely no reason to touch you at all.

Pikapikachooo Thu 12-Sep-19 07:24:30

Sorry you lost me with He doesn't seem to understand how I get to "swan in and out" and he doesn't. Well I guess that is a benefit of being married to the owner of the company

That’s just as unfair as his behaviour

BeepBeeeep Thu 12-Sep-19 07:25:22

I would have told him to get his hands off me and never to touch me again the first time he tried it, but that's just me.
As for the rest of it, I would be having very strong words with him, leaving him under no illusion of the consequences of failing to comply

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